No Worries, It Isn't a Poltergeist: An Explanation for Intermittent Dimming Lights

Posted on: 16 September 2016

Have your lights recently started to dim intermittently for no apparent reason? If so, you may be worried about whether or not you have a serious electrical issue. Perhaps you have even made jokes about a ghost being behind the phenomenon. There are a number of reasons why your lights may be exhibiting this electrical symptom. The following are a few of common causes. 

Circuit Overload

Pay closer attention to when the dimming occurs. You may discover that it happens when there are several electrical items in use in your home. It may even occur when you use one of the power-hungry appliances or devices in your home. For example, flat-screen televisions, HVAC systems, smartphones, and washers and dryers can all demand a significant amount of energy. Think of the spiked requirements when you try to use them all simultaneously. Assuming you have a circuit breaker and not a fuse box, the dimming of the lights may be caused by overloading a circuit. You can try using devices across different circuits. The circuits should be labeled in the box. You may also want to consider hiring an electrical contractor to install a new circuit. 

Power Grid

Your neighbors may be experiencing the same issue. If so, this is a potential sign that there is a power-grid issue. This can happen as a result of increased power demands. Think of the power grid as a huge circuit box that you and your neighbors depend on to power your homes. It may even be a city-wide issue that is referred to as a "brownout." During a brownout, properties receive energy, but the lighting may appear dimmer. Your city may enforce a brownout if there is an electrical issue in the city that needs repairing, and this could cause some residents to experience a total blackout. 

Wiring

Damaged wiring is a common culprit for dimming lights. Examples of deterioration are frayed and corroded wires. You may also have a faulty wiring condition present, such as loose connections. These are things that an electrician would need to inspect and deal with due to safety issues. It may also be illegal in your jurisdiction for unlicensed individuals such as yourself to perform even minor wiring repairs. 

Lighting

You may be surprised to learn this, but just because your light bulbs still emit light does not mean that they do not need to be replaced. Light bulbs are manufactured with an estimated life that is expressed in hours. You may find that changing out your light bulbs corrects the dimming issue. It would be a good idea to try this if the phenomenon is only occurring in one room. 

Call a company like Dunedin Electric Co., Inc. for help or more information. 

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