Flickering lights are great… if we’re talking about faux flame bulbs, Christmas tree lights, or some kind of effect to make it seem like you’re living in a haunted house. In any other scenario, flickering lights can be a real pain – literally – potentially causing headaches and disorientation. Plus even one pesky bulb going in and out can throw off the lighting scheme of a whole room. If you have ever wondered, “why are my lights flickering?”, keep reading to find out. The problem could be minor, or you could be in for a major repair—but either way, you can trust our skilled electricians at Meyer’s for the answers you need.
The Top 3 Reasons Your Lights Keep Flickering
- Your Bulbs Are Loose: Okay, so this is obviously the simplest explanation for flickering lights, but don’t rule it out. Your bulbs can come loose over time for a myriad of reasons, and if you go to screw a bulb in and notice it’s flickering right away, there’s a very good chance you simply didn’t turn it tight enough. To check if this is the issue with your light, just flip the switch to turn it off, and put on protective gloves to screw your bulb back in again. This can even happen in recessed lighting connections, so be sure to do a thorough job of making sure your bulbs are secure.
- Your Light Switches Are Worn Out: Sometimes, the problem with your light isn’t the lightbulb itself, but the switch it’s connected to. For instance, it’s worth remembering that old dimmer switches were not made to work with incandescent lightbulbs, and may cause some flickering as a result. Check the ratings on your bulbs to see if they are compatible with your dimmer—especially if you live in an older house. If you have done this and everything seems to be up-to-date, your problem is probably being caused by loose or poor wiring. You may need to install a new dimmer and hire an electrician to take a look at your wiring (it should be noted that poor wiring installation is one of the top reasons to hire an experienced electrician when you are constructing a home in the first place.) In addition to general wear and tear, sometimes wires can also experience problems because rodents are chewing on them—so always watch out for flickering and buzzing bulbs, and call a professional right away if the problem persists in your home. A few loose wires may not seem like a big deal, but it is important to keep in mind that severely faulty wiring can cause an electrical fire, putting everyone in your household at risk.
- Your Circuits Are Overloaded: Okay, now we’re getting into serious electrical issues. It is not uncommon for appliances that consume a lot of power, such as your HVAC system, to cause the lights to flicker when you turn them on. But if this happens all the time, and you aren’t running a lot of appliances at once, you may need to consider having an electrician take a look at your circuit breaker. Going back decades, when faulty Zinsco and Federal Pacific Electric panels were installed in homes across the country, flickering lights have been connected to bad breakers. If the lights keep flickering in your home, try powering off the corresponding circuits to your various electrical appliances to see what’s drawing the most power. Watch out for buzzing as you do this, as this is another sign your circuit breaker is overloaded. If every circuit is causing the lights to flicker, something is very wrong, and you could end up electrocuting yourself. In this scenario, you would want to power off your system entirely. Remember, an electrical panel that cannot handle all your devices can be extremely dangerous, which means that if this sounds familiar, you should seriously consider downgrading your electrical usage and/or upgrading your breaker.