If you notice your LED lights flickering when attached to a dimmer switch, you might wonder what’s going on? And how do you fix it?

LED lights flickering from a dimmer switch is often due to incompatibility. You should also ensure you installed the switch correctly and switch out the bulbs in case they’re bad.

In this article, we’ll talk more about potential problems with LED lights and dimmer switches and what you can do to fix them.

How To Know If Your Dimmer Switch Is Causing Flickering

When lights in your home flicker, it can be concerning. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to tell what’s causing the flickering to happen.

a man installing led dimmer switches in the wall

Let’s talk about ways you can tell if the dimmer switch is the problem.

Compare the Dimmer and Bulb Voltage

Sometimes your dimmer switch and bulbs may not be compatible due to the voltage differences.

If you’re not using the correct voltage, you will experience flickering, and your bulbs may stop working altogether.

This is much more common when one dimmer switch connects to multiple bulbs.

Check the dimmer switch’s wattage to ensure you’re not overloading it with too much wattage due to too many bulbs being attached to it.

Also, check the rating on the dimmer switch to see how much voltage it can handle. Once you have that number, add up the voltage from every bulb that the dimmer controls.

If the bulbs provide more wattage than the dimmer can handle, you need to use fewer bulbs or upgrade your dimmer to accommodate the extra wattage.

Make Sure the Bulbs Are in Place

One common reason your lights may flicker is that you may not have screwed the bulb all the way in.

Additionally, movements around your home, like walking upstairs or other actions, can cause vibrations that knock bulbs loose once they’re in place.

an LED bulb next to an old incandescent and CFL bulb with the word Flickering? in the middle
A loose light bulb could cause flickering, so double-check that yours are tight!

Check your bulbs’ tightness before worrying too much about the dimmer. Sometimes, it’s as simple as a loose bulb that causes your light fixture to flicker.

The solution for this is simple. Tighten your light bulbs to ensure they’re secure.

Turn the lighting fixture off before this, as bulbs can run hot. Once you tighten each bulb attached to the dimmer, try it again and see if that fixes your flickering issue.

Check for Faulty Wiring

If this issue happens consistently despite the bulbs being the correct wattage and tight enough, you may be dealing with faulty wiring in the switch.

If you’re concerned this is why your lights are flickering, you will need to test the dimmer to see if it’s working. You’ll need a continuity tester.

When checking the wiring of your dimmer switch, turn the power off at the breaker before you proceed. Once you do that, unscrew the cover to get to the internal wiring.

After you remove the cover, you will notice the wires. Loosen the wires and remove any electrical tape. You will only need to test one wire.

A series of exposed, separated wires in various colors resting against a corroded steel pipe
If your dimmer wires look like this, no wonder your lights flicker!

Once you loosen the wire, attach the continuity tester clip to the wire.

If the continuity tester lights up when it comes in contact with the wire, your dimmer has no wiring issue.

If this is the case, reattach the wire, screw the plate back on, and turn the breaker back on.

There must be something else causing the flickering problem.

Other Common Reasons Your Lights May Flicker

If you notice that your lights are still flickering despite ensuring that your bulbs and switch are both working effectively, consider some alternative reasons.

LED Bulbs Are Not Dimmable

This may be obvious, but it is an easy mistake to make when adding new light fixtures to your home. If you have a dimmable switch in your home, you need to choose LED bulbs that are also dimmable.

The problem with doing this is that the bulbs may appear fine for a while and then suddenly start to flicker and even turn off.

In addition, using non-dimmable bulbs in a dimmer can cause fluctuations in the electricity provided to the bulb.

This can make the bulb wear out faster, or it can overheat the bulb and become a fire hazard.

Always use dimmable LED bulbs for your dimmer switch. Though you may not notice a problem immediately, it can be detrimental to the bulbs and the overall safety of your home.

Large Appliances Are Running

Washing machine with an open door, a laundry basket, and colorful clothes hanging out
The startup energy load of large appliances like your washing machine could cause your lights to flicker, but only temporarily.

If your home uses a lot of energy or has outdated wiring, you may experience lights flickering when other things are running.

For example, large appliances like washing machines and dryers use a lot of energy to run, which can affect your lights.

You might notice that your lights flicker when you first turn on these relatively normal appliances. This is because when a washer or dryer starts up, it requires a lot of energy.

As it runs, it will use less energy. This is why your lights might flicker when these machines first come on.

If they continue to flicker while they run, you may be dealing with a wiring issue in your home.

This is common in older homes or rental properties with no wiring to handle that much power use all at once. Some of your other devices may suffer while these larger appliances run.


Flickering while large appliances are running can be a self-explanatory issue. However, if your lights do this regularly, you may be dealing with a more severe problem.

If you’ve tested the above problems and still have not found the cause, consider an issue with the wiring in your home.

A continuity tester can also indicate if there’s no power reaching the wires of your dimmer switch.

However, it’s easy to confuse an issue with the dimmer with an electrical issue, as both can be challenging to diagnose.

If there is no other potential fix left for you to try on our list, it may be time to consult with an electrician to see if you need some wiring work done in your home.

Older properties may need updated wiring as our demand for power supply grows yearly. Unfortunately, some wiring systems simply cannot handle the power we require.

Final Thoughts

While a dimmer can be a great way to save on your energy bill, you may also run into problems with it.

While many issues that cause flickering are fixable, some are not.

If you’re still having trouble with your dimmer switch, consider reading our article 39 Ways to Save Up to 30% on Your Energy Bill for alternative ways to save on energy costs.

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