LED Light Flickering: Troubleshooting Causes and Implementable Solutions

Most people have experienced flickering light bulbs at home or work. Whether it was a ballast problem with an old fluorescent light or an incandescent filament was about to burn out, the solution was to replace the malfunctioning bulb or component.


With LED lighting, the issue is a little more complex. There could be several issues to consider with a flickering issue, which is why it pays to troubleshoot the problem. Otherwise, you might end up spending more on products that will flicker anyway once installed.


Here are the steps you can take to resolve the issue if you need to troubleshoot a flickering LED bulb.


Identify the Setup

You'll need to identify the current setup with your LED lighting. The most common reason for a flickering T8, for example, is a loose connection somewhere in the circuit. By finding the wire or power issue that causes the unwanted flickers, you'll often resolve the problem.


  • Check the entire fixture to see if loose wires are present and tighten as needed.
  • Secure or tighten the screw lamp in place.
  • Review the connection point to ensure it hasn't become loose for some reason.
  • Disconnect power to the circuit and secure any additional wiring as needed based on your investigation.


Dimming switches cause the most problems with modern LED technology because they work by phase cutting. That means the voltage is reduced to the fixture. Although that's useful for older bulbs, LED circuits have problems processing that change.


Narrow Down the Possibilities

When your connections and wires appear to be tight and working, the issue could involve an incompatible switch or other equipment issues. Today's T8 lamps don't work with older switches and dimmers, which means you'll need to update that interaction point.


Several other potential failure points are possible in this category. You'll want to review the following problems if you've determined that your switch is compatible with the installed LED lights.


  • Check to see if the driver components are still functional, or if they have failed.
  • Review the relaxation oscillator to see if it is operating normally.
  • Look for incorrect surge wattage ratings or power supplies.
  • Check the voltage levels to see if they're consistent, or if they are changing during operations.


In many situations, a flickering LED bulb results from the driver components found in the lamp. Try using a controlled output current to reduce altering frequency risks, eliminating unwanted reactions.


Driver Issues with Cheap LED Bulbs

It's a fact that budget-friendly products aren't always cheaper than investing in something better. When you purchase low-quality LEDs, you'll be more likely to encounter problems with the driver.


Cheap drivers often create flickering issues that you won't find when investing in a higher-quality product. Although you'll pay more at first for something better, the long-term expenses often offer significant savings.


The other issue that impacts cheap drivers involves wattage surges. If you have an appliance, space heater, or a microwave that uses a significant power load on the same circuit as an LED< you can cause it to flicker. It's like when you turn on the vacuum cleaner and see the lights dim briefly overhead.


Repeated surges eventually wear down the driver, creating a delayed failure that you'll need to manage.


Address the Malfunctioning Product

After you've tested all the components when an LED bulb flickers, you should be able to narrow it down to a specific problem.


It might be necessary to speak with the product's manufacturer to discuss the different tests you've tried to resolve the flicker. Should your LED lamp be under warranty, it should be repaired or replaced.


If your flickering LED is out of warranty, the manufacturer can help you find an appropriate replacement. Although homeowners can DIY electrical components, you are responsible for keeping things to code. That's why it's helpful to have a qualified electrician at least review your work to ensure it's in compliance.


Replace the Light Bulb

After you've carried out all the tests and you still have a flickering problem, it might be worthwhile to replace the bulb. Older LEDs don't have the same lifespan ratings as today's products. Newer LED fixtures can last more than 50,000 hours while being more energy-efficient than the T8 bulbs.


The updated LED lamps are ideal products for anything that requires detail-orientated work. You'll find them in retail locations, mechanic's shops, studios, and even as task lighting.


If you want something with an exceptional lifespan, consider upgrading to a flicker-free EPTA fixture. The L70 option has a rating that exceeds 200,000 hours, which can last for more than four decades with average use.


How to Upgrade to LED Lights


When you're ready to upgrade to LED lighting, you can often swap an older bulb for the newer energy-efficient one. Most designs are meant to be compatible with today's fixtures. You'll just need to ensure the circuit and switch are consistent with this technology if you're living in an older home.


Some LED lights get installed as the entire fixture. When you need to take the old one off to put the new one on, it helps to take a picture of the wires after you disconnect the item. Don't forget to turn power off to the area to ensure it's safe to work and check the wires with a voltage tester before touching them.


Older homes might not have a grounding wire to use. In that situation, the LED fixture manufacturer will likely have you wrap a green wire around one of the screws or something else during the installation process. Please follow the instructions provided by the product to ensure you're complying with local code.


After you have the LED light fixture installed, you'll want to restore power to check for functionality and flickers. If you see any, refer to this guide to ensure you can complete the troubleshooting process quickly and effectively.


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