Flickering Lights: When You Need To Worry

Flickering Lights: When You Need To Worry

October 24, 2020

Flickering LED lights is a problem that occurs more often than you might think. The light flickering is the result of the interruption of energy within the bulb. Usually LED lights turn on and off quickly in succession when an electrical current is flowing through the light. If something interrupts this flow of energy the pattern is no longer in sync so your eyes can recognize the disruption in the flow. Some causes of this are very minor such as a quick power surge or outage. However there are some cases that should be taken very seriously and will strike a red flag to take action. Electrical fires and bulb, switch incompatibility are just some of the causes that could lead to flickering. So what exactly are the instances that you should be worried about and what should you do about it? Below are some specific examples of the most worrisome yet solvable issues that could be causing your light to flicker.

When You Are Worried About Your Wiring Abilities

One of the biggest predecessors to an electrical fire is faulty wiring. You should only attempt to wire your new light if you feel confident with electrical principles. If you decide to wire your light without proper training and your lights are flickering it may be indicating faulty wiring. Knowing this fact is very important to watch out for any time you are observing a newly placed light. If you see flickering after non professional installation it could be causing your flickering and is definitely something that should be addressed. 

What to Do: After you have identified faulty wiring as the probable cause of flickering the next step is to turn off the breaker of the affected area in your home. This will stop all power from reaching the light which will reduce the risk of an electrical fire starting. After you have shut off the power, the next step is to call an electrician and have them fix and secure the wiring. This should stop the flickering from occurring since the contacts of the wires will be maintained and there will be no more breaks in the electrical current to cause the visible flicker. 

When You Smell An Electrical Fire

An electrical fire is clearly an emergency and can occur if the flickering light is not dealt with in a timely manner. You definitely need to worry if you begin to smell an electrical fire. If you smell the beginning of an electrical fire following a flickering light you need to act immediately and ensure that the fire is contained and no one is injured. 

What to Do: If there is an active fire occurring there are many steps that need to happen as close to simultaneously as possible. The first step is to unplug a plug in light if it is safe. If the light is hard wired, cut off the electricity by turning off the breaker. The next step is to smother the fire with a large and heavy blanket. Make sure you do not use water to try and put it out as electricity and water can cause someone nearby to become electrocuted. You can also use a fire extinguisher. Of course call the fire department if you cannot safely put out the fire and evacuate the area. Once the fire is resolved, the next time you install a light have a certified electrician install it and watch for the warning signs that an electrical fire may occur. 

When You Bought Cheap LEDs

The following instances are much less threatening and concerning, but they are important in figuring out why your LED lights will not stop flickering. Cheap LED lights are one of the most common causes of LED light flicker. The cheap components that make up the light can cause physical inabilities for the light and energy to be conducted. The chances are that if you continue to use cheaply produced LED lights your lights will continue to flicker and cause you issues. You can determine if this is the cause by changing the bulb with the same type of bulb to see if the same issue occurs. If it continues to flicker, the quality of the bulb is most likely the culprit. 

What to Do: Luckily, the solution for this issue is quite simple. The way to improve your light flicker is to invest in a higher quality LED bulb. The LEDs from Boundery have high quality components and construction so that you do not have to waste your money on products that do not live up to the expectations. The other benefit of Boundery’s bulbs is that there are many options ranging from a classic LED bulb to an Emergency Power LED light bulb that stays on even when your power goes out. This is the simplest fix out of all of the scenarios, and is even a cheaper troubleshooting option than completely changing out your hardware. 

When You Didn’t Change The Dimmer Switch

LED bulbs are obviously different from traditional bulbs like fluorescent or incandescent. Usually there is no issue switching from one type to the other, unless you are using dimmer bulbs or dimmer light switches. The dimming function on each type of bulb is different because the way they utilize an electrical current varies. If you are trying to dim your LED bulb on a dimmer switch or simply have your LED bulb attached to a switch with dimming capabilities there is a great possibility that this is the issue. Consider dimmer switch incompatibility as a major potential for your flickering LEDs. It is also worth noting that switching the bulb itself to a higher quality LED is a great first step to see if the bulb could be the culprit instead. This option could save you time and money if the bulb ends up being the issue instead. 

What to Do: If you find yourself in this situation your fix is not as difficult as it seems. What you will need to do is first determine if you want your LED light to dim or not. If so you will need to purchase a dimming light switch specifically for LED light bulbs. You will also need to ensure that your bulb is compatible and able to dim. If you do not want to dim your LED lights you can use a plain LED bulb and an LED light switch with no dimming capabilities. The light switch will require electrical installation, so again if you are uncomfortable with self installation it is recommended to reach out to a local electrician to assist you. No matter what you choose, this is overall an easy and simple fix that requires a trip to your local hardware store and 20 minutes of installation time. 

Flickering lights can mean a wide range of things from needing to buy a higher quality light bulb to the potential for an electrical fire. Take the flickering seriously because you never know what it means. Keep in mind that it can be normal to see flickering of an LED light in a video taken on a phone or video. Because the frame rate on the camera is matching the rate of the natural flicker you can see it in the video. If you are concerned about whether an LED flicker is normal or not you can always call an electrician for their professional opinion as it is better to be safe than sorry. 

Sources:

https://www.firerescue1.com/community-risk-reduction/articles/how-to-put-out-an-electrical-fire-in-five-steps-XB6EB1XTsNyKWkAN/

https://ledlightinginfo.com/why-do-my-led-lights-flicker

https://www.platinumelectricians.com.au/blog/8-dangerous-home-electrical-hazards/