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Why Are My Lights Flickering?

Electrical, Home & Electrical Safety, Lighting


Why Are My Lights Flickering?

While flickering lights are frustrating for anyone, they’re also a reason for concern for homeowners. Beyond the annoyance of distracting, changing light levels, flickering lights can indicate underlying issues that require attention.

In this blog, the seasoned professionals at JDV Electric explore the various causes of flickering lights — from common electrical problems to appliance-related issues and more. Additionally, we’ll advise on what to do when experiencing flickering lights, the importance of electrical safety, and the potential dangers of persistent flickering issues.

Causes of Flickering Lights in Your Home

Though flickering lights can seem like a small, chance occurrence, they don’t happen by accident. Lights can flicker due to electrical issues, appliance-related causes, or external factors.

Electrical Issues

Most of the time, flickering lights trace back to electrical problems within a home. The most common culprits include:

  • Loose wiring connections: Whether it’s from bad installation or general wear, wiring connections can come undone and cause flickering lights.
  • Overloaded circuits: When a single circuit has several devices drawing power from it, that can strain the system and cause fluctuations in voltage — and, thus, noticeable flickering.
  • Faulty switches or outlets: Worn-out or damaged switches and outlets can also produce an inconsistent flow of electricity.
  • Outdated or damaged wiring: Similar to faulty switches or outlets producing inconsistent flow, so can outdated or damaged wiring.

Appliance-Related Causes

If internal electrical issues aren’t causing lights to flicker, then it might have something to do with your appliances. However, these reasons are easier to distinguish because you’ll notice flickering with appliance use:

  • Large appliances turning on/off: When large appliances, such as an air conditioner or refrigerator, cycle on or off, they can sometimes cause the lights to briefly flicker. This is because appliances like this demand a sudden surge of power, leading to a temporary voltage drop from other areas.
  • Faulty appliances drawing too much power: Another common issue is when malfunctioning appliances draw more power than what the circuit can handle, overloading it and causing electric flow fluctuations.

External Factors

Some causes outside of a homeowner’s control make lights flicker. These are:

  • Power surges or fluctuations from the utility company: Because homes rely on electricity from a power grid, sometimes homes experience sudden power surges or voltage drops. This power fluctuation can result in lights flickering.
  • Severe weather conditions affecting power lines: Severe weather — like storms, high winds, or lightning strikes — can damage power lines and the flow of electricity to homes. This can lead to flickering lights or even power outages.
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What To Do if the Lights Start Flickering

If you notice flickering lights in your home, we don’t recommend ignoring the problem. Lights persistently flickering not only causes frustration but also can lead to electrical problems for a house.

One Room vs. Whole House

Determine whether the flickering is isolated to a single room or if it’s happening throughout the entire house.

When flickering is just in one area, that can indicate a localized issue like a faulty light fixture or wiring problem in that area. However, when lights are flickering throughout the house it can signal a more significant problem that requires attention from a professional electrician.

Simple Fixes

Before you enlist the help of an expert, there are some simple fixes you can try yourself to address flickering lights:

  • Check for loose bulbs or connections: Ensure all lightbulbs are securely screwed in and check for any loose connections in light fixtures.
  • Replace faulty switches or outlets: If you suspect a switch or outlet isn’t working properly, try replacing it to see if that resolves the localized flickering issue.
  • Unplug appliances to identify power drains: You can unplug appliances one by one to see if any might be causing power fluctuations.

Practicing Electrical Safety

Every homeowner should follow best practices for electrical safety. By doing so, you can extend the lifespan of your electrical system, save money every month with better efficiency, and protect your home and family from electrical hazards.

Here are some tips to follow:

  • Avoid overloading circuits: Distribute electrical loads evenly across circuits, because overloading a circuit can lead to overheating, electrical fires, and damage to appliances.
  • Use surge protectors: Surge protectors help prevent damage from power fluctuations and lightning strikes.
  • Regularly inspect wiring and outlets: Check your home’s wiring and outlets for signs of wear, damage, or deterioration. These signs commonly include frayed wires, loose connections, scorch marks, or buzzing sounds.
  • Hire a licensed electrician for major repairs or installations: When it comes to major electrical work (like rewiring, panel upgrades, or installing new fixtures), trust a professional with the job. Electricians take the guesswork and danger out of repairs or installations, ensuring your home is in the best state possible.

The Dangers of Flickering Lights

As discussed above, flickering lights are more than an inconvenience. If left unaddressed, flickering lights can pose significant dangers, such as:

  • Fire hazards: Flickering lights can indicate underlying problems, like loose wiring or overloaded circuits, which increase the risk of electrical fires.
  • Potential damage to appliances and electronics: The fluctuating voltage levels that cause flickering lights can sometimes damage sensitive electronics and appliances, such as computers or televisions.
  • Safety risks: When lights flicker inside a home, it can cause a temporary safety hazard. Inadequate lighting can increase the risk of accidents and falls.

Contact JDV Electric if Your Lights Are Flickering

If your home is dealing with flickering lights, don’t wait any longer to get professional help. Experienced teams like JDV Electric can promptly identify the root flickering cause and resolve it — revolutionizing your home’s comfort and functionality.

Get in touch today to learn more about how we put you first. Call us at 610-364-5099 to schedule your electrical service today.

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