There are many causes for flickering lights in your house, and some are more serious than others. However, you shouldn't ignore flickering lights as they are signs something is wrong. Lights that flicker all over your house could indicate an electrical emergency. Here's why whole-house light flickering is dangerous and the repair work your electrical system might need.
1. Why Whole-House Light Flickering Is Serious
When flickering is confined to a single light, the problem could be with a bulb or with the light wiring. While this can also be dangerous, the cause can be uncovered easily and repairs done to make the light safe.
If all lights on a circuit flicker, the problem is confined to a single circuit. For instance, the circuit might be overloaded. This can also be dangerous, but you can shut off a breaker and kill power to the entire circuit if necessary. An electrician might repair this problem by adding another circuit to your electrical system.
When lights throughout your entire home flicker, that points to a problem with the wiring, service cable, or electrical panel. More extensive repairs might be needed, and your home could be at a higher risk of a fire until repairs are done.
2. Electrical Repairs Your Home May Need
Your electrician has to uncover the reason for light flickering. The problem could be a matter of not having enough circuits. If most of your lights are on the same circuit, then they all might flicker when an appliance kicks on. You might also have to deal with flipped circuit breakers frequently when an overloaded circuit is to blame. An electrician can fix this problem by adding more circuits and outlets if needed.
The electrician might also check the wiring to see if it's damaged or if it's loose. Electrical repair work is sometimes needed in older homes that still have aluminum wiring. Your electrician might recommend adding copper wiring to the ends of the aluminum wiring so copper attaches to all the connections in your home rather than aluminum. Replacing the ends of the wiring is less expensive than replacing the old wiring, and it eliminates overheating and loosening at connections that lead to flickering.
The electrician may also check the voltage to your home to determine if it is too high. There might be a supply problem from your electric company that the company has to fix. The electrician will probably check the electrical panel as well. If the panel is old or not able to supply the power you need, the electrician might recommend updating the panel. A new panel will have more circuits so you can spread the power demand around.
When the lights flicker in your entire house, consider if the problem just started or has gradually gotten worse. If your electrical system is old, it may have a hard time supplying the energy you need for all the major appliances and electronics you use.
Residential electrical repair work is often a matter of ruling out problems and tracking down damaged wiring and components until the reason for the problem is found and corrected. Once repairs are done, the risk of fire is reduced and you'll have more power for all your needs without having lights flicker when your refrigerator kicks on.