How to Stop Your LED Lights from Flickering

February 2, 2023
LED lights in Seattle, WA
Updated January 2024

Whether you have used LED light bulbs for years or have just recently upgraded from incandescent bulbs, you may encounter flickering issues from time to time. While there may be an easy fix for flickering LED bulbs, there are also times when the issues are more serious. LED bulbs can flicker because there are voltage fluctuations in your wiring or the wiring is loose. When you call Brennan Electric, we’ll help you identify the problem and provide the necessary repairs.

LED Bulbs Flickering Without a Dimmer

LED light bulbs often flicker when the dimmer malfunctions. If your LED lights aren’t equipped with a dimmer, the cause of the flickering could be a problem with the bulb itself, a problem with the wiring, or a problem with the power.

Issues with the Bulb

It’s possible that your LED lights are flickering as a result of a faulty driver component in the bulb. If this component isn’t high-quality, it may not be able to withstand the heat that’s generated while the lights are turned on. In this scenario, the capacitor within the bulb may appear to be swollen or bulgy.

Issues with Wiring

Lights can also flicker because the wire within the fixture is shorter than it needs to be. All wires must be at least 6″ long. In the event that the wires connecting the switch, fixture, and bulb have become loose, flickering issues may occur.


Issues with Power

This problem may occur if your electrical panel has been damaged. If there’s loose wiring in your circuit breaker, your lights might not function properly. If you connect incandescent bulbs and LED bulbs to the same circuit, the LED bulbs could flicker.

Incandescent bulbs use up 100% of the required energy, which leaves the remaining supply to be used by LED bulbs and any other appliances in your home. Using three or four incandescent bulbs at the same time may be enough to consume all of the power they have access to.

LED Bulbs Flickering with a Dimmer

LED bulbs are designed to function in an off-or-on state. Older dimmers that were made for incandescent bulbs directly altered the level of current that was being provided to the light bulb when it was turned off or on. This slight difference in function means that LED bulbs may not work correctly if they’re used with old dimmers.

If an old dimmer is a reason for the flickering you’ve noticed, we can upgrade your dimmer switch to one that’s designed for LED bulbs. Even though LED bulbs with dimmers are becoming increasingly common, not every LED light fixture comes with one. Flickering can also occur if you use a non-dimmable LED with a modern dimmer switch.

Bulbs Flickering When Lights are Turned Off

If your LED light bulb is switched off, it may still flicker. This issue is prevalent in homes that are equipped with smart switches. A smart switch comes with extra features like a dimmer, night light, and WiFi control. This type of switch requires a small amount of standby power to make sure that the smart features are always available.

If the circuitry in the smart switch is faulty, it might be unable to use a neutral wire. Since LED bulbs are situated on a negative wire, an issue known as capacitive coupling could take place, which keeps some power in the capacitor. Eventually, the voltage will build up within the light’s circuit, which leads to the bulbs glowing or flickering.

How to Stop Lights from Flickering

If the flickering issue is caused by fluctuations in voltage, the solution may be to stop using as many electrical appliances at the same time. If you attempt to operate your dishwasher when five additional electrical appliances are turned on, voltage levels will likely change, which would cause your lights to flicker. This problem can be mitigated by moving the appliances that demand higher amounts of electricity to a 240-volt circuit. If your existing electrical panel doesn’t have enough room for 240-volt breakers, additional electrical work may be required.

There may also be a problem with debris or dirt loosening your bulb, which can be cleared with compressed air. If screwing the bulb in tighter doesn’t stop the flickering, you may need to request assistance from our electricians to tighten the wires.

electrical meter

It’s common for people to purchase bad switches that aren’t wholly compatible with the light bulbs they’ve bought. When you buy a switch, it must be compatible with your LED lights. The same is true when you purchase bulbs. If you select cheap LED lights, flickering may still occur. Many of the issues mentioned above should be addressed by an experienced electrician like ours. Even if the problem is minor, working on electrical appliances and outlets can be dangerous when not done by a professional.

Indications that Flickering Issues are More Serious

Flickering lights can be dangerous to a person’s health as well. Short-term exposure to any frequency between 3Hz-70Hz can result in seizures, which is why the problem should be addressed immediately after it’s identified. Flickering lights may also be an indicator that something’s wrong with the electrical system in your home. It’s possible that a circuit has become overloaded.

In this situation, it’s highly recommended that you contact us to diagnose the problem. Issues like poor wiring or a faulty circuit breaker can be unsafe and may increase the risk of an electrical fire. In most cases, an overloaded circuit breaker would only cause damage to the lights. However, there are times when appliances are damaged as well.

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How Professionals Handle Light Flickering Issues

If the issue is serious enough that you feel the need to contact an electrician, there are several ways that this issue can be fixed. For instance, better drivers may need to be used. The right drivers can get rid of power current peaks, which eliminates the flickering issue in some cases.

If the flickering is caused by voltage changes in your home, our electricians could replace your entire electrical panel to ensure that your home’s power needs are accommodated. When the cause of the flickering is a malfunctioning component, the damaged component could be replaced altogether. We can check all of the switches in your home to make sure that everything’s working as it should.

Contact the Professionals

If you have flickering light issues in your Lynnwood, WA home, our team at Brennan Electric can provide the necessary fix. Our expert electrical services include everything from home electrical inspections to LED lighting upgrades. If you’re building a new home from scratch, we can assist you during this project by installing all of your light fixtures as well as your electrical panel and wiring. We also offer comprehensive electrical maintenance and electrical repair services.

We also specialize in whole-house surge protection that can keep your appliances and electronics from being damaged by a power surge. A whole-house surge protector will inhibit any kind of electrical overload from reaching and damaging your home’s wiring system. Our team also provides installation and repair services for portable and standby generators. If you have questions about your LED lights and why they’re flickering, call Brennan Electric today.

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