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Ask an Electrician: What could be causing the lights in my house to flicker on and off?

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Have you ever been in the middle of a task when your lights suddenly start flickering on and off? It can be annoying, disruptive, and even a little scary. But don’t worry, flickering lights are a common household issue all over Australia, including in Inner West Sydney, and in most cases, there’s a simple explanation.


In this installment of our “Ask an Electrician” series, you’ll learn why your lights are flickering on and off and what you can do about it.

What causes lights to flicker on and off?

Flickering lights can be frustrating, especially if it’s happening throughout the house. There are a couple of reasons why this might be happening, and some are easier to tackle yourself while others require the pros to get fixed. Below are what causes your lights to flicker:


Loose bulb or fixture

This is the most common cause, and luckily, the easiest to fix. A bulb that’s not screwed in all the way or a fixture with a loose connection can cause flickering.

How to Fix: Try wiggling the bulb gently (when it’s off and cool!) to see if it tightens. You can also try a different bulb in the same fixture.


Dimmer switch malfunction

Dimmer switches have a special dimmer module inside them, and these can sometimes malfunction.

How to Fix: If the flickering only happens with the dimmer turned down low, it might be time to replace the dimmer switch itself.

Overloaded circuit

If you have a bunch of appliances plugged into one circuit, especially high-powered ones like a vacuum cleaner or hairdryer, it can overload the circuit and cause the lights to dim or flicker.

How to Fix: Try unplugging some things and see if it makes a difference. If it doesn’t solve the problem, contact Mr Sparky to fix those flickering lights.


Loose wiring

This is a more serious issue that can pose a fire hazard. If the flickering seems widespread and isn’t related to a specific bulb or appliance, it could be loose wiring somewhere in your house’s electrical system.

How to Fix: This is best left to Mr Sparky licensed electricians to diagnose and fix.


Utility company problems

In rare cases, flickering lights can be caused by fluctuations in the power coming from the utility company. This is usually temporary, but if you suspect this might be the case, you can always give them a call to see if they’re aware of any outages in your area.

So, depending on the situation, there might be a simple fix you can try yourself, or it could be a job for a qualified electrician.

If the flickering seems widespread, happens with no relation to appliance use, or you notice any burning smells, then it’s always best to call in a professional to take a look.

What happens if flickering lights are not fixed?

Flickering lights are caused by electrical problems like overloaded circuits and loose wiring and shouldn’t be ignored because they can lead to fire hazards.

Overloaded circuits, for example, can trip breakers or blow fuses, but persistent overloading can damage wires and cause fires. Loose wiring, on the other hand, can cause arcing, sparks, shock hazards and malfunctioning appliances.


How Mr Sparky can help

As a licensed Sydney electrician, we can solve your flickering light problems successfully and cost effectively. We’ll visit your home to pinpoint the exact cause, whether it’s loose wiring, faulty switches, or overloaded circuits.

We can then fix the problem safely, recommend preventative measures to avoid future issues, and ensure everything complies with current safety standards. With our  expertise, you’ll have a lasting solution and peace of mind knowing your electrical system is functioning flawlessly.

A flickering light or tripped breaker might seem like minor inconveniences, but they can be signs of bigger issues. To prevent potential damage and keep your home safe, it’s important to address these problems as soon as possible.

If you’re concerned about overloaded circuits or loose wiring, call Mr Sparky so we can diagnose the problem and recommend the best course of action.


Meet Steven, owner of Mr Sparky and seasoned professional electrician in Sydney. With more than 15 years of experience in taking care of the electrical needs of Sydney’s residents, Steven loves to share his expertise and knowledge to ensure everyone is electrical safe. Need an electrician in Sydney – give Mr Sparky a call


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