Why Do LED Lights Flicker?

Modern LED lights are well known for their efficiency and effectiveness. They are the best option in your office or even on the dance floor.

You may be experiencing flickering of the LED lights in your home or place at work. If so, you are in the right place to get the solution to your flickering lights. 

To start off. Let us clear one thing up, all lights flicker. There are just some that we do not notice. For example, the phone screen that you are looking at right now is flickering. Yes, really. The only difference between your phone screen and that annoying flickering light you are trying to fix is the speed at which it flickers. 

This is measured in the unit Hertz. As humans, our naked eye can notice flickering at about 50 Hertz. But once it reaches up to about 100 Hertz, our eyes can no longer really detect the flickering of these led bulbs.

As we all know, LED lights are a big advancement when compared to their predecessor, incandescent bulbs. However, since they are relatively new technology and are not standardized everywhere yet and there are still some issues with their use and setting them up properly. Thus, led lights flickering is a common problem.

To get to the bottom of this we will need to go through a very simple checklist to find the root problem. To be constructive, let us look at the most simple fixes first. If the suggested solution does not solve your flickering led light bulbs, simply move on the next until you find the solution for you. So lets get started!

How do I stop my LED lights from flickering?

1. Inspect The LED Bulb

When led lights flicker, a simple yet uncommon reason is a faulty led bulb. To verify this, simply swap the bulb that is flickering with one that you are sure that works. If the problem goes away, simply swap that led bulb and all bad bulbs with new bulbs. 

Also looked out for cracks and other damage on the bulb as this can significantly affect it’s performance and efficiency.

2. Check For Corrosion

Many times, the led lights flicker because they have a bad connection to the socket because of corrosion. To check this, make sure the power supply is turned off. Next, unscrew the led bulb from the socket and check for any signs of corrosion or debris. If you do find corrosion, it is best to change the led bulb. However, if there is any debris, simply clean it off and gently screw it back in.

3. Check if There is a Faulty Connection

The led lights may not be connected properly to the power supply and the electrical wiring may also be faulty. This is a common problem in older homes.

Having these loose conductors and connections can definitely result in flickering led bulbs. To fix this, you may want a qualified electrician check which is when an electrician will inspect your electrical system and your led bulbs to check for any defects. You can also get a lighting specialist from your power company.

If all of your bulbs are flickering, this might be the result of a faulty power supply. Some common reasons for this may be that you recently connected something to the same circuit that draws large amounts of current such as an air conditioner which is an example of a dirty power consuming device. On a side note, if you have incandescent bulbs in the same circuit as an led bulb, the same may happen in terms of flickering.

4. Loose Connection

A quick fix would be to check if your led bulb is screwed correctly into the led fixture.

If not, tighten the led lamp until it is snug in the light fixture. This is a common problem when it comes to led lighting. Be sure not to overtighten. For safety, wear a glove.

LED Bulb and Dimmer Switches Compatibility

Dimmer switches are basically used to control the brightness of the led bulb you prefer in the specific location based on the amount of power the switch allows. The lower the power input, the dimmer the light will be.

You might have an old dimmer switch, these may not be able to work with your led lamp. A reason may be that the dimmer switch was to control older incandescent bulbs which are not quite of the same technology, the incandescent bulbs being older. This is called an incompatible dimmer.

 This incompatible dimmer will then cause a visible flicker of the dimmable led lamp. 

Another factor that you will have to be aware of is if your led light bulbs are dimmable. Some bulbs are not capable of doing this. 

The box should state whether the led bulbs are dimmable or not. If they are not, simply swap them out for ones that are dimmable and all should work just fine. So to fix this, you need a compatible dimmer switch and dimmable leds included in your system.

LED Lamps Start Flickering Without A LED Dimmer Switch

If you do not have any dimmer switches connected to your led lamps, then it is one of these four problems. Faulty led lamps, current regulation, loose wiring or, led fixtures. Any of these will makes the led lights flicker.

If the problem is loose wiring, Be sure replace it and leave the standard 6’’ of length for optimum use. Then, be sure to tightly screw the wires to the conductors for the best connection. Remember to connect the wires in a clockwise motion.

