Lights Flicker When Appliance Turns On - Fix It Yourself? (2023)

If you have a problem with lights flickering when an appliance turns on, your home’s wiring may be faulty or you may have too much load on one circuit, loose bulbs can also cause flickering, let’s go over what can cause it and how to fix it.

Minor problems that you maybe can fix by yourself if your lights flicker:

  • Problem with the bulb not screwed in tight enough
  • Wrong bulb type for your dimmer switch
  • Loose light plug
  • Faulty light or fixture switch
  • Appliance pulling large amounts of current on startup, causing a voltage drop and flickering

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Why Do My Lights Flicker When I Turn on Appliances?

Lights flickering is a common problem in the home. It can be caused by faulty wiring, or too many appliances plugged into one circuit. Learn how to fix your flickering lights when turning on any appliance.

Lights Flicker When Appliance Turns On - Fix It Yourself? (1)

Tighten loose bulbs

Check lighting fixtures and bulbs for loose connections that may cause increased resistance and result in flickering lighting.

Loose light bulbs can be a common problem in many homes. Check your sockets to make sure they’re making proper contact with the bulb and check recessed lights for loose connections too!

If the problem is not in your lighting fixtures, you may need an electrician to help solve it.

(Video) How to fix those flickering lights

A loose light plug can cause flickering

It could be a loose connection between the plug and the outlet. Check to see if the lamp’s power cord is tight in the wall socket.

Upgrade old or incompatible switches

It’s possible that the problem is not with your LED bulb but rather with your light fixture. Did you know that older dimmer switches made for incandescent bulbs won’t work well with an LED? If the light bulbs are flickering, this is likely because they’re connected to a dimmer. Loose or poor wiring behind the switch can also cause a flickering light.

Lights Flicker When Appliance Turns On - Fix It Yourself? (2)

Know the ratings for your bulbs and dimmer to make sure they are compatible. Mismatches in these can lead to common fixture problems like buzzing or flickering.

Try replacing your current dimmer with a new device, like the Lutron Caseta, remember to turn off the power from the circuit breaker before you start installing it.

If flickering happens when you use a dimmer switch and replacing the switch doesn’t solve the problem, consider upgrading to smart bulbs that don’t need physical switches!

If you get frustrated with lighting problems, don’t hesitate to call in a professional. They’ll ensure that your home isn’t at risk of an electrical fire and can repair any damage done by the problem.

(Video) How to Fix Flickering Lights in Your House | Ask This Old House

Your problem may be an overloaded circuit—meaning that these appliances are pulling more electrical current than the circuit can handle.

Major problems with flickering lights that usually require an electrician to fix them:

  • Sensory overload on a circuit
  • Voltage fluctuations
  • Loose or outdated wiring
  • Problem with the electric utility service
  • Problem with the meter box or main service cable connection

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Lights flicker when the appliance turns on overloaded circuits

If the simple fixes above don’t solve your problem, then it’s time to look into your electrical panel and see if the problem could be there.

AC, a tumble dryer, and a microwave can all cause lights to flicker in your home. If your light is on the same circuit as one of these appliances then the circuit is probably been overloaded. You should place larger fixed appliances on a dedicated circuit so they don’t overload other circuits like this.

You can also try switching out appliances to see if you can identify which one is causing the issue. If they all flicker then there might be something wrong with your circuit breaker or electrical panel.

This is a common cause of lights flickering in homes (though not always) and can be easily tested by switching circuits for the appliance. Flickering lights when an appliance turns on can mean that the light is on the same circuit as your appliance.

If your lights flicker when you turn on appliances it could be faulty wiring causing it

If your lights are dimming at home, you may have old wiring that can’t keep up with the demands of modern-day appliances and electronics.

(Video) Lights Flickering Fix!

Loose wiring can not just cause flickering lights but is a leading reason for house fires. The problem may be systemic or found in only one place but is always dangerous.

Loose connections in an outlet, light, or switch box can cause arcing, where electrical current hops over gaps in the electrical connection. This is a big cause of electrical fires. If a circuit connection is loose, it generates a high resistance point, which in turn generates dangerous point heating. A single loose connection can jeopardize your entire system.

