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4 Potentially Concerning Reasons Your Household Lights Are Flickering

Flickering lights in your home should be taken seriously. While there are several harmless causes of flickering lights like loose light bulbs or dimmer switch problems, flickering household lights can be the only sign of serious electrical issues that can cause fires, deadly electrical shocks, or damaged household appliances. Flickering lights should always be investigated and if a loose bulb or dimmer switch malfunction has been ruled out, it’s time to call your electrician to troubleshoot more potential electrical issues before they become a danger to you and your family.

Using The Wrong Bulb Wattage

Luckily, this cause of flickering lights is an easy fix, but that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked. Using the wrong bulb wattage in a light fixture is a fire hazard, and can lead to dangerous blown bulbs or potential electrical shocks. Always check the bulb wattage recommendations on the light fixture you are using.

Manufacturers are required to print the wattage on all light fixtures.  Ensure the light switch is turned off or the lamp is unplugged before looking for the wattage suggestion.  Here are some places to look:

  • Inside of the light socket
  • On the base of ceiling lights under the cover
  • On the side of the light socket
  • In the instructional packet or printed on the light fixtures packaging

Overloaded Circuits In Your Home

An overloaded circuit is a pretty common cause for flickering lights as well as other electrical issues in your home. Signs of an overloaded circuit can occur when you turn on one electrical appliance, like a toaster, and as the toaster turns on it causes the lights to flicker. This is a sign that the energy required to run both items isn’t enough and the instability is causing lots of tiny power outages. This can cause damage to your electrical appliances, potential house fires, or electrical shocks, and needs the attention of an electrician.

pluging cable to the electric outlet

Sudden Voltage Changes

Persistent flickering lights can be a sign of a serious electrical problem that’s resulting in sudden voltage changes. A typical home has a 120-volt circuit and shouldn’t fluctuate beyond 5 volts in either direction. If you’re getting sudden voltage changes in your home resulting in flickering lights, the root problem could include:

  • Faulty or loose wiring in your home
  • Problems with the utility connection
  • Corroded connections in your system
  • Improperly installed or failing electrical outlets


Arcing is one of the more dangerous reasons your lights are flickering. Arcing is when an electrical current jumps from one connection to another, resulting in an “arc” of raw, uninsulated electricity. Electrical arches are extremely dangerous and cause deadly electric shocks. Arcing occurs in homes when there is an overloaded circuit, electrical panel damage, or bare electrical wiring. Signs of electrical arcing include:

  • Sudden crackling or buzzing sound when lights or appliances are turned on
  • Bright flashes of light from an electrical outlet
  • Flickering Lights before light bulbs blow out suddenly

Are Your Household Lights Flickering? Time To Call In An Expert.

If you’ve ruled out loose light bulbs, wrong wattage, and dimmer switch issues, and your home lights are still flickering, it’s time to call in a professional electrician! We can help you out! Contact us for more information.

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