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What causes the lights in my home to flicker?

Posted on: November 3, 2014

Do your lights flicker regularly? When you turn on your dishwasher or any other heavy appliance, do your lights dim briefly? Not only is this frustrating, but it could be the sign of a more serious electrical issue. While most people simply tolerate flickering lights, it’s best to understand what can cause flickering lights and why it’s important to get it corrected as soon as possible!

If your lights are flickering, contact the electrical experts at Kolb today! We’ve been servicing the Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia area since 1925, so we have plenty of experience in fixing all of your electrical issues! 

Flickering Lights

A flickering light can simply be caused by a loose or defective bulb. This is about the only cause of flickering that a homeowner should attempt to fix on their own. With the light turned off (and fully cooled!), gently remove the bulb from the socket and inspect it. The glass bulb should be firmly affixed to the metal base—if it wiggles in the base at all, it’s defective and needs to be replaced. If the bulb is good, screw it firmly into the socket and test it for flickering. If it still flickers, another problem exists.

If the lights flicker at a certain time, or at a regular interval, pay attention to your other electrical demands during that time. An HVAC unit, clothes dryer, or other large appliance can put a heavy demand on your electrical service. If the lights flicker when other appliances kick on, there may be a problem with the appliance or service wiring. This is more than a nuisance—increased current draw can cause wiring, connectors, and breakers to heat up, presenting a real risk of fire. Even without the risk of fire, appliances that have to struggle to draw power can suffer damage to motors and other expensive components.

Defective wiring is another common cause of flickering lights. Undersized breakers, loose connectors, or damaged wires can all cause intermittent current losses. If your home has a mixture of copper and aluminum wires, special connectors must be used where the two types of wires meet. If the wrong connectors were used, they can corrode, causing flickering and other problems. Any defects in your home’s wiring can create a risk of fire or electrocution, and can render safety features like breakers and GFCIs ineffective.

Contact Kolb Electric to Fix Your Flickering Lights!

If your lights are flickering, contact the electrical experts at Kolb today! We’ve been servicing the Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia area since 1925, so we have plenty of experience in fixing all of your electrical issues!

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