Why Are My Led Lights Flickering? How to Fix?

If you have investigated ways to consume less energy around your home or business, then you may have found that LED lighting can offer a great solution. Maybe you have decided to switch over all your light bulbs but have quickly discovered that LED lights are much more costly than florescent bulbs. However, they do last longer. But what if you have installed all your new bulbs, excited about saving energy (and money on utilities!) only to find out that there is a problem. Flickering lights. Why are my led lights flickering? How can you fix them?

Fluorescent and Incandescent Vs. LED Lights

Fluorescent and Incandescent Vs. LED Lights

You may not fully understand the difference between fluorescent, incandescent and LED lights. It is important to know how each works, so you can realize why each type of light might be flickering. You can tell one from the other simply by their appearance. The following pictures are a great visual aid for reference.            

When fluorescent lights are turned on, the gases within the bulb are activated, so to speak, and take a few seconds to fully distribute throughout the bulb. This explains the slight flickering that happens when you flick the switch on, since it may a few seconds for the gas to spread around.  Fluorescent lights may also flicker when they are close to burning out. We’ve all experienced that annoying flicker while we sit in the waiting room or at our office desk.

Incandescent lights are the most common type found in households. A filament is heated to a very high temperature which then creates light. This looks like a little wire inside your bulb. These types of light flicker at a very high speed so not usually visible. However, they can sometimes flicker if they are not connected well in the socket.

LED lights operate slightly different than fluorescent lighting. Inside each LED light is a microchip. Each time you flip the switch on, an electric current runs through this microchip, lights up the light emitting diodes (LEDs) thus creating light.

What About Watts?

When shopping for new LED bulbs, you may be tempted to purchase light bulbs with a higher wattage, thinking it will be better quality. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. The watts listed on your light bulb packaging tells you which is right for the source you are inserting the bulb into. Every device, lamp, outlet etc. will tell you what wattage it is rated for. You shouldn’t choose a bulb with more than the listed watts.

Why Do my LED Lights Flicker Then?

You may be wondering, since there are no gasses involved with LED lights, why are they flickering? Well, the flickering you may experience with LED lights is different than with fluorescent lights. LED’s flicker at a much higher rate than fluorescent lighting, which isn’t usually noticeable to most people. There are two kinds of LED lights; Non-rectified and rectified and each flicker at a different rate.

Non-Rectified LED Lights

The term “non-rectified” LED refers to lights that flicker at a rate of about 60 hZ per second. This type is the most common type for people to notice flicker since it is the slowest rate on the market. These are often found in inexpensive Christmas lights.

Rectified LED Lights

Rectified LED lights run at around 120 hZ per second, almost double the rate of non-rectified LED lights. These do flicker but it is very rare that the human eye can detect this flicker since it is moving so quickly. They are, however, not as efficient as non-rectified lights. The upside though is that they are approximately 30-40% brighter than non-rectified LED lights.

Speciality LED Lights

There are some LED lights on the market which are designed specifically to flicker, such as those made to look like candles or fire. They emulate the real appearance of a flame with simulated flickering and “movement”. In order to get this effect, manufacturers ensure they are operating at a slower rate of light transfer than 60 hZ.

Basically, what it means when you see an LED light flickering is that it is pulsating electricity at a slower rate than other similar LED lights. Because it is pulsating slower, there is a better chance your naked eye will notice the transfer of energy. It does not mean they are about to burn out, the same way a fluorescent light does. When they are nearing the end of their life, they simply start to dim out and eventually stop illuminating.

Read more:How to choose best solar lights?

How Can I Fix a Flickering LED Light?

If you are one of the unlucky people whose eyes can detect that flickering at lower rates, then you will likely be wondering how you can fix the situation. This step by step guide will help you figure out the best course of action to make that pesky flickering go away.

STEP 1: Check Your Surroundings

First, check your weather reports. If there is stormy weather in the area, the flickering you are seeing could be power related. Extreme wind, rainfall, thunderstorms, hail or ice storms could affect your power and cause lights in your home to flicker. A good indication that this could be the case is if the other lights in your home are also flickering, even if they are not LED lights.

There could also be hydro crews working on power lines in your neighbourhood. You should consult with your local hydro provider to see if there is planned work happening in your area that would cause your lights to flicker.

STEP 2: Check Your Outlet Connection

In this step you will want to make sure the LED bulb is securely in place, whether it is a screw-in type or snap into place style bulb. Sometimes if a bulb is not properly inserted into the socket it will cause a short in the power to the light.

If your light is connected to a wall outlet, ensure the prongs leading into the outlet are not bent or defective in any way. This could interrupt the power circuit and in turn, create flickering in your lighting. If the actual outlet is not properly wired, it could affect the output of your light.

STEP 3: Replace Your Non-Rectified LED Bulbs

If you have found that the bulbs which are flickering are indeed non-rectified, then you could opt to purchase rectified bulbs. It is good to note that rectified LED lights will cost you more, so be prepared to pay for these. Look at the packaging of the bulbs you are thinking of purchasing and ensure they run at a rate of around 120 hZ. This will ensure you won’t see the flickering of the electrical pulses.

STEP 4: Alternative Solutions

If you don’t want to purchase all new bulbs, you could move your lights to an area which is out of eyeshot. Then you won’t be distracted by the slight flicker and you will still have illumination in the space you want or need it.

When the flicker becomes too bothersome and you still don’t want the added expense of replacing with rectified LED lights, you could opt for regular incandescent bulbs if the fixture will accommodate one. These are readily available and very affordable. They do not flicker unless there are power issues, so you would be rid of the flickering issue.

If the lights you are using are colored, you could choose clear lights instead. The color seems to accentuate the flickering and draw your eye towards it. A clear light would not be as attractive to the naked eye and therefore not as bothersome.

In Conclusion

When you have changed your lights over to LED lighting, the last thing you want to see is a defective bulb. You may notice your LED light seems to be flicker, whether it be slight or drastic. It is important to note that LED lights do not flicker at the end of their life in the same way a fluorescent light will. This is not the issue. The real issue could be a variety of reasons including:

  • Bad connection to the outlet
  • Bulb is loose in the fixture whether it is a snap-in bulb or a screw tight style
  • Power issues to your business or home such as a storm or power interruption
  • Contact your utility provider to inquire if there is planned power line work happening or any known outages or issues
  • Your bulbs are rectified as opposed to non-rectified LED lights

Once you have an idea of what is causing the issue, you can then work towards correcting the problem. This could be simply fixing a bent prong or something a little costlier like replacing bulbs.

Hopefully your question about why LED lights flicker and how to fix the problem has been addressed and you feel more knowledgeable on the topic. If you have further questions, or wish to make a comment, please leave a message. We enjoy your feedback very much and appreciate you reading.

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