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Why Do My Lights Flicker?

We see it all the time, a flickering light in a horror movie can set the scene but, in real life, it can go from a small problem to a large one very quickly. According to the South Australian Government, a major cause of fires is due to faulty electrical appliances or wiring, but is flickering lights something to be concerned over? Today we’ll talk you through some possible causes and what to do!

Are Flickering Lights Dangerous?

One flickering light might not be something to panic about, it could be a loose bulb or a simple job to fix. However, when it comes to persistent flickering, worsening flickering, or multiple flickering lights in your home, that's a sign of potential risk. A multitude of problems could contribute to problematic flickering, such as voltage changes, bad wiring, and an overloaded circuit. The level of risk or danger depends on the cause of the flickering.

Quick Tips

We’ve compiled some quick tips to help you troubleshoot the potential cause of your flickering lights. This will inevitably show you if you can ‘fix the flix’ yourself, or if you’ll need to call in a qualified electrician in Newcastle.

  • Check your voltmeter to see if you exceed 125 volts.

  • Ensure all your bulbs are tightly screwed in (don’t overtighten or over squeeze).

  • Notice if there’s any correlation between flickering and heavy appliance usage.

  • When in doubt, call in an electrician to help.

What Causes Your Lights to Flicker?

Loose Bulbs

As mentioned above, one bulb flickering could be indicative of a loose bulb in the socket. This causes an inconsistent supply of power which may cause bothersome flickering. Firstly, ensure your light source is switched off and allow the bulb to cool down. After that, simply tighten the loose bulb by twisting it into place.

Voltage Fluctuations

Sometimes you might notice that your lights flicker, burn out quickly, or experience unpredictable dimming. This would be an indication that you have a voltage fluctuation.

If you’re concerned that this may be the reason for your flickering lights, you should check the Voltmeter. A typical household will amount to 115 - 125 volts, but if your Voltmeter is any higher than that, it may be the reason for the flickering lights. Always ensure your appliances are properly connected and contact your Newcastle electrician to safely resolve the issue.

Circuit Overloads

Like a voltage fluctuation, a circuit overload will occur when you turn on a high electric consuming appliance such as a washing machine, oven, or electric shower. This means that the large appliances are using more electricity than the circuit can handle.

If the flickering is minor and only happens when the appliance starts up, this may not be a reason for concern yet. As larger appliances start-up, they will need extra electricity, but this will usually just be momentary, and your lights will quickly return to normal.

However, if the dimming or flickering is frequent and consistent, this may indicate that there is an issue with the appliance and will require an licensed electrician to locate the cause of your issue.

Poor/Loose Wiring

Loose wiring is the most dangerous issue to have when it comes to flickering lights. This is the most common cause of electrical fires and should be taken very seriously when recognised as a potential issue.

Yourself or an electrician will need to ensure that the electrical connections are as tight as they can be to prevent creating resistance - even minor resistance could cause the circuit to overheat and cause a fire, especially if near combustible material such as a couch, curtain, clothing or a rug).

Wires aren't the only thing that may go wrong with a loose connection. A loose connection might be a device's loose terminal or a circuit breaker's loose connection. This sort of issue will need an experienced ASP level 2 electrician straight away.

Some Bulb Types

Fluorescent Bulbs

These do have a propensity to flicker, especially when they first turn on or when it's chilly outside, due to the inductive ballast that controls the current within the bulb. This is nothing to be concerned about if your fluorescent lights flicker every now and again. However, if it bothers you, sometimes replacing your fluorescent lights with LED or incandescent lights may resolve the problem.

LED Bulbs

LED bulbs commonly flicker, due to voltage fluctuations or dimmer switches typically. With voltage fluctuations in LED lights, it is best to check that all your heavy appliances have a separate breaker. It is also important to match the voltage from the bulb to the right socket, of course.

Dimmer Switches

Dimmer switches are a prevalent source of flickering. Dimmers are designed to handle greater electrical loads; therefore, they don't always work with LEDs that have a lower voltage.

Stay Safe from Electrical Fires - Call in Professional Help

When it comes to keeping you and your family safe from electrical fires or just getting rid of that pesky flickering, it is important to get a professional electrician out to provide you with electrical maintenance services.

Here at Real Electrical Solutions, we offer electrical servicing in Newcastle, Maitland, the Central Coast and the Hunter Valley, New South Wales. We are knowledgeable professional electricians who will identify any problems and have them fixed immediately.

If you live in Newcastle, Maitland, Central Coast or the Hunter Valley and require electrical maintenance services, give the ASP Level 2 electrical experts at Real Electrical Solutions a call on 0403 306 842 or by using our live chat to schedule an appointment.


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