When your lights start to dim and then brighten unexpectedly, it can be a frustrating and unsettling experience. The phenomenon could be caused by a variety of factors, and it can be difficult to pinpoint which one is the real reason.
No matter the cause, it’s absolutely vital to address your dimming and brightening lights immediately. While it may be a fix as simple as changing your light bulb, there could be a more serious underlying cause that may be creating an unsafe environment in your home.
Why Are My Lights Dimming and Brightening?
There can be a myriad of causes that could be behind your lights’ dimming and brightening. Let’s discuss the most common issues.
1. Overload in the Circuit
When lights on a single circuit are dimming, but all of the other electronics are working fine, that’s typically a sign of an overload in the circuit. The most common situation for this is when a large appliance shares a circuit with the lights and every time the appliance cycles on, it draws too much power and dims the lights.
While an overloaded circuit isn’t necessarily dangerous, it can be frustrating when the circuit breaker trips constantly due to the current draw exceeding the rating of the circuit breaker.
2. Old Light Bulb
If your light bulb has reached the end of its life, the intensity of the light will weaken and the components of the bulb will wear out or fail. The filaments inside an incandescent bulb can become brittle and result in the light flickering.
3. Loose or Faulty Electrical Connections
The flow of electricity in your home is reliant on secure and intact electrical connections. When these connections become loose or damaged, it can disrupt the flow and lead to a fluctuation in voltage. This will lead to the dimming and brightening of your lights.
4. Improper Wiring
When a light starts dimming unexpectedly, this could be caused by faulty or outdated wiring. If too much demand is put on them, the voltage can drop and cause the lights to dim. This is a common problem in older houses as they weren’t built to handle the electric demands of all of the appliances in a more modern household.
5. Power Grid Issues
If there are any abnormalities in the power grid, it could affect the lighting in your home. If there is an increase in demand in your neighborhood, it can create enough of a power difference to cause your lights to dim. If the demand is excessive for an entire city, it can cause a brown-out condition. Issues can also arise when there is bad weather and it knocks out a transformer.
6. An Open Neutral
The lights in the house get brighter or dimmer due to the balance of loads between the red and black legs. When the load on one leg is greater than another, the voltage drop can cause the lights to dim.
The load balance changes when appliances are turned on or off, triggering the lights to dim and then get brighter, creating an open neutral.
How to Fix Dimming and Brightening Lights
These are the most common fixes for dimming and brightening lights.
1. Change the Light Bulb
If the lights are dimming and brightening due to an old light bulb, then it is a simple fix. All you need to do is change the light bulb. As old light bulbs can be the common culprit behind dimming lights, always check your light bulbs first before considering other causes.
2. Upgrade the Wiring
If your lights flicker when you turn on bigger appliances, like your air conditioner or your refrigerator, it’s likely due to faulty wiring. To fix this, you will want to look into a service to have your wiring inspected and re-wired to accommodate the appliances in your home. It is unsafe to attempt to do this without a trained professional.
3. Replace Faulty Light Switches
Light switches can also be a cause for flickering lights. The switch may not be connecting with the bulb correctly, resulting in the lights dimming and flickering. If this is the case, the light switches will need to be replaced by a trained professional.
4. Wait Out a Brownout
If the cause of your dimming and flickering lights is a brownout, then there is not much to do other than to wait it out. Your electrical provider purposefully reduced the supply of electricity to prevent a total blackout. If this occurs, you will want to have a flashlight with you and unplug your devices so that they don’t get damaged by the lower voltage.
5. Replace the Light Fixture
If you’ve exhausted all other options, you may need to replace your light fixture. While this can be done by yourself, it can be an extensive and time-consuming process.
Electrical Safety Tips
When it comes to electricity, it’s always best to allow a licensed electrician to troubleshoot and fix problems. Working with electricity is extremely dangerous, and you need to have specific training to perform any fixes that may be needed safely.
This is particularly true when working with the service panel. The hot bus bars are always energized, even when the main breaker is off. This creates extremely unsafe conditions.
It’s essential to repair flickering lights as possible, as they are a sign of a bad connection that could start arcing at any time. If this occurs, it could start a fire in your home. If the simple fixes don’t work, never hesitate to reach out to an electrician for assistance.
Hire Maitz Home Service Electricians
If you’re experiencing lights dimming and brightening in your home, don’t hesitate to reach out to our expert team of electricians to diagnose and solve your problem. If you live in the Allentown, PA area, Maitz Home Service is there to help you with not only your electrical needs but with your heating, cooling, and plumbing, as well.
With Maitz Home Service, you can always expect the utmost respect and care as we perform our services. Our team always wears shoe covers when we enter your home and will clean up any mess that’s made when we leave. We can guarantee that you will stay informed, as both our dispatchers and technicians are incredibly knowledgeable about our services and can explain everything you want to know before or during the service.