What Causes Flickering Lights and Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Them

You rely on electricity to keep your home safe and comfortable. When an electrical issue arises, it could put your family, home, and well-being in jeopardy. While flickering lights might seem like a minor problem, it could, in fact, be a sign of a much larger issue.

Flickering lights can be incredibly annoying, but electrical problems that cause this issue can actually be quite serious. An occasional light flicker may be normal, especially if you live in an older home. However, if you begin to notice flickering that hasn’t happened before, you need to investigate.

Flickering lights can be caused by a number of minor problems that you may be able to quickly address on your own without calling in a pro. If a bigger electrical issue is the culprit, though, it could be incredibly dangerous to try to fix the problem without professional help. The following are six common causes of flickering or blinking lights that you should watch for so you can get back to full brightness in no time.

1. Issues With the Light Bulb Itself

If the flickering only happens in one light, the cause might be as simple as a loose bulb or the use of the wrong bulb type. Over time, light bulbs can loosen and fail to maintain their connection with their sockets. To fix this issue, begin by trying to tighten the bulb. If that doesn’t work, you can try replacing it with a new one.

If you use fluorescent bulbs, keep in mind that they tend to flicker, especially when they’re powering up. Dimmer switches typically don’t work well with fluorescent and CFL bulbs, either. If you’re using a dimmer switch with an LED bulb, make sure the bulb is compatible with your switch. Or, consider upgrading your dimmer switch with one specifically made to work with LED bulbs.

2. Overloaded Circuits

Major appliances like the washing machine or the air conditioner can pull more electrical current than your circuits are able to handle. If you notice that your lights frequently flicker, blink, or dim when you run these appliances, overloaded circuits may be the problem.

3. Faulty Light Switches

Light flickering is often caused because of a poor connection between a light switch and a bulb. To determine whether this is the issue you’re dealing with, simply wiggle the light switch. You can also try turning the switch on and off to see if the problem is fixed. If it is, you should consider replacing the switch.

4. Loose Electrical Connections

Not only can loose electrical connections cause flickering lights, but they can also pose a risk of fires. Whether the issue is found in a single location or house-wide, loose wiring is always a dangerous issue. Loose electrical connections in light switches, outlets, and other areas can cause electrical currents to overheat and endanger your entire house. Old and outdated wires, circuit breakers, and connectors should be immediately fixed by a licensed professional.

5. A Fluctuation in Voltage

Although slight voltage fluctuation is normal, the voltage in your home should always be between 115 and 125 volts. If a fluctuation in voltage is the source of your flickering lights, signs could include:

  • Consistent flickering whenever you run a large appliance
  • Flickering that continues after you’ve stopped running appliances
  • Unexpected light dimming
  • Light bulbs that frequently burn out

You can measure your home’s voltage with an inexpensive tool called a voltmeter. If your voltage measures above 125, you’ve probably determined the cause of your flickering lights. Your electrician can find the best solution to take care of your voltage issues.

6. Electrical Consumption From Neighbors

If you and your neighbors are experiencing regular light flickering, the problem is most likely coming from the electrical company. In this instance, you should report the problem to the utility service itself.

Leave Flickering Lights to the Pros

If you’re dealing with flickering lights, your best course of action is to contact a professional electrician to make sure the issue isn’t serious. Ignoring what might seem to be a minor problem could lead to a bigger dilemma down the road that puts your home in unnecessary danger.

For any electrical problem big or small, don’t hesitate to turn to the experts at A-1 Heating Air Conditioning & Electric in Meridian. Dedicated to providing exceptional electrical repair, installation, maintenance, as well as ceiling fan repair and installation, we also specialize in performing residential and commercial heating and cooling services. Let us help you keep your lights on.