Should you be scared of flickering lights?
Contrary to what you see in the movies, this does not mean a ghost is about to make its presence known. The flickering of any light fixture usually seems like a pretty harmless occurrence that people usually just shrug it off. But if you really know what goes on, you might want to take a closer look before you ignore it.
Unlike what you may have known, this is not just something that just “happens.” There is usually a reason why this happens. You have to remember that the light fixtures in your home run on electricity. Anything that involves electrical current should be investigated. Even if it is something that seems trivial like the flickering of a light bulb.
Admittedly, some of the reasons are harmless. But the fact remains that this can also be a sign of something more dangerous – like an electrical fire. The fact that it might be a hazard to you and to your family should be enough reason for you to take a closer look at those flickering lights.
The first step is to observe. When does the light flicker? Does it involve just one fixture or does it happen all over the house? How long has it been since you changed bulbs? How old is your house? These are only a few of the questions that you need to ask yourself if you really want to investigate the flickering lights further.
When flickering lights are harmless
There are a couple of harmless reasons why a light may be flickering.
For instance, if you have a fluorescent light, it is known to flicker before fully turning on. This happens as the phosphors reach its peak illumination. Sometimes, the fluorescent has a failing ballast and that causes the flickering.
LED lights also clicker if it is not connected properly to a driver. It can also be caused by dimming systems. You just have to either change the ballast of the fluorescent light or fix the LED light to ensure proper connection.
For other types of light bulbs, you can check if it is not screwed correctly into the socket. You simply have to turn off the light and check if it is loosely screwed. This might be more challenging if you have mostly recessed lighting – but it is something that you can still probably do on your own. Just remember to let the bulb cool off before you touch it.
You can also try flipping the light switch on and off. If the light seems okay after a couple of tries – even if you did not do anything about it, then the culprit might be the switch. It might be best to have the switch replaced.
While none of these mean there is an electrical problem, it still has to be checked out. But the bottom line is, there is no need to call a professional to fix the flickering problem.
When flickering lights need an electrician ASAP
So when do you need to call an electrician to check on flickering lights?
Like we said, your observation skills should be on point to determine if the flickering problem is more serious. If you notice it flickering every time you turn on a high-wattage appliance, then there is something amiss with the whole electrical system. It is possible that the voltage is fluctuating too much. And if the flickering is still happening even after you have turned off the appliance, then that is a sign of something more serious.
You have to keep an eye out for more than flickering. If the lights dim or burn out frequently, that means the fluctuation is too much and needs to be addressed quickly. You can get a voltmeter to help you check the voltage in your house. If the voltage turns out to be above average, then you might have to get in touch with an electrician to check things out.
Another dangerous reason for flickering lights is loose electrical wiring. This is probably the most serious reason because it can lead to a house fire. Make sure you shut off the light right at the circuit breaker. You then remove the fixture to check the wiring. If it seems okay, then there is loose wiring somewhere. You need to have it checked by an electrician immediately. This is especially true if the flickering is accompanied by the smell of something burning or worse, smoke. That might be the start of an electrical fire.
Try not to delay in calling an electrician. If you can have it fixed within the day, that would be better. You do not want accidents to happen.