A common question we get from callers at Price Electric is “Why are my lights flickering?”
This is a question with several possible answers. Hopefully you can find your solution below.
Fix it yourself problems
Possibility number one points to the light bulb as the culprit. Often when light bulbs are blinking it is because they were not firmly seated or screwed in. It can happen over time that cycles of heating and cooling cause the bulb to loosen even if they were tight initially. Turn the light off, wait for the bulb to cool, and tighten the bulb.
A second possibility has to do with the type of bulb. Fluorescent bulbs, especially those long bulbs used in ceiling fixtures tend to blink when warming up, or when one of the bulbs in a series is going bad. If the problem goes away when the bulb warms, you can decide whether you want to fix it. Individual fluorescent bulbs can have this same problem. These bulbs also struggle with dimmer switches. Replacing the bulb with one that is not fluorescent, will handle it.
Does the flicker happen just briefly, and then go away for a while? Have you checked to see what else is running at that time? Sometimes other appliances turn on and off, and the sudden draw on the circuit causes lights to flicker. This can be especially noticeable with space heaters, but can happen with other appliances too. A simple fix is to move the light or the appliance to a different outlet.
Call an electrician problems
Starting with periodic flickering lights, above, you might need an electrician if plugging in to a different outlet doesn’t work to stop the periodic flickering. This is a sign that your home can’t handle your energy usage needs. This can be fixed by an electrician adding or rerouting circuits to make your home safe.
If the light flickers or blows a circuit periodically, you should call an electrician. It is a sign that your home is not currently meeting your electricity needs. There is no reason to not get this fixed, but it takes an experienced electrician to solve.
If you get whole-house flickers, you might have a problem at your circuit breaker or at the connection to your house. These are professionally installed and built to withstand weather and time … but only up to a point. Call an electrician right away. They can address the problem and let you know if it is something you need to pay for or if it is something your provider is responsible for.
Photo by Federico Bottos on Unsplash