It’s time to get up and get the kids breakfast and lunches made for the day.  It’s early.  You haven’t had your coffee, and you’re probably a little grumpy because the new puppy kept you up all night, and you REALLY needed that sleep. You shuffle into the kitchen, flip the light switch, and what happens next?  A rave?  An early morning party you didn’t RSVP for?  Nope.  It’s those LED bulbs you replaced last week.  You know—the expensive ones. The ones Google says will help fix the issue of your traditional incandescent bulbs that keep flickering and then going out entirely after a few weeks.   This has become a frustrating and costly problem.  Why is it happening? Is your house haunted? Are all the wires dying?! Will this mean you have to tear out and completely gut your entire house to rewire?!  Don’t panic! All of these are very unlikely.

There are a few steps you should take to help problem solve the situation not only for your own sanity and financial wellness but for safety reasons.  Possible shortages or faulty wiring can cause a catastrophic house fire.

While we will go into the differences between bulbs at a later time, here is a brief overview of each option:

Incandescent bulbs (Old school/traditional bulbs) should last about a thousand hours.

CFL– (Those twirly guys filled with Mercury!)- These bulbs should last about 8,000 hours.

LED– (The bright plastic ones!) These lightbulb beasts should last about 25,000 hours.

Now that we know each of these bulbs should definitely last you longer than what they actually are, we know that the bulbs themselves typically aren’t the problem, unless they’re installed too loose or arent the proper size/wattage. After ruling that out, here are a few more reasons why your lights are still flickering or going out quickly.

Do you own a multi-level home?  Sometimes if the lower level is experiencing outages and/or flickering it could be from constant walking vibrations on the top floor knocking connectors loose.  Typically replacing bulbs with an LED will solve this problem.

Recessed light fixtures aka “canned lights”  are usually installed inside the ceiling, older recessed lighting fixtures can overheat if insulation is too close to the housing. Some fixtures are designed to automatically shut off if overheated, some fixtures cause the bulbs to flicker and burn out. The ideal solution is to install IC-rated fixtures so that they don’t overheat if in contact with insulation.  Most newer houses already have this.

Connections between the circuit and the fixture that are loose or improperly installed can cause light bulbs to burn out prematurely. Disconnect power to the unit and check to make sure wires are firmly attached to the screw terminals. If the socket contacts are damaged or corroded (which can cause the sporadic power to the bulb leading to burnout or flickering) the socket or the fixture itself should be replaced.

The power supply voltage is too high.  When an outlet is supplying too much voltage for the light, the bulb will burn brighter working harder than it’s meant to, causing it to burn out before its typical time frame.  Making sure that your light is connected to the correct outlet and not one meant for larger appliances is the key step in repairing this issue.

Bailey and Sledge Electrical can come out and help you assess the problem. Hiring a licensed professional like Bailey and Sledge Electrical helps to ensure that your house is meeting safety standards and is properly wired.  A lot of us are often hesitant to spend the extra money hiring someone. The costs of electricity, bulbs, and homeowners insurance aren’t going to go down.  So a few dollars spent to make your home as efficient and as safe as possible is well worth the small investment!

Let’s take these annoying light issues as a friendly reminder from our homes. Sometimes maintenance is required, and your house needs a check-up!