Reasons Why Your Lights Are Flickering
August 16, 2019
When the lights in your home start flickering, your first thought might be that something out of a horror movie is about to happen. However, the reasons for your lights flickering aren’t (usually) paranormal—they’re electrical and generally pretty harmless. But if the flickering has become more insistent, you might need to investigate—and the team at OnTime Service is here to assist! To help you figure out what could be wrong with your lights, here are some reasons why your lights are flickering.
The Bulb is Loose
If you notice only one bulb flickering, make sure the light bulb isn’t screwed loosely into the socket. Chances are the bulb might have loosened over time and is causing the flickering. Before you touch the bulb, make sure you turn off the light and wear protective gloves as the bulb could be very hot, especially if it has been on for a long time. This is an easy fix and can be done without any help from a professional. So, before you panic and call an electrician, tighten the bulb. If the flickering persists, you might have a different problem.
Type of Bulb or Switch
If you have invested in standard CFL or LED bulbs and have them attached to an old dimmer switch, chances are that’s the reason why your lights are flickering. Specifically, standard CFL bulbs cannot be dimmed and it’s best to invest in a more versatile CFL bulb that has dimming capability. Most LEDs do come with dimming capability, however when you install these new LED bulbs, you might still need to replace your old switch. LEDs consume low wattage and older dimmer switches are compatible with high wattage incandescent bulbs.
If you have experience with DIY electrical projects, you can probably replace your switch by yourself. However, it is important to exercise caution when you’re carrying out this project. Remember to disconnect the power to the light switch at the breaker box! If you have any doubts, there is no harm in calling an experienced electrician you trust.
If the bulbs flicker frequently when you turn on another large appliance with high wattage such as your air conditioner or washing machine, the problem may be excessive voltage fluctuation. If the flickering is infrequent and happens for only a couple of seconds, this might not be a problem. Usually, when large machines and appliances start, they require more power to get up and running and a quick flicker is nothing.
However, if the flickering is constant and doesn’t stop even after the high wattage appliance has stopped running, you might have a larger issue. There are also other signs of voltage fluctuation such as unexpected dimming and flickering as well as lights burning out frequently. Your home should always be supplying electricity between 115 and 125 volts. You can check your home’s voltage using a voltmeter. If the reading shows the voltage is higher than 125 volts, you have found the source of your problem. To troubleshoot it, you will have to call an electrician.
If loose wiring is ignored, it can be highly dangerous. If you have loose connections in an outlet, switch box or light, a phenomenon called arcing can occur where an electrical current flows or leaps through a gap in a wire. This is hazardous because it’s a common cause of electrical fires. If you haven’t made any changes to your electrical system and you notice sudden and consistent flickering, there is a chance that outdated, loose wiring in your switches, fixtures or breaker box could be causing the problem. Call an electrician to diagnose the problem as soon as possible.
Need an Electrician? Call OnTime Service!
While we encourage DIY projects, some electrical problems can’t and shouldn’t be handled alone. For all your electrical problems, get in touch with the professionals at OnTime Service! Our electricians will address all your questions and concerns and will ensure that whatever electrical issue you’re having is resolved. Give us a call today at 251-272-3595 or fill out a service request form on our website!