Having lights flicker in your Cumming, Georgia, home can be unnerving. The good news is that this problem can be as simple as not having a light bulb fully screwed in. However, when the issue recurs and when it affects multiple lights or appliances in the house, it’s definitely a cause for concern. Following are six reasons why lights flicker, along with several strategies for resolving the underlying problems.
1. Problems With Light Bulbs
If a single light is flickering, take a minute to ensure that its light bulb is fully screwed in. When incandescent and CFL light bulbs are loose, it’s best to turn off the affected lights and then wait for several seconds. Once a bulb has cooled down enough to handle without burning your fingertips, you can go ahead and tighten it up. Just be sure to not over-tighten it.
If multiple lights throughout your home are flickering and if you’ve recently upgraded your light bulbs or purchased a budget-friendly product, you may simply have the wrong light bulb type. For instance, if you have a fluorescent light bulb or an LED light bulb in a dimmer that isn’t compatible, you’ll deal with flickering lights nonstop until a compatible option is installed. Conventional dimmer switches are built to accommodate halogen or incandescent light bulbs. If you don’t like the high costs of halogen light bulbs, consider solving the problem by having LED dimmers installed throughout your home and then screwing in dimmable LED bulbs.
2. There’s an Issue With Your Electric Utility Service
In many residential neighborhoods, multiple homes share a single transformer. As a result, the electrical supply of each household is tied to the loads of all others. When anyone sharing a transformer engages in heavy electrical use, everyone’s lights can flicker. You may be able to attribute your flickering lights to a neighbor’s overzealous use of outdoor holiday lighting or to a local teen’s science fair project gone wrong. In either case, a professional electrician can determine whether your utility service needs to come out and perform repairs.
3. Circuit Overload
You might have a circuit overload if your lights flicker every time you turn a major appliance on. For instance, if you turn your dishwasher on and your lights quickly flash off and on, you’ve probably got too many gadgets and appliances plugged in in one area of your home. This is a common problem in older homes with modern appliances that have yet to get electrical system upgrades. Older homes simply aren’t wired to support the far greater energy demands of modern families. Not only do most households have several televisions, but they’ve also got cable boxes, gaming systems, personal computers, phone chargers, and an equally diverse array of household appliances. Infrequent flickering of your lights when an appliance is turned on isn’t a huge deal. However, if your lights flicker every time you use a major appliance, it’s time to call an electrician.
4. The Electrical Voltage in Your Home Is Fluctuating
Most residential homes have a standard 120-volt circuit. Thus, the reading for your home should measure between 115 and 125 volts. You can use a voltmeter to check this for yourself, or you can have a licensed electrician take a voltmeter reading for you. If this reading is higher than 125 volts, this is likely why you’ve got flickering lights. Fluctuating electrical voltage can also make your light bulbs burn out quickly or make your dimmer switches unpredictable. It can even make your major appliances malfunction or turn off without warning.
There are many reasons for fluctuating electrical voltage. However, this issue is a highly technical one, and it can only be diagnosed and resolved by a professional. More often than not, it’s an indication of serious problems within a home’s overall electrical system. Excessively high voltage is a safety hazard. It’s a common cause of electrical fires and other dangerous developments. Thus, if this is an issue you suspect, schedule service right away. Doing so will protect household residents and prevent costly damages to your appliances and technical gadgets.
5. There’s a Storm Coming
One of the most common causes for flickering lights is heavy winds and other weather events that affect a home’s power supply from the utility company. If your lights are flickering off and on and they haven’t been doing so before, take a minute to check the local weather report or take a peek outside. Sometimes, storms do little more than make the lights flicker. At other times, they can result in power outages that last for days. In either case, consider your flickering lights as a warning sign that you need to prepare for what might lie ahead.
Make sure that you know where your candles, flashlights, batteries, and first aid kit are. You should also get ready to implement your emergency home heating plan if your lights are flickering in the winter. Seal up all windows and doors to prevent heat loss, and check the batteries in your smoke detectors, fire alarms, and carbon monoxide detectors. This way, if the lights really do go out, you’ll know where everything is, and you’ll know that everyone in the home can stay safe.
6. Loose Wires
Loose wiring is often a hidden issue that only makes itself apparent through flickering lights, unpredictable outlets, and unreliable appliance performance. This may be the case if you’re having a problem with flickering lights in only one specific area of the home. If you suspect loose wiring, check for visibly chewed or frayed wiring at lamps or at other appliances in the area, outlets that are vibrating or warm, slightly sweet, burnt odors at outlets, smoke around any outlet or appliance, or anything else that just doesn’t look right.
Loose and frayed wiring are the top causes of electrical house fires. Although they aren’t always easy to spot with your eyes, strange odors, sounds, and vibrations may call them to your attention. You should also be leery of electrical outlets that spark or crackle when used.
Flickering lights in your home can mean many different things. If you’re lucky, this issue is simply an indication that you aren’t screwing your light bulbs in correctly or that you aren’t using the right light bulb types. However, flickering lights can also mean that you’ve got serious problems throughout your home’s electrical wiring. If major electrical problems are suspected, scheduling timely inspections and repairs is always the best choice.
At Arc Angel Electric, we’ve been providing reliable electrical services to residents of the greater Cumming, Georgia, area since 2001. We also install EV charging stations, surge protection equipment, and comprehensive indoor lighting plans. We’re consistently rated well by both our clients and consumer rating organizations, and we’re committed to providing competitive rates and high levels of transparency. If the lights in your home regularly flicker off and on, we can help. Get in touch with us today to have your home’s electrical system inspected, repaired, or upgraded by friendly, seasoned professionals.