If you’ve noticed an increase in flickering but you haven’t done any modifications to your electrical system, loose wiring could be the problem. There are a number of likely problem areas: a switch failure, loose fixture wiring, old connectors in the breaker box, or loose service conductors in the main electrical panel.

If damaged or improperly installed wires are causing this issue a licensed electrician should inspect your electrical system as soon as possible. Wires corroded, frayed, loose, or improperly installed pose risks like fire hazards and electrocution which could put you in danger until they’re repaired.

Lights Flicker When Appliance Turns On - Fix It Yourself? (3)

Power grid issues could cause light flickering in your home

Are you finding that your lights dim when appliances turn on? This could be a sign of an issue with the power grid in your neighborhood. The abnormalities within it can impact the lighting and cause issues for those nearby, especially if there is increased demand for resources.

Every home should register between 115 and 125 volts, but if your readings are off then you may have an underlying problem. You can check the voltage with a device called a voltmeter to get accurate measurements of how much power is coming in at each moment. If you don’t what you are doing or how to use a voltmeter, a professional electrician will do it for you and it does not take long to check it.

(Video) How to Fix Flickering Lights in Your House - Blinking - Flashing

The electrical usage of your neighbors could be causing the flickering

Your home is likely connected to the same electrical transformer as other homes in your area, and if a neighbor has an unusually high-powered load on their circuit it might cause flickering lights at both residences. If this continues or you have any other issues with power fluctuations, contact an electrician for assistance in identifying what’s wrong.


If the flickering is occasional and only happens for a brief moment at first, then this may not be an issue. Large electrical appliances draw more current as they startup which causes a voltage drop that results in lights going dim or briefly flickering when we turn them on. Even with well-designed systems, there can still be some minor issues like these so it’s good to know how to spot if something needs attention before anything goes wrong.

If the flickering is consistent, severe, and doesn’t stop right away there may be a problem. The issue might arise from an appliance itself it could be a bearing failure, a bearing failure will cause your appliance motor to pull more current than usual or it could be too much sensory overload on one circuit. Call an electrician to find out what’s wrong!

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Can a faulty appliance cause lights to flicker? ›

Pattern: Lights flicker when a large appliance powers on Probable Cause: Large home appliances add considerable load to your central circuit breaker, which can cause lights to flicker throughout the house, just as the bathroom light might dim or flicker when you switch on your hairdryer.

How do you fix electrical flickering? ›

If it's a lamp that's flickering, check the plug to ensure it's secure in the outlet. If you have a dimmer switch on the light, the cause of the flickering may be that you don't have a dimmable bulb in the fixture. Try changing the lightbulb to a dimmable bulb to see if that fixes the issue.

Why do my lights flicker when I start my dryer? ›

A large appliance turning on

When a large appliance like an air conditioner, heat pump, washer or dryer turns on, it pulls a lot of electricity, which can temporarily take some of the electric current away from the rest of your home and cause your lights to flicker.

Can flickering lights cause electrical fire? ›

Yes, flickering lights can be a warning sign that there is a fire hazard in your home. When lights flicker all over the house and are not associated with a large or major appliance, such as an air conditioner, turning on it could mean that there is an issue with the wiring, which could cause a fire.

How do you fix an overloaded circuit? ›

How Do You Fix an Overloaded Circuit? The short-term solution to a circuit overload is easy – move some devices from the overloaded circuit to another general-purpose circuit. Then you can just flip the circuit breaker back on or replace the fuse.

Why do my lights flicker when I run my washer and dryer? ›

The lights may be flickering when the washing machine is running because there is an issue with the house's wiring. This may be the result of a loose wire connection, but you could also have undersized wiring, which means the wiring is too slight or too thin to accommodate the amount of power being generated.

How much does it cost to replace a dryer igniter? ›

$100 to $250

Can heat cause lights to flicker? ›

So when your furnace turns on, any light fixtures that are running on the same circuit as the heater could flicker because their electricity supply is lowered for that brief second.

What are the warning signs of an electrical fire? ›

You'll know if your home is in danger of an electrical fire if you see (or smell) these signs: Circuit breaker keeps tripping. Persisting burnt smell with no identifiable source. Several discolored or charred outlets and switches.

