With Halloween coming, October is a great time to festoon your house with spooky décor like jack-o-lanterns and spider webs. Scream along with a few scary movies, toast some pumpkin seeds, and enjoy those flickering lights, which are exasperating any other time of the year. Hey, they add to the dark and stormy atmosphere, right? Actually, flickering lights are only fun in fictitious haunted houses that are safely confined to television screens. In your house, they could be frightfully dangerous, requiring an electrician’s immediate attention to avoid a fire.
Here’s how to tell if your eerie flickering lights are a real problem or not:
Flickering that needs immediate repair: Some lights flicker for very dangerous reasons like loose wires or failing switches. Over time, wires inside wall outlets can loosen from their connections. Besides causing flickering lights, these loose wires can also create heat and fire hazards. Switches – on the wall or on the lamp itself – sometimes fail as well; as they are going bad they can cause lights to flicker unpredictably. Switches, like most electrical devices, don’t last forever and may require replacement. Loose wires and bad switches require an immediate visit from an electrician to avert a house fire.
Flickering that isn’t dangerous and is something you can easily fix: How many homeowners does it take to screw in a lightbulb? One, if he does it right. That’s correct: sometimes lights flicker because a bulb isn’t screwed in tightly enough. A loose plug is another easy fix – check to see if the plug is tightly inserted into the outlet. Have a recessed light that flickers? Check the bulb’s wattage: if a high-wattage bulb becomes too hot, the fixture’s thermal protection switch shuts it off. Once it cools, the bulb lights again. Using a lower wattage bulb usually solves that issue. Finally, sometimes dimmer switches aren’t compatible with a fixture’s bulbs and cause rapid flickering. This is a common issue when newer LED bulbs are paired with older dimmers.
Flickering is merely an annoyance: Sometimes lights flicker when a large electrical load is drawn from your house’s electrical supply. If your lights dim a bit when your furnace ignites, the A/C turns on or the dryer starts, that’s usually not a problematic flicker. Occasionally, lights can flicker if a neighboring house draws a large electrical load. That’s also a benign flicker.
Need help figuring out the source of your flickering lights? Service America is always ready to save you from scary house situations!
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