Blinking and flashing lights look nice on a Christmas tree, but not for your room lights at home. With so many possibilities that can be contributing to this, you have to narrow down this common lighting problem through troubleshooting. In this guide, you will find many of the common and uncommon reasons that LED lights will have a flickering problem. I’ll go through each step helping you to identify and fix the problem.
Table of Contents
- What is defined as blinking LED lights?
- Are flickering LED lights dangerous?
- 1. Health risks
- Eye fatigue
- Impaired vision
- 2. Electrical danger
- 1. Health risks
- Why are my LED lights flashing and blinking? How to stop and fix it?
- 1. Loose wiring
- 2. Incompatible LED dimmer
- 3. Bad circuit breaker
- 4. Inrush of current fluctuations
- 5. Bulb is too loose
- 6. Check the electrical connections on the fixture
- 7. The wall switch is incompatible
- 8. LED driver parts going bad
- LED lights blinking fast Vs slow Vs randomly. What are their differences?
- Blinking LED light problems FAQ
- 1. Why are my LED lights flickering in the whole house?
- 2. Why do LED lights blink when turned off?
- 3. Why do LED lights flicker without a dimmer?
- 4. What does it mean when the light is blinking?
- 5. Are flickering LED lights dangerous?
- Our Conclusion
What is defined as blinking LED lights?
It’s almost an embarrassing thing to ask what is causing your LED lights to blink. After all, isn’t LED lighting supposed to be working perfectly when you turn it on? You might be puzzled why an LED will blink on and off randomly as if you’re haunted by ghosts. There’s no Stranger Things’ effect happening here, and you’re not getting subliminal messages from the other side. The problem could just be a simple installation error.
In fact, many reasons make an LED blink on and off if there is some electrical issue. So don’t be scared to do some investigating to narrow-down why is causing an LED to flash. Just like any repair person begins working with troubleshooting since this is a faster way to fix the problem.
Are flickering LED lights dangerous?
1. Health risks
You wouldn’t think that flickering lights couldn’t be anything more than irritating, but there are harmful side effects. They won’t kill you but has long-term health hazards that are directly linked to these dangerous reactions. Sometimes, just the sudden flashing that could happen may trigger psychological effects that are a gamble to your health. It’s a risky invitation for an illness that can come from intermittent flickering.
These problems don’t always result in a trip to the hospital, but might end up being a bothersome nagging problem. If these problems continue, they can lead to the continual use of store-bought medications. Or worse yet, a possible drug addiction that comes from a pesky flashing LED light.
There’s nothing worse than having sore eyes from working under strong lights. If you use lights for detail-oriented work, it’s part of the job. Thanks to LED lights, you can have incredible levels of CRI and Lux to make sure your light isn’t irritating. But every so often there can be the smallest amount of flashing that comes from a bad electrical connection. This can make the light flash and distracts your concentration.
Not only does this take some time to get over, but it can also lead to eye fatigue. The combination of subtle flashing and having to refocus your eyes more often makes your eyes sore and dry. Even though Lux levels are optimal, you can still get eye fatigue if flashing happens too often.
This is probably the worst of all of the conditions that come from flashing lights. This is also called an epileptic seizure and is triggered when lights flash within a fast period. Not too many people suffer from this but it can happen. The big problem is that it’s not something you can predict genetically or through physical testing. The intermittent flashing of LED lights can be enough to send you into a seizure.
While the seizure itself won’t end up killing you, the accidents that can happen from having one can be deadly. If you know that you have had seizures before, you need to be careful while working around LED lamps. Especially lamps and fixtures that have flashing issues!
Anything that is flashing is irritating and has the unique ability to make people’s moods change. For some people, it can make them angry but has the opposite effect on others. These kinds of mood swings are common and come down to a psychological effect that triggers emotions. Whatever makes a person feel differently can have terrible long-lasting mood problems.
Many employees who are working under continual flashing lights will be more aggressive and upset. At home, it will give a certain feeling of doom and gloom. This may eventually lead to depression, just from flashing LEDs every so often.
How often do you need to take some aspirin because you get a headache? Did you know that flashing caused by LED lights can result in a headache? It’s a terrible thought but this is also a common problem. Some say it might be caused by an overbearing LED that’s similar to mild sunstroke. The flashing does affect your brain and as a result, is a nagging throbbing feeling.
It might just be your brain telling you to avoid the flashing. It seems that doctors don’t know exactly what causes this to happen. But if this is common for you in the day it can be because your lamp is flashing too often.
How many times do you have sore eyes that feel like you need glasses? It might be the wrong type of color temperature or something else. If you guessed flashing that happens, it can affect your eyes making them feel more worn out than usual. Flashing that happens slightly makes your retinas react like crazy. Your pupils will be working to adjust even if the level isn’t getting dark very quickly.
