What Causes Flickering Lights?

Most of the electrical issues we run into around the home are minor problems. They’re often more of an annoyance than a danger, and calling in your electrician for a tiny fault can seem like overkill. Of those annoyances, flickering lights are among the most common. In most cases they tend to be pretty harmless, although lights that flicker regularly can be a sign of something more serious going on. We’re going to cover the most common causes of flickering lights and how you can use simple troubleshooting to safely identify the problem without needing to call an electrician immediately.

  1. Loose Bulbs and Plugs

This should always be your first port of call when you have a light that’s flickering. Whether it’s part of your home’s lighting circuitry or a plug-in lamp, simple loose bulbs or power cords will cause annoying flickering. Switch the light off and wait for the bulb to cool, then check to make sure it’s screwed properly into the fitting. 

  1. Faulty Light Switches

You flick your light switches on and off dozens of times a day, and you expect them to work every time. But the mechanism in the light switch wears down over time, and that means faulty switches are probably the most common cause of flickering lights. When lights flicker due to a faulty switch, it’s usually because the contacts are making a poor connection and interrupting the flow of electricity.

This problem often crops up in houses where the light bulbs have been replaced with modern LED technology. LED lights work slightly differently to incandescent bulbs. They flicker on and off so fast the human eye can’t see it, but it means they sometimes need special switches or drivers to make them work properly. This is especially true if you’re using a dimmer switch to control a new LED bulb. If you’ve switched to LED lights, try switching the flickering bulb for an incandescent one and see if that solves the problem.

  1. Voltage Fluctuations

The appliances in your home all run on 240 Volts, but the actual voltage flowing through the wires will fluctuate under normal use. If the voltage fluctuates too much, this can cause flickering lights. Some of the most common causes of voltage fluctuations are:

The odd voltage fluctuation here and there isn’t an issue, but if you experience the problem frequently, you should contact an electrician and have the issue professionally diagnosed.

  1. Outdated Home Wiring

If you live in an older house that hasn’t been updated in a while, simple age can cause wiring faults that show up as flickering lights. Try the troubleshooting tips we talked about above first, but if that doesn’t help the situation, switch the light off and contact an electrician for help. Remember that electrical faults are potentially dangerous and can even result in fires, so it’s best to avoid using faulty lights and appliances until you’ve had them looked at by a professional.

Pay Attention To Which Bulbs Are Flickering

Our final tip is to pay close attention to where the problem is in your home. For example, if a single light fitting is flickering, the problem is likely down to that light’s bulb or switch. If several of the lights in one area of your house are flickering, it could be a sign that there’s a problem with the circuit or a breaker. And if the lights are flickering all over the place, it’s probably an issue with your electrical service or breaker box.

Make a note of which lights are having issues and provide that information to your electrician when you speak to them.

Having Electrical Issues Around the Home? Contact Dawson Electric Today!

Like we said above, most of the common causes of flickering lights are fairly harmless and they can be taken care of with a new bulb. For persistent issues that can’t be fixed simply, your best bet is to contact the friendly team at Dawson Electric and let us take a look. Our residential electricians come equipped with most of the parts and tools they’ll need to tackle any problem around your home. From faulty switches to major electrical repairs, our team of licensed electricians can fix the issue and return your home to working order. Contact us today for more information on our services or if you’d like to book an appointment with Dawson Electric!

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