When is it Time to Worry with Flickering Lights?

While some flickering lights can be decorative and fun, such as ones purchased just for that purpose, it is not something desirable in majority of cases. Most often flickering lights are not a cause for alarm, but it is always best to check if there is a larger issue to blame. Here are some common reasons for flickering lights and which ones you should be worried about:
LED and Fluorescent Flickering: Could Possibly be Normal

Some types of technology for lighting are more prone than others to flickering. An example being, when turning a fluorescent light on they sometimes flicker in the first few minutes. This is due to the phosphors reaching top illumination. Or they flicker when there is a failing ballast the bulb is connected to. LED lights may flicker with some dimming systems or joined to a driver improperly. While neither of these issues pose a serious electrical problem, you may want to consider changing lights if flickering becomes too bothersome.

Bulb Loose: Not a Problem

A light bulb that is loose is the simplest reason for flickering due to it not being screwed tight enough into the socket. This might seem like a no-brainer when it comes to checking this for most types of lights, but for light that are unexposed, like recessed lights, it may not come to mind as easily. Think safety first prior to checking and be sure the light is turned off and put a pair of heavy duty gloves on before you grasp and tighten any light bulb as they tend to be extremely hot, particularly if the light has been on for quite a while. If after you tighten your light bulb it continues to flicker when you turn it on, there is a problem somewhere else.

Light Switch is Faulty: Not an Emergency

Flickering lights can be caused from a light switch that is not connecting properly with the light bulb. You can try turning that light off for a bit then back on or toggle the light switch off and on. You have found your problem if the issue is resolved. If you find yourself doing this consistently to stop your lights from flickering, the best option would be to replace the light switch.

Fluctuating Voltage: You Need to Call a Rockwall Electrician

If you notice your lights flicker when turning on a high wattage appliance, this can be due to your homes voltage changing too much. A sign of an electrical issue that is more serious, is when the light flickers even after the appliance is no longer in use. If you notice lights in your home burn out frequently or unexpectedly dim, this can be another sign showing you there is something wrong with the voltage in your home. Typical electricity flow into homes is about 120 volts. Although a small amount of fluctuation is expected and normal, there should always be a supply going to your home between 115-125 volts. A voltmeter is a device that checks your homes voltage that you can purchase. If your voltmeter reading averages are above the range desired, your lighting problem or problems have been found. There are some cases in which purchasing 130-volt light bulbs may be able to handle a voltage that is higher, and can be an appropriate solution. Prior to doing this, always check with an electrician. They have the right tools and experience needed to handle these issues.

Electrical Wiring That is Loose: You Need to Call a Rockwall Electrician

Wiring which is loose is the main cause of fires in the home and reason that is most serious for flickering lights. Prior to removing the fixture, turn the light off at your circuit breaker to double check your homes wiring. If your fixture looks like it may be insecure or loose, you need to call an electrician. After you have double checked your wiring and you still have not found out why your lights are flickering, have an electrician come to your home to evaluate your electrical wiring just to stay on the safe side.

It is always a bad idea to ignore an electrical or lighting problem. When you notice lights in your home flickering, always examine what could be causing this issue, and if you are having difficulty finding the cause or the problem does not go away, you need to call an electrician for assistance.

Posted in Local Electrician Blog

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Barney Messenger is a Rockwall Electrician Serving Dallas, Collin, Rockwall and Kauffman counties

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5 out of 5 stars

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Great experience with Barney and Steve! They added an outlet in my garage and fixed an issue in my kitchen. Nice guys. Came to the house when they said they would. Even went above and beyond and changed the light bulb in my garage door opener. Will definitely use them again.

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posted 3 months ago

Barney previously replaced our very worn out electric panel and was efficient and professional. He also came out on short notice Christmas Eve morning to repair an issue that left us without power in a portion of the kitchen -- just in time to welcome our company. Barney is quick to respond, very knowledgeable and performs quality work. We will continue to use Barney for our future electrical work.