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How Do I Fix Flickering Lights?

light bulb

Lights can blink for all sorts of reasons. It could be something as simple as a bulb that needs changing. Or a more complex issue such as loose electrical wiring or fluctuation in voltage. Armed with more information you can determine whether you can deal with the problem yourself. Or need to call an electrician. How do I fix flickering lights? Read on…

Common Household Problems

Different reasons for flickering depend on the type of bulb you have. Fluorescent lights are often prone to small amounts of flickering as they warm-up. And older bulbs may appear dimmer. When the flickering becomes constant you can replace the fluorescent bulb or tube.

If the flickering continues you may need a new ballast. This can also be replaced and upgraded if necessary. However, it’s easier to change the entire unit. Make sure you rotate the new tube in the fixture mounts to get good contact with the metal pins on the ends.

Dimmer switches are another common cause of flickering. Older switches were designed for use with incandescent light bulbs. And they often have a problem with LED bulbs. The simplest way to fix this issue is to buy an LED bulb that’s dimmable. Or change the old dimmer for a new one made for LED bulbs.

A faulty connection in an on-off switch can also be the culprit. If your light flickers as you move the connection this indicates your cord switch needs replacing. You can change the entire socket with a little simple wiring. And replace the plug if it feels loose.

How to Install a New Light Fixture

If you have basic wiring skills, you’ll be able to do this job. See a step-by-step guide:

  • Turn off the power at the socket and the circuit breaker
  • Remove the cover so you can see the mounting screws holding the fixture to the ceiling box
  • Loosen these screws to expose the wiring connections
  • Test for voltage to ensure the power is off
  • Disconnect the light fixture wires from the circuit wires by unscrewing the wire nut connectors
  • Connect the white neutral wire on the new fixture to the neutral circuit wire
  • Then connect the black fixture lead to the hot circuit wire using a wire connector
  • Connect the green or bare copper grounding lead on the new fixture to the bare copper circuit grounding system
  • Secure the fixture base to the ceiling box folding the wires inside
  • Screw the mounting screws securely back in place
  • Install the light bulbs
  • Re-attach the cover
  • Restore the circuit breaker and turn the power on

Potentially Dangerous Flickering

Flickering lights electrical problems indicate it’s time to call an electrician. These issues include:

Voltage Fluctuations

If your lights flicker when you turn on certain appliances this could mean large current draws and overloaded electrical circuits. This could be due to inadequate wiring from the appliance to the power input. Or a bigger problem where high-demand appliances are on the same circuit as the lighting.

One or more circuits may need to be added by your electrician to correct this problem. A check will be made with a voltmeter to ensure the readings fall within the recommended range. Between 115 and 125 volts. You may be advised to buy 130-volt light bulbs to handle any higher voltage variations.

Loose Wiring

Loose electrical wiring is cause for a potentially dangerous situation due to the risk of fire. Abnormal arcing is the result which increases the heat within the wire. This can burn off the insulation and cause damage to the surrounds.

Any loose or insecure fixtures need to be thoroughly checked by an electrician. Your electrical wiring may need to be replaced if:

  • Your home is more than 30 years old
  • The circuit breakers are being regularly tripped
  • You need extra extension cords ongoing
  • Your electrical outlets are stained implying surges in power
  • Lights are dimming and flickering when you turn on an appliance

Get Professional Electrical Repairs

When your only thought is “I need an electrician” you can quickly arrange 24-hour help. A trusted emergency electrical service will supply you a fully qualified and experienced expert. You’ll get a swift diagnosis. And an immediate fix for your flickering lights.