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Why Are My House Lights Flickering?

Lights and electric wiring can be a real pain, can't they? For an electrician, everything makes sense. For the rest of us, it’s all just a tangle of wires and currents. That’s why I’ve done the research to help both of us out!

Black background with vintage lightbulb

Lights and electric wiring can be a real pain, can’t they? For an electrician, everything makes sense. For the rest of us, it’s all just a tangle of wires and currents. That’s why I’ve done the research to help both of us out!

So, what exactly does it mean when the lights in your home start flickering?

As a whole, flickering lights are the result of an insufficient connection between a current of electricity and the intended appliance, whether that be a lightbulb or a microwave.

However, when you take a closer look at the problem you will see that things aren’t always so to the point. The reason for this unreliable transfer of energy can be pretty hard to determine, let alone fix. That’s why you’re really here, anyway: to find out how to fix flickering lights!

Let me help you identify the cause of your electrical issues and figure out how to fix it.

Why Are My House Lights Flickering?

Flickering lights have a number of causes, some of which may not be as obvious as others. Below are the top reasons for lights to flicker in your home, starting from the least to most complicated.

Small wooden house cutout with light bulb inside
  • The easiest fix is a loose lightbulb. If a bulb is not screwed in properly, the connection will not be dependable enough to provide a continuous glow of light. If it isn’t loose, chances are it’s too old and needs to be thrown out.
  • Too many things are plugged in, overwhelming a circuit, or a few certain electronics are draining too much energy, therefore depriving items of reliable power – such as lights. This is a common problem in this day and age with the amount of systems and chargers the average home has.
  • Having a loose outlet or switch can be an issue that you aren’t even aware of! It’s only natural for things to loosen over time, particularly in older homes, so the next time you flip the switch to a light that tends to flicker, give it a closer look. But be careful, you might get shocked when you take a peek!
  • If you have lived in a stormy area, you probably already know how storms can affect the electrical grid or wiring between poles. But if you’re new to an area, don’t worry too much if there’s been a recent storm! High winds or other weather occurrences could have damaged something that has caused the lights to flicker.
  • Be sure to check in with the company that is in charge of your electricity if you can’t seem to determine the reason lights are flickering in your home. Something that happened on their end of the line might very well be the cause.
  • How old is your house? Outdated or old wiring can be a significant cause for flickering lights, as well as other issues you might be experiencing.
Black and white image of old wooden house, stormy sky, dead tree

Don’t forget that these are just the most common causes of flickering lights! If you can’t seem to resolve things on your own, contact your electricity provider or have an electrician come out to your home to inspect wiring or other potential problems.

With things like this, it’s better to have the professionals work it out anyway, right?

Can I Fix Flickering Lights Myself?

Yes. To a certain extent, lighting issues can be resolved by the homeowner. There are some causes, however, that should be left to someone with a better knowledge for electricity and lighting fixtures. For all we know, your attempts at fixing something could make it worse than it was before.

Therefore, with the more complicated elements, put your safety first and contact a professional, okay? The last thing we want is for someone to be zapped with electricity!

How Do I Stop Appliances From Drawing Too Much Energy?

If possible, try not to leave so many appliances plugged in. This can help prevent overwhelming any circuits.

Some of the items that draw the most power are cooking appliances, extra lighting (such as holiday lights, and especially heaters. Electric heaters that are plugged into outlets should be turned off or unplugged when you aren’t making use of the heat. This will help to keep lights from dimming or flickering.

After doing so and there isn’t any change, the issue more than likely stems from something else.

White walls, doors and wooden flooring, white heater on wheels

How Do I Fix Loose Bulbs Or Outlets?

You are, in fact, able to fix bulbs, outlets, and switches on your own! There is a slight learning curve to some of it but it’s extremely important that you know what you’re doing – and how to do it safely!

When checking to see if a bulb is properly screwed in, turn the light off and allow the glass to cool down before touching it. You don’t want to burn yourself or risk shattering the bulb right above your head. If it’s already screwed tightly in place, replace the lightbulb with a newer one. The original bulb may have just run it’s life course.

Loose outlets or switches are a bit of a different story. This is the part that requires a measured touch!

I highly recommend taking a look at Bailey & Shipp Electric’s article on how to deal with loose outlets and switches, so that you are aware of how dangerous it can be and get a thorough explanation on how to fix them yourself.

Otherwise, you should seek out an electrician to take care of it for you!

Old outlet coming out of the wall

Can I Fix Electrical Storm Damage?

Can, or should? That’s the better question, isn’t it?

The best way for you to fix damage to your electricity by a storm or other harmful weather is to call an electrician! Doing work like this when you aren’t a professional might prove to do more harm than good, and cost you more in the future.

So, don’t try to be brave and go near a fallen wire after a storm!

Wet stormy day, empty street, fallen electrical pole

Can I Fix Problems Caused By My Electricity Provider?

To answer in short, no. Issues with your lights or electricity that have been caused by your provider should be left up to the professionals. It is likely that they are already aware of an issue and have taken steps to begin to resolve it.

Still, you should call them if you haven’t found another solution. It’s the best way to receive direct answers for any electrical issue.

Electrician in yellow hard hat working on a bunch of wires

Can I Fix Old Wiring In My House?

Technically, you can fix it yourself but I think you’ll find yourself in over your head! As someone who has lived in a few older houses with outdated wiring, I have to insist that you hire an electrician to inspect the wiring beforehand! This way, you know what’s wrong and just how serious the situation is.

In fact, let them do all the work! Fixing old wiring involves a lot of work, such as clippings and holes, and many, many replacements. I promise you it’s worth it to have the professionals handle it instead of getting all tangled up with it yourself!

If this is what you plan to do, it is always helpful to get three or so estimates before deciding on who to go with. Explore your options before settling down with the first company you speak with.

Green wall with exposed electrical wires

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Good luck, and be safe!