Why Do My House Lights Get Dimmer?

After having the lights on for a while, they eventually start growing dim. Your first check might be to see if the dimmer switch got adjusted because lights ultimately wear out. This holds true for all goods, including LEDs, fluorescents, and incandescent.


The lights in older homes may occasionally dim due to the electrical circuit becoming overloaded. Lights may dim for a moment when you turn on a vacuum or a space heater. That means the surge power needed drew energy away from the lighting.


Suppose the surging demand exceeds the circuit's capacity, the breaker at the box will flip. You'll need to reset it to get your power back.


What Causes My House Lights to Start Dimming?


Some light bulbs flicker or get dimmer without a discernable reason. Others have a specific situation causing this problem.


Here's a closer look at why your house lights get dimmer.


1. The Light Bulbs Are Old

Every light bulb has a lifetime rating. If you're using incandescent products at home, most will last about 1,000 to 2,000 hours before failing to work.


The amount of light produced by the lamp lessens as it ages. That's why investing in LED bulbs is essential for modern homeowners. You'll receive an extended period of bright light, often measured in tens of thousands of hours.


Light bulb components can fail at varying rates. The filament can become brittle, a chip can fail, or a surge can cause a ballast to generate various electrical outputs for a brief period, resulting in dimming.


If you know the light bulbs are old, the best solution is to replace them.


2. Circuit Overloads

Older homes have differing amperage ratings than newer ones. This means that each circuit can handle a specified draw. If you go above that limit, the lights in your house may dim.


The most prevalent issue involves a circuit with a microwave and another appliance or device requiring 1,500W of surge power to function. When you switch one on, the power draw causes a brief dimming.

When both activate or operate simultaneously, the circuit overloads, causing the breaker to trip.


A home's current flows are constantly balanced. When too much power is directed to a single device, you should consider moving it to a different circuit or updating your wiring.


Although installing a new circuit can be costly, it might be worth the investment in an older home.


3. Power Grid Problem

When the incoming power to a home experiences disruptions, the result can be dim lights. Any hiccup to the flow can cause this issue, additional flickers, or a complete outage.


This issue happens in urban environments more than in other communities. If citywide demands exceed electricity availability, a brown-out occurs. That leads to dimmer lights.


4. Faulty Wires

The result can be dimming lights when wires are damaged, old, or incorrectly installed. This cause is the most dangerous because it can lead to poor conductivity and shorting. This problem can be spotted when carbon buildup occurs on the switch or fixture contracts.


A licensed electrician may need to evaluate your circumstances if you've spotted this problem.


Neutral wires can also loosen periodically, creating a similar result with the lights. Corrosion can disrupt the connection, but it can be cleaned away after the power is turned off to the area.


You'll want to check for fraying, loose connections, broken twist nuts, and broken components at the switch or fixture to ensure everything operates correctly.


5. Ballast Problems

A faulty ballast is a common issue for fluorescent lights. Replacing this component could correct the situation if you hear buzzing or see lights flickering as they dim. The ballast is responsible for regulating the current to ensure the voltage flows are correct.


One of these issues is the likely cause when lights start to dim. Following the solution for the suspected concern will correct the situation so you can enjoy even and consistent lighting. 


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