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What Causes Flickering Lights in a House?

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Flickering lights in a house cannot only be annoying – they can also be dangerous. If you have noticed the frequent flickering of lights in your home, then it is important to identify the problem immediately. Learn about the different causes of flickering lights and what you can do to fix them.

A Flickering Light Bulb

If you notice that only one particularly light bulb has been flickering, then chances are the problem is with the light bulb itself. First, check to make sure that the light bulb is properly screwed in all the way (if it is not, then this can cause small interruptions in current that result in flickering). If the light bulb is secure, then chances are the filament in the light bulb is loose. To fix the problem, a simple replacement of the light bulb for a new one should fix the problem.

Simultaneous Flickering of All Lights

If all lights in your home (or a specific region in your home) flicker significantly and frequently, then the cause is likely power arcing. Arcing is a potentially dangerous issue that occurs when nearby wire connections complete an electrical current via electrons that float and connect through the small gap (similar to how lightning forms). This arcing draws power, which can be witnessed by the flickering lights of your home. Additionally, arcing generates heat, which in some cases can directly lead to a house fire. For this reason, an electrician should be contacted immediately if a region of your home is experiencing flickering of lights on a regular basis.

Beyond arcing, other causes of potentially dangerous flickering include a failing electrical switch and abnormal loads being created by a neighbor's house.

Slight Dimming of All Lights

It should be noted that a slight flickering of lights is normal and cannot be completely eliminated from a home. For example, you may have noticed that your lights dim for a miniscule moment when your air conditioner kicks on or you turn on a large appliance like your vacuum cleaner. This is normal, and is simply a result of the inrush current that is required upon startup of different appliances.

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