Skip to main content

One of the main areas that keep homeowners awake at night is the possibility of a house fire. No homeowner ever wishes to go through a scenario where their electrical system fails them. Having a quality home inspection conducted on your home can help with this. Part of the home inspection involves your electrical system. Keep in mind that portions of your electrical system can be tricky but not necessarily mean an electrical fire will break out. Can flickering lights cause a fire? That depends on why the lights are flickering in the first place. It could be as simple as a loose bulb.

Let’s take a look below at why flickering lights may or may not cause an electrical fire.

What Should I Check First

Luckily, there are a few areas that you can check regarding your lights start flickering. Keep in mind that just because the lights flicker does not necessarily mean a fire will start. You could have something very simple to fix going on. Let’s review:

  • Loose Bulbs – loose light bulb connections will allow for a break in consistent energy flow. This ends up causing the lights to flicker as it attempts to restore a better connection.
  • Bulb Type – the type of bulb that you choose can also determine a flicker. Fluorescent bulbs will often flicker when they are heating up. So, keep in mind that the flicker might be unrelated to your electric wiring.
  • Dimmer switch or light switches – if the dimmer switch you have chosen is not working with a light bulb that is compatible, then you could see a flicker of the light. If you choose to switch to a smart bulb and eliminate the dimmer switch, but still have a flicker problem, it could be the outlet.
  • Loose plug – when items are plugged into the outlet, damage might occur as the plugs prongs could become bent. Simply attempt to re-straighten the prongs so that that connect properly into the outlet.
Two lightbulbs that could cause a flickering.
Two lightbulbs that could cause a flickering.

What Are The Main Reasons

Believe it or not, a house fire can occur due to various reasons. Luckily for the homeowner, it is usually caused by arcing, which we will mention below. Let’s take a look at all of the potential reasons for a house fire.

  • Circuit overload – flickering that occurs when you turn on a large appliance could indicate a circuit overload. Call a professionally licensed electrician to check the circuit breakers of the home.
  • Power company – in some cases, the electric company will cut off your electrical services for a brief second and then restore the power to your home. This can cause your lights to flicker. Also, a windy day might force the electrical lines to sway back and forth and cause a flickering.
  • Fluctuating voltage – lights that dim randomly and lights that flicker even after an appliance is turned off are clear indicators of fluctuating voltage. In this case, you will want to monitor the situation for an overloaded circuit and then call a professionally licensed electrician.
  • Old or loose wires – 70% of all house fires are caused by a loose or outdated wiring. Wires can be corroded or chewed through by rodents. This can cause the exposed area of wire to spark and start a fire in that location of the home.
  • Arcing – arcing is when your electrical current has to jump over a bad connection in order to continue the flow of electricity.
  • Main breaker connection – if the lights are flickering in many parts of the home, it is possible that a main breaker connection has an issue. Call an electrician for service.
An electrical fire caused by an electrical surge to a surge protector.
An electrical fire caused by an electrical surge to a surge protector.

When Is It A Fire Concern

Homeowners should be concerned about a potential house fire when their outlets or switches have loose wiring. Any loose wiring in the home can cause an arcing to take place. Also, this occurs when the electrical current is forced to jump over the gap created in the loose connection.

Arcing is known to be the number one cause of electrical fires in a home. Always make sure to have your electrical system inspected every year to ensure all is well.

How Much Does It Cost

The cost to find and repair whatever is causing your lights to flicker can be rather expensive. The national average just to repair one outlet ranges from $85 to $155 per outlet. Keep in mind this includes parts and labor. In some cases, it can be as easy a repair as replacing a light bulb.

Other Recommended Maintenance

Now that you have a better understanding of what happens when lights flicker in your home. It is a great idea to read up on what can cause damage to your electrical system. Remember that in some cases, rodents can be the culprit for a loose wire or poor wire connection. Rodents like to chew on your electrical wires, so if you have a history of rodent infestation, make sure to call on your local electrician.

Next, you should read up on what type of switches you have in the home. Understanding which dimmer switches are actually ok for ceiling fans is important. If the homeowner has installed the wrong dimmer switch, the connection could also cause arcing, which could possibly start a fire.

Lastly, check to see what your GFCI outlet situation is. GFCIs are often installed to decrease electrical overload. Remember to ensure that you have the proper number of GFCIs installed on your home’s electrical system.

Professional electrician testing the wires.
Professional electrician testing the wires.

When Do I Call A Professional

Unfortunately for a homeowner, electrical fires can occur without any warning. The best approach that you can take as a homeowner is to have your electrical system inspected and tested on a regular basis. Although an electrical fire is bad news, it can be put out.

Always remember to keep a fire extinguisher in your home and understand the ways to put out an electrical fire. If you aren’t sure how to test or inspect your electrical system, reach out to your local home inspection team. They can inspect your homes electrical system and refer a reputable professional electrician.

Conclusion

When it comes to protecting your home’s investment it is a great idea to get a home inspection. The home inspection team can evaluate your electrical system and recommend any repairs that are needed.

Most homeowners do not have the time or skillset to just go around their home and check every outlet, light fixture, light bulb, and appliances. Hiring a professionally licensed electrician after your local home inspection team provides you with the final results is key. Reach out to Waypoint East Property Inspections, we will take a look at your electrical system while conducting home inspections in Boca Raton, FL, and surrounding areas.

Leave a Reply