Are you having issues with dimmable LED lights flickering? In this article, we’ll talk about the reasons your LED lights may be flickering and some steps you can take to fix them.
Dimmable LED lights may flicker because they are incompatible with the dimmer switch, not installed correctly, or because the LED lights are going bad. Thankfully, you can correct most of these problems in a few simple steps.
In the sections below, we’ll talk about why your LED lights are flickering, the dangers of flickering lights, and how you can take steps to correct the problem.
How to Correct a Flickering LED Light
There are several main reasons your LED light is flickering. If you can’t correct the problem by solving these issues, then it’s probably best to contact a professional electrician. There are a few reasons your LED lights could be flickering. We’ll go over each reason while offering some solutions to fix the issue.
Here are some reasons the dimmable LED lights flicker:
- Old switch that isn’t compatible
- Fix a loose or corroded LED bulb
- Replace the LED Bulbs
- Correct a bigger electrical problem
Let’s look at these in more depth.
Note: If you’re not trained in electrical work, it’s not wise to play around with wires and breaker boxes.
Change an Incompatible Dimmer Switch
As you probably know, LED lights have recently become popular. However, before this, there were mostly incandescent lightbulbs. These lights require energy to create heat, and the heat creates light. These old lightbulbs use a different system than LEDs, so even though the bulbs both fit in the socket, the dimmer switch might not be compatible with LED lights.
If this is the case, you’ll have to change the switch.
Thankfully, changing a dimmer light switch isn’t the most difficult thing in the world. But it requires some care and understanding of electricity, so if you’re not comfortable, you should contact a professional.
The Bulb is Loose, or the Socket is Corroded
It could be that the bulb itself is loose in the socket. With the switch off, remove the lightbulb and ensure that it isn’t threaded incorrectly. Make sure that it fits well and that the socket is clean. Sometimes, these lights’ sockets are dirty or have corrosion built up. In this case, you probably either need to clean up the socket, replace the socket, or get a new bulb.
Try to thread the LED bulb properly and then give the light switch a try. This should be all you need in most cases. Now, let’s talk about another common issue.
The LED Bulb is Bad or isn’t Dimmable
But wait, don’t LED lights last forever? It’s true that LED lights last a long time; however, that doesn’t mean they are indestructible or don’t burn out eventually. If you’ve already tried to change how the bulb is threaded into the socket and you’re sure that the dimmer switch is compatible with the LED lights, then it’s probably time to get a new bulb.
Some people don’t realize that certain LED bulbs aren’t made for dimming. In these cases, all you need to do is buy the bulb that’s made to be dimmable. This shouldn’t be as big of an issue today, as most new LED bulbs should be dimmable. However, you might find this is a problem with older LED bulbs. And yes, LED bulbs are so good that you might find some lying around from many years ago.
Most people don’t realize that LED bulbs were actually invented a while ago. However, the technology has caught on enough in the last 20 years to make them much more commercially available.
There is a Greater Electrical Issue
There might be a problem with the wiring and electricity itself. If there is some issue with the wiring, it’s probably wise to hire a professional electrician to evaluate the problem. What are some hints that it’s an electrical issue?
Well, if you’ve tried everything, but the light is still flickering, then you probably have something bigger going on. Also, if you notice that more than one fixture is flickering, it could mean an entire area of the home’s electrical system is having issues.
Now that we’ve talked about some of the most common reasons for a flickering LED bulb let’s provide some more context to this issue and see why LED bulbs can have some flickering from time to time.
Why it’s important to Correct a Flickering LED Light
If you leave a flickering LED bulb, you can run into a few issues. First, this is a bigger issue for those who have a business, where there will be people coming in – sometimes flickering lights can trigger a seizure in people with a history of seizures. This is a very rare possibility, but if you run a business, you’d never want this to happen even once to a client.
Second, some people can get bad headaches from flickering lights. People often don’t connect the dots and realize that the flickering lights are the reason for the headache.
Flickering LED lights are not a good look for your home. If they’re flickering on the outside of your home, then they will make your property look less appealing, and they will draw your neighbor’s attention.
And if you’re trying to sell your home, flickering lights could be a turn-off to potential buyers. If they see a light flickering, they may wonder what else isn’t working.
Now, let’s look at how LED lights are different from regular bulbs and how they have an inherent flicker (though it isn’t always visible).
Why Do Dimmable LED Lights Flicker?
Many people are surprised when they realize their new LED lights are flickering. Aren’t these supposed to be the latest and greatest thing? Aren’t LED lights supposed to last for like ten years? Why are they flickering already?
It can get frustrating. Before we can understand why the lights may be flickering, we must first understand LED lights. As you’ll see, as great as this technology is at saving money, LED lights may not be for everyone.
In the next section, we’ll talk about why your brain may detect the LED is flickering, even though you can’t perceive the flicker by staring at the light.
How LED Lights Work and Why They Flicker
As we said earlier, incandescent light bulbs use a very inefficient process to create light. Essentially, the energy is condensed, creating light and heat; however, it also leads to a ton of energy wasted.
So, along came LED light bulbs. They use way less energy to produce much more light – which is one of the reasons they’re so valuable for your home. However, this can have its downsides.
Many LED bulbs actually flicker at a very fast pace. It’s so fast, like a hummingbird’s wings, that your eye can’t normally perceive the flickering is even there. This flickering (or rapid on and off) is part of how LED lights use less energy. So what’s the issue?
Well, the human eye is an amazing thing. The eye makes rapid motions sometimes; we do this when we read. Even as you read this, you may realize your eyes are not making a smooth motion; they are actually making little jumps from word to word.
These little jumps are called saccades. When you rapidly move your eyes in saccades past an LED light, your brain can perceive the slight flickering of the light.
Some people state that LED lights give them a headache, and some research has shown that this may be the case. However, it’s difficult to tell if this is the only reason people get headaches with LEDs – some people have said they don’t like the white light. Thankfully, this bright light is no longer an issue with modern LEDs, which also come in regular warm light.
Anyway, the point is this: even if you correct the flickering of your dimmable LED light, your brain may detect a flicker simply because it’s an LED light. Don’t worry too much about this, though, because modern lights are correcting the issue.
Conclusion: Fixing a Flickering LED Light in a Dimmable Socket
Your LED light may be flickering for many reasons. It could be that the LED light isn’t compatible with the switch (this is common with older switches). In these cases, you’ll need to change the switch.
Or it could be that the LED light is loose in the socket or that the light fixture itself has begun to corrode. In these cases, you need to change the fixture or at least clean it. Also, make sure your LED lights are rated for dimming.
Finally, you might be having bigger electrical problems. If this is the case, contact a professional electrician and have them solve the problem. Electrical issues are not something to mess around with if you’re inexperienced.
Hopefully, with a little good fortune, these techniques will help you correct a flickering LED bulb.