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What to Do When Your Lights Flicker at Home

You are home making dinner when your lights flicker. Should you be worried? You may have reason to worry, or you may not. Your Wylie electric company wants to ease your mind with reasons and solutions for flickering lights in your home.

Flickering vs. Dimming

Sometimes an appliance that uses a hefty amount of energy, such as a window air conditioner, can draw enough current from your system to cause the lights to dim for a second or so, which is different from a flickering light.

Long light bulbs, such as those in a garage, are often fluorescents. Fluorescents have the capacity to show alternating current in real time; they flicker. To stop the flicker of fluorescents forever, switch to energy-saving LED bulbs.

On occasion, flickering lights happen to everyone, and there is no reason for concern. If this happens with frequency, though, you may be experiencing a circuit overload due to inadequate wiring, which is more common if your house is older. In this case, contact an electrician.

Flickering Light Bulbs

If only one light in an appliance like a ceiling fan’s light fixture is flickering, turn off the switch, then check to see if the bulb is securely screwed in. That usually solves the problem.

If all the lights are flickering in one appliance, such as a pole lamp with multiple bulbs, check to see if the lamp is plugged properly into the wall socket. Also check for wear at the plug or socket, and be sure the on/off switch is in working order.

These scenarios are not critical and can generally be replaced or repaired without much difficulty. Contact an electrician if you consider the situation severe, persistent, or consistent after you check your connections.

Appliance Issue

As appliances age, it becomes increasingly difficult for them to function to their utmost capacity. Many older appliances exhaust a large amount of energy to start their motors or begin to function, which causes a current fluctuation.

For appliance problems, it is wise to contact an electrician to determine the cause of the fluctuation. The electrician will let you know whether it is worthwhile repairing your appliance or if it is time to replace your older appliance with a new model.

Incompatible Switches

Many consumers have turned to LED lighting to reduce energy costs. If your home was equipped with dimmer switches before you installed LEDs, your old switches may be incompatible with modern bulbs, causing them to flicker.

Change out your dimmer switches for best results.

Outdated Wiring

According to the National Fire Protection Association, approximately 67% of all home fires begin with wiring problems.

Older wiring can arc, or send electrical current over breaks in the electrical connection. Arcing is extremely dangerous since a singular arc can exceed 10,000° F and is responsible for many house fires. These arcs are often seen as flickers in electricity.

Any wiring issues are cause for alarm since your home may be in danger. Contact an electrician as soon as possible if this occurs.

Transformer Strain

In the city and suburbs, your home shares a transformer with several other households. In this scenario, your neighbors’ energy consumption can affect the current entering your house. When a neighbor starts a high-energy appliance, your lights may momentarily dim. If your lights dim simultaneously with your neighbors’, chances are an excess of power is being consumed down the street.

In this scenario, no action is necessary.

Alternating Current

As the name implies, alternating current (AC), which is typical in American homes, alternates. The standard voltage of 120 volts should fluctuate 120 volts above or below 0 volts. Any voltage at or above 125 can cause lights to flicker.

An electrician should be called to check your electrical system if you note flickering lights without any known cause. If you have access to a voltmeter, check the voltage to determine if your current is within parameters. Let the electrician know if you have noticed an increase in bulbs burning out or lights dimming without cause.

This flickering will affect all bulbs – and all other electrical appliances – simultaneously. The flickering may be sporadic or it may last a while. This may point to a problem in the meter box or service cable connection.

Keep your home and family safe. Pronto Power, your Wylie electric company, has technicians on staff to address your concerns and to answer questions on electrical difficulties. Our technicians can let you know if an electrician is needed to keep your home in perfect order. Give us a call today at 1-844-621-2852.

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