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Why Do My Lights Flicker?

Be careful, flickering lights may seem like just an annoyance but they can also be dangerous!

Have you noticed that all or some of your lights have been flickering? In most cases, it can be a faulty light bulb, but in other cases it can mean something more serious—and potentially dangerous. Keep reading to learn about potential reasons as to why your lights are flickering, from the expert Northern Virginian electricians at John Nugent & Sons.

Reasons Your Lights Are Flickering

It is important to understand why your flights are flickering and learn about ways you can fix them. When flickering lights are harmless they are caused by:

Faulty light bulbs – in most cases, flickering lights are not a problem with your wiring, but with the bulb itself. Make sure the bulb is secure in its connection, and then check the filament within the bulb (if it’s an incandescent bulb). If necessary, replace the bulb. If that does not work, contact a professional.

A large appliance starting up – large appliances, such as an HVAC system, microwave, vacuum cleaner, or clothes dryer, require a lot of power when they start. Since most homes operate on 200 amp electrical service, this sudden power draw will likely cause your lights to flicker or dim temporarily. An electrical service upgrade can help with this problem, as can 240V receptacle installation.

When Flickering Lights are a Problem

If all the lights in your home, or in part of your home, start flickering all at once, this can indicate power arcing, which is a potentially serious problem that occurs when current jumps between small gaps in wire connections. The arcing sucks power, which explains the flickering lights, and generates heat, which presents a serious electrical fire hazard.

How to Correct Low Voltage Problems

While lights that dim when big appliances turn on isn’t the worst thing in the world, they can be annoying. Fortunately, they are fairly easy to fix if you call a professional electrician! Here’s what you do:

First, call a local electrician. If you live in the Northern Virginia, call John Nugent & Sons at 703-291-1926. Your electrician will be able to test and see if your unit is wired appropriately and can fix any issues, such as loose connections or service conductors.

Next, call an HVAC company (John Nugent & Sons also provides HVAC services) and have them install a soft start kit for the heating and cooling system. While this isn’t always guaranteed, it should help lessen the impact of a cold start on your home’s energy system.

If neither of these works, contact your utility company and find out if the connection from the electrical meter to your home is too small. Many utility companies will provide the inspection for free and can offer good tips on what to do in this case.

If you need help troubleshooting why your lights are flickering, contact John Nugent & Sons. We’ll help diagnose the problem and correct it so you can go back to living comfortably and safely in your home. We can also install new lighting in your home, including recessed lightingsecurity lighting, and more!

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