Flickering Lights and Energy Efficiency: How It Affects Your Utility Bills

A persistently flickering light can be annoying. While sometimes it may be a minor issue to fix, sometimes it can indicate a bigger problem that needs immediate attention. Not only can electrical problems in your home be unsafe, but they can signal energy-efficiency issues that are increasing your energy bills.

Warning About DIY

While the solutions to some of the causes in this list are something that you can do yourself like changing a light bulb, any serious electrical work needs to be dealt with by professionals. Attempting to fix an electrical problem in your home by yourself can possibly make the problem worse, but more importantly, it can result in serious bodily harm. Professional electricians have the knowledge, experience, and tools to remedy your electrical issue safely and effectively.

Loose Electrical Connections

Whether something wasn’t properly installed to begin with or wires just became loose over time, a poor electrical connection can cause a flickering light. This could be the wires connected to the light fixture, a switch, or somewhere else. Even a lightbulb that is loose can be causing flickering and one of the first things you can do is just check to make sure it’s screwed in tight enough. Sometimes, a loose wire behind a switch in a circuit can be coming into contact with other metal components and waste energy even when the switch is turned off.

Circuit Overload

When you have too many electrical devices connected to a single circuit in your home, the voltage can drop on that circuit. This drop in voltage can lead to lights that flicker. If you are noticing lights flickering on and off from just one outlet in your home, and that outlet has too many devices due to using a power strip or other outlet-splitting adapter, this is likely the case. To test if this is the cause of the flickering lights, unplug additional devices to see if the flickering goes away. Additionally, if the lights still flicker when they’re the only thing plugged into the power strip, but the lights don’t flicker when plugged into the wall, it may indicate the power strip itself is faulty.

Fluctuating Voltage

Voltage fluctuations can also cause lights to flicker or could prematurely burn lights out. While you can install devices like voltage stabilizers or surge protectors in your home to help keep the voltage consistent, voltage fluctuations can indicate a more serious problem that needs to be addressed. An electrician can assess what’s going on with your voltage and fix the underlying cause of the issue.

Dimmer Switch

Dimmer switches can be great in a home if you want to regulate the brightness of the lights in an area. However, these switches do require specialized light bulbs to work with them. When light bulbs that aren’t made to work with these switches are used, it can cause flickering. Check to see if the light bulb you are using is compatible with a dimmer switch, and if it isn’t, replace it. You can also consider switching to a dimmable LED bulb. These bulbs are more resistant to flickering and are more energy efficient, further helping to lower your energy bills.

Wrong Bulb Wattage

You may be using a light bulb where the wattage of the bulb is higher than what the light fixture is designed to handle. Using light bulbs with too high of a wattage for the fixture can cause flickering. In addition to wasting electricity, using a bulb with the wrong wattage can also decrease the bulb’s lifespan, requiring more frequent replacement.

Faulty Light Bulb

Even if you have the correct light bulb, there is a chance it is simply faulty. This can be because it is old and near its end anyway, or it can be a light bulb that was faulty when shipped from the manufacturer. Either way, a simple test is to replace the light bulb and see if it makes a difference. Just make sure that you are replacing it with the correct type of light bulb.

Outdated or Aged Wiring

If you live in a home where the wiring is outdated or damaged due to age, this can be the cause of flickering lights. Outdated wiring may not meet the electrical requirements of modern light fixtures and lamps. Aged wires can become frayed and damaged, exposing the metal wire to other metal components. While many older homes can be remodeled with newer light fixtures, switches, outlets, and more, it is vital to also have the electrical wiring in old homes updated to match.

Weather Condition

Do you notice flickering during specific weather conditions? Rain, thunderstorms, and other types of weather can cause lights to flicker in your home. While this flickering can sometimes be the city or neighborhood electrical grid itself, it can also indicate exposed wiring somewhere in or around your home.

Power Surges

Sometimes, power surges can occur and cause flickering lights. If one occurs, in addition to flickering, there can be a large spike that can damage light bulbs, lamps, and other devices in your home. To protect your home from these surges and help regulate the voltage, high-quality surge protectors should be utilized.

Faulty Light Switches

Just like a light bulb, it’s possible that a faulty switch itself is causing certain lights to flicker in your home. If you are unsure of what exactly is causing the flickering, it’s always good to simply have an electrician examine the problem area and determine what the cause is. If he determines it is a faulty light switch, he can safely replace it for you.

Environmental Temperature Extremes

During the hottest months of the summer or the coldest months of the winter, your home can be exposed to extreme temperatures. This can cause electrical connections to expand and contract and can cause them to become loose. It’s essential your home has proper insulation to protect against this issue or it is likely to occur.

High Energy Appliances

Some appliances consume a lot more electricity than others, and this can cause lights on the same outlet to flicker. This can be fixed by putting the appliance on its own circuit or by having a dedicated circuit installed for the high-energy consumption appliance.

Clearly, many different things can cause flickering lights, resulting in poor energy efficiency and higher energy bills. Unless it is something obvious and easy to manage yourself, like a lightbulb issue, it’s vital that you contact a professional electrician to inspect your home. A good electrician will find the issue and fix it before it becomes worse. Not only will this help lower your energy bills, but it will help protect you, your family, and your home from a potential electrical fire.

Do you live in Kirkland, WA, or the surrounding area and need help with flickering lights? At Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning, we are here to help. We offer a full range of lighting and electrical services. In addition to this, we also offer heating and cooling services, as well as the installation, repair, or maintenance of generators. If you would like help with your flickering lights or want more information about any of our other services, please contact Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning today.