Imagine you replace all your old bulbs by LED light bulbs only to find that they flicker. Ugh, that can be a big spoiler. Flickering LED lights, while a fairly common issue, can destroy the look and ambience of a space. Thankfully, it is one issue that you can fix easily.
So, why do LED light bulbs flicker in the first place?
Well, there’s no single answer. LED light bulbs can flicker for a number of reasons. The most common ones are:
- You are using an old dimmer
- The electrical wiring is loose or incorrect
- There’s some problem with a LED bulb component, such as the LED driver
In most cases, the fault lies with the driver. You see, LED light bulbs are not completely compatible with all old dimmers, which were designed for incandescent bulbs.
LED light bulbs function in binary on and off state. In contrast, old dimmers, which were built for incandescent bulbs, evenly change the current level being sent to the light bulb. Therefore, when you use an LED light bulb with an old dimmer, flickering may occur.
So, what’s the solution?
The answer is simple. Install new dimmers, one that are designed specifically for LED light bulbs. When you use such a type of dimmer, you will not encounter any flickering issue. Which means you will be able to get optimal performance from your dimmable LED light bulbs.
Keep in mind that not LED light bulbs are dimmable. So, make sure you are not using a non-dimmable LED light with a dimmer. If you are, you are likely to encounter performance-related issues, including flickering. In such a situation, replace the non-dimmable LED light bulb with a dimmable variety.
Sometimes, LED bulbs flicker even when they are turned off. This usually happens when a smart switch is involved. In such situations, you see a full flicker effect when the light is turned off; don’t confuse this with a faint after-glow which doesn’t last more than 25 seconds or so.
This problem, however, is not because of the LED light bulb. Smart switches require certain amount of standby power and that is where the problem lies. You can check whether this is the care or not by using a one-touch tester. Turn off the switch and touch it a connection in the LED lamp socket. If its light flickers, you can safely assume there’s some amount of stray capacitance and current leakage. It would be best if you ask your local electrician to take a look.
If your LED light bulb is flickering because of some other reasons, check for faulty connections and loose wiring. Again, asking a local electrician to take a look might be a better idea than taking the matters in your hand, especially if you don’t know much about electrical things.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do LED bulbs flicker before they burn out?
No, they do not. Generally, LED light bulbs will become dimmer — and not start flickering — as they burn out. If your LED light bulb is flickering, you may want to look at the dimmer. Keep in mind that this issue is relatively a common one when an old dimmer is involved.
How do I stop my LED lights from flickering?
First, ensure you are using a compatible dimmer. That is, a dimmer designed specifically for the LED technology. Secondly, make sure you are not using a non-dimmable LED light bulb with a dimmer. Thirdly, check for faulty connections and loose wiring. Lastly, you may want switch to a constant-current LED driver.
Can flickering lights cause a fire?
This is not likely to happen. That said, severely abrupt changes in voltage is something that can damage electrical appliances. Therefore, if the voltage is changing abruptly from low to high or high to low a lot, get it checked by your local electrician.