The lights are flickering. They aren't going off completely, and they aren't flickering 100 percent of the time. But something is definitely going on with them. Flickering lights aren't normal. Even though they may not seem like a big deal, it's possible that you're witnessing a symptom of something serious. The problem here is that you don't know why they're flickering or what to do about it.

Taking a wait-and-watch approach may seem like a money-saving option, but it may cause your electric system excess damage in the long-run. Understanding the causes behind this electrical issue is the first step to getting help. While you might not be able to pinpoint the exact cause, having some ideas of what the culprit is can make a conversation with your electric contractor easier.

What causes a home's light to flicker off and on? Take a look at some of the most common culprits behind this electrical issue.

A Loose Bulb

Even though a flickering light can indicate a serious problem, it can also have a fairly simple cause. Before jumping to conclusions or assuming that you'll need to replace your home's wiring, consider the simplest answer.

Checking for this potential problem is as easy as turning your wrist. Try tightening the bulb — making sure that it's in the socket all the way. Keep in mind that there's no need to force the bulb in farther than it naturally wants to go.

If the bulb feels loose when you start to turn it and the lights stop flickering after it's tightened, then you know what the problem was. But if you still see a flicker or the on-off issue comes back quickly, then you'll need an expert electrician's expertise.

A Faulty Fixture

Sometimes the problem occurs between the light bulb and your home's wiring. A fixture that has a loose connection may be the culprit behind your flickering issue. If you suspect that a lamp's switch or some other part of its wiring is at fault for the flicker, then unplug the fixture. Have a professional evaluate and make repairs if possible.

It's also possible that the problem is not as bad as you think. A plug that isn't pushed all the way into the socket can also cause this issue.

A Circuit Overload

When does your light flicker? If it only happens when the dishwasher gets going or another major appliance turns on, then you may have a circuit overload. Even though removing the light or an appliance from the circuit should remedy the problem, you need to make sure that this is the issue. A professional should evaluate the circuit and check for overloading before you make any changes.

Along with overloads, the circuit issue may be with the wiring as it goes into the electric panel. This is something that a qualified electrician needs to inspect and repair. Never attempt to repair this type of problem on your own. There is potential for shock and fire hazard that presents a danger to anyone who is unsure of what they're doing.

A Community Concern

Flickering lights aren't always a one-household issue. Do your neighbors have flickering lights as well? Do some investigation and ask around the neighborhood. If they are also dealing with the same problem, then the utility service may be at fault.

The only way to verify this issue is by calling the electric utility company. They should send a technician out to check for problems and make the necessary repairs.

Do you have unexplained flickering lights? Our professional team at Payne Electric Co. can evaluate the electrical issue and provide the fix your home needs.