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Have you noticed the lights in your home starting to flicker, pulse, or dim unpredictably at random times? You flip a switch, and the connected bulb or fixture begins blinking on and off or brightening and dimming erratically. Brief, occasional flickering may seem like a harmless annoyance. However, repeated flickering incidents indicate potentially serious underlying electrical issues requiring prompt attention.

While flickering may appear minor initially, leaving it unchecked allows the root problems to worsen over time. Intermittent flickering often stems from loose wiring, deteriorated insulation, overloaded circuits and other escalating electrical hazards hidden within walls, equipment, or the utility electrical lines feeding your home.

Without proper repairs, these flickering electrical faults frequently evolve into more destructive outcomes like electrical fires, powerful voltage surges damaging appliances, or total lighting failures during critical times.

It is crucial to identify and address the specific causes of flickering while they are still minor. Diagnosing and correcting flickering lights early before extensive damage occurs is the key to avoiding costly repairs, ensuring lighting reliability, and preventing catastrophic electrical emergencies. Read on to learn what the most common culprits are when lights begin flickering out of the blue and actionable steps you can take to locate and remedy the issue properly.

What Triggers Lights to Flicker?

Several different factors can cause flickering lights, including:

Changing Flickering Light

Loose Lightbulb or Fixture

Before investigating other causes, check for loose lightbulbs in flickering fixtures. Bulbs that aren’t making secure contact with the base socket can spark intermittent connections, resulting in flickering. Open fixture housing or broken sockets that do not hold bulbs firmly can also be the culprit. Tightening everything completely may stop the flickering.

Faulty Light Switch

Outdated or damaged light switches with worn contacts often lead to flickering by interrupting the flow of electrical current to the light. As the switch rapidly opens and closes connections when flickering occurs, replacing it typically resolves this common issue.

Problems with Electrical Wiring

Issues within the electrical wiring itself frequently cause flickering. Frayed wires, inadequate wire gauge for the electrical load, loose wire connections, broken conduits or excessive splicing can spark short circuits and flickering. Outdated aluminium wiring is especially problematic. Overloaded circuits strain electrical wires beyond capacity, also resulting in flickering lights.

External Power Source Disruptions

Damage to utility lines and equipment affects power flow to your building’s electrical system. Nearby trees, animals, storms and accidents can damage above-ground lines. Failure of transformers or issues at electrical substations also causes widespread disruptions, including flickering.

Electrical Surges

Power spikes from heavy equipment or major appliances cycling on/off create flickering by overloading electrical circuits temporarily. During electrical storms, surges outside the home can also infiltrate indoor systems and flashing lights.

Grounding Problems

Improper building or wiring grounding leads to flickering when errant voltages seek alternative grounding sources, like plumbing pipes. Without a proper ground path, electricity flows abnormally.

Presence of Arcing

Electrical arcing from damaged wires or bad connections creates brief sparks. As arcs form and break repeatedly, light fixtures downstream flicker erratically. Any arcing detected requires immediate repairs.

Aging Circuit Breaker

Circuit breakers eventually wear out over time. Old breakers may not distribute steady electrical current, leading to intermittent flickering issues.

What Should You Do About Flickering Lights?

If you notice lights flickering in your home, take the following corrective steps:

Light Bulb Flickering

Check for Loose Connections

  • Examine lightbulb bases and fixtures for any looseness. Tighten bulbs and housing so there is no wobble.
  • Replace any burned-out bulbs that may be causing a loose connection.

Inspect and Replace Faulty Switches

  • Check all light switches controlling flickering lights for defects.
  • Replace any switches that are cracked, feel loose or spark when operated.
  • Use a multimeter to test questionable switches for faulty electrical connections.

Schedule a Professional Inspection

  • Hire a licensed electrician to inspect all wiring connected to flickering lights thoroughly.
  • Have them check for damaged wires, loose connections, inadequate wire gauges, overloads, etc.
  • They can locate the electrical fault and make proper repairs to stop flickering.

Contact the Utility Company If Needed

  • Report any flickering correlated with outside utility work or storms.
  • Damage to external lines and equipment can cause flickering inside.
  • Ask utility technicians to inspect the attached power lines and repair any damage found.

Address Electrical Overloads

  • Disperse demand by plugging fewer devices into outlets in the affected rooms.
  • Call an electrician to install additional circuits and upgrade electrical capacity if needed.

Install Surge Protectors and Breakers

  • Use quality surge protector power strips and UPS battery backups to regulate power flow.
  • Install whole house surge arrestors at the main panel to block external surges.

Replace Old Circuit Breakers

  • Replacing the electrical panel breakers may help if they are outdated or damaged.
  • Consider upgrading the entire panel if it is older than 20 years or is no longer up to code.

Inspect Grounding and GFCIs

  • For flickering without apparent cause, check grounding and add GFCI outlets if absent.
  • Electricians can confirm proper electrical system grounding throughout the building.

Changing Flickering Light

Take Flickering Seriously to Avoid Costly Damage

While flickering may seem minor, the root causes often signify larger electrical system issues. You are ignoring persistent flickering, which leaves potential safety hazards unchecked within walls and the utility lines feeding your building. This puts occupants at higher risk of electrical fires, shocks and electrocution.

Beyond safety dangers, unchecked electrical problems cause progressively destructive damage the longer they go unaddressed. Flickering frequently arises from wiring faults and surges that strain electrical components. If left undiscovered, this added stress slowly degrades the system, eventually leading to complete fixture, appliance and equipment failures. Yet a single burned-out transformer or motor can cost thousands in repairs and replacement.

Catching and correcting minor flickering problems promptly before they escalate into significant breakdowns ultimately prevents costly electrical repairs—schedule inspections by licensed electricians at the first sign of unexplained flickering. Safety and savings start with proactive electrical maintenance.

Don’t sit back as the lights dim and brighten sporadically. Identify the root causes triggering flickering so experts can eliminate them. Need help with your lighting? Our Melbourne emergency electricians are here for you day and night. Give our experts a call today!

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