Why Do My Lights Flicker?

11 Feb 2021 Licensed Electrician

Flickering lights are a common occurrence, especially in older homes; however, the fact that this is a common occurrence should not prevent you from seeking the aid of a licensed electrician. Lights can flicker for a variety of reasons, and an electrician can help you get to the bottom of the problem and keep your home safe.

Why Are My Lights Flickering?

Lights can flicker for a variety of reasons. The most common source of a flickering light is an issue with the bulb itself or a connection between the bulb and the light fixture. Other causes can include loose fixture connections, faulty or old wiring, faulty switches, circuit overloads, problems with the meter box or electrical panel, or even utility service issues.

If the lights in your home flicker on occasion even after replacing a light bulb, there are a couple of questions that you should consider before calling an electrician, as these questions will help an electrician identify the root of the problem. Questions to ask include:

When do the lights flicker?

It is important to consider when your lights flicker and any patterns that might lead to these situations. Do the lights flicker when a large appliance is on, such as an air conditioner or heat pump, or do they seem to flicker at random? If the lights only dim slightly when a large appliance turns on, this is normal and usually harmless. Large appliances draw large amounts of power to start up and can interrupt power to other circuits until they get up to full speed, which should not usually take more than a few seconds. Dimming time can vary depending on the conductor size of appliances, the distance from the city transformer that feeds your home, and the electrical characteristics of the appliance’s motor. If your lights dim and flicker, it may be indicative of a larger problem and you should get this resolved by an electrician.

Which lights flicker?

Do all of the lights in the house flicker, or is it only one light fixture or set of lights in a certain area? If the lights on one specific circuit flicker, it could be that there is a problem like a loose wire or broken connection point. If different lights throughout the house flicker at different times, there could be an issue with the electrical panel or the wiring could be outdated. Knob and tube wiring or aluminum wiring can cause flickering lights and are often causes of electrical fires, so it is important to have an electrician inspect any flickering lights.

If you would like to learn more answers to why your lights are flickering, or to find out about our services, please call the licensed electricians at Expert Electric so we can answer your questions.