FAQ: Why Are My Lights Flickering?

Posted on: July 21, 2015

You aren’t blinking without realizing it; you aren’t sleepy or imagining things. Your eyes aren’t tricking you—your lights are flickering. There are a few different reasons the lights in your home might be flickering, so read on to figure out what your problem is, as well as whether it’s a simple fix, or cause to contact a professional here at Hoffman Electrical!

Our team has been providing top-class electrical services to Tampa and the surrounding areas for nearly three decades. Our team has the skill and experience needed to suss out your flickering light problems, guaranteed.

Contact a certified lighting specialist at Hoffman Electrical today! You can reach us online any time, or via phone at 866-238-3243 to schedule an appointment in Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, or the surrounding area!

Common Causes of Flickering Lights

Are your tired eyes playing tricks on you, or are the lights flickering? If you indeed have flickering lights in your house, the problem could be easy to fix or it may require help from an electrician who’s fully trained and experienced. It all depends on the underlying reason for your flickering lights. We’re here to help you get to the root of the problem so you can determine the appropriate next steps.

We have helped many home and building owners throughout the Tampa and St. Petersburg areas deal with flickering lights caused by:

  • Loose bulbs: A simple and easy-to-fix cause of flickering lights is a bulb that has come loose in its socket. Try turning off the fixture, tightening the bulb, and turning it back on. If it still flickers, replace the bulb to determine if it’s faulty. Checking your bulbs should always be the first thing you do when you notice a light start flickering for the first time—especially if it’s a bulb you just put in. If the light continues to flicker even after screwing in a new bulb, there’s a different underlying cause that will likely require inspection from an electrician who knows what to look for.
  • Loose outlet connections: Wiggle the plug where it meets the outlet. If this induces flickering, gently squeeze the prongs together slightly to tighten the plug’s grip in the outlet. If the flickering light in question is a lamp or uses a power outlet, then that should be your next area of inspection. If the metal prongs of the power cord aren’t fitting properly into your outlet, the weak connection will result in—you guessed it!—flickering lights. Unplug your light, adjust the prongs, and plug it back in to see if this fixes the problem.
  • Faulty light switch: As with the previous problem, this issue ties back to connections. If your light switch has a weak or loose connection to your light fixtures, you should be able to tell by wiggling the switch and/or flicking it off and on. Jiggle the switch to see if this induces flickering. If so, first try tightening the screw terminals. If this doesn’t work, replacing the switch should fix the problem. If the flickering seems to stem from interacting with the switch, try tightening the switch plate’s screws—or, if that doesn’t do the trick, replace it altogether!
  • Voltage fluctuation: If you notice that your lights are only flickering sometimes, keep an eye out: next time the light flickers, ask yourself what other appliances are running in your home. If the flickering coincides with your HVAC system kicking on or a space heater running, the voltage in your house may be fluctuating. This likely is the cause if you notice the flickering coincides with running a high-wattage appliance, such as an air conditioner or hair dryer. A brief flicker when the appliance turns on is normal, but if the flickering continues, you could have a dangerous voltage fluctuation issue. You need a professional electrician to make a repair.
  • Old, fraying, or loose electrical wires: Finally, and most unpleasantly, you may have a serious electrical issue on your hands. If your home’s wiring, breakers, switches, or connectors are old or faulty, you could be at risk for a house fire. If the lights flicker when it’s windy outside, this is the likely cause. The frayed wires cause a short when the cables move in the wind. This isn’t a code violation, but it’s highly dangerous since an arc between frayed wires can start a fire. Contact an electrician right away for help.

Not sure which cause is the reason for your flickering lights? That’s what the team at Hoffman Electrical is here for! Contact us and one of our Tampa area electricians will help diagnose and resolve your lighting problem.

How To Fix Your Tampa Home’s Flickering Lights

As you read above, fixing your flickering lights is generally as simple as going down the list. Make sure your bulbs are screwed in, your switch is working, your plugs are fitting in the outlet, and you home voltage is stable. If you’ve done all this and come up empty-handed, do yourself a favor and contact our experts here at Hoffman Electrical. Let us take a look, and see if we can’t figure it out.

Call Hoffman Electrical to Repair Your Flickering Lights in Tampa & Clearwater Florida

If you determine the cause of your flickering lights to be dangerous, don’t wait around for the problem to escalate. Call a licensed electrician right away for emergency electrical repair.

Hoffman Electrical offers 24-hour emergency service throughout Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and Sarasota to ensure a quick response day or night. Don’t hesitate to contact us to resolve your issue safely—or give us a call at 866-238-3243.