6 Reasons why your lights flicker

Flickering Light Bulb

If the lights in your house are suddenly flickering, you’re not in a Stephen King’s horror movie set – you’re experiencing some electrical issues. Occasional flickers are normal, especially in houses with old electrical appliances that are not designed to run many digital devices simultaneously.  

There are many factors why your lights might start flickering, but generally, this is a sign that your electrical appliance is not safe. In extreme cases, flickering lights can be the cause of home accidents, like fires and electric shocks and can even cause health problems, including headaches, eye diseases and even epilepsy

To help you resolve your flickering light issues promptly, here at Dusk Lighting, we have gathered some of the main causes of flickering lights and how you can fix the issue safely, without wasting time or money. 

Glowing light bulb

Check the bulb

One of the most common reasons for LED bulbs flickering is a fault in the driver which is contained inside the bulb. With older, incandescent bulbs, once they blew, it was clear that they needed replacing, but LEDs don’t blow in the same way. So, if an LED bulb is flickering, it is usually a sign that you need to replace it. 

Other things to check for are loose connections that can cause flickering lights and electric fire, so check that the bulb is screwed tightly to the socket. 

When bulbs are not attached properly, they might lose their connection and don’t get enough voltage to light up your room. If this happens for a while and you don’t take action immediately, your electricals may deteriorate. 

Also, check the type of bulb you are using. For example, fluorescent bulbs can alter power running through the bulb when the room is too cold, causing flickering, while LED Bulbs tend to blink with dimmer switches. As dimmable light-emitting diodes are designed to switch on and off at very high speeds, they are not always compatible with lower-voltages. So, to avoid flickering, check you’re using only dimmable bulbs that are compatible with your switch. 

If you’re sure that the bulb is tight but the lights are still flickering, you might buy a new bulb. Here at Dusk Lighting, we have plenty of light bulbs designed for dimmable switches, energy-saving solutions and the right room temperature. Have a look at our collection of top branded light bulbs.

Lamp bulbs

Loose lamp plugs

If you’re struggling with a lamp, one of the main causes of flickering light might be an issue with the plug that connects with the wall outlet.

To find out, unplug your lamp to avoid electroshocks and test your light bulb in a different lamp-socket. If the light stopped fluttering, it could be that your old lamp is broken. If the bulb keeps blinking, you might have a problem with your outlet, or it could be an electrical circuit!

In this case, the most temporary, cost-efficient solution is to either change the fuse in the plug or to replace the outlet and adjust the position of the prongs to improve the connection inside the outlet. To be safe, the right investment for the long-term is to replace your lamp and contact an electrician for further investigation. 

If you need some inspiration, discover our collections of wall lights, desk lights, pendants and ceiling mounted lights

Light bulb

Voltage and wattage limits

If lights are receiving an incorrect wattage, this can cause them to flicker. This is especially true for lights attached to a dimmer switch. For example, if you have five 6w bulbs, so 30w in total, on a non-LED dimmer with a wattage range of 10-100w, then the bulbs will flicker and not dim properly. To prevent this, low wattage bulbs need an LED compliant dimmer switch with a range of 0-100w.

Flickering lights can also happen due to a reduction or a fluctuation in total household voltage. Our homes and commercial buildings are connected to the low-voltage grid, which delivers power at a voltage of 230 volts. All the electrical appliances should operate efficiently between 115 and 125 volts. If the voltage is either too low or high, the appliance will malfunction, and flickering lights will be one of the first wake-up calls that the situation might be serious. 

The easiest way to check your home’s voltage is to use either a digital or analogue voltmeter, which can measure voltage, current and resistance. 

Dim home lighting

Smart houses

Do your lights start to flicker when you’re using different electrical devices simultaneously, like your microwave, washing machine and hairdryer? If yes, it means that you’re trying to use more electrical current than your circuit can handle. 

Overloaded circuits are very common, even in modern houses with more sophisticated, high-protected electrical apparatus. However, it’s very important you check how frequently the flickering happens. If it doesn’t stop, the issue might be your appliance. 

Smart lighting in the home

Power usage in the neighbourhood

Flickering lights are a common thing when householders share the same electricity transformers with neighbours. When the electricity moves from the power grid to the transformer and then to your home, it needs to have a very high voltage. However, if the electric cables are too old, you might experience some power outage.

If you live in a smart house that is completely digitalised, it might be that either you or your neighbours need extra power, and one might end up receiving less power. In that case, that one would have the flickering lights!

The best thing to do is to check if your neighbour is having the same problem. We would also recommend contacting your electric utility provider to report the issue for a quick repair. 

Ambient home lighting

A bad circuit breaker

The world has evolved since Edison put the first lightbulb on the market in 1879. Over the years, electricity use has increased significantly, especially when we consider digital properties, all our smart devices, and the increase of smart working since the beginning of the first lockdown in March 2020. So, if you’re suffering from flickering lights, start by checking the circuit’s age and when it last received maintenance to make sure it meets all standards and that it’s certified with quality marks.

Flickering lights are the main cause of fires, and according to recent statistics from the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), electrical fires in homes cost over $1.3 billion in property damage and almost 500 deaths annually.

If your circuit breaker is too old, you might install surge protectors. These are a great ally to maintain your cables and circuit breakers efficiently and protect them from voltage spikes and lightning strikes.

At Dusk Lighting, we are always here to help provide the best lights and bulbs available in circulation. If you need to replace your bulbs or have any enquiries about light flickering, contact one of our experts for help anytime.

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