an LED bulb next to an old incandescent and CFL bulb with the word Flickering? in the middle

Almost everyone will admit that flickering LEDs are a big nuisance. You could be reading, cleaning up after dinner, or preparing a grocery list when the lights persistently go on and off. It gets on your nerves! Why do your lights keep flickering?

Here’s why LED bulbs flicker:

Voltage fluctuations

Poor/low-quality LED drivers

Faulty wall switch

A loose bulb

A faulty/low-quality bulb

In this article, I’ll elaborate on the causes and the solutions to the problem. You won’t have anymore annoying light flickering by the time you’re done reading!

What Causes LED Light Flickering? And Quick-Fix Solutions

Flickering could be a feature that some light sources sport or a sign of an underlying issue. Here’s why it occurs, whether or not it’s something to worry about, and the solution.

Flickering is common in LED and fluorescent lights, so you shouldn’t be too alarmed if you experience it.

When I owned my previous lighting company, we unfortunately had all kinds of returns and warranty calls in from flickering LED bulbs and fixtures. It’s just part of the industry that you’ll get them sometimes.

Particularly, fluorescent lights may flicker a few times when turned on as the phosphor moves toward peak illumination. This also happens when the light is connected to a failing ballast.

LED lights can flicker due to more specific reasons, such as:

● Receiving a low-frequency alternating current

● Having faulty LED drivers

● Improperly connected to certain dimming systems

Although flickering in this scenario is not particularly problematic, it can be quite frustrating.

You can solve the issue by opting for lighting products that are flicker-free. Check the packaging or confirm with the retailer when buying the lights.

Loose Bulbs

Double-check that your bulbs aren’t loose, as that could be why they flicker!

For many, this is frequently the most obvious reason a bulb flickers. A loose bulb does not receive sufficient current, so it’s prone to periodic dimming.

You can easily check whether a loose connection is an issue by unscrewing and re-screwing your bulb onto its fixture.

Wear protective gloves to avoid minor electrical shocks or burns from a hot bulb. If the flicker persists, then a loose connection is not the problem.

Faulty Wall Switch

Did you replace your old dimmer switch (the one you were using with an incandescent bulb), or it’s the same one you’re using with your new LEDs?

If you didn’t, this could be why your bulbs are flickering.

It’s time to replace the wall switch with one compatible with energy-saving LEDs.

Again, confirm that your dimmer’s ratings are compatible with your bulbs’ as this could also lead to flickering.

Lastly, check the wiring around the switch; if it’s loose or faulty, your bulbs will flicker.

Loose Wiring

A series of exposed, separated wires in various colors resting against a corroded steel pipe
Bad wiring could be why your LEDs flicker.

A flicker problem due to loose wiring is serious, as it can cause a fire accident. But, other than wiring, the problem could be a circuit breaker issue.

If you’ve checked out the other probable flickering causes and cannot find one, inspect the wiring.

Caveat: Involve an electrician for this, as you risk getting electrocuted if you touch loose wires.

Fluctuating Voltage

Have you noticed your energy-saving LED lights flicker when you turn on an electrical appliance?

This usually occurs when the appliance uses a lot of power. For example, it could be your dishwasher, washing machine, or even your air conditioner.

When lights flicker in your home because of an appliance, it’s usually because of fluctuating voltage levels.

However, if the flickering lasts longer than the use of the appliance, then you should definitely be worried.

You can also tell you have a voltage level issue when your lights unexpectedly dim or burn out.

This means your home’s voltage exceeds the desired voltage level range for home use, causing appliances with lower voltage ratings to burn out.

Caveat: Call a technician/electrician to check out the problem.

If you’re more of a DIY person and have some basic electrical knowledge, you can check the voltage levels yourself. If you do not have one already, purchase a multimeter and use it to measure your voltage levels.

Low-Quality Bulbs

Suppose you’re using a dimmer switch and experiencing a flickering problem even after replacing the old one with a new one. In that case, the problem could be your bulbs.

