Few things in your home are more important than reliable lighting, which is why many people get nervous when they see flickering lights around the house. Electrical fires and malfunctioning appliances can harm your home. But luckily, there are plenty of ways to improve your home’s safety and fix those pesky flickering lights. There are several potential reasons why your lights are flickering. They can be either major or minor issues.
Your Light Bulb Has a Screw Loose
Start with the most common possibility—the loose light bulb. Bulbs that you haven’t completely screwed into the socket (or that have come loose) get an inconsistent supply of electrical power. This can easily result in a flickering effect. Fortunately, the fix is as easy as it sounds. Simply shut the light off, then wait for it to cool if you’re using an incandescent bulb. Check the connection in the socket, then screw it in and turn the light back on. If it comes back on, you’ve solved the problem.
You Need the Right Bulb
Incandescent bulbs used to be the only available option. But these days, there are plenty of choices. Some of them can flicker for several reasons, though. Fluorescents are a common example. They tend to flicker while they’re powering up or if a room is cold. It’s usually a small annoyance. But if it really bothers you, feel free to consider a replacement bulb. Another potential issue is that you have LED bulbs, which tend not to get along well with conventional dimmers. A simple switch to a dimmer-matching bulb will almost always solve this problem.
If your light starts flickering when you turn on a major appliance, you may have issues with an overloaded circuit. The severity of this will tell you if you have a serious problem. If the flickering is brief, you’re probably alright. But if it’s constant, you may need to have your electrical circuitry evaluated to see if you need to beef it up. If you have an older electrical panel, consider replacing it. Flickering lights are one of the signs that tell you it’s time to replace your electrical panel.
A small amount of flickering is fine in most circuits, but the more flickering you have, the more you should look at your voltage levels. Your voltage range should always be between 115 to 125 volts, and newer circuits will keep it consistently close to 120 volts and prevent flickering. A qualified electrician should be able to tell you what you need.
There are many potential reasons why your lights are flickering. But if loose wires are the issue and the flickering is getting worse, you may have a major problem. Loose wires cause fires when overheating or arcing occurs. So this scenario warrants a quick call to a qualified electrician.