What Causes the Lights in My Home to Flicker?

Flickering Lights in Kirkland, WA

There are several reasons why your home’s lights keep flickering. The lighting fixture may be defective, or your electrical system has faults that you need to fix. Issues within the circuit can raise safety concerns in your home. Keep reading to learn about how you can prevent your lights from flickering.

Loose or Faulty Bulb Fixture

If your lights are flickering, you may want to start by checking the light fixture. It could be that the bulb is not secure in its socket. Turn off the power and give it time to cool down before screwing the bulb back into its socket.

It is also possible the problem is the wall switch rather than the bulb. There could be faulty connections between the bulb and the fixture. Such issues may occur during installation or due to aging and defective wiring.

If you have a dimmer, the bulb may flicker if it is incompatible with the switch. A mismatch in power ratings can cause buzzing and flickering.

You may need to replace the wiring of the light fixture. AS a solution to this problem, you could use Smart bulbs instead of changing the wiring. If you are unsure how to proceed, the experienced electricians in Kirkland at Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning can troubleshoot your circuit.

Severe Voltage Fluctuations

A voltage difference within 10% of the circuit’s load rating is common and generally safe. However, higher variations in voltage can damage your electronics and can pose hazards in your home. When you suspect there are fluctuations, address the issue promptly for your family’s safety.

Several factors may be behind the voltage fluctuations. It could be an issue with the transmission line or the connections to the building. Falling branches and stormy weather can affect the power supply line.

Some appliances can cause voltage fluctuations, which you experience as flickering lights. Hairdryers, microwaves, or electric irons can trigger a power surge.

You may try connecting the appliance to another outlet. If this solves the problem, it is probably an issue with interference within the connection. On the other hand, if the lights still flicker, it could be an issue with the electrical system.

You can use a voltmeter to determine if there are voltage fluctuations. The readings should be within six percent of 120 volts. Call a qualified electrician for an inspection to prevent electrical hazards.

An Overloaded Circuit

You may notice the lights are flickering only when you switch on heavy-duty appliances such as your washing machine. This indicates that some of your electronics are drawing more electrical power than the circuit can supply.

An overloaded circuit is one factor that often triggers residential electrical fires. When the load exceeds the circuit’s power ratings, insulation on the wiring can melt.

Besides flickering lights, you may notice buzzing in outlets and wall switches. A short circuit will slowly burn the wiring and the outer casing. Burning odors and discoloration around the outlet are common signs of an overloaded electrical system.

Your circuit should allow for a margin from the maximum load ratings. Drawing power too close to the system’s limits is not ideal for safety. Therefore, you should analyze the electrical system to determine if it can handle your household’s demands.

You can manage your household electrical demands by using energy-efficient lighting and appliances. LED lights require 75% less electrical power than incandescent bulbs and 50% less than fluorescent. Also, replace old, outdated electronics with modern models that require less energy.

If you use heavy-duty tools frequently, you may need a new circuit for them. In addition, some of the power-hungry appliances include electric kettles, washing machines, and your HVAC system that may need a new circuit.

Consider upgrading the laundry room or workshop circuit to ensure a safer, reliable power supply. An upgrade can minimize electrical system malfunctions that are causing lights to flicker.

Loose Wiring and Defective Outlets

Another reason your lights may flicker is faulty wiring and aging fixtures. Your electrical system can deteriorate with time. Have you spotted frayed wires or damaged circuit boxes around the house? Short circuits and corrosion can worsen the wear and tear on components of the electrical circuit.

Loose wiring and faulty outlets can not only cause the bulb to flicker but may also cause fires. As a solution, check the wiring and outlets and then secure them after turning off the power on the breaker panel. If this doesn’t solve the flickering problem, there are probably deeper electrical issues in your home.

A circuit breaker that is constantly tripping signifies that your electrical system needs an evaluation. While you can tighten screws in the outlet, avoid tampering with the circuit. Consult Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning electricians in Kirkland to prevent mistakes that may lead to further complications.

Outdated Electrical Wiring

It is also possible that parts of your electrical system are still working, but the circuit is outdated. Even though electronics today are energy-efficient, older systems cannot meet the demands of modern households.

For example, a typical home has multiple appliances operating for optimum comfort. Your home circuit will need to support washing machines, HVAC systems, amongst other equipment.

Typically, older houses have few outlets to power appliances. Homeowners may try to extend the circuit with extension cords. However, extension outlets can trigger a circuit overload and electrical fires in extreme cases.

Minimize the use of extension cords and always check its power ratings. Avoid using power-hungry appliances like space heaters on extension cords. The best long-term solution is to consult an electrician to install additional outlets for all your equipment.

If your home was built before 1990, the electrical system has outdated components. You should replace any old fuse boxes. A new breaker panel will ensure code compliance and keep your home safe.

The National Electrical Code requires GFCI circuits for modern systems. They are crucial in areas with a high risk of electrical arcing. Your bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room are some places that need to have a working GFCI switch.

Older homes may also lack grounding, which can damage electronics and valuables. The ground connection provides a safe path for the leaking current. It can prevent electrocution in the event someone touches a defective appliance or outlet.

Why Do You Need a Licensed Electrician?

You can troubleshoot the bulb and fixture when you notice the lights flickering. You can also test outlets with a voltmeter to check for voltage spikes. However, navigating the intricate parts of your circuit could prove to be complex and dangerous. It might be wise to seek the help of a professional.

A licensed electrician has years of experience fixing different types of electrical systems. They are conversant with the components of both outdated and modern circuits. Trained professionals can quickly identify the cause of the fault and fix it without compromising your home’s safety.

A licensed electrician is more convenient and cost-effective in the long term, too. An electrician can get the necessary permits to save time. You also don’t have to worry about voiding your home insurance or equipment warranty in case of electrical failure.

Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning is a leading Kirkland company offering dependable electrical repairs. Our electricians can handle a wide range of projects, including upgrading breaker panels and outlets. We also offer water heater services and HVAC system repair. Call our highly experienced team to schedule a service.