Next, check the fixtures. If they are faulty LED light fixtures. Check the following. Check for dirt or derbis and also check if the fixtures are compatible with the led bulbs. A good piece of advice is to buy both products from the same brand from a trusted store. This is because the products have already been tested together by the manufacturer.

Current Regulators

Current regulators maintain the amount and constant flow of current no matter what amounts of varying voltage or current loads are trying to enter.

If this input current is not controlled, the led will withdraw excessive amounts of current which will lead to flickering issues. This flickering then causes excessive heat which overtime will then burn out the led bulb.

Defective LED Driver

A constant current led driver is a power supply which controls the entrance of power based on the temperature of the led. This supply also converts the alternating current into usable power for the LEDs which is Direct Current to maintain a constant flow of electricity.

 These can be compared to cruise control on a vehicle whereby they maintain a constant, steady flow of power to the led bulb just as cruise control would do to the vehicle. This provides low voltage to the led and also protection and avoids the led flickering. 

To fix this would then require to replace the defective LED driver or to replace the entire bulb.

Can Light Flickering Cause a Fire?

Yes! Light flickering is to be taken very seriously. A flickering led bulb can be a sign that can most definitely lead to a fire. To find out why, we need to look at the root problems again. One of those root problems is one of the main causes for led flickering. 

That is the sign of loose wires which are a very common source for house fires. If you think you may have this issue, contact an electrician very soon.

Do LED Lights Flicker When They Are About To Burn Out?

Normally, no. Flickering leds do not suggest that they are about to burn out. Instead, if an LED is burning out, it will get dimmer and dimmer with time. If they are flickering, they need to be checked and then possibly replaced.

Are Flickering LED Lights Dangerous?

As mentioned before, yes they can be dangerous by showing signs of a possible fire due to bad connections.

But also they have also been linked to some health problems. When the leds flicker they are proven to cause conditions such as headaches and constant eye stain. Therefore, it is not recommended to stay exposed to leds for long periods of time.

Only LED Bulbs Burn Out?

No, all other types of bulbs burn out as well. LEDs are actually one of the hardest since they do not use a lot of power therefore not generating large amounts of heat such as older versions of the lightbulbs that use tungsten to create heat to provide light.

Therefore, the older versions were very inefficient and costly. LEDs do burn out, but if you take proper care of them, they will last much longer than most other bulbs.

Why Do LEDs Flicker When Turned Off?

Once the LED’s power supply is cut off. It shuts off immediately. As mentioned before, the job of the constant current led driver is to convert from Alternating Current to Direct Current. 

So, if this is not working and the bulb is connected directly to the AC supply, then the LED bulb will flicker at 50 Hetz. 

This means that the human eye will be able to detect it. This is reason for the common misconception of the LED bulbs flickering slower. This is because it is not connected to the correct supply.

Also, if the switch is not connected properly, or a switch with a night light may also be the reason for this problem.

What Exactly Makes An LED Flicker?

The LED lamp flickers when the light output of that lamp changes. This repeatedly happens because of the dimmable LED light’s ability to turn on and off very fast.

Thus, this constant back and forth or fluctuation brings about the action of flickering.

Summary

A flickering light bulb is a common issue. If you went through this checklist properly, you can be sure that you found a solution to your problem! Just be sure that you check the basic suggestions first because most of the time those are the issue. 

Remember that for everything to work efficiently, all components need to be compatible with on another.

Some may think that just replacing something because it looks the same will work. This is not true you need to be sure that you read the specifications on the product before buying. A pro tip is to save the boxes of the products that you buy. That way you can easily return them and go back to get the right parts.

The flicker effect is there no matter what. The goal is we want the right speed of flickering to get optimum performance. To be sure that your system is safe, make it a habit to a regular checkup on your circuit breakers and breaker connections to be sure that if something does happen, there will be minimal damage.

Also, if you are not experienced at all with electricity or it’s principles, I would suggest to hire a professional. It is always better to be safe than sorry. The professionals know exactly what to do and will do it correctly.

Now you know exactly what to do when a LED bulb tries to break down on you. Just follow the clues!

Arthur

Blogger, editor, developer who loves green living. Interested in photovoltaics and solar lighting. Reviewing solar products since 2013.

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