Unraveling the Mystery of Flickering Lights: Common Causes and Solutions

causes of flickering lights

Flickering lights can be a frustrating and even concerning issue for homeowners and business owners alike. Not only do they disrupt your daily activities, but they may also indicate underlying electrical problems that need attention from a professional electrician. In Allentown, PA, Kelley Electric is your trusted partner in solving electrical issues, including flickering lights. In this comprehensive blog post, we will delve into the common causes of flickering lights and explore the solutions to ensure a well-lit and safe environment.

Understanding Flickering Lights

Before we jump into the causes and solutions, it’s essential to understand what flickering lights are and why they occur. Flickering lights are characterized by the irregular, unsteady illumination of light fixtures, which can be both annoying and unsettling. They may manifest as subtle dimming and brightening, rapid flashing, or intermittent interruptions in the light’s flow.

The Basics of Flickering Lights

Flickering lights occur when the electrical supply to a light source becomes unstable or interrupted momentarily. This instability can be due to a variety of factors, some of which we will explore in the following chapters.

Why Flickering Lights Are a Concern

Flickering lights are not just a nuisance; they can signal underlying issues with your electrical system. Ignoring flickering lights can lead to:

– Reduced lifespan of bulbs and fixtures.

– Increased energy consumption and higher bills.

– Electrical wear and tear, potentially leading to costly repairs.

– Safety hazards such as fire or electrical shocks.

Common Causes of Flickering Lights

Now, let’s delve into the potential culprits behind those pesky flickering lights. Identifying the root cause is the first step toward resolving the issue effectively.

Overloaded Circuits

One of the most common reasons for flickering lights is an overloaded circuit. When too many appliances or devices draw power from a single circuit simultaneously, it can lead to voltage fluctuations and, consequently, flickering lights.

Solution: Kelley Electric can assess your electrical panel and recommend adding additional circuits or redistributing the load to prevent overloads.

Loose Electrical Connections

Loose connections in your electrical system, such as at the outlet or within the circuit, can disrupt the flow of electricity. This interruption can manifest as flickering lights.

Solution: Professional electricians from Kelley Electric can identify and tighten loose connections, ensuring a stable electrical flow.

Faulty Light Bulbs or Fixtures

Sometimes, the simplest explanation is the correct one. Flickering lights may be caused by faulty bulbs or fixtures that need replacement.

Solution: Regularly inspect and replace bulbs and fixtures when necessary. For ongoing flickering issues, Kelley Electric can investigate further.

Voltage Fluctuations

Fluctuations in voltage supply from the utility company can lead to flickering lights. These fluctuations can be caused by various factors, including heavy demand on the grid and adverse weather conditions.

Solution: While you can’t control the utility company’s voltage fluctuations, Kelley Electric can install voltage stabilizers or surge protectors to mitigate their impact.

Wiring Issues and Flickering Lights

Faulty or damaged wiring is a significant contributor to flickering lights. In this chapter, we will explore various wiring-related problems and their solutions.

Old or Outdated Wiring

Homes with outdated wiring, such as knob-and-tube or aluminum wiring, are more prone to flickering lights and other electrical issues.

Solution: Kelley Electric offers rewiring services to replace outdated systems with modern, safe wiring.

Poor Electrical Connections

Inadequate connections within the wiring system, like frayed or corroded wires, can lead to flickering lights and pose safety risks.

Solution: Professional electricians can identify and repair or replace damaged wiring connections to ensure a reliable electrical supply.

Faulty Switches and Dimmers

Flickering lights can also be caused by malfunctioning switches or dimmers. These devices may not make a consistent connection, resulting in erratic lighting.

Solution: Replacing faulty switches or dimmers with high-quality, reliable alternatives can eliminate flickering issues.

Voltage Regulators and Stabilizers

In this chapter, we will explore the role of voltage regulators and stabilizers in maintaining stable electrical supply and preventing flickering lights.

Voltage Regulators

Voltage regulators are devices designed to maintain a consistent voltage level, regardless of fluctuations in the incoming supply. They are especially useful in areas with unreliable power grids.

Solution: Kelley Electric can install voltage regulators to ensure a steady power supply to your lighting fixtures.

Voltage Stabilizers

Voltage stabilizers serve a similar purpose, but they also protect sensitive electronic equipment from power surges and voltage spikes.

Solution: If you have valuable electronic devices and are experiencing flickering lights, consider installing voltage stabilizers for added protection.

Electrical Panel Issues

Your electrical panel is the heart of your electrical system. Issues with the panel can lead to flickering lights and other electrical problems.

Outdated Electrical Panels

Old or undersized electrical panels may struggle to handle the demands of modern electrical systems, leading to flickering lights.

Solution: Kelley Electric can assess your panel’s capacity and recommend an upgrade if necessary.

Circuit Breaker Problems

A malfunctioning or tripping circuit breaker can disrupt the flow of electricity to your lights, causing flickering.

Solution: Electricians can inspect and repair or replace faulty circuit breakers to ensure uninterrupted power supply.


Corrosion is another big cause of flickering lights and poses a significant threat. Over time, the gradual decay of electrical connections due to corrosion can result in poor conductivity. This, in turn, causes interruptions in the flow of electricity, leading to flickering lights. What makes corrosion even more dangerous is its potential to spark fires. As the electrical current attempts to bridge the gaps caused by corroded connections, it can create arcs of electricity, generating heat and sparking fires. Therefore, addressing corrosion in electrical systems is not only essential for maintaining stable lighting but also for ensuring safety by preventing potentially hazardous electrical fires.

Solution: Kelley Electric can perform regular maintenance and inspections of electrical connections and help identify and address corrosion issues.

Electrical Safety and Flickering Lights

Flickering lights can be a warning sign of more serious electrical issues that pose safety hazards. In this chapter, we will discuss the importance of addressing flickering lights promptly.

Fire Hazards

Flickering lights can indicate overheating or electrical arcing, both of which can lead to electrical fires.

Solution: If you suspect a fire hazard due to flickering lights, contact Kelley Electric immediately for a thorough inspection and necessary repairs.

Electrical Shocks

Unstable electrical systems can also increase the risk of electrical shocks to occupants of a building.

Solution: Promptly addressing flickering lights and electrical issues can prevent electrical shock hazards.

When to Call a Professional Electrician

While some flickering issues may have simple solutions, others require the expertise of a professional electrician. In this chapter, we will discuss when it’s time to call Kelley Electric for assistance.

Persistent Flickering

If flickering lights persist despite replacing bulbs and checking for loose connections, it’s time to call in the experts.

Safety Concerns

If flickering lights are accompanied by burning smells, sparks, or warm electrical outlets, it’s crucial to address the issue immediately.

Renovation or Upgrades

When planning home renovations or electrical upgrades, consulting with Kelley Electric can help ensure a seamless transition without flickering issues.


Flickering lights may seem like a minor inconvenience, but they can indicate underlying electrical problems that should not be ignored. Kelley Electric, located in Allentown, PA, is your trusted partner in diagnosing and resolving flickering light issues to ensure a safe and well-lit environment in your home or business. Don’t let flickering lights disrupt your life or compromise your safety; contact Kelley Electric today for professional assistance.