There are few things more annoying than flickering lights. It’s an issue many homeowners experience at one time or another and it should be addressed quickly. There may be a simple fix, but if there’s a serious underlying issue it can cause devastating damage. So what could cause a light to flicker?
Loose bulb. This is the simplest reason a light may be flickering. Check to see if it’s screwed in all the way. Be sure to turn the light off first. If it’s been on for a while, the bulb may be hot, so wait for it to cool down or wear a glove to protect your hand from burns.
Faulty bulb. Light bulbs don’t last forever. They need to be replaced on a regular basis and the flickering could indicate that the bulb is defective or simply dying out. Turn off the light, unscrew the bulb, and replace it with another.
Faulty switch. Maybe the light switch isn’t connecting properly to the bulb. Toggle the switch a few times and see if that triggers a flicker. The problem may fix itself with a few toggles, but if it doesn’t or if you have to do this multiple times in a short period, it’s best to replace the switch.
Voltage fluctuation. Large appliances with high wattage pull a lot of electricity, causing the voltage to fluctuate on other lights/appliances connected to the same circuit. A little bit of voltage fluctuation is normal, but if it seems excessive, call a certified electrician.
Too many lights on a circuit. Overloaded circuits are dangerous. You may have too many lights, outlets, or appliances connected to one circuit. Try unplugging them and distributing the current evenly to other circuits. A licensed electrician can check your breakers for overload.
Loose connections. A loose electrical connection in your main electrical panel is a serious problem and the cause of most house fires. It should be addressed right away. Turn off the light at the circuit breaker and check the fixture for loose wires. If you’re uncomfortable or not sure, call a licensed electrician.
Power grid problem. This is usually a last case scenario if nothing else seems to be causing the flickering. Ask your neighbors if they’ve also been experiencing flickering lights. The power supply to your area may be insufficient or is being interrupted. Call your electric company and ask them to inspect the line coming into your home.
Working with electricity is extremely dangerous. Many injuries, and even deaths, are caused each year due to unsafe electrical practices. No matter how small the issue, you should call an electrician if you’re inexperienced.