What to do when your lights are flickering on and off?

An occasional flicker or dimming is normal but it’s a little concerning if it’s never happened before or happening more frequently recently. Flickering and dimming are caused by changes in the power supply, and this can be harmful over time for electronic equipment that’s sensitive like sound systems and video gaming systems. It’s best to get the issue checked out by a professional because it could be a quick inexpensive fix. If you are facing any issues related to your lighting on the Mornington Peninsula, you can contact one of the qualified electricians on the Impulse Electrical team on 0418 383 232 or get a free quote by filling the form but until we arrive to help, this blog has a few tips for you.

Causes of light flickering

  1. A fitting issue with the bulb that isn’t tight enough or got a little loose over time
  2. Looseness at the light plug
  3. A faulty light or fixture switch
  4. Other appliances or electronic equipment pulling large amounts of power when you switch them on which causes a voltage drop
  5. An overloaded circuit
  6. An issue with wiring which may be loose or faulty

Problems with the bulb are easy to spot because it usually happens to one specific fixture. The first thing you should do is check if it’s screwed in tightly enough. Flickering lights could simply be a case of loosely fitting bulbs. The socket isn’t getting enough contact with the bulb and the slightest movement causes flickering. If a quick tightening doesn’t fix the issue, you may need to replace the entire bulb or just do your research about the specific types of bulbs.

Fluorescent lights tend to flicker when they power up or in cold temperatures. Flickering is occasional and it’s nothing to worry about.

LED bulbs are also known for flickering, and this usually happens when dimmer switches are involved. Dimmers are designed to use higher electrical loads and don’t always work well with lower-voltage LEDs. Another issue with LED bulbs is the dust that can accumulate on the surfaces because it can creep into the socket. Check out the area in and around your sockets and brush away any build-up.

If it’s not the bulb that’s loose, it might be the plug. There could be a loose connection between the plug and outlet which means that the power supply to the bulb is interrupted and inconsistent. Go ahead and inspect the bulb’s fixture, it could be a lamp for instance and check the plug to see that it’s put firmly in the wall socket. If not, try unplugging it, adjusting the metal prongs, and plugging back in again.

Sometimes, the problem is at the source of the power supply. The connection between the light bulb, the switch and the socket could be the culprit. Our advice here is that you give the switch a wiggle while it’s plugged in and see if you caused a flicker. This confirms that this is the problem. You might require a complete switch replacement to fix the flickering.

Major appliances are known to cause flickering and that’s a cause for concern because it could mean your circuit is overloaded. In this situation, cause numbers four and five are interchangeable because the problem is either the appliance or an issue with your entire electrical system being outdated. Do the lights flicker when you switch on the air conditioner or the washing machine? Maybe the appliance is not working as it should and it’s pulling too much electrical current and that affects your lights because there’s a slight dip in their power supply. Is the flickering also coupled with incidents of short circuits? This is an appliance issue but could also be exacerbated by your electrical system is outdated and needing more modernized tech to keep up with the energy distribution.

The last common cause is potentially more dangerous than the rest of them because loose wiring can cause flickering lights but it’s also a leading cause of house fires. Old, outdated, and broken wiring, breakers, connector, and switches are an immediate cause for concern. This usually comes down to the age of the wiring and will require a serious job on your electrical systems. If your lights are flickering a lot recently and haven’t changed anything about how you use electricity or added any large appliances, loose wiring is probably the issue. There could be several problem areas in your electrical system, and these include a switch failure or loose fixture wiring in the main electrical switchboard. This problem requires the expert eye and hands of a qualified electrician, and we suggest you call one asap!

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