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Why Are My Lights Flickering?

Oct 17, 2023


Electricity is something most people don’t want to deal with at home. When you flip on a light switch, the light should just come on. When you plug in an appliance, it should just run.


But sometimes the power in your home doesn’t work as it should. One sure sign of a problem is flickering lights. What causes your lights to flicker, and what can you do about it?

Causes of Flickering Lights

Flickering lights can be a nuisance. They can cause distractions and irritate your eyes. They may also be a sign that something’s wrong with your electrical system. The first thing you’ll want to do when your lights start to flicker is to try and find the cause.

Loose Wiring

Loose connections in your electrical system can cause electricity to jump or “arc” over gaps, which makes the lights flicker. This can be a fire hazard, as the electricity can spark a fire as it jumps. If you notice the lights flickering when you wiggle the light switch, it could be loose wiring.

Old Wiring

Some older homes have never had the electrical wiring updated to keep up with modern electrical needs. The old wiring just can’t handle the demands of running a modern household. A professional electrician can identify old wiring and help you figure out a plan to update your home.

Overloaded Circuits

Even if your home has new wiring, the system can get overloaded. If too many appliances are running at the same time, your electrical circuits may get overloaded. The sudden change in voltage will cause the lights to flicker. Sometimes, your circuit will simply stop working. This can usually be fixed by turning off a non-essential appliance or flipping the circuit back on.

Faulty Light Socket/Loose Bulbs

When a light socket is faulty, the bulb can’t connect with the electrical wiring properly. This can cause your lights to flicker, as the bulb receives inconsistent power. For the same reason, if the bulb isn’t securely fastened to the socket, it can cause the bulb to flicker. Make sure your bulbs are screwed in tight.

Whole-House Power Surge

Many things can cause a power surge throughout your house, including some of the major weather events we get here in the DMV area. As the name suggests, a power surge is when an enormous amount of electricity suddenly flashes through your home’s electrical system. You may notice the lights flickering throughout your entire home. If this happens too often, it can cause permanent damage to your wires.

Dead Outlets

The outlets you use to plug things in can get overused and die. Or they may be tripped by an overloaded circuit. Whatever the reason, if an outlet no longer works, your lights may flicker and then go out.

Should I Be Worried About Flickering Lights?

If you know the cause of your flickering lights and it’s something that can be easily fixed, then there is no need to worry. Sometimes all you need to do is screw a lightbulb in a little tighter or flip a circuit back on in your circuit breaker.


But there are other times when flickering lights might be a cause for worry. As we said above, loose wiring can cause electricity to jump between gaps. If that electricity hits anything flammable during its arc, it can start a fire. 


Similarly, too many voltage fluctuations from power surges or overloaded circuits can damage your wires or appliances. To save yourself from having to replace your home’s entire wiring system or expensive appliances like refrigerators, have your home professionally inspected by a licensed electrician. The 5-Star Technicians at CroppMetcalfe, for example, can help you surge-proof your home and create dedicated lines for the appliances that require more power.

How to Fix Flickering Lights

There will be times when fixing flickering lights in your home is as simple as changing a lightbulb. Most other times, though, it’s best to call a professional, licensed electrician like the ones at CroppMetcalfe. We can inspect your home for old or loose wiring, replace faulty outlets, sockets, and light fixtures, add dedicated circuits, and more.  


Fixing your home’s electrical problems yourself can be tricky at best, or dangerous at worst. Don’t put yourself and your family in danger. When it comes to inspecting, fixing, and replacing anything electrical in your home, make sure you call a pro. 

Call CroppMetcalfe Today

CroppMetcalfe is the #1 trusted name in electrical repairs for the Maryland, DC, and Virginia areas. We’re ready and able to help you with any electrical need at any time. From inspections to emergencies, we’re here to solve all your electrical problems. Contact us today to find out how we can make your home safe and efficient.


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