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Serving the South Puget Sound and Western Washington Areas Since 1976

Serving the South Puget Sound and Southwest Washington Areas Since 1976

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Sunset Air Blog

Why Are My Lights Flickering?

LightsFlickering lights are often used in movies to indicate that there’s something spooky going on. In real life, however, the issue is much less exciting and terrifying. You probably don’t have a faceless ghost stalking through your home if your lights are flickering. What you do likely have, though, is a problem with your electrical system. This has the potential to be incredibly damaging and dangerous if left unchecked, so read on to find out what to do about it.

Short Circuits

If you have one light flickering in your home, the first thing you should do is unplug the light and replace the lightbulb. If that fixes it, the issue was with the bulb and you have nothing more to worry about. If replacing the bulb doesn’t fix the problem, then you might have some issue with the light itself, or even the outlet. You can plug different lights into the outlet to narrow things down further. You should also try resetting your circuit breaker, as it can sometimes resolve the issue. Make sure that all of the switches are set all the way to the “on” position. If a switch seems partially stuck, try moving it to the “off” position and then back to the “on” position.

If you have multiple lights acting that way in your home, however, you probably have another problem. Widespread light flickering means you may have a short circuit located deeper in the system, which is something you’re going to want to have dealt with as soon as possible. Short circuits are typically caused by old wire insulation separating or melting, exposing the wire to insulation or other wires. This can cause the current to flow irregularly, often into other wires or into the surrounding insulation and drywall. This can obviously spark fires, as well as pose a risk of electrocution if a person comes into contact with the current. It’s these high risks that make short circuits such a serious issue and why they need to be fixed as soon as possible. The risk is typically remedied by replacing the old wiring, as repairing it is often not a reliable way to fix the trouble. Minor holes in the insulation might be patched, but widespread degradation makes replacing the wiring a safer and more cost-effective solution.

If you have a home that you know contains old wiring, it might be a good idea to schedule professional maintenance at least once a year to make sure that it’s functioning properly. If you want to ensure that your home is as safe as possible and don’t want to deal with unreliable wiring, you also might consider rewiring your entire home as a preemptive measure. Either way, however, you should not ignore your lights if they start flickering on you.

Sunset Air offers comprehensive electrical services. If you need an electrician in Olympia, WA, contact us today for an appointment. We’ll make sure that you get the services you need to keep your electrical system as safe as possible.

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