Flickering lights have been a horror movie staple for decades, and are usually a sign that all is not well in the dark and troubled houses where those movies take place. In reality, though, lights flicker for pretty mundane reasons. There’s no poltergeist, or demon, or any other supernatural being messing with your lightbulbs. Rather, it’s caused by an interruption in the electrical circuit. Let’s take a look at what could cause that kind of interruption, and what you can do about it.
Parts to Check
As mentioned above, flickering lights are a common symptom of an interruption somewhere in the system. The first thing you’ll want to check if your light is flickering is the lightbulb. Turn the light off and wait a minute for the bulb to cool, then unscrew it and screw it back in. Turn the light back on and see if that works. If not, you may have a loose fitting. Turn the light off again and check the fitting this time, making sure that it fits snugly into the socket. If that doesn’t work either, try replacing the lightbulb. You’ll want to eliminate as many possible factors as you can, to try and isolate the problem. If the light is a portable one, try unplugging it and plugging another light into the same outlet. If the flickering stops, your problem is within the light itself. If the flickering continues, you’ve got a slightly bigger problem.
If the flickering affects multiple lights, or any light plugged into the same outlet, then the issue is somewhere in the wiring of the house. Often, these kinds of electrical issues are caused by the insulation failing on two adjacent wires, causing them to arc to each other and divert electricity from the circuit. This is an enormous fire hazard, and something you’ll need to have an electrician fix for you. So, if the problem is widespread, turn off the flickering lights and call an electrician as soon as possible.