What Causes Flickering Lights?


Flickering lights, are they a cause for concern? If your lights flicker, you may be worried about your home’s electrical system and if it’s safe, especially if you’re living in an older home. If your lights are flickering on a regular basis, it’s time to get down to the bottom of the issue. Because, in some cases, flickering lights can be a sign of a hazardous condition.

For starters, we want it known that there is a difference between “flickering” and “dimming.” If lights are flashing (going lighter and dimming) more than once per a second, this is called flickering. But if the lights get a little darker and stay at a lower brightness for a period of time, then that is called dimming.

Why Do Lights Flicker?

There are a number of reasons why lights flicker – some of them are harmless while others can be dangerous. For example, if a lightbulb is loose, it can cause a light fixture or lamp to flicker. Or, if a plug is loose, it too can cause lights to flicker. Neither situation is a big deal.

If you have a light dimmer with an incompatible lightbulb, such as an LED bulb, it can flicker if it’s set too low. This situation may be annoying, but it’s not dangerous. To solve the problem, all you do is switch to a different LED light, or you can change the dimmer.

A light can flicker because there is a large electrical load someplace nearby, outside of the house, such as at a factory located close by. While this should not place anyone in danger, it can reduce the life of the appliances in the home, so it should be reported to your utility company sooner than later.

Dangerous Electrical Problems

Sometimes, flickering lights are a sign of danger. One of the most dangerous situations is when there is a loose connection in the home. In these cases, there is a loose connection someplace between the light and where the electrical service is entering the home. These situations are hazardous and should be handled by a licensed electrical contractor ASAP.

“What if my lights only flicker when I’m using a certain appliance?” In that case, the issue could have to do with the wiring that goes from the service entrance to the specific appliance. If the lights are flickering as opposed to dimming, it’s likely that the appliance is drawing too much of a current, or the current is unstable or varying – this is highly uncommon, but it does happen once in a while and should be checked out by an electrician.

Next: Home Electrical Safety: Are You Knowledgeable?

If your lights are flickering and it’s more complicated than changing a lightbulb, contact Lightning Bug Electric to work with an Atlanta electrical contractor, who can troubleshoot the problem and get it taken care of once and for all.

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