Lights Flickering Guide

Almost everyone at some point wonders why do my lights flicker. Do you have flickering lights in your home or business?
Perhaps it started with one light flickering slightly, randomly and was hardly noticed. You may find more and more lights will flicker in your home or business as time goes by. If you are experiencing persistent and pervasive fluttering of light that seems to catch your eye don’t ignore it especially if it gets worse. This could be a warning sign of some electrical problems that might urgently need your attention. Here is what you need to know.
Your Questions. Our Answers

Why are my lights flickering? - Frequently Asked Questions

Why do lights flicker or more precisely, what causes lights to flicker?

Here are some key culprits that could be causing the issues, but not limited to:

  • Circuit Overload
  • Faulty light switch
  • Faulty electrical equipment or fixtures
  • Loose or Outdated electrical wiring
  • Loose Light Bulb
  • Loose neutral connection
How do I know if it is a circuit overload?

Do you get flickering or dimming lights in the whole house or business? If you start to investigate it might be because of other electrical loads like an appliances, furnaces, AC units etc. Then you might have found the culprit. This quite often points to circuit overload, due to the larger amounts of electrical current that these appliances or equipment tend to require when they first start up. You may need to consider a breaker replacement or there might be loose connections at the breaker itself. This can cause a fire very quickly as arching can start!

What happens when you have a faulty light switch?

Perhaps your flickering light problem is not home or business-wide; it’s specific to one light, or a series of lights controlled by the same light switch. In this scenario, your culprit could be a faulty light switch. Yes, this seems like a simple small enough problem to fix, and it is but don’t ignore it! It’s very important to replace the switch as the contacts are not making proper connections causing it to possibly arc and create a fire hazard.

Might we also, at this point recommend having a qualified electrician do the job? It’s better to play it safe than a DIY install.

Can a faulty electrical equipment or fixtures cause a flickering light bulbs?

Failing or faulty pieces of electrical equipment can cause surges in your electrical system, which in turn, can cause your lights to dim or flicker. If you notice this happening, related to a specific piece of equipment, stop using it!

Whether due to age, poor maintenance, or poor installation to begin with, certain pieces of electrical equipment are prone to failing or becoming faulty. Items such as a TV, vacuum cleaner, welder, AC unit to name a few might be the answer to “Why do lights flicker?”

We recommend either have a technician look at it to repair or replace it.

How to identify a loose or outdated electrical wiring?

If your light flickering seems to be getting worse and worse as time goes by and affecting more and more lights throughout the home or business you might have a wiring issue. Loose wiring, courtesy or wear and tear, outdated wiring, or incorrect installation, can cause flickering and more. Wiring inspection or upgrades might be necessary and require a qualified electrical contractor.

A loose connection anywhere within your electrical system is a fire hazard. It goes without saying that if you’re not sure if your light flickering is a loose wiring situation or something rather less worrisome, it’s better to have it checked out by someone who will be sure and know how to fix the problem.

How to check if the light bulb is loose?

Your flickering light problem might be as simple as a light bulb that is loose in its socket. Light bulbs that have become loose or were not tightened enough on the original installation will receive an inconsistent supply of power, which will cause the flickering. You may also find that it just might be a simple sign that the bulb is starting to wear out.

To check, simply turn the light in question off; wait for it to cool down (several minutes) before handling; then gently tighten the bulb in its socket before turning it back on to see if its flickering days are gone!

What is a loose neutral connection?

Lights need to have a few wires to them; typically a hot, neutral and ground. We find that sometimes it can be a pour neutral connection which won’t allow the fixture to work properly and flicker! This issue usually takes place in the light switch box or at the fixture itself.

When should I call an electrical contractor for flickering lights?

These are just some of the most common reasons we find why you might be affected by the flickering light syndrome. Given that all electrical problems need to be fixed sooner than later the question shouldn’t be “Why do the lights flicker?” It should be: “The lights are flickering and what am I going to do about it?”

Besides that, flickering lights are often some signs of more serious underlining issues with your electrical wiring. Its never a good idea to either ignore or DYI a lighting electrical problem! You don’t want any potential to cause a dangerous fire hazard.

At Central Electrical Systems we consider the safety of your family and home or office space to be paramount. Stay safe and always hire a qualified electrician for any electrical need. Our certified electrician’s service commercial, industrial and residential clients throughout the Fraser Valley and the Vancouver Lower Mainland. Our electrical work is guaranteed!

Give us a call!