The solution: Get yourself a smart bulb; the problem is as good as gone.

Do All Energy-Saving LEDs Flicker?

All LEDs flicker, although when operating at the right frequency (50-60Hz), the flickering is so fast that we don’t actually note it.

How is it that some LED lights flicker persistently while others don’t at all?

Here’s the explanation. The most common current that we use is AC, meaning that it’s alternating in nature at a frequency of approximately 50 Hz.

A frequency of 50 or 60Hz, the standard frequency value, is high enough to make LED lights appear stable. However, in reality, LEDs flicker at speeds too high for the human eye to perceive.

A lower frequency, below the standard values of 50 and 60Hz, is enough to cause notable flickering in an LED bulb.

Interestingly, an LED bulb’s lack of persistence is partly responsible for its energy-saving properties. An incandescent bulb wastes about 90 percent of the energy it receives from the supply on residual heat.

On the flip side, LEDs solve this issue through rapid connection and power disconnection.


a hand in the middle of the picture holding up a lit up LED light bulb with a garden in the background
Energy-saving bulbs can glow because of residual electricity, high resistance, or a high operating temperature.

Why Do Energy-Saving Bulbs Glow?

You may have noticed that some or all of your bulbs glow after you switch them off. Here are a few causes.

High Resistance

One of the causes of glowing is high resistance in the bulb’s internal wiring.

A neutral wire with very high resistance or an unearthed one can leak some current that continues to power the bulb.

The bulb then glows instead of shining because the current is often a very small amount.

Residual Electricity

After disconnecting the power supply, the bulb can hold and convert it into lighting when a low current level is present. This phenomenon primarily affects LED bulbs because of their high efficiency.

High Operating Temperature

An incandescent bulb can also glow after you switch off the lights because of operating temperature issues.

Once the power is disconnected, the filament may take some time to cool down. As a result, the bulb continues to glow for as long as the filament is hot.

Vaporization Inside the Bulb

This usually affects light sources that rely on chemical reactions to produce visible light, like fluorescent tubes.

The mercury and phosphorus within the tube may still interact even when the light is switched off.

This reaction occurs at a lower scale because of the power disconnection, giving off a glow instead of bright visible light.


If you have switches with advanced features, you’ve probably experienced glowing lights even after switching them off.

These switches can have motion detectors or timers, making it necessary to hold some power to remain on standby.

The LEDs controlled by these switches draw on the low current levels and use it to power the bulb after the power is disconnected, resulting in a glow.

Why Do Energy-Saving Bulbs Flash When Switched Off?

In some bulbs, a small current flows continuously even when the lights are switched off. This current charges up the capacitor, initiating a pulse that tries to activate the lamp.

The activation fails mainly because the current is too small to keep the bulb on.

As a result, the bulb “flashes” whenever the capacitor has accumulated enough charge to activate the lamp.

The rate of the “flashing” is determined by the time it takes to charge the capacitor fully.

“Flashing” also occurs in light sockets with a constant voltage, even when switched off.

You can check for this by measuring the voltage across the light sockets. This phenomenon rarely occurs with incandescent lights and is more common with LEDs.

Why Do Energy-Saving Bulbs Flicker When Switched Off?

Sometimes, LEDs may flicker when switched off for several reasons.

Cable Interference

Interference caused by cables that are too tight together can cause your energy-saving bulb to flicker after you switch it off.

The limited physical distance, in this case, causes electrical disturbances.

In addition, the conducted electricity in these cables may power pipelines close by, hence the disturbances. You can solve this by increasing the distance between corrugated pipelines.

Poor Insulation

Flickering can also be caused when the lighting socket is insulated incorrectly. If the switch does not stop the phase connection and the neutral one is, then the current leaks to the ground.

This current is used to power the bulb even when the switch is off, albeit for a short time.


Lighting issues like flickering can be frustrating because they affect our home and work tranquility. The issue mostly occurs in energy-saving sources like LEDs and fluorescent tubes.

We hope you can fix your flickering LEDs through the solutions in this article!

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