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Why Are My Lights Flickering?


"Why are my lights flickering?" is one of the most common electrical questions we hear from our customers. They can be a real nuisance, but in most cases it's nothing serious. Sometimes, though, flickering lights can indicate a larger issue with your home's electrical system. That's when it's time to call in a professional to investigate the issue before it causes serious damage, including a fire.

Top Reasons Lights Flicker

Unless they're fairy lights or LED faux flame bulbs, the lights in your home shouldn't be flickering. The top electrical reasons lights flicker include:

  • Loose or outdated wiring.
  • A faulty light or fixture switch.
  • Voltage fluctuations.
  • A faulty meter box or main service cable connection.
  • A sensory overload on a circuit.

Problems you can usually fix yourself include the bulb not being the right type or not put in tightly enough, a loose light plug, or an appliance that's pulling a large amount of current on startup.

Simple Fixes to Try

There could be a simple culprit causing your lights to flicker.

  • If only one light consistently flickers, first check that the bulb is screwed in all the way. Keep in mind, LED bulbs on dimmers and fluorescent bulbs tend to flicker and aren't something to worry about.
  • If a lamp constantly flickers, check for a loose connection between the plug and outlet.
  • If the flickering starts when a major appliance like a washing machine or air conditioner comes on, you could have an overloaded circuit. If the flickering only happens once in a while, it's usually not a problem, but it's still best to have a pro take a look.

You might also want to upgrade old or incompatible light switches or consider making the switch to smart bulbs.

How to Deal With Bigger Issues

If your DIY fixes don't solve the flickering problem, you likely have a whole-house issue that needs the attention of an experienced, qualified electrician. To avoid damage to your lighting system or appliances, and to prevent an electrical fire, call in the pros to check:

  • Your electrical panel is up to snuff and equipped to safely handle powering everything in your home.
  • The wiring isn't loose. Loose wiring is one of the major causes of house fires.
  • If the problem is at the meter box connection or main service cable connection. These high capacity wires could also be a fire hazard.

Learn More

Though flickering lights are often caused by something that's easily fixed, never ignore the problem as it could be a sign of a bigger electrical issue. To learn more or to schedule a home electrical inspection, contact one of the qualified electricians at David Gray Electrical Services today. You can also call us at (904) 605-8190.