Just as your skin reacts to hot and cold temperatures, your eyes are doing this ‘thousands of times’ per minute. At the end of a hard day, you can feel your eyes are more tired than usual. This might lead to the ability to focus and possibly needing to wear glasses that correct your focus.
2. Electrical danger
Though the idea that fire may erupt from your light fixture seems impossible, anything electrical is a danger. Flickering from faulty wiring is the most common mistake if you don’t pay attention to how fixtures are wired together. This is why you should always call an experienced electrician to install LED fixtures in your home. But what about flickering LED lights that are connected to household wiring? You might be plugged into a line that is next to a washer or dryer unit.
It can make your light flicker that’s being overloaded by a separate appliance. Even if the problem isn’t happening so often, it can affect your LED. Causing the LED unit to burn out sooner or cause problems in the LED driver.
Why are my LED lights flashing and blinking? How to stop and fix it?
1. Loose wiring
So you watched some YouTube videos showing how to install a LED light panel. That’s great if everything is connected, but now there’s a fluctuating flicker and buzzing sound. It might be from loose wires that are making your unit flash every so often. Now you need to go back and turn off the electricity and check all the wires. Since these wires feed power to your LED driver, they need to be firmly connected. If they aren’t the electrical connection is not 100%.
This can happen with wall switches, all the way up to the main LED light itself. Nothing should be loose when you connect your connectors. Even if they’re snap-in connectors, these should be firmly pushed together so they fit nice and snug.
2. Incompatible LED dimmer
Maybe you have an old light fixture that has a built-in dimmer switch. Then you put in a LED bulb that’s dimmable and it starts to flash and flicker while dimming it. This means the dimmer isn’t compatible with your bulb. These need a special kind of stepper that the LED can identify. If it doesn’t the result is sporadic flashing or turning on and off as you adjust the light level.
Lamp controls hooked up with a wall dimmer will act the same. Your LED light needs a LED dimmer controller to work efficiently. Otherwise, it just flickers and flashed at random. This is because the electrical current isn’t giving the LED a continuous amount it needs to dim correctly.
3. Bad circuit breaker
Older homes that have circuit breakers will be a big problem for any LED light. They weren’t designed to work with LED bulbs. So the electricity that goes to each section of your home might be rated for certain amounts of current. If you have other appliances on the same circuit it will constantly blow out. Just from having too much draw on the electrical line. Then you have to update your circuit breaker.
Most people will just relocate the electric appliance elsewhere but find a similar effect that happens elsewhere. You will need to be careful where LED lighting is going and what is running on each line. Otherwise, there will be electrical blow-outs and flickering issues.
4. Inrush of current fluctuations
You might be wondering what this is exactly since this term isn’t used so often. This is when an electrical line experiences a draw of power by a secondary source. With LED lights needs a constant line of electricity, if something else draws power suddenly; your LED starts to flicker. It can be anything running on the same line that draws a lot of power. A vacuum cleaner may sound funny but it can make your light twinkle for a few moments.
Bigger appliances like air conditioners switching on will produce bigger light flashes. As this might not be constant, it will remain a problem unless this is fixed. Inrush fluctuations are pretty common with older homes that are wired with add-on household appliances over the years.
5. Bulb is too loose
If you’ve ever left a light switch on when changing a burnt-out incandescent bulb, you’ve seen how a new light flashes like crazy as you screw it in. This is how electrical contact works. But when it happens to LED light bulbs, you might wonder why the bulb is still flickering when you screw it in. This is almost always because the electrical contacts on the fixture being dirty or rusty.
There might even be a certain amount of electrical char that happened because a filament bulb went bad. The smoke that comes from a burnt bulb can go up into the threads of a screw-in base. If these are dirty, there’s less contact and your LED bulb can flicker as a result. Even when threads are clean, if a bulb isn’t firmly screwed in; it doesn’t make good contact either.
6. Check the electrical connections on the fixture
Have you ever rewired an old lamp with new wiring? It can be lots of fun if you decide to fix-up an old lamp. But if you didn’t secure all the wiring that goes together, the electrical connection can be faulty. Little wires need to have electrical end caps that are screwed-on. This makes a connection pass from wire to another, safely completing the path of electricity. The same thing happens with wall and ceiling fixtures since they all need to be connected the same way.
All of the connections need to be properly connected and firmly secured. This usually happens when you have electrical connectors that use screw-in connections. These especially need to be nice and snug with no wiggle of slack on the electrical wire. If these aren’t connected well enough, there can be flickering issues.
