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Under normal conditions, the lights in your home should give off a steady glow. If you’ve got a light fixture that flickers on and off, it’s important to find out why, to avoid the risk of electrical fire or shock.

LED, CFL or Fluorescent Bulbs

Flickering is fairly common with some types of light bulbs. If you have fluorescent lights, some flickering in the first few seconds after you turn them on is normal, because the phosphorous inside is still getting brighter. When fluorescent bulbs flicker after they’ve been on awhile, this can be a sign the ballast is failing and needs to be replaced. If you’re using LED or CFL bulbs connected to a dimmer switch, they may flicker or blink because they’re not compatible with all dimmers.

Loose Bulb

This may seem obvious, but the light bulb may not be screwed in tight enough into the socket. When the bulb has cooled down, try tightening it. If it was loose, and this fixes the flickering, you’re all set. If it’s screwed in tightly and still flickers, keep searching for the problem. While you’re at it, you can also unscrew the bulb and check to make sure the glass is connected firmly to the metal base. If there’s any wiggling, replace the bulb.

Poor Light Switch Connection

Flickering lights can also be caused by problems with the switch itself. To test for this, try turning the light switch on and off a few times, or shutting the light off for several minutes and then turning it back on. If this stops the flickering, the switch needs to be replaced.

Fluctuations in Voltage – Call an Electrician

Flickering lights while you’re using a household appliance like a dryer, microwave, furnace or air conditioner could be a sign that your voltage is fluctuating too much. Light fixtures that frequently have burned out bulbs, or lights that dim at random times are also signs you should have the voltage checked. High voltage will cause too much current draw on your home’s wiring, which can lead to overheating of wiring, breakers, and other electrical components. To avoid the risk of damage to your appliance or a house fire, call a licensed electrician.

Faulty Electrical Wiring – Call an Electrician

Loose or defective wiring is the most serious cause of flickering lights, and it’s a leading cause of house fires. If you notice your lights flicker when it’s windy outside, the cables outside your home could be frayed in the weatherhead, which is where the cables from the overhead power line connects to your house. Your electric utility company can check out this issue. If the flickering is at random times, you can turn off the circuit breaker to the problem light and remove the fixture to look for loose wires. The safest solution, however, is to have an electrician check the light and wiring.

If you’ve explored the simple solutions and still have flickering lights, it’s best to be on the safe side and call a licensed electrician to investigate. In Wichita and the surrounding areas, call the professionals at Graf Electric at 316-686-2090.

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