Flickering Lights 101: What Homeowners Need To Know

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When it comes to residential electrical problems, one of the most common, and often perplexing, is flickering lights. If you've had trouble with the lights flickering in your home, however intermittently, that's a sign of a potential electrical problem. However, understanding what is causing your lights to flicker starts with carefully evaluating the situation to determine key details. Here's a look at the important things to consider and what those details tell you about your flickering lights.

Which Lights Flicker?

The first thing that you need to think about when you're troubleshooting flickering lights is which of your lights are flickering. For example, if only one light in your home flickers, that tells a vastly different tale than if all of the lights in your home are flickering.

If you have one single light in your home that's flickering, the problem is likely isolated to that fixture, the outlet, or the bulb. If you are certain that the bulb is screwed in properly and is new, the problem is likely in the wiring of the fixture or the outlet. You'll need to have an electrician inspect that fixture to resolve the problem.

On the other hand, when all of the lights in your home flicker, that's a sign of a far more widespread problem. It often means that there's an excess draw on your home's electrical circuit that is causing the lights to dim. This usually necessitates a diagnostic inspection by an electrician.

When Do The Lights Flicker?

Another key part of diagnosing flickering lights is to consider when the lights flicker. Sometimes, paying attention to when it happens can help you to isolate a cause. For example, if your problem is isolated to a single fixture in your home, you should observe when it happens. If it's happening when someone bumps it or walks by it, the fixture's wiring might be loose. If it's flickering when something else is turned on, such as something that's been plugged into the same outlet, it could be a power draw issue on the electrical circuit.

For those situations when all of your home's lights flicker, consider what's happening when those lights flicker. If the lights only flicker when you turn on another power-demanding appliance in your home, it could be that the appliance in question is simply drawing excessive power on startup and isn't a serious concern. However, if the lights are flickering intermittently with no discernable reason, you need to have your residential electrician inspect the wiring circuit to determine the source of the problem.

Electrical problems such as flickering lights should never be underestimated. Talk with a residential electrical service in your area right away to ensure your home's electrical safety.