Why Do the Lights in My Home Keep Flickering?

2015 Oct 01
Posted in: Electrical

You’re annoyed.

Multiple lights in a part of your home keep flickering, and it’s frequent enough to get you worried. What’s the issue? 

Could be a few things, including...

1) Bulbs are bad or not screwed in properly

The simplest issue is one you can fix yourself. The bulbs may have come loose and just need to be adjusted. If that does not work. Replace the bulbs. If that does not work, then you may have...

2) The wrong bulbs paired with a dimmer switch

Are the flickering lights controlled by a dimmer switch like this?

Dimmer switches don’t play nice with most fluorescent and non-dimmable CFL bulbs. If the dimmer switch is set to “low” and you turn the light switch on, the lights may flicker.

Do this: Ensure that you’ve installed dimmable bulbs that work with the dimmer switch. In other words, if the dimmer switch only works with dimmable incandescents and LED bulbs, make sure those are the kind of bulbs you have screwed in.

3) Overloaded circuit

Do the lights start flickering/dimming only when a major electric appliance (air conditioner, refrigerator) comes on? You may have an overloaded circuit. That is, electrical appliances are pulling more electricity than the circuit can handle.

This is normal if the flickering/dimming is slight and only very brief. Large electrical appliances draw more electrical current when they are first turned on, causing a significant voltage drop, which causes the lights to flicker/dim.

However, if the flickering is severe and on-going, one of your major appliances’ motor may be “hard starting,” causing it to work harder on startup and draw more electrical current as a result. 

In this latter case, call an electrician to find the source of the problem.

4) Loose wiring connections

Loose wiring connections in one of your outlet, light, or switch boxes can cause arcing (electrical current jumping over gaps in the connection). 

Arcing can not only cause the lights to flicker but can cause electrical fires, too

Do this:

  1. Go to your main electrical panel and flip off the circuit breaker to your home’s lighting.
  2. Call a licensed electrician ASAP

Live in Phoenix metro area and need an electrician?

George Brazil’s Phoenix electricians have got your back 24/7.