Besides Christmas tree lights and faux flame bulbs, the site of flickering lights in your home can be very frustrating, but no need to worry because the issue may be easier to determine than you may think. Usually, the flickering pattern of your lights can help you diagnose the issue.
When trying to figure out the problem, look out for patterns such as when the flicker happens, the typical duration, and the frequency of how much it happens. It is always prudent to do some personal investigation and try a few simple fixes before consulting an electrician. Here are some common reasons behind flickering lights and their possible fixes.
One Light Flickering
If your flickering problem is isolated to one bulb only, perhaps it could be because it is due for replacement or loose in the socket. This is the simplest problem to solve and should be no cause for alarm.
Lights Flickering in One Room
Having multiple flickering lights within a contained area can be quite worrying. In most cases, the probable cause for this issue is a problem with your home’s circuitry. Since circuit issues can be dangerous if left alone, it is best to act on this issue by calling an electrician for further diagnosis quickly.
Lights Flickering When Powering on a Large Appliance
A large home appliance, e.g., a refrigerator, washing machine, or oven, can add a significant load to your home’s central circuit breaker. That said, having several large home appliances and using them at the same time can strain your home’s main circuit breaker.
Adding a huge load to your home’s main circuit breaker can cause several lights to flicker throughout your home. This is usually too difficult to handle for most and may require an inspection from a licensed electrician to determine whether an electrical service upgrade is necessary.
Lights Flickering throughout your Home
If the flickering is not limited to one area in your house and is not triggered by large appliances, that may tell you there is a larger problem. The most probable causes for this flickering are electrical service issues, e.g., loose service conductors in the central electrical panel. These electrical service issues could cause much bigger problems than flickering lights, e.g., fires, requiring immediate evaluation by a competent licensed electrician.
As already advised, it is always a good idea to evaluate the flickering in your home and try some simple fixes before calling an electrician. Here are some simple things you can try for less complicated electrical issues.
Tighten Loose Light Bulbs
As apparent as this solution is, it may sometimes not be the first idea that comes to mind. If you have a few flickering bulbs, turn them off and put some gloves on to protect your skin from excessive heat, then screw them back into their sockets tightly. Since loose lightbulbs do not make enough contact with their sockets, they can flicker randomly.
Switch to Smart Light Bulbs
Smart bulbs not only help improve the quality of your home’s lighting but also helps you get rid of old dimmer switches. If only one light is flickering, and you are certain it is not due to a loose connection, replacing it should help.
The type of bulbs you use could affect the flickering in your home. For instance, fluorescent bulbs tend to flicker in cold temperatures or when they are first powering up. LED bulbs, on the other hand, tend to flicker when paired with dimmer switches. This is because dimmers are designed for high electrical loads, making them incompatible with low-voltage LED bulbs. You will need specific LED Dimmers for your LED lights.
You can avoid flickering by making sure your dimmable bulbs are compatible with their respective switches. Although, if flickering continues while using dimmers, it is best to upgrade to smart bulbs that do not require physical dimmer switches. Dimming via a smart bulb is arguably more reliable, not to mention its potential to solve the dimming problems associated with old wiring or old dimmer switches.
Change Incompatible or Old Switches
If you have ruled out the lightbulb as the cause for the flicker, evaluate the wall switch. Modern bulbs such as LEDs and incandescent bulbs connected to an old dimmer switch may flicker because they are incompatible. Also, loose wiring behind the light switch could cause flickering.
To avoid incompatible mistakes, check the dimmers and the bulbs’ ratings to make sure they are compatible. If you decide to install a new dimmer, turn off the circuit breaker’s power before handling any wiring.
If your lighting issues continue after these simple fixes, then the underlying cause probably affects your entire house. Problems like these have the potential to damage your electrical appliances and expose your house to the possibility of an electrical fire. Therefore, never hesitate to consult a licensed electrician.
Check for Loose Wiring
If your home’s wiring is outdated or done poorly, your lights may begin to flicker, hum, or both. Loose wiring is among the most common causes of electrical fires in homes and is something you should definitely take seriously.
If you have tried different ways of solving your flickering issue with no success and suspect the underlying cause is loose wiring, call a local licensed electrician immediately for further evaluation. A good electrician should evaluate a few potential causes and diagnose your lighting issue correctly.
Check the Current
Like loose wiring, overloaded circuits are a huge risk to your home’s electrical system. HVAC units and other large home appliances take on a lot of power to run and could make your lights flicker by drawing too much current.
The common culprits behind this problem are weak circuit breakers and inadequate wiring to large appliances. To pinpoint the appliances that draw too much, power each load one at a time and listen for buzzing at your circuit breaker. Contact a local licensed electrician to advise you and have them upgrade your electrical panel.
JDM Electrical Contractors serves NJ & Surrounding areas with superior quality and reliable residential electrician services. Our certified technicians and Master Electricians provide professional, affordable service and electrical repairs. JDM Electrical Contractors does home rewiring, electrical installations including electrical panels, electrical panel repairs, and lighting installation services. Call us today at (609)989-8097 to schedule an appointment!