Flickering lights: Why they happen and how to prevent them


Ever home alone and all of the sudden the lights flick on and off? Want to avoid feeling like your life has suddenly become a horror movie? There are a few things that could be potentially causing this occurrence. Not only are flickering lights annoying, they can also be dangerous. To begin assessing the problem, ask yourself this question: Do all the lights in the house flicker simultaneously, or is it only one or a few lights having trouble?

If it is only one or a few lights that are flickering the problem may just be the light bulbs themselves. Sometimes the bulb is nearing “end of life” or the connection is bad. Sometimes the problem is more serious, though. It could also result from a loose wire in the circuit. Try taking the bulb out and then putting it back in or just replacing the bulb entirely. If that doesn’t work, you should have a complete circuit diagnosis performed to determine the location of the loose wire. It’s important this be done as soon as possible because loose wires can be dangerous.

If all the lights in your home are flickering simultaneously, then the cause is most likely power arcing. Power arcing, which is also called voltage drop, occurs when close-by wiring completes an electrical current and draws power away from the circuit. This drawing of power is what causes lights to flicker. Power arcing also generates a lot of heat, which can lead to a house fire. If all your lights in your home are flickering simultaneously and frequently, call a certified electrician immediately.

Also, please note that this advice is only for lights that flicker frequently. Occasional, brief flickering of lights is normal, like when the air conditioning kicks in or you plug in the vacuum cleaner, and this poses no harm to you and your home. These are common voltage drop occurrences.