Why Do My Lights Flicker?

November 17, 2021
Flickering Light Bulbs in Seattle, WA

Are the lights in your home flickering? Sometimes it is a minor issue that you can solve by securing the bulb in its socket. But it could also be a sign of a fault in your electrical system. Here are some of the reasons why the bulb is flickering.

Wrong Bulb Fitting or Defective Switch

If your lights are flickering, it could be due to a loose-fitting bulb. When the bulb does not fit tightly into its socket, it receives a fluctuating current, which causes it to flicker. You can fix the problem by simply turning off the switch and tightening the CFL or incandescent bulb.

Sometimes the flickering is a feature of some bulbs. Fluorescent bulbs are known to flicker a few seconds after turning off the switch. It is usually harmless, but you can replace it with another bulb, such as an LED lamp.

If you use LED bulbs, ensure that you pair them with a suitable dimmer switch. Dimmer switches are designed for high voltage bulbs and may not work very well with low-voltage LEDs. You can contact Brennan Electric electricians in Seattle for assistance.

Loose Wiring Connections

When it is only one bulb flickering, the problem is usually loose wiring connections. The light switch can become defective due to overheating or arching within the socket. Tightening the wires can eliminate flickering and prevent electrical fires.

If you hear a buzzing or crackling sound within the light switch, it indicates a short circuit. Frayed wires can cause sparking, and you may notice discoloration on the outer casing. You should avoid using the switch and have an electrician troubleshoot it.

Another sign of a faulty circuit is bulbs burning out frequently. Incandescent lamps have a short lifespan, but they ought to last between 750 hours and 2,000 hours. If you must change bulbs now and then, have your electrical system inspected.

Flickering Due to an Overloaded Circuit

If the flickering is not confined to one part of the house, your home’s circuit may have a problem. In such cases, the lights may flicker when you turn on a heavy-duty appliance like a dishwasher. It usually means that the electrical system cannot handle the electrical load from your electronics.

It is worth noting that some minor flickering can happen even in the most efficient electrical system. Some electronics will draw a lot of power in the first few seconds after you turn them on. But the flickering should only last for a few seconds.

If the lights flicker continuously and repeatedly, you should consider organizing for an inspection. An electrician can detect issues in your electrical system that could be a hazard to your home and family. Brennan Electric can provide timely electrical repairs for your home in Seattle.

Your Home Has Outdated Wiring

The reason the lights in your home are flickering could be an old electrical system in your home. If the circuit is outdated, it cannot handle the high-power demands from modern appliances. They can cause an overloaded circuit, increasing the risk of shocks and electrical fires.

Old systems have certain features that make them prone to electrical faults. For example, they have no grounding, which protects electronics and bulb fittings. When there is a surge, your appliances will be subject to electrical power exceeding the equipment’s ratings.

Old houses with outdated circuits will need to replace two-slot receptacles with the standard three-slot outlets. The grounding reduces the risk of a power surge by redirecting the excess load to the earth. Replacing the outlet also prevents electrical hazards in your home.

In outdated electrical systems, there is also the danger of over-fusing. That’s when you use a 20- or 30-amp fuse on an old circuit that can only handle 15 amps. Such errors can pose a hazard in your home.

If you have outdated wiring in your home, the best thing is to call a certified electrician for an upgrade. Professionals have the requisite training to upgrade your circuit in compliance with local codes and regulations.

A Faulty Electrical Panel

Other than outdated wiring, your electrical panel can also be the reason behind flickering lights. According to statistics, the life expectancy of an average panel is approximately 60 years. However, it can break down much faster due to exposure to rain, snow, and humidity.

Additionally, some panels have a rating of 100 amps, short of the 200 amps required for electrical systems. A 100-amp installation cannot handle the high demands of modern homes. You may notice lights dimming if you’re using multiple electronics.

Frequent tripping of the breaker circuit is another indication of a defective or outdated panel. Your panel could have low-quality components that deteriorate and puts your home at risk.

Pay attention to signs of rust, charring, and burns. If your panel is defective, an upgrade is the best way to protect your home and family. Brennan Electric ‘s electricians can provide valuable insights on how to enhance the efficiency of your electrical system in Seattle.

The Circuit’s Voltage Is Fluctuating

Another reason the light is flickering or dimming is due to voltage fluctuations in your electrical system. Sometimes it is an issue with the electrical grid. It could be a storm or a fault with the utility company. You can confirm by checking with your neighbors or calling the electrical supplier.

However, the cause of the fluctuations could be defects in the circuit. If a bulb flickers or dims unexpectedly, it is often a sign of a fault. While some dimming is normal, you should consult an electrical service for an inspection if frequent fluctuations occur.

Other signs of voltage fluctuations are dimming lights when you use an appliance. If the problem continues even after switching off the switch, your home’s circuit most probably has a problem.

You can test the voltage using a tester or voltmeter. The readings should be between 115 and 125 volts. If it is not within that range, your electrical system may need an upgrade.

Preventing Electrical Hazards in Your Home

A fault in your electrical system can be destructive in several ways. Fluctuations in electrical power can damage appliances like computers, dishwashers, and water heaters. The electrical malfunctions can increase the energy consumption in your home, raising your monthly utility bills.

Additionally, electrical faults are amongst the leading cause of residential fires. Electrical faults can account for approximately 51,000 house fires in the United States annually.

You can prevent losses and injuries by scheduling a regular inspection of your electrical system. The service is essential if you have had a renovation recently or when moving to a new house.

When you spot signs of electrical faults, act as soon as possible. What seems like a minor fault could be a hazard waiting to happen. It is also less expensive to deal with electrical malfunctions at their earliest stages.

If you need reliable electrical service in Seattle, don’t hesitate to contact Brennan Electric ‘s electricians. We also provide surge protections and generator services. Our highly trained technicians have experience working with a wide range of electrical issues. Whether you need to fix an outlet or upgrade your panel, you can trust our staff for quality services. We have a BBB accreditation with A+ ratings, and we are recipients of the 2019 Angie’s List Award. Our team abides by the values of honesty, integrity, and exceptional services. Contact our friendly staff for more details today.

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