Why Do Your Spring TX Lights Keep Flickering Or Blinking
A light that occasionally flickers in your home isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. However, in case you notice a flickering that wasn’t previously there, has begun happening and on a regular basis, and/or is excessive, then you have to look into it.
Blinking/flickering lights are often as a result of one of four things:
- Appliance requiring a massive amount of current on startup, which causes a voltage drop
- A fixture or light that is faulty
- Loose light plug
- Issues with the bulb (an unsuitable type of bulb for the dimmer switch, not inserted tight enough)
Also, there can be a more serious electrical problem:
- Issues affecting the meter box or main service cable connection
- An issue affecting the electrical utility service
- An outdated or loose wiring
- Fluctuations in voltage
- Sensory overload on a circuit
Let us delve into each!
Issues With The Bulb
If you are noticing the flickering in one light only, then you should start by checking whether the bulb is tightly screwed in. Even though this might seem obvious, bulbs tend to gradually become loose and lose their connection with the socket. You should try to tighten the bulb. In case this doesn’t solve the issue, you can consider replacing it.
The flickering can be due to the type of bulb.
- Do you have fluorescent bulbs? These types of bulbs tend to flicker, particularly when they are powering up in cold temperatures. In case your fluorescent bulbs flicker now and then, then you shouldn’t worry about it.
- Are your lights LEDs? The top cause of flickering for LED bulbs is in regards to dimmer switches. Dimmers are designed to handle larger electrical loads and they don’t really work well with lower-voltage LEDs.
Additional info on dimmer switches…they also don’t work well with a majority of fluorescent and non-dimmable CFL bulbs. In order to prevent these flickers, ensure that you only make use of bulbs that are compatible with your switch.
Loose Light Plug
If you are experiencing the flickering issue with only one lamp, then the problem might be as a result of a loose connection between the plug and the outlet. Find out whether the lamp’s plug firmly inserted in the wall socket. In case it isn’t properly inserted, unplug it, adjust the metal prongs, and plug it back again.
Faulty Fixture Or Light Switch
Flickering can also be caused by a poor connection between the fixture or light switch and the bulb. Try to wiggle the switch gently and check whether it causes a flicker. If you see a flicker, then you have discovered the problem. In case your light is already flickering, you can try to toggle the switch on and off and check whether this solves the issue. If it does, then the switch is the cause of the issue and needs to be replaced.
Have you ever noticed your lights flickering, blinking or dimming whenever you switch on a major electrical appliance, for example, your air conditioner or washing machine? Then your flickering problem lies in an overloaded circuit. This should tell you that the appliances are pulling more electrical current than can be handled by the circuit.
- In case the flickering is minor, less frequent, and specifically happens the moment the appliance is switched on, then this shouldn’t raise a concern. Big electrical appliances pull more current as they come on. This leads to a voltage drop that causes the flickering/dimming lights. Even for well-designed electrical systems, having massive loads on their own circuits can cause some minor flickering. However, the better the system is designed, the less noticeable the flickering caused will be.
- In case the flickering is consistent, severe and/or doesn’t stop immediately, then there is an issue. The problem might lie in the appliance itself. For instance, bearing failure usually leads to the motor drawing more current while trying to come on. Alternatively, there might be an excessive sensory overload on the same circuit. Contact an electrician to discover the source of the issue.
Another cause of flickering lights is fluctuating lights. Signs include:
- Lights frequently burning out
- Unexpected and unpredictable dimming
- Continued flickering even after the appliance has stopped running
- Lights flicker consistently when a large appliance comes on
Minor fluctuations are normal, however, your home should always read between 115 and 125 volts. Use a voltmeter to check your home’s voltage. In case your readings exceed 125 volts on average, then you have discovered the core cause of the flickering lights. A professional electrician can determine the best solution to solve your voltage problem.
Electrical Usage From Neighbors
It is highly likely that your home shares a transformer with neighboring homes, hence, their loads can affect your electrical supply. If a neighbor has heavy electrical usage, then you can suffer flickering lights. If the problem persists, then the best option is hiring an electrician to locate the issue.
If your neighbors’ lights are also flickering, then there might be an issue with the electric utility service itself. Consider requesting repairs.
Loose Wiring Connections
Loose wiring is not only a cause of flickering but it is also very dangerous as it is a major cause of house fires. Regardless of if it is systemic or located in one part, it is extremely hazardous. Old and outdated switches, breakers, wiring, and connectors are usually a reason for concern. Another leading cause of house fires is outdated wiring.
Connections that are loose in an outlet, switch box or light often lead to arcing, where the current “jumps” over connection gaps. This significantly increases the possibility of electrical fires. In the case of a loose circuit connection, a high resistance point is usually created. This high resistance point, in turn, leads to dangerous point heating. The presence of a single loose connection endangers the entire system.
In case you experience increased flickering but haven’t done any changes to the electrical system, then loose wiring is the culprit. A number of potential problem areas include failure in the switch, worn connectors in the breaker box, loose fixture wiring, loose service conductors in the main electrical panel. Get in touch with an electrician urgently if you think that loose wiring might be the problem and you have not discovered any other cause for your flickering lights.
If only one fixture flickers, you can search for loose wiring. Ensure that before you remove the fixture, shut off the light at the circuit breaker. In case the fixture is loose or not secure, then contact an electrician urgently. If you haven’t found loose wiring and haven’t also located another cause of the flickers, contact an electrician. You should never ignore wiring issues.
Lights Flickering Throughout The House
It is highly likely that there is an issue with the main service cable connection or the meter box connection. Urgently contact an electrician. The said wires are high capacity and can be a fire hazard.
Take Away: Never disregard an issue with flickering lights. It can be a simple fix such as a fixture switch or a new bulb, but it can also be an indication of bigger electrical issues.