What are three warning signs of an overloaded electrical circuit? ›

What are the signs of a circuit overload?
  • Dimming lights.
  • Buzzing outlets or switches.
  • Warm outlets or switch covers.
  • Burning smells from or marks on outlet covers/switches. (This can also be a sign of other serious wiring issues!)
  • Power tools, appliances, or electronics aren't as powerful as they once were.
Apr 1, 2020

How do you reset an overloaded outlet? ›

First, unplug the appliance you were using and any other appliances plugged into the same circuit as the GFCI. To reset a GFCI outlet, look carefully at the two little buttons on the front of the outlet. Press the one that says RESET. Usually, the RESET button is red, while the TEST button is black.

How much does it cost to fix an overloaded circuit? ›

On top of regular wear and tear, overloaded circuits lead to a blown circuit breaker. This is an easy fix for a professional. So the cost comes in low at about $150. That includes materials and labor in most service calls.

Why do my kitchen lights flicker when the dishwasher runs? ›

The Circuit Is Overloaded

Using a shared circuit for a dishwasher can cause an overload. Any lights connected to the same circuit may flicker when the unit is on. If the unit isn't on a separate circuit, an electrician can set one up for you.

How much is a faulty igniter? ›

It is important to note that the cost to replace the igniter can vary from one state to another and even from one area to another. A ballpark figure is approximately $75 to $100. This cost covers only labor. At times, parts and services can go up to $250 to $300.

Can I replace my own oven igniter? ›

Remove the Old Ignitor

Unplug the two wires (or wire harness) connected to the ignitor. If the ignitor wires are joined to the appliance wires with wire nuts, untwist the wire nuts to free the wires. Remove the two screws that hold the ignitor in place and pull the ignitor from the oven.

Can flickering lights damage? ›

When lights flicker, it's the result of a fluctuation, often a reduction, in the circuit voltage, which makes the lights dim for a brief moment. However, these rather abrupt changes from low voltage to high can damage your electronics, and sometimes even cause electrical fires.

Why are my lights dimming in my house when the heater comes on? ›

Why Does My HVAC System Make My Lights Flicker? Home HVAC systems demand some of the highest wattages of any appliance in the home, and particularly when they first cycle on, before the power levels out, so to speak. This means that in many homes when the heat or air kicks on, the lights might dim for a split second.

Why do my lights dim when I turn on an appliance? ›

Circuit Overloads

If your lights flicker or dim whenever you turn on an appliance (e.g. a washing machine, vacuum cleaner, or microwave) then you're beginning to overload your circuit. Each home electrical circuit has a limit on just how much power it can draw.

What would cause electricity to flicker? ›

There are several factors that can trigger power flickers: lightning, damaged electrical equipment, and objects making contact with power lines, including tree branches, palm fronds and vegetation – even animals.

Why is my electricity flickering in the whole house? ›

Lights Flickering in the Entire House

Frequently flickering lights throughout a whole house may be caused by: Poorly connected wiring. Strong winds, electrical storms, or other weather events. Faulty, worn, or corroded wires or connectors.

Why do my lights flicker in my house when the washer is running? ›

Operating the lights while also using a washing machine consumes a hefty amount of power and creates a power drain that may manifest in flickering lights.

Why do LED lights flicker when appliances run? ›

Inrush current from appliances

Certain appliances in your home need more power when they first turn on. The inrush current of motors within appliances causes the voltage to drop and if the lights are on the same circuit you may see dimming of these lights. This is true for many types of lighting including LED.

How do you fix a flickering kitchen light? ›

Tighten loose bulbs

If your light bulbs are flickering, turn off the power and, using a glove to protect your hand from heat, screw the bulb in more tightly. If a light bulb is in too loosely the socket isn't making proper contact with the bulb, and that can cause intermittent flickering.

When I run my microwave my lights flicker? ›

Do you notice the lights flicker when you use a high powered device, such as the microwave or a hair dryer? This might mean you have an overloaded circuit. When a circuit is overloaded, it means there is either too many appliances operating on the same line, or you have a circuit wire that is outdated.


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