Are your house lights flickering? Let’s get to the bottom of this electrical issue!
Why Are My Lights Flickering in the Whole House?
If your lights are flickering throughout your whole house, it can be due to the current weather conditions, such as high winds and storms that can impact power lines. Other reasons include loose service conductors in your central electrical panel, faulty connectors, worn down wiring, or improperly connected wiring.
Most of the time, noticing a flicker or two in the house is nothing to be overly concerned about. If you find that your lights are always flickering or that multiple lights are flickering all over the house, it could be a sign of a bigger issue.
Flickering lights could be a fire hazard, so if this is happening, an electrician should inspect your setup ASAP. Avoiding attending to wiring and connection issues can also lead to electrical shock and negatively impact certain safety features like breakers.
How Corrosion Affects Electrical Conductivity
On a basic level, if you want your lights to function, you need to have a source of electricity in your home. The electrical wiring in your home connects to switches, outlets, appliances, disconnects circuit breakers, and meters. Keeping a reliable electrical connection requires clean contact surfaces. Contact surfaces are where the electrical current flows between two conductors. Electrical contacts are usually made of silver, copper, gold, platinum, palladium, or brass.
There are two types of electrical contact states:
- Normally open
With this contact surface, no electrical current can run through unless the circuit has been closed. Energizing it and switching it on closes contact and enables the current to flow. Some examples of normally open circuits are equipment cooling systems, pilot lights, and lighting occupancy sensors.
- Normally closed
This contact surface is the opposite in the sense that electrical current normally runs through them unless the circuit has been opened, which introduces an excessive amount of power. Some examples of normally closed circuits include pump shutoff buttons, shutoff bars, and emergency shutoff buttons.
How Do You Keep Electrical Connections From Corroding?
So, how does all of this affect you, and what does it mean for how you can care for the lights in your home? As it turns out, one of the most important ways to keep and maintain a reliable electrical connection is through clean electrical wiring and contact surfaces.
Corroded wires can cause voltage and current flow degeneration, which a sensor might register as a system fault. These kinds of wiring issues are exactly what can cause those pesky flickering lights. Therefore, working with a professional who will keep the wiring in your home as clean as possible will make a major impact on your electrical efficiency.
Not all wires are created equally, and some wires are easier to clean than others. No matter what kind of wires you have, safety is the top priority when dealing with electricity. You should never deal with electrical wires without the proper training. Instead, we recommend contacting an electrician who can perform an electrical inspection to check for areas of concern and address them.
For example, electricians can look for wires that might have been exposed to wet or damp areas, and we can discover locations where the wiring has become loose or unsafe. If we need to work with the wiring in your home, we will turn off the circuit breaker at the main panel to the power line feeding electricity in the workspace. We might even go the extra mile to wear rubber gloves and safety goggles to make sure we will not be harmed by residual electricity.
After we implement all of the necessary safety precautions, we will take the following steps to clean your electrical wires:
- Access the correct wires
Accessing the correct wires is such an important part of making this process safe. If you have shut off access to certain wires, but accidentally handle other wires, you run the risk of harmful electrical exposure. This is another reason we recommend having your wires maintained by a professional. To properly access the wires, we will remove the faceplate from the electrical outlet, which will give us access to the electrical box. We will then examine the coloration of the wires for corrosion. We will also be extra careful about the way we connect and disconnect the wires, ensuring that they all end up in their proper spot after the inspection.
- Clean the electrical wires
After we have disconnected the electrical wires from their power source, we will use a brush over the wires and add as much pressure as we need to in order to clean the surface without damaging the setup. The goal will be to remove corrosion that once took over the electrical wire and caused electrical issues in your home. Some simple, DIY ingredients for cleaning the wiring are baking soda and warm water. Baking soda is important here because if the wire is exposed to the air without neutralizing the acid, it would corrode shortly after. Applying baking soda to the wires will create the squeaky-clean result you want. At this point, we can reattach and reconnect the wires and allow you to enjoy your new and improved home electricity experience.