Your LED Light May Be Flickering Without Your Knowing It (But You Can Fix the Issue)
Little knowledge can be dangerous—and in case of John it led to recurring headaches.
John read somewhere that LED bulbs don’t flicker, and he quickly replaced traditional bulbs in his home with cheap LEDs you find everywhere. However, much to his chagrin, he found that LED bulbs can flicker, causing all kinds of side-effects including recurring headaches.
Troubled by the flickering issue and headaches, John stumbled on our website and asked us a way out. Our advice was simple — buy flicker-free LEDs.
Here’s the thing. Not all LEDs are made equal. There’re LEDs that can flicker and there’re LEDs that don’t. On our website, most LED bulbs are flicker-free.
How can I tell beforehand which LED bulb will flicker and which won’t? You might ask.
Well, look for the sign shown below. If the bulb has such a sign, you can rest-assured knowing it won’t flicker.
But I don’t see my LED bulbs flickering? So why should I even bother?
LEDs can flicker visibly (as was in John’s case) or they may exhibit a stroboscopic effect—without your even knowing—which, in turn, can cause fatigue, annoyance, and, in rare cases, headaches.
We promise to keep as simple as possible, but it’s necessary for use to understand what stroboscopic effect means.
PHYSORG explains the stroboscopic effect as:
“This effect is visible as a series of still images when fluctuating light illuminates a moving object. In its extreme form this effect is often used in discotheques."
LED bulbs can cause stroboscopic effect, which can be a bad thing.
There’re three things you need to remember about the stroboscopic effect:
- For simplicity sake, let’s just say there’re two types of stroboscopic light—one you can perceive; the other you can’t.
- However, if you don’t know what to look for, even perceptible stroboscopic light is almost impossible to discern.
- Lastly, the perceptible stroboscopic effect is bad for you. It can cause side-effects mentioned above. The non-perceptible type is something you don’t have to worry about. It’s not linked with side effects (We guess, it’s case of if you can’t see it, you don’t need to bother about it)
So, what we’re getting at is just because your LED doesn’t seem to flicker, don’t assume it’s not flickering. It may be producing a stroboscopic effect, but it mightn’t be perceptible to you. For this reason, we stress on checking whether the LED bulb has the “flicker-free” sign shown above before making a purchase.
Now coming to the whole “your LED bulb may be flickering but you mightn’t be seeing it” issue, there’s a simple test you can run to solve the riddle.
Swing a pen up and down in front of a lamp with an LED bulb. Make sure you swing the pen fast. Now, stand in front of the window and do the same. Do you see any difference? If no, you don’t need to worry about anything.
If you see a continuous blur when you swing the pen quickly up and down in front of the window while all that’s visible in front of your lamp is still images, there’s cause for worry. This means your LED bulb is producing perceptible stroboscopic effect, which as we’ve said earlier can cause bad effects. So change these bulbs as soon as possible with non-flickering LED bulbs.
Of course, a much simpler thing to do is to buy the non-flickering LED bulbs (look for the non-flicker sign shown above) in the first place. That way, you won’t have to worry about a thing.