Why Do My Lights Flicker When They’re Plugged In?

light on in room

Are the lights in your home flickering on and off, or do they seem to dim when you plug something into an outlet? Luckily, this problem isn’t as scary and complicated as it appears at first glance – in fact, a variety of issues can cause flickering lights and there are steps that homeowners like yourself can take to identify what’s going on and investigate potential solutions. While it may seem like a daunting task, figuring out why your lights are flickering on and off does not need to be an intimidating process. Either way, understanding why this type of phenomenon is occurring can help ensure peace of mind going forward. In this blog post, we’ll explore potential causes for flickering or dimming lights as well as offer advice about what to do next.

The Cause of Flickering Lights

If your lights are flickering while they are plugged in, it can feel concerning.  However, the good news is that most of the time, this is a relatively harmless situation and nothing to worry about.  If your light is flickering, first check to see if the lightbulb is loose.  Oftentimes, tightening the lightbulb a bit will fix the issue.  A loose lightbulb may shift as you move around your home, causing it to briefly lose its connection in the circuit.

If the lightbulb is tight, take into consideration if you have turned on any bigger appliances when the lights flickered.  For example, did you turn on the washing machine or the dishwasher?  A change in the load of the electrical circuit may cause your lights to flicker or even dim.  While this may be an annoyance, it’s not something to be concerned about.  

More Serious Causes

Sometimes, your lights flickering when plugged in can be a sign that something more serious is going on.  For example, if your light is faulty, it can cause a surge in your electrical system.  As a result, you may find that your lights dim or flicker.

Loose circuit connections are another cause, whereby an underlying wire connection behind a light fixture has become loose or disconnected, leading to flickering light output. This is a more serious situation because it can lead to overheating in your circuits.  As a result, it can cause a fire in your home.

Similarly, if the light consistently flickers while the light switch is on, there could be a problem with your light switch.  This also leads to a risk of overheating.

If the more common causes for the flickering lights do not fix your problem, the issue may be one of these more serious issues.  In this case, you will want to call a professional for assistance.

Can You Stop Your Lights from Flickering When Plugged In?

To prevent lights from flickering when they are plugged in, there are a few simple steps that you can take. Firstly, check to make sure that the lightbulbs you are using are compatible with the fixtures and the voltage of the electrical supply. If the wattage of the bulbs is too high for the fixtures, this can cause flickering. Secondly, check to make sure that there are no loose connections in the wiring or fixtures. This can also cause flickering and can be easily fixed by tightening any loose connections.

In addition, make sure that the circuit breaker that is connected to the light fixtures is not being overloaded. If too many lights or other electrical devices are connected to the same circuit breaker, this can cause flickering. Consider using a circuit breaker that is specifically designed for lighting circuits. 

Finally, it is also a good idea to have an electrician inspect the wiring and fixtures to ensure that there are no other issues causing the flickering. This can help to prevent any potential safety hazards and can also help to prolong the life of the lights and fixtures.

When to Call a Professional

bedroom lampIt is recommended to call a professional if your lights continue to flicker even after checking for the simple causes such as bulb compatibility and loose connections. If you notice that the flickering is becoming more frequent or intense, this could be a sign of a more serious issue and it is important to get it checked as soon as possible. 

Additionally, if you notice that the flickering is accompanied by other symptoms such as a buzzing noise, dimming, or a burning smell, it is important to turn off the lights, unplug them immediately and call a professional. These symptoms could indicate a problem with the wiring or fixtures, and it is important to have it inspected by a licensed electrician to ensure the safety of your home and prevent any potential hazards. 

If you are unsure about the cause of the flickering, it is always best to err on the side of caution and call a professional to diagnose and fix the problem.

Contact Coastal Home Services

If your lights are flickering, it’s important to figure out the cause before taking any steps to fix them. Sometimes, the problem is as simple as a loose light bulb, while other times it may be an indication of a more serious electrical issue. Once you’ve determined the source of the flickering, there are generally some easy steps you can take to make your lights stop flickering. However, if the problem persists or you’re not comfortable troubleshooting it yourself, call a professional electrician for assistance.  Coastal Home Services has been helping people on the Crystal Coast of North Carolina for over thirteen years.  Call us today to get started on fixing your flickering lights.

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Electrician installing electrical wires and fuse switch box.

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