Flickering Lights

April 21, 2015 by Valerie Griffiths

Do the lights in your kitchen flicker occasionally? Maybe your living room overhead seems to dim at random. It’s not a ghost, and you’re not imagining things! Flickering lights are one of the most common electrical issues and they warrant some attention.

Fix it Yourself: So, what’s really happening? Flickering or dimming lights that are contained to a specific area usually signal a bad connection. But this raises additional questions: Is there an issue with the light bulb itself or between the bulb and the socket in your light fixture? It’s a good idea to test the bulb first. If it’s seems all right, try a new bulb in the light fixture, and wait to see if the flickering still occurs. No more flickering? You may have solved your problem.

Call an Electrician: If the flickering continues after you tested the bulb it’s time to call a licensed electrician as soon as possible. A loose connection may be to blame and identifying this issue requires proper training.

Whole House Flickering? Call your electrician right away should your lights flicker throughout the whole home. This is more serious than flickering within a particular fixture. It could mean that electrical arcing is occurring (this is when electrical currents jump a gap in the circuit). Arcs have the potential to create tremendous amounts of heat and present a risk for fire, shock, and electrocution. Your electrician may need to replace loose service conductors in your electrical panel. If this isn’t the issue, they’ll be able to pinpoint the root of the problem and quickly solve it.

There’s one more scenario where you may notice flickering lights and that’s when your home’s electrical system is overextending. Do you notice flickering as soon as a major appliance kicks on? If the flickering coincides with the startup of your air conditioner, dishwasher, or other large appliance, an electrician should take a look to make sure your home is set up to handle the current electrical load.

Pay attention to the where and when your flickering is occurring. This is a big indicator of what’s going on behind the scenes. Being proactive about this problem is key to home safety and peace of mind.