What To Do With Flickering Lights

For some, flickering lights are an annoyance and can be a distraction. Others don’t notice the inconsistency in the lights. But, that fluctuation in light can signal problems in the circuitry or light fixtures in one’s home. Depending on the source of the problem, it could lead to serious safety issues in a home.

Why Do Flickering Lights Occur?

All lights flicker to some extent, based on the amount of power that is coming into the lines in your home. If your lights flash or flicker regularly, it’s often a sign that there’s a problem – either in connection or power use. Situational flickering – like when an air conditioner starts – is a sign that there’s an issue with power supply. Simply put, the dip of the lights when the AC unit starts up occurs because the AC pulls the available electricity supply from the light. It’s usually temporary. It may also be a sign that the outdoor AC unit isn’t wired for maximum amperage. If the flickering lights aren’t related to a large appliance powering up and running, it’s a sign that there are issues – either in the electrical panel or the meter. When one light in a room dims but other lights don’t, it’s usually a simple problem to solve- there’s an issue with the light bulb itself or the socket. If the flickering lights are confirmed to one room of the home, it may be a bad bulb, but if it’s not the bulb there may be a problem in the circuits. This is the kind of issue that an electrician should be called to solve.

How to Troubleshoot Flickering Lights

Troubleshooting this issue can be a little more complicated, depending on the type of bulb one is using. Although light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs are replacing fluorescent light bulbs, both have a tendency to flicker if triggered. Because these are different kinds of lights, there are different causes and different ways to fix the problems. If a fluorescent light bulb flickers, it’s often a sign that the starter in an older fixture that is going bad. Or, the light bulb could just be dying out. There are several ways to troubleshoot a flickering fluorescent light bulb. First, test the pins in the tube. This will tell you if the electrode in the tube is intact. The simplest way to test this is to put it into a fixture that you know works well. If that’s not the issue, test the bulb retainers by rotating a bulb gently into the clips until you feel the electrodes engage. A bulb with a dark spot is going bad and should be replaced. LED lights flicker because of voltage changes in the power supply to the light. This isn’t as problematic, or as uncommon as people think it might be. They may flicker more obviously because the light bulb isn’t compatible with the switch it is connected to – like some dimmer switches.

How to Repair Flickering Lights

You cannot completely eliminate flickering lights – because the lines that the power flows through will always have resistance, but you can do a few things to make sure that it doesn’t happen so often, and doesn’t put your home at risk of fire or something else because of problems in wiring or circuits. Although LED bulbs are becoming more popular compact fluorescent are phased out, Some homes and older businesses may still use fluorescent light bulbs. For this reason, there are a couple of different ways to fix the issue of flickering lights, depending on the type of bulb and the problem that causes the blinking. To fix a fluorescent light bulb that flickers, blinks, and buzzes, you may just need to replace the starter at the end of the fixture. If you find that the starter isn’t the problem you’ll likely have to replace the ballast. But, this can get pricey. If you find that’s the problem, it may be more cost efficient to replace the entire light fixture. To stop an LED bulb’s flickering from being so obvious, you’ll want to look at the power supply you’re using. The LED light’s flicker is most obvious when they are connected to an AC power supply. If you connect the bulb to a DC power source, that direct current may make the flickers increase from around 50 times per minute to about 100 flickers per minute, but they’ll be so frequent you won’t notice. There’s another potential fix to lessen the obviousness of LED flickering – if there’s a loose connection in the fixture or in the circuit, you can fix that. After turning off the power to the circuit and the fixture, remove dust from the light fixture and blow dust from the connection points. Finally, tighten the wiring and reassemble the light fixture.

Benefits of troubleshooting flickering lights

Whether you’re concerned about serious issues, or just tired of the random flickers, when you work to solve the problem, you’ll find a couple of benefits from the endeavor. First, you’ll gain peace of mind and know that your circuits won’t cause a fire or sparking from an outlet. Although that peace of mind is lovely, you may not worry so much about the wiring in your home in general. Another benefit is that the flickering will be less obvious, and your home may be brighter and more comfortable.

Don’t deal with the headache of flickering lights and instead call Beacon Electrical Services at (703) 343-9884 for lighting repair and installation!

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