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Why Are My Lights Flickering?

Flickering lights can be incredibly frustrating, causing headaches and a lot of discomfort. However, you may not realize that they can also be really dangerous. When your lights are continuously flickering, it’s often a sign that something is seriously wrong with your home electrical system. Electrical fires cause over $1.3 billion in property damage every year and around 10% of home fire fatalities are a result of electrical malfunctions. This means it’s important to get to the bottom of why your lights are flickering, in case it’s something truly dangerous. Here are the top 5 reasons why your lights are flickering:

Reason #1: You’re using LED or fluorescent lights

Some types of light fittings naturally flicker more. When you turn on fluorescent lights, the phosphors have to reach the right illumination, and they’ll often flicker in the process. LED lights will also commonly flicker as they’re trying to connect to their drivers. It’s quite normal for LEDs and fluorescent lights to flicker right after you turn them on, so don’t let this flickering worry you.

Reason #2: The bulb is loose

Your light bulb may just be too loose. If you haven’t screwed the bulb into the socket tightly enough, it will flicker. Obviously, you should turn the light off, wait for it to cool, and then screw the lightbulb in more tightly. Always screw your light bulbs tightly into the sockets. If your light bulb keeps flickering, however, then you’ve got a different problem.

Reason #3: Your light switch isn’t working properly

If your light switch isn’t properly connected to the light bulb, you will get some flickering. Try turning the light on and off a few times. Or, you can leave the light off for a little while before turning it back on. If either of these solutions fixes the problem, then you’ve simply got a faulty light switch. An electrician can replace this for you quickly and easily.

Reason #4: Your home’s voltage is fluctuating

Your lights may be flickering because the voltage in your home is fluctuating a lot. This is particularly likely if the lights flicker when you’re using a high wattage appliance. You’ve probably got a voltage problem if you experience other problems like; your light bulbs burning out and lights going dim for no clear reason. If the voltage in your home is fluctuating a lot, then you’ve got a real problem. Your home voltage should always be between 115 and 125 volts, and you can check it using a voltmeter. If you’re getting more variability than that, it could be a sign that something is seriously wrong. Consult an electrician as soon as possible if this is the case.

Reason #5: Your home wiring is loose

The worst-case scenario is that your flickering lights are caused by loose wiring. Loose wiring is the biggest cause of electrical fires in homes, so you don’t want to ignore it. You should turn off the light at the circuit breaker before you remove the light fixture and take a look at the wiring underneath. If it looks loose or you aren’t sure how steady it looks, call in an electrician as soon as possible.

Flickering lights would annoy anyone, but you should also be concerned for your safety if you notice them in your home. If you’ve got flickering lights in your home, or you’re concerned about any other electrical issue, get in touch with the experts at Piper Electric. We’ve been working with home electrical systems in Denver since 1983 and we’ve got all the expertise you need.