Published on February 16th, 2014 | by Henri


Flickering lights

Q.  My wife and I have lived in our home for almost five years. The lights in the home generally flicker for a brief moment a couple of times each day. At the time we purchased it, there was nothing listed in the inspection report which would indicate any electrical system irregularity or problem. We have not added any feature to our home which would cause a greater drain on our electrical capacity. I wonder if this is something abnormal or a cause for concern, and if so, what type of problem it might indicate.

A.    Flickering lights are always a hazard. They are usually caused by a loose connection somewhere from the main service entrance all the way to the power company’s connection.

A loose connection can cause arching or a hot spot, and can result in a fire. Loose connections or hot spots in the main entrance service should be addressed by a home inspector if they were present at the time of the inspection. You did not mention that this occurs only seasonally, so it rules out the possibility that it is caused by a neighbor’s air-conditioning unit kicking in if more than one house is on the same transformer.

You should have a licensed electrician check your service entrance and any other place he or she deems necessary, and correct the problem.

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