Flickering lights are a staple in horror stories and every ghost movie. “Whether it’s a movie cliche or in real life, there’s a reason why movies use flickering lights,” says one electrical professional. Flickering lights make us feel uncomfortable; even tense. “The real-life effects of light flicker can range from annoyance, distraction and discomfort, to headaches and even seizures,” he concluded.

Invisible Flickering Lights

Most homes are wired for alternating current (AC). AC can switch power back and forth, while DC (direct current) flows in one direction. DC lighting is sometimes called “low-voltage” lighting. The fact is, flickering lights occur in most artificial light sources.

AC wiring is simply more energy efficient.

In 2017, NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association) established light-flicker guidelines. LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs have reduced light bulb flickers, but they can also flicker in a way we don’t see. This can impact productivity in offices and commercial businesses as well as negatively affect our health.

When You See Lights Dim and Flicker

Never ignore the dangers posed by dimming and/or flickering lights. They can cause shocks, electrocution, burns, or other injuries. When lights flicker, there might be sparking that could cause a catastrophic house fire.

You’ll create an even bigger problem if you try to solve a flickering lights problem yourself. If there’s electrical damage resulting from a DIY (do-it-yourself) wiring fix, your insurance may not cover the expenses for loss and damages.

If you have dimming or flickering lights, make note of:

  • Appearance – Is it barely noticeable or extremely annoying?
  • Consistency – Does it occur every time you plug in one particular appliance or happen occasionally with any appliance?
  • Frequency – Has it happened once or does it often occur?

Here are 4 reasons your lights may dim or flicker:

  1. Fluorescent bulbs – These will naturally flicker when “warming up.”
  2. Loose bulbs – Flickering lights occur because of inconsistent electrical flow. This is a DIY fix. First, wait for the light bulb to cool, then check to ensure it’s tightly fitted into the socket.
  3. Loose prongs – Sometimes the prongs are bent on an appliance’s plug-in. Unplug and try to straighten the prong(s).
  4. Wrong bulb – If light fixture manufacturers recommend a particular type of light bulb, follow those recommendations. (Light flickers can also occur when the wrong bulb is used with a light-dimmer fixture.)

Call your local Phoenix electrician if you see lights dim or flicker in your home or business. Causes can include:

  1. Electrical panel problems – Your home’s circuit breaker is the most important safety device you have. If you suspect malfunctions, request service immediately.
  2. Outdated/loose wiring – Seventy percent of home fires are caused by bad wiring. An electrical wiring inspection is a good idea, especially if you have an older home.
  3. Overloaded circuit – If flickering happens often or lasts longer than a few seconds, it can be an electrical emergency.
  4. Too-high voltage – If light bulbs don’t last as long as they should, that may be a clue your home’s voltage is too high or fluctuating. In addition to light dims and flickers, signs you have voltage issues can include:
    • Appliances keep tripping off.
    • Flickering/dimming continues after the appliance is turned off.
    • Flickering/dimming happens only when large appliances are turned on.
    • Light bulbs dim/flicker randomly.
  5. Utility problem – If you’re not overusing electricity but several neighbors are, this can cause transformer problems. After your electric company restores service, you may need an electrical inspection to ensure no damage occurred at your end.

Safety First: TIO Electric

Our team of electrical professionals is dedicated to home and family safety for our Valley neighbors. If you experience dimming or flickering lights and are concerned that you may have a problem, we’re ready to answer your questions. Contact Turn It On Electric.

Book Now
Scroll to Top