Flickering lights can be caused by many different factors, whether your led downlights are flickering, halogen lights are flickering or maybe your bulbs only flicker when they are dimmed. We touch on the top 10 reasons why your lights could be flickering and give you some things to try to hopefully get them back to normal.
As impressive as LED lights are, however, they aren't impervious to issues. Many folks report that their LED lights keep flickering, including newly-installed bulbs.
Sounds familiar? If so, then you may be wondering what's behind your flickering LED lights. We've rounded up some of the top reasons below, so be sure to keep reading!
Downlight & Dimmer Compatibility
The most common issue with flickering is the dimmer and downlight combability issues. The dimmer and downlights must talk together in sync. Using old dimmers designed for halogen lights on LED downlights will most likely cause flickering. This is not to say it won't work you will just need to test first.
Ideally you want to use LED dimmers for LED downlights and at that use the same brand which it has been tested on, then if there is issues you can go to the supplier and request them to fix the problem. The best LED dimmer on the market is the MEDM by diginetthis dimmer is that good that is dims some non-dimmable products. Make the investment in quality dimmers, buying cheap dimmers will cost you more in money in the long run.
The Ripple Effect
The ripple effect is a side effect of "ripple control", which is a form of electricity load control. Ripple control is a common practice in Australia, especially in NSW and QLD. It allows electricity suppliers to manage the on-peak demand for electricity.
Without ripple control, electricity grids won't be able to cater to everyone's needs. Besides, not controlling the loads can damage power plant facilities. If this happens, it can take them a long time to go back online.
A critical part of ripple control is reducing the amount of energy supplied to some areas of AU. This decrease usually occurs at the same time every day, whenever the on-peak demand is. In some places, it can be between 7 and 10 in the morning, as well as 5 and 10 in the evening.
Since ripple control reduces energy supply, one of the first things it can do is to cause LED lights to flicker. This is again due to the bulbs' low energy requirements.
Having numerous home appliances can make the ripple effect more obvious, though. Even if the energy supply drops, these devices will continue to consume the same amount of energy. So, there would be little, if any, left to power your LED lights.
Sometimes, flickering LED lights are a simple case of loosely-fitting bulbs. In this case, the socket isn't getting enough proper contact with the bulb itself. Because of this, even the slightest bulb movement can lead to intermittent flickering.
Please note that even LED downlights (or "recessed lights") can also loosen over time.
With that said, the first thing to do with flickering downlights is to screw their bulbs in tighter. Be careful when handling the bulbs, as excessive force can still cause them to crack. Don a glove too, to stay on the safe side, even if LED bulbs don't generate a lot of infrared radiation.
Dusty or Dirty Sockets
Over time, dust can accumulate on the surfaces of your LED bulbs and creep into the socket. If you haven't wiped your lighting fixtures for a long time, dirt may be behind your flickering light bulbs. Now's an excellent time to do some cleaning and brush away dirt build-up in and around the sockets.
It's best to unscrew the bulbs first so that you can give the sockets a deeper clean. Also, be sure to turn the power off prior to cleaning the light sockets!
Loose Electrical Wiring
Fun fact: Australia's's home renovations market is a $32 billion sector. Why? Because many of the homes in the Land Down Under have been around since the early 1980s.
With that said, many of these older homes have developed a wide array of electrical problems. If you live in one of these houses, they might be the reason your LED lights keep flickering.
If cleaning the sockets and securing the bulbs don't fix the flicker, call an electrician. You may be dealing with malfunctioning electrical wiring that can pose fire hazards.
When buying light dimmers, LED compatibility is a crucial factor for consideration. That's because many LED globes will fail early or won't work at all when hooked up to traditional dimmers. Even if they do light up, it won't be long before you see your dimmable light bulb flicker.
Dimmers for traditional lights are specifically for high wattage load incandescent bulbs. They work by evenly changing the amount of current that flows into the bulbs. They also go through a rapid on/off cycle to cut down the amount of energy that flows into the circuit.
The dimming effect is a result of the "persistence" of older light bulbs. When these bulbs get switched off, they go through a gradual "shut" down process. Since the dimmer quickly turns on and off, though, the lights never go out entirely.
Instead, they stay somewhere between, thus; the dimmed effect.
LED bulbs, on the other hand, don't have this permanence. They stop emitting light almost right after they stop receiving current. As such, dimmers designed for older types of bulbs may cause LED lights to flicker when dimmed.
Installing Non-Dimmable LED Bulbs in LED Dimmers
Dimmable LED lights will work even if you install them in a regular socket without a dimming feature. However, this defeats the purpose of investing in dimmable lighting products.
Non-dimmable LED bulbs in dimmers, on the other hand, are likely to flicker and even hum. They may still dim like the actual dimmable ones, but only if you set the dimmer to 100%.
Moreover, the use of non-dimmable LED lights in dimmers can affect their service life. The more often they flicker, the shorter their lifespan will become.
Inrush Current From Other Appliances
Do your LED bulbs flicker whenever you turn on high-voltage/wattage appliances? These include the electric stove, wall or room air conditioners, heaters, or washers.
In such cases, these "ghostly" experiences with your LED lights have to do with inrush current. This is the initial energy drawn by appliances when you first switch them on. Because they suck a lot of power, they can cause a voltage reduction.
If your LED lights hook up to the same circuit as the appliances, they may flicker or dim. Keep in mind that LED lights are already up to 75% more energy-efficient than old halogens lights. Since they use much less energy, further reducing the flow of current to them can make them turn on and off.
This is why appliances that require a lot of power should have their own circuits. This way, they won't interrupt the flow of electricity to other devices, like your LED bulbs.
Having a lot of appliances is fine, so long as your meter box can accommodate them all. This is the component that delegates electricity to all parts of your home, after all. If the one you have don't meet your growing energy demands, the first sign would be flickering LED lights.
As mentioned above, inrush current happens when you first turn on an appliance. However, as you keep adding appliances to your home, a circuit overload can already occur. The current that they demand from your electrical system is more than what it can handle.
As with faulty wiring, an electrician can help you determine if your meter box can still meet your needs. If not, then you'd likely need to upgrade to one with a higher rating. Aside from fixing your flickering LED lights, this also prevents electrical hazards.
Other Things You Can Do If Your LED Lights Keep Flickering
By relying less on the grid, you can also reduce the instances of flickering LED lights. This is especially true for situations that are out of your hand, such as ripple control. Whilst you can't do anything about this, you can minimise its effects by going solar.
Solar lights utilise the sun's energy, which is virtually free and limitless. These lighting products can illuminate your home without tapping the electrical grid. So, even if the ripple effect reaches your home, your solar lights remain lit.
Some solar lights are even portable, so you can use them as a flashlight if the power goes out. Plus, solar energy is cleaner and greener than fossil fuel-based electricity.
You can also have an electrician install a ripple signal filter on your meter box. This is a device that helps get rid of the ripple effect that makes your LED lights flicker.
Make Your LED Lights Last Longer by Fixing Flickering Issues
LED lights already have an impressive lifespan of at least 25,000 hours. That's 25 to 50 times longer than incandescent bulbs, and five to 10 times more than halogen. However, exposing them to situations that make them flicker can cut their life short.
So, if your LED lights keep flickering, it's best to find out what's causing the issue and fix it on the spot. The sooner you do, the longer your LED bulbs will last.
Looking for more information on how LED can make your home greener and eco-friendlier? Then feel free to ring us up or drop us a line! We'll be happy to answer all your LED-related questions.