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What does it mean when the lights in your house flicker?

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asked Sep 30, 2015 in Home Improvement by anonymous
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Flickering lights in your house could be an early warning sign of an electrical problem. Here are some of the different scenarios you may encounter:

 

  • A single light or a group of lights in one area of your house flicker. If only one light is flickering it could be caused by a faulty bulb or by a loose connection between a the bulb and socket. If more than one light flickers, but only in one area of your home, it could be caused by a bad connection in a switch, light fixture, junction box, receptacle or at the main electrical panel. You should contact an electrician to test the circuit and pinpoint where the problem is. This is not something you should let go or ignore since loose connections can cause fires. [1]
     
  • The lights only flicker when a large appliance is turned on. Many large appliances have a high power draw when they first start up. This can cause a drop in the amount of power being supplied to the lights, which in turn can cause temporary flickering or dimming. Once the appliance is up and running, the flickering should go away. This is a common occurrence and generally doesn't require attention. However, if the flickering doesn't go away or seems particularly severe, you may want to contact an electrician to evaluate the situation. [2]
     
  • All of the lights throughout your house flicker. If the lights are flickering everywhere in your house, it could be a sign that you have loose service conductors in your main electrical panel or in your meter base. These are both potentially dangerous situations, so it is important to contact an electrician as soon as possible to address the problem. [2]
     
  • The lights in your neighborhood flicker. If all the lights in your neighborhood are flickering, it could be caused by a storm, heavy wind, a downed tree branch or other issues that interfere with the power lines that service your house. This is typically nothing to worry about and most likely does not pose a danger to your home.

 

Although in some cases flickering lights may be harmless, in other cases they could indicate a serious problem. It is always best to err on the side of caution and contact an electrician anytime you notice the lights in your home flickering.

 

References: 


1. http://www.redbeacon.com/hg/3-causes-flickering-bulbs/
2. http://enlightenme.com/flickering-lights/

answered Sep 30, 2015 by blueskies (57,070 points)

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