7. The wall switch is incompatible
Sure, this sounds like a joke, right? Not at all if you have a wall switch that isn’t going to be compatible with LED light fixtures. This also means the same if that wall switch has a dimmer that makes your LED flicker as you try to dim it. Older wall switches do have a problem with LEDs if they aren’t rated for the LED fixture you’re using. There can even be a constant buzzing that goes with flashing or flickering.
Not every wall switch is going to do this, but chances are it can happen. It’s always a good idea to change the wall switch on a fixture that comes with the LED unit. This way you avoid flashing problems that might come up with the older light control.
8. LED driver parts going bad
The driver in your LED light fixture doesn’t go bad’ by nature, but it can happen on occasion. If the inner parts are made with cheap electronics, they can burn out just as easily. These can include pieces that are affected by heat build-up. Little items like the capacitors are the first to go. But thankfully these can be replaced with ones that are easy to replace. Most of them are simple solder-in pieces.
If these parts are going bad you’ll get some obvious flickering that happens. This is after you troubleshoot everything and may need a professional repair guy to fix. If there is a problem with your driver, the flickering will stop after it gets fixed.
LED lights blinking fast Vs slow Vs randomly. What are their differences?
Some differences determine the kind of flicker problem that you have. It’s essentially what defines why your LED light is flashing and why. So here is how it works. When your LEDs are flashing fast, this is because electricity issues are creating a fluctuation in voltage. When they are flashing slowly is often from other appliances that are on the same electrical line such as a washer or dryer.
The last is from random flashing that is usually from a connection that is not secure. It can be from a bulb that’s not screwed in properly and is simply loose. Or this can be because the fixture wire connections are not properly secured.
Blinking LED light problems FAQ
1. Why are my LED lights flickering in the whole house?
This is a big problem that might be directly linked to bad electrical connections for your lights. If you recently changed all the fixtures doing the wiring yourself, the connections could be loose and this is causing the flickering everywhere. The second problem can be from a poor electrical supply to your house. If the voltage isn’t constant, this will cause your LED lights to flicker.
This isn’t such a problem for homes in the US but for some places where electricity levels are going up and down. This can be a poor sign of a power plant that’s having supply issues. There might be external lines that were damaged in a storm that causes this to happen.
2. Why do LED lights blink when turned off?
This is a common problem for those who have their LED lights on a dimmer. The dimming switch is wired in a way that allows these lights to work on a stepping control. This would allow the LED to have constant power but the light is dimmed through this further dimming control. When the lights are turned off, the LED is essentially still thinking it still has power. On occasion, the light can flicker on if the dimmer setting is not adjusted properly.
To stop this you need to install an incandescent light on the same circuit to draw away the excess electricity. This tricks the dimmer so it doesn’t feed the LED with excess power making it flash at random.
3. Why do LED lights flicker without a dimmer?
This is one of those problems where you need to do some troubleshooting. First, you need to see if the bulb is screwed in properly. Then you should check for loose wiring and connections that make it flash on and off with an intermittent pattern. Perhaps there is a wall switch that is not compatible with the LED light. There can also be electrical issues from the same electrical line you’re using.
It may flicker because of an appliance like an air conditioner or vacuum cleaner on the same line. The last is usually the inner bulb circuits going bad, this will start to flicker if a capacitor is going bad. On screw, in bulbs, this is common because the bulb gets too hot or isn’t getting enough airflow.
4. What does it mean when the light is blinking?
Houses that have older circuit boxes are going to have LED light issues. Especially with old wiring that should be replaced. If you change the fixtures in your home, the old wires could have connection problems that cause flickering. Old light switches and dimmers need to be changed to or these will make the lights flash. But something as unseen as the washing machine or dryer in the basement can be on the same line as your lights.
This can make lights flash suddenly from electricity consumption. The power supply to your house can be damaged somehow. Perhaps it’s from a storm or high winds downing electrical wires that bring electricity to your house.
5. Are flickering LED lights dangerous?
Anything flickering and flashing all of a sudden is no great cause for alarm. It can be a problem that is electrical and should be investigated. You can do this by yourself and check for loose wiring. Listen for humming and buzzing since this is also a sign there is something internal going wrong. LEDs that flash every now and then might just be screwed-in loosely and need to be snug in the fixture.
If you bought a LED fixture that was a bargain from the internet, chances are the imported parts are going bad. You can change them if they went bad but most often it’s cost more than it’s worth. Always buy a LED light that has electrical safety markings like CE or UL Listed.
Flickering problems can be fixed if you do some quick checks to see if the lights are connected correctly. If they aren’t, the LED won’t work as it should. This is why all wires and connections are tightened and secure. Make sure that LED bulbs are meant to work in older light fixtures. If they don’t, you need to upgrade your old lamps that have modern electronics to make the LED dimmer work.
The reason you lights flicker is often from bad installation or just a bad LED bulb.