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Why Do My Lights Keep Flickering?

“Are my flickering lights a problem?”

Flickering, waning, dimming or blinking lights can be more than an irritating inconvenience. What seems like a minor annoyance could actually be a symptom of a more dangerous and complicated problem. Below, read about some possible reasons your lights keep flickering and their potential safety risks.


Your lights could be flickering because of sensory overload on a circuit.

Sensory overload occurs when your appliance(s) requires a lot of power, and draws large amounts from its circuit when you turn it on. This happens even in the best designed electrical system, and usually occurs for brief and infrequent moments in most households.

If you start to notice, however, that your lights begin to flicker more often, and more severely, your circuit is probably experiencing an overload! Contrary to popular belief, electrical systems are not made to withstand everything that you can hook up to it. If you have an outlet that resembles this one, you might want to rethink your electrical setup.

Other signs of sensory overload include:

  • Your circuit breakers trip or your fuses blow out often
  • Cords or outlet wall plates are discolored or warm to the touch
  • You will hear buzzing, sizzling or crackling from your outlets

So unless you’re munching down on some Rice Krispies whilst next to your flickering lamp, it is likely that your electrical system is in need of repair from working harder than is safely advised.


Your voltage could be fluctuating!

If you find yourself asking “didn’t I just change that light bulb the other day?”, you may be experiencing fluctuation in your voltage as the origin of your flickering lights.

The inconsistent and rapidly fluctuating voltage can cause:

  • Light bulbs to burn out faster
  • Flickering when you turn on any large appliances
  • Continual flickering even when large appliances are off
  • Unexpected light fixture dimming
  • Sudden shutting off or malfunctioning of appliances

Finally, an explanation as to why your power shuts off in the middle of your Netflix binge watching, or complete loss of power right in the middle of  cooking that isn’t Casper. And even if you are still unsure of whether it’s a ghost messing with you, or truly an electrical issue, it is still a good idea to contact a professional electrician. This way, you can have a more thorough and proper inspection of your electrical system and know for sure what you’re dealing with.


You may have loose or outdated electrical wiring.

This is no minor problem, and is absolutely one you do not want to overlook. Loose or outdated wiring is the root of arcing, aka, THE CAUSE OF MOST ELECTRICAL FIRES. Dimming, waning, and flickering of lights only gets worse over time in this case. The longer you wait, the more serious of a problem that it becomes!

Causes of loose or outdated wiring could be due to

  • General wear and tear. Just like anything else, electrical wiring does not last forever, and requires changing and maintenance every now and then.
  • Outdated wiring. Electrical codes change, and along with it, so too do the wirings. It is always important for you to have a professional electrician to inspect your problematic lights and ensure your wiring is up to date.
  • Incorrect Installation of electrical wiring! Incorrect installation is a very serious and hazardous problem. Calling on a professional to fix your flickering lights ensures that you have a checker to recheck your installation and possibly prevent more hazardous situations down the road.


Your meter box or main service connection may need some repair.

Most light complications tend to be centralized to specific areas, however, if you are experiencing flickering all over your entire house, your main service connection may be the issue. Key signs of meter box service repair being needed are a failure to operate, and drastic increases, or maybe even decreases, in your bill.

To ensure that your electrical repair is up to code, and is properly taken care of, call on a professional electrician.


Other common reasons your lights could be flickering.

Some more mild reasons that your lights may be flickering include:

  • A loose light bulb! Loose light bulbs receive an inconsistent supply of power and will begin to flicker as a result of that. This problem can be resolved by turning off your light, letting it cool, and tightening the bulb.
  •  A loose light plug. Obviously, if your plug is not in its outlet entirely, the bulb will not be getting the correct voltage of power needed to operate properly. Check your plugs to ensure that they are in their outlet. If not, give them a little push in the right direction.
  • Worn cord. Sometimes cords get the short end of the stick. What with being stepped on, and if you have pets, being chewed on at times, they can get cut, frayed and damaged. An exposed cord is definitely hazardous, so take extra caution when handling them.
  • Incompatible bulb and dimmers. Yes, compatibility matters when it comes to your electricity. Understanding what bulbs are appropriate for what dimmers in your household helps to save you from flickering. After all, it’s all about their chemistry!


Your flickering lights could be indicative of a potential fire!

Electrical fires account for more residential fires than any other source according to the National Fire Protection Association. In fact, in 2015-2019 alone, 63% of home fires involved an electrical failure or malfunction.

Maintaining awareness and taking the necessary precautions to ensure you and your family’s safety, starts with understanding reasons your lights could be flickering, and why it is important to call a professional electrician.


Do NOT ignore your flickering lights!

Big or small, flickering lights are not something that you should simply brush off, that is, if you can. You could risk potential damage to your system or other appliances, as well as be putting your house at risk of an electrical fire.

It is important to call your professional electrician in Huntsville, Alabama to help solve your electrical flickering dilemma. Attempting to handle these larger problems on your own is an extreme safety hazard. By calling on your local electrician, you give us the opportunity to inspect the problem further, while maintaining the safety of you and your family, and possibly saving you money.

If you are experiencing electrical problems in your house, contact us to ensure you’re not at a potential safety risk.

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