Prime Electricians receives many calls each week from new customers complaining about flickering lights. This article describes the most common causes of flickering and what you should do if you are experiencing this problem:

(1) LED lighting

If you have recently replaced a halogen light bulb with an LED lamp, and it is this new LED lamp that is flickering, then the flickering which you are experiencing is most likely the result of an incompatibility between your light switch and the LED lamp which you have installed.

Older light switches, dimmers in particular, may not be compatible with LED light bulbs, which could explain the flickering you are experiencing. The solution is to upgrade your light switch.

Unfortunately, there are many different types of LED lamps, each requiring a different type of switch or dimmer, and so it is important to choose a new switch which is going to be compatible with your preferred choice of LED lamp.

We can help you with this. Call us today on 0207 06 06 06 1 and we will advise you on the best course of action.

(2) A problem with your power supply

Flickering lights can be caused when there is a problem with the supply of electricity to your property. In the first instance, you should contact your electricity provider to see if they are aware of any issues in your area or if they are undertaking any work which may be causing your flickering.

(3) Arcing

Arcing is a common cause of flickering in domestic properties. Loose connections can interrupt the supply of electricity to your lights and cause sparks and burning within your walls and ceilings. If the flickering is accompanied by a ‘crackling’ sound or there is a smell of burning in your property, we would advise you to turn off your electricity supply at the fuseboard immediately—flick the switch labelled ‘Main Switch’—and call us immediately on 0207 06 06 06 1.

(4) A faulty light switch or circuit breaker

Over time, the physical contacts within light switches and circuit breakers can degrade, causing them to suffer from intermittent faults. You can usually feel when a switch is on its way out, as it will feel soft or crackle when you turn it on or off. This can lead to arcing (see above), so should be dealt with as a matter of urgency. Again, if you can hear a crackling sound or there is a smell of burning, we would advise you turn off your electricity supply, and call us immediately on 0207 06 06 06.

(5) Your circuits are overloaded

If you find that your lights are flickering only when other appliances are turned on in your home, then this is usually a sign either that your circuits are overloaded (i.e. you have too many appliances turned on at the same time), or that your circuit breakers have been positioned incorrectly; the circuits designed to draw the highest currents should be positioned closest to the ‘main switch’ (i.e. closest to your inbound electricity supply) so that the operation of these circuits does not affect your lighting circuits, which are not designed to draw high currents and are usually limited in rating to 6A.

This type of flickering does not present a safety issue per se (unless there are other underlying problems with your installation, such as inappropriately rated protective devices), but may affect your enjoyment of your home.

Prime Electricians are expert diagnosticians. If you are experiencing flickering lights in your home or office, call us on 0207 06 06 06 1 or click on the button below to book a call out at a time and date that suits you.