Why Do My LED Lights Flicker?

Why Do My LED Lights Flicker?

September 15, 2020

Have you noticed that your LED lights are flickering? Is the flickering very fast? All of the time? Or are you only noticing in photos? This is something that is sometimes a common occurrence and should not be ignored. LED lights have special properties that can make them flicker, however there can be other causes as well. Flickering lights definitely catch your attention, which is certainly important in this case as it can be caused by many things. Continue reading to discover what makes them flicker, other causes of flickering, if all lights flicker, and of course how to stop the frustrating flickering of your light emitting diode (LED) lights. 

Is It Noticeable?

Before going deeper into the light flickering you should ask yourself is the flickering noticeable to the naked eye. If so, this is when you should investigate more. LEDs do flicker, but the flickering should not be noticeable unless you are using a slow motion camera or taking a video on your camera or phone. The frame rate on these cameras catches frequency of the lights flickering which makes the appearance noticeable. If you notice the LED flicker by simply looking at the light you may have a larger problem on your hands. 

What Makes Them Flicker

LED lights flicker because of how LED lights work. LED lights are completely reliant on electricity to keep their light shining. As electricity is applied through a current the light quickly flashes on and off. If something is interfering with this current whether it be the electricity itself or the bulb, the flow is interrupted so your eyes are able to recognize the inconsistency. This inconsistency is what you are noticing as an LED flicker. You may be interested to know that all light types including halogen, fluorescent (CFL), and incandescent also flicker, however because they are able to continue to supply themselves for short periods of time you do not notice the flickering. Once you recognize and understand the flickering you should know some of the common causes of this annoying flicker. 

Causes of Flickering

Flickering issues can make a person go mad. LED lights are so energy and cost efficient that many households are using them, but when you start to have flickering issues you may be tempted to return to your old ways. However, thankfully there are many common causes that could be causing the flickering to occur. The three most common causes of LED flicker are incompatible dimmer switches, faulty wiring, and cheaply produced LED light bulbs. 

Dimmer Switches

Using a dimmer switch is a very common issue when it comes to flickering LED lights. Regular LED lights are meant to receive consistent amounts of power and therefore are not compatible with a dimmer switch. Dimmer switches alter the amount of power that is given to the light and leads to a decrease in light that is given off. Since many dimmer switches are incompatible with LED lights and cause flicker you will need to purchase specific switches or lights. Dimmable LED lights are the easiest switch you can make. These dimmable lights will accept altered levels of power and result in a dimmable LED light. On the contrary you could purchase LED compatible or universal dimmers that will still work the LED but require more work because you have to install them into your wall. Regardless, if you are experiencing flickering LED lights you should consider if it could be an LED, dimmer switch incompatibility. 

Cheap LEDs

Another common cause of flickering LEDs is if they are inexpensive. Inexpensive LED lights tend to have a frequency of less than 50 hz. This is a very common occurrence of cheap LED bulbs. Just because they seem like a good deal does not mean that the quality will be up to par. In addition to the higher frequency, the quality of the parts could be causing the problem as well. If the parts are cheap the connection could be off and lead to a flickering in the light from connection issues. 

Wiring Issues

Speaking of connection issues, it could not be your light bulb’s fault at all. If your LED light is hard wired you may want to consider that the wiring connection is not secure. If your light is not adequately secured to your hardwire in the wall, the current could be interrupted and therefore lead to flickering because it is intermittently disconnected. Not only is this an annoying problem because you have to completely remove the light and rewire it, it is also a large safety concern. If the light is not properly wired the first step to fixing it is to turn off the breaker for that light to prevent any electrocution. You can then use a professional electrician or try and fix it yourself if you have the necessary knowledge and skills. Take this concern seriously and address it immediately or it could cause a fire. 

Stopping Light Flicker

Once you are able to identify the problem you can easily create a solution. If your problem is the incompatibility of your switches and bulbs, find ones that are made for each other and will live harmoniously together. If your issue with flickering is caused by a cheap LED consider making the wise investment to purchase a quality bulb. Since the high quality LED light will last you longer it could even save you money in the long run and will definitely save your sanity from all of the flickering. Finally, if your flickering is caused by faulty wiring you or an electrician need to immediately readjust the wires to ensure the connection is secure. 

Having a flickering light may seem like no big deal, but having it happen all day every day can begin to wear on you. Hopefully you can now see that this is a common issue and can very easily be addressed by identifying the problem as one of the three most common problems and following the logical solution. Knowing what is going on with your lights can make the experience of owning an LED light bulb much more enjoyable. 


Sources:

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


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


https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/save-electricity-and-fuel/lighting-choices-save-you-money/led-lighting#:~:text=LED%20is%20a%20highly%20energy,times%20longer%2C%20than%20incandescent%20lighting.