One electrical issue you are guaranteed notice right away is if your lights are acting up. While the occasional flicker of your lights isn’t a problem, you may need to access lighting services if your lights start frequently flickering or shutting off without warning.
In many cases, our electricians here at HedgeHog Electric have found that homes that have flickering lights commonly have problems with the bulbs or the fixture. Sometimes the power levels get overdrawn by a new appliance, which causes the lights to flicker. There are also more serious sources behind the light bulb flickering in your home, such as a meter box problem.
To help you determine what your issue may be, we want to dive into the various reasons why your lights may be flickering. Some of these problems you can troubleshoot on your own, but if the source of your lighting issue is due to something like loose wires, you will need professional help.
ISSUE WITH THE LIGHT BULB
Often, if you are dealing with only one light fixture flickering, the issue is based around the light bulb. One quick fix you can try is to see if the bulb is completely screwed in. While you likely did screw in the bulb completely when you originally put it in, bulbs can become loose over time, especially on the lower floors of a multi-story residence.
Also, depending on the type of light bulb you have in, flickering can be a normal issue. For instance, tube and compact fluorescent bulbs often have a warm-up period, especially when at cooler temperatures. A certain amount of flickering is to be expected from these bulbs.
As for LED bulbs, they may flicker when paired with a dimmer switch. As dimmer switches are designed to handle high amounts of electricity, they can sometimes have a difficult time regulating the low-voltage LED bulbs. So, a bit of flickering when dimming LED bulbs is also normal.
However, if none of these things apply to your flickering light bulb, it can be just a sign that it’s time to switch to a fresh bulb before it completely burns out.
OVERLOADED ELECTRICAL CIRCUIT
Sometimes, lights can end up flickering when a large appliance turns on. Appliances like air conditioners and dryers can be taxing on the electrical circuit it is hooked up to, and as the major appliance pulls power, the light levels may briefly dip to give way to the bigger power draw.
This problem is pretty normal, especially in older homes that have fewer dedicated electrical circuits for major appliances. As long as the dips in light are quick and don’t burn out your bulbs, you don’t really need to do anything to fix it.
But if the light flickering is noticeable or doesn’t fix itself after a moment, it can indicate a more serious problem. It may be that there is an issue with the appliance and it is drawing more electricity than necessary or that the circuit itself is overloaded. Having one of our professional electricians come to diagnose the issue is advisable at this point.
ELECTRICAL WIRING CONNECTION PROBLEM
A very dangerous reason behind some flickering lights may be an electrical wiring connection problem. If there are loose wires inside of your home’s walls, you can be at risk of a house fire.
There are several areas where the wiring and other connections can become loose, from the wiring leading from your light switch to your fixture’s connection to the circuit breaker. Should the flickering occur all over your home and have increased without a clear reason like a new appliance, loose wiring near a major connector can be the problem.
If there is only one light fixture in your home that is flickering, then it may just be loose wiring in that area. You can shut power to that area of your home via the circuit breaker, and it is best to call in for an electrician to take care of the problem.
But if you can’t locate the potential source of the problem, avoid using your electricity and contact us as soon as possible to take care of any loose electrical connections and wires.
VARIATIONS IN THE VOLTAGE
The voltage in a residential building should be between 115-125 volts. There is some room for variation, and the natural highs and lows can cause your lights to flicker. You can easily pick up a voltmeter from your local home improvement store to check your voltage levels.
If you do have an issue with voltage over 125 volts, then it is time to call in our professional electricians to take care of your high voltage, as it is likely behind your flickering lights.
LOOSE LAMP PLUG
For a flickering lamp, the likely culprit is the connection between the lamp plug and the outlet. Older outlets can leave plugs loose, making them more prone to spotty electrical connections and making your lamp flicker.
You can gently wiggle the plug of your lamp and see if that triggers any flickering. The prongs may be able to be adjusted to keep its place better and prevent the faulty connection.
Also, if you don’t want to fiddle with lamps, you can always upgrade your indoor lighting. There are many lighting options that can easily replace the need for lamps and improve the functionality of a room.
CHANGES WHEN NEIGHBORS USE ELECTRICITY
Unless you are completely off the grid, your home is likely tied into a shared transformer that helps connect you and your neighbors to the main power grid. Due to this shared power sources, your lights may briefly flicker when your neighbor utilizes a lot of electricity.
Generally, it isn’t a huge issue as it is not common to have heavy electrical usage in a residential neighborhood. But if you and your neighbors are struggling with interrupted electricity and flickering lights, then the problem may lay with your electricity provider, who you will need to contact.
WHAT TO DO IF ALL YOUR LIGHTS ARE FLICKERING
As you can see, there are some of these light flickering issues that you can troubleshoot on your own. But if you suspect that a more serious electrical problem is at the source of your lighting troubles, then it is time to call in the professionals.
If you would like assistance in troubleshooting your lighting problem, you can always contact HedgeHog Electric! We offer over-the-phone assistance, so you don’t have to wait until one of our electricians is able to come by and help troubleshoot, or you can set up an appointment and have one of our electricians come to investigate.