Hansberger Refrigeration Blog: Your AC Repair Resource

The Top Causes of Flickering Lights in a Home or Business

Flickering lights inside your home are not only an annoyance, they could signify a serious electrical hazard. Many homes today entered the 21st century with regard to wiring and an electrical panel designed for mid-20th-century electrical loads. Today, most homes include many more electrical devices and place more demands on home circuits than in bygone eras. Flickering lights can be one sign of this.

For safety reasons, it’s a good idea to not simply put up with unexplained events in your electrical system, as they may be a warning sign. Here are some possible causes of flickering lights:

One flickering bulb.

Usually, a problem with the bulb or socket, or a defective switch. The bulb may be loose in its socket (try tightening it when it’s cool), or the bulb itself may be defective. Inexpensive LED bulbs often flicker and require replacement.

Flickering lights limited to a single room or area of the house.

This is probably an issue with just one specific circuit. It may be a problem at the main electrical panel or some other device, such as a large appliance connected to the same circuit.

Lights flicker when a major device such as the HVAC system is switched on.

Certain large components place a big load on central circuit breakers, sometimes causing flickering throughout the house. If flickering occurs only momentarily, it may not be a major issue. However, if lights flicker for an extended period or flickering is very severe, this may be a sign that the aging electrical system is overloaded and thus is due for an upgrade. Get a professional opinion from a qualified electrician.

Random flickering lights for no apparent reason.

Loose wiring and/or shorts somewhere in the system may be a cause. It’s also a fire hazard and should not be ignored. Other possible causes include worn connectors in the breaker box or loose service conductors in the house electrical panel. All require professional diagnosis ASAP.

For professional diagnosis of flickering lights and other electrical issues, contact Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Company.