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Help! How Do I Stop My LED Lights from Flickering

Help! How Do I Stop My LED Lights from Flickering

Have you installed new LED light bulbs only to see them flickering on and off?

This is a common problem reported by many. All the same, that doesn’t mean you should label LED bulbs the culprit. On the contrary, they are usually as innocent as a new-laid egg.

So where does the problem lie if not with the LEDs?

There can be a number of reasons behind flickering. In this post, we will discuss three most common ones and — more importantly — solutions to this problem.

Let’s get going.

Reason 1 – Off Peak Electricity

Some Australian electricity suppliers give their customers an option to pay different tariffs for electricity depending on what time of the day they use it. Specifically speaking, you pay a higher rate during peak hours (8am-8pm) and a much lower tariff during off-peak hours (8pm-8am). 

Electricity suppliers use a feature known as “Ripple Control” to signal the tariff change to electronic devices. The ripple control signal is transmitted at a frequency different than that of the electricity supply. 

In Australia, the electricity supply is 230 volts AC at 50 hertz. The term “AC” stands for alternating current. An alternating current is a current that reverses its direction many times per second at regular intervals. 50 hertz, on the other hand, simply means there are fifty cycles a second.  

Ripple control works by superimposing higher frequency signals on the 50 hertz mains supply to ensure these signals can be distributed throughout a local power grid.  

 And this is where the problem lies. 

 LED lighting, like some other electrical devices such as fans, fridges, halogen bulbs, fluorescent lighting, toasters can be sensitive to these frequencies. 

Unfortunately many electrical devices including toasters, fridges, fans, fluorescent, halogen, and LED lighting . This may lead to buzzing sounds or other side effects from affected devices. In the case of LED light bulbs you may see a perceptible flicker, particularly if they are connected to a dimming device. 

 Now you may be thinking: But my old incandescent bulb didn’t flicker? 

Oh, it did… it was just that you didn’t notice it. 

All bulbs flicker — but in case of conventional bulbs the flickering is not noticeable. That, however, is not because incandescent bulbs have got something up their sleeve that LEDs don’t. Quite the opposite, they don’t seem to flicker because they have a functional defect — and a major one at that. 

Incandescent bulbs waste almost 90% of input energy through heat — and it is this residual heat that keeps their filaments glowing between flickers. 

Ok, I get it, Incandescent bulbs are wasteful, but how can I stop my new LEDs from flickering because of the ripple control signal issue.   

If you have LED light bulbs flickering at regular intervals or at the same time daily, you can safely assume the problem is being caused by ripple frequency signaling. You can eliminate or reduce the flickering by installing a ripple frequency filter. A ripple frequency filter must be installed by a licensed electrician and should match the signal in your area.    

Reason 2 – Loose Wiring

Another common reason behind flickering in LED bulbs is loose electrical wiring. It really would be best if you let a certified electrician investigate further and make the necessary repair.

Reason 3 – Dimmer Compatibility

It is