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Why are my lights flickering?

There are many reasons that your electrical system may not be operating properly. Flickering lights can have many causes.

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We often get calls from customers asking why their lights are flickering. This can be normal because of inclement weather or can be caused by a breakdown in your electrical system.

Before we continue: If you are reading this and experiencing the following, please contact your utility provider immediately:

1) If ALL of your lights are flickering/pulsing at the same time

2) If some of your lights are very bright and others are very dim

3) If your dryer AND oven do not heat up

Enmax Trouble: 403-514-6100

Fortis Outages: 310-wire (9473)

Identifying the source can start with you. Here are some ways you can narrow down the cause of your flickering lights.

1) Are the lights located on a dimmer switch?

2) Do the lights flicker only when an appliance like your furnace cycle on?

3) Has the flickering increased over time?

4) Are some lights bright and others dim?

5) Other causes of flickering lights can be a poor connection or worn electrical components within the home, when was your last electrical inspection?

1) Are the lights located on a dimmer switch?

When your lights are located on a dimmer switch a few things could be going on. If you have recently added the dimmer it could be installed incorrectly or not compatible with the bulbs or the fixture itself.

The dimmer switch may be old and need to be replaced, the fixture could be faulty and need to be replaced or repaired, or a combination of the above. If any of these scenarios apply, replacing an old dimmer, changing bulbs or trying a different type of dimmer could resolve this issue.

When replacing bulbs in a fixture on a dimmer, the packaging should state “Dimmable”. Fixtures that have multiple bulbs can be overloaded if the total wattage of all the bulbs combined exceed what the dimmer is rated for. This can cause flickering or for the dimmer to feel hot to the touch. 

2) Do the lights flicker only when an appliance like your furnace cycle on?

When a larger appliance like your refrigerator, dryer or A/C unit cycle on the motor requires increased power at the onset to get going. This causes an in-rush-current which makes your lights pulse or flicker for a split sec.

This is not generally a concern, the length of time the lights flicker/dim increases over time, or there is a sudden pulse of brightness. If this occurs, please contact your utility provider first, see above.

    3) Has the flickering increased over time?

    This could be related to a larger issue. The connection to your home may be damaged and you will need to contact your utility provider. They will confirm that the connection in the meter base or at the top of the service mast is not damaged.

    Often the utility provider will repair damage to equipment they own or up to the property line. If your electrical meter base is owned by the utility provider, they may enter the property to ensure the connections in the meter base are correct and tight. Note: the linesman that work for the utility provider are not allowed to enter your home. 

    The flickering can also be caused by inclement weather, heavy snow or a tree branch effecting the line. Strong winds and weather can loosen overhead connections and need to be service. The utility provider generally provides a reason the issue may be happening, this you can provide to the electrician when they arrive on site. Our certified electricians can evaluate and repair damage of this type seamlessly, working with the local municipality and utility provider.

    4) Are some lights bright and others dim?

    A sign of a more serious issue is when lights get very bright in one area and are dim in another, this requires immediate attention. A poor connection at the main breaker, faulty neutral in the meter base or a poor connection at the service mast can be cause of this.

    All of these pose a safety concern if not resolved and can cause thousands in damage to electronics and appliances byway of electrical surges.

    5) Other causes of flickering lights can be a poor connection or worn electrical components within the home, when was your last electrical inspection?

    The certified electricians at 24/7 Electric™ have many years of diagnostic experience. We can complete a detailed electrical inspection, panel tune up or replacement of worn breakers, lighting, switches and more.

    Completing a thorough inspection of your electrical system and repairing worn electrical components, will restore peace of mind and your power.

    There are ways to prevent your electrical system from breaking down preventative maintenance can catch issues before they become a problem:

    • Have your Panel Serviced once a year
    • Have an Electrical Safety Inspection done
    • Do not overload circuits
    • Update switches and outlets more than 15 years old
    • Replace your panel after 25 years

    If you are concerned about the state of your electrical system or are having issues with your lights flickering, Contact 24/7 Electric™ today.

    What to Consider

    Flickering lights can be as simple as a faulty dimmer or as serious as a poor connection.

    1. Are the lights located on a dimmer switch?

    2. Do the lights flicker only when an appliance like your furnace cycle on?

    3. Has the flickering increased over time?

    4. Are some lights bright and others dim?

    5. Other causes of flickering lights can be a poor connection or worn electrical components within the home, when was your last electrical inspection?

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    (587) 315-1361

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    587 315 1361

    info@247electric.com

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