Find the culprit! Solve the problem of dimming and flickering lights

June 20, 2014

Does that dimming and flickering light make you feel like it’s the wee hours at a nightclub? The problem could be much easier to solve than you thought.

Find the culprit! Solve the problem of dimming and flickering lights

You don’t have to be a certified electrician to know that something is wrong if you have a dimming and flickering light, but finding the cause of the problem is a whole other story.

Problems with light bulbs are pretty common, and some of them are easy to solve. However, some situations require a real electrician to fix things once and for all.

A little light, please!

When the intensity of the light brightens or dims on its own, you know you have a problem—that is, unless you use variable intensity bulbs that let you choose the brightness setting with the switch. But even if that’s the case, the light still shouldn’t be changing settings on its own. Not unless a poltergeist is the culprit.

So, who’s to blame?

Although the situation is probably a simple one to correct, you still need to identify the source of the problem. There are three major factors that can explain the dimming and flickering light phenomenon:

  • The light bulb itself
  • The light switch
  • Voltage fluctuations

1. The light bulb

The first thing to do when you have a dimming and flickering light is check the light bulb. Do that before you call the electrician—it’s not hard to imagine him rolling his eyes as he remedies the problem by merely screwing in the bulb properly.

  • If the light still flickers once the bulb is properly screwed in, try replacing it with a new one. The old one might be defective. If the problem persists, then the culprit is elsewhere.

2. The light switch

If the light bulb isn’t to blame, maybe the light switch is. It could be malfunctioning because it’s worn out. You can easily check this out yourself.

  • Flip the switch gently to find out if it’s responsible for the dimming and flickering light. If it is, have the defective switch replaced by an electrician.

3. Voltage

A dimming and flickering light could also be the result of voltage fluctuations.

  • These fluctuations can occur when an energy-hungry appliance is plugged in to the same circuit as the flickering light bulb.
  • A drop in voltage can also occur if the electrical system is overloaded.

A more serious problem

If the problem with the dimming and flickering light is related to voltage issues, then you should call in a professional electrician right away. It might only be something minor, or the power company’s transformer could be at fault.

  • Either way, it is definitely wise to have your house’s electrical system inspected by a certified electrician.

When in doubt, call an electrician. After all, knowing how to change a light bulb doesn’t make an expert in electricity!

*Not only is it dangerous, it may even be illegal in some provinces, such as Québec, to do your own electrical wiring. The solution: consider hiring a master electrician.

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