The Spooky Side of Flickering Lights
Updated: Feb 28
Tonight, if you, like us, are out trick-or-treating, you’re probably going to run into a lot of ghosts and goblins and skeleton hands crawling out of flower beds. Plus a lot of spooky flickering lights and dimmed lightbulbs. All the better to scare the kiddos, right?
But if your lights are still flickering after Halloween, you might have a bit of a problem. And no, we don’t mean your house is really haunted.
Let’s take a closer look at the scary and not-so-scary reasons behind a flickering light or two to troubleshoot your own private haunted house:
No need to call an electrician:
Is the lightbulb loose? Sometimes the cause of a flicker can be as simple as a lightbulb that’s not screwed in all the way. Remember to turn off the light and use a glove to check the bulb, because it could be hot! If
Is it a fluorescent bulb? While new fluorescent technology has pretty much taken care of this problem, older style fluorescent bulbs sometimes flicker when you turn them on. That’s perfectly normal!
Is it an LED fixture on a dimmer? Many people don’t realize that LED fixtures sometimes flicker when dimmed by the wrong kind of dimmer. This is because standard dimmers dim incandescent (standard) bulbs by shutting the current off and on really quickly. In regular bulbs, this creates a dimming effect, but an LED bulb will go off and on with the power, causing that annoying flicker. This is perfectly safe, but if it annoys you it’s a good idea to call your electrician to install a dimmer made specifically for LED bulbs.
You may need to call an electrician:
Do you have a faulty light switch? If all the lights on a particular switch flicker periodically, or if the problem is temporarily fixed when you turn the light switch off and on, you might have a problem with that switch. As with most faulty wiring, this can be a problem if the switch overheats and causes a fire, so if you think that’s the problem don’t use that switch until you can have an electrician look at it
Perhaps faulty electronic equipment? If your lights flicker when the refrigerator cycles or you turn on the vacuum, you might be experiencing power surges from faulty equipment. It’s a good idea to fix or replace the problem equipment but also look at having your electrician install whole-home surge protection to keep your home safe from future surges.
Does the light fixture have faulty wiring? If you’ve ruled out all the other possibilities, you might be left with something wrong within the fixture itself. This can be serious; faulty wiring can cause house fires. Before you check on the light to see if something is loose, always turn off the power at the circuit breaker. Even better, call an electrician to take a look at the fixture and check your other wiring.
Electrical problems, like a haunting that lasts past Halloween, should not be ignored in the hopes that they will just go away. Always check out a weirdly flickering light, and call in the pros to help if you think you have a wiring problem.
IES Home Electrical Services is a McKinney-based electrical company dedicated to providing area homeowners with the best quality of work and unparalleled customer service, backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Proudly serving McKinney, Frisco, Prosper, Celina, Gunter, Anna, Aubrey, Bonham, Crossroads, Melissa, Sherman, Farmersville, Little Elm, Princeton, Prosper, Van Alstyne, Hackberry, and Denison.
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