Why do LED lights flicker?
Usually, LED lights flicker, but the flickering is minimal and unnoticeable.
But sometimes, even with this impressive artificial lighting option, you can run into issues of relentless flickering.
When that happens, does it pose a danger to your lighting system?
Also, what causes the flickering, and what can you do to fix it?
Read on to find out.
Is It Bad for LED Lights to Flicker?
LED lights use a driver to convert a basic power supply from AC to DC.
And this produces a fluctuating current.
Now the current fluctuation produces some flickering, albeit barely noticeable to many.
However, it’s a problem when the flickering is due to incompatibility or interference.
But more often than not, it’s a warning sign that your power supply is too little.
What Causes LED Lights to Flicker?
1. Loose Connection
In some situations, the reason behind flickering LED lights is loosely fitting bulbs.
When they’re set up in such a manner, the socket does not get the required contact with the actual bulbs.
As a result, even the slightest movement can bring about intermittent flickering.
(Caption: Image of woman tightening loosely-fitting bulb)
2. Dirty Sockets
With time, dust can accumulate on the surfaces of your LED bulbs and eventually end up inside the sockets.
When that happens, you may experience flickering.
To prevent such a scenario, you should clean around the sockets.
Simply unscrew the bulbs first, then wipe off the dust and dirt.
3. Power Supply Issues
An LED driver or power supply is what the LED light uses to convert current from mains AC to DC.
Now using a substandard LED driver can cause flickering.
That’s because while such a driver will convert the current from AC to DC, the current will not be constant.
4. Wiring Issues
Is the wire too short? That could pose a problem of flickering because wires in a LED light fixture should be at least six inches long.
Also, if the wiring is loose, you’ll experience visible flickering.
Usually, incompatibility issues cause current interference, resulting in flickering.
For example, a LED driver incompatible with the control circuits typically supplies less current than your LED light bulb requires.
You’ll see tell-tale signs of regular, rhythmic flickering when that happens.
Or it could be that the dimmer is incompatible with the downlights.
6. Swollen Capacitor
The power supply for LED bulbs should occupy minimal space.
Still, you should ensure that most of the power gets delivered.
Remember that the weakest link, typically the electrolytic capacitor, has a working voltage of 400V.
But the bulb cannot achieve full brightness when it ages or swells up, and you’ll see flickering.
7. Non-Dimmable Bulbs
Granted, non-dimmable bulbs are still dim, just like the dimmable ones.
But the difference is, with the non-dimmable ones, the dimming can only occur when you set the dimmer to the maximum setting.
Plus, there will be flickering and, in some cases, a buzzing sound. Note, too, that the flickering can hurt the bulbs’ lifespan.
8. Inrush Current
Sometimes, LED bulbs start to flicker when ment you turn on our other appliances, like an electric stove, AC, or washer.
Usually, that’s due to something called an inrush current.
And the reason it occurs is that your appliances are drawing in energy whenever they’re switched on.
It’s the reduction of voltage that causes the LED bulbs to flicker.
9. Overloaded Circuits
Now there’s no problem having as many appliances as you want.
However, if you don’t want your LED bulbs to flicker, you must ensure your meter box can accommodate them all.
10. Ripple Effect
The ripple effect is a type of electricity load control.
Without it, electrical grids would not be able to cater to the needs of all the other householders.
Also, failure to implement the ripple effect can lead to a breakdown in power plant facilities.
And when that happens, it can take a very long time to restore them.
Nonetheless, this ripple effect can sometimes cause LED light bulbs to flicker.
How Do You Fix Flickering LED Lights?
Constant-Current Power Supply
Sometimes a LED driver, even a high-quality one, may not be enough for your project because some applications, such as in a theater, require high-frequency, high-resolution outputs.
For such projects, you require a higher-speck LED driver known as a constant current power supply.
Such a driver ensures the current does not fluctuate at all.
High-Quality Power Supply
As mentioned, LED lighting uses DC, not AC power supply.
And this is fairly good news since the key to dealing with LED flicker is the power supply you use to operate your lights.
Therefore, you should select a high-quality LED power supply that provides a constant current to your LEDs.
It will help to eliminate any issues of flickering.
Check the Connections
First, check for loose wiring; if you find any, fasten it.
And if the wires are too short, you’ll need to replace the wiring with longer wires.
Also, be mindful of whether your bulbs are hooked to the same circuit as your appliances to avoid inrush current.
Further, what also helps is using a quality LED driver to ensure constant current.
And while non-dimmable bulbs may still work with the dimmer, replace them with dimmable ones.
Why Are My LED Lights Flickering When Lights Are Off?
Now some LED bulbs flicker even while they’re turned off.
And what’s puzzling is that it’s usually not a small flicker but a full one.
The main reason behind this is the residual power inside the capacitor.
Interestingly, one common factor in all LED bulbs with this problem is fancy switches.
These switches have extra features like WiFi control, a dimmer, a night light, and sometimes a small indicator light.
But as great as that sounds, it means the switches require constant standby power for all of these features to work, and therein lies the problem.
See, such complex systems often have issues in the circuitry and incorrect wiring connections in the current wall switch associated with the LED light bulb.
As a result, you’ll see flickering even when you’ve turned off the lights.
So now you’ll no longer wonder, “Why do LED lights flicker?”
Because you now have some baseline regarding the reason behind the flickering in your LED fixtures.
As mentioned, it could be something as simple as not using the proper bulb to more complex wiring issues.
Thankfully, the good news is that most flickering problems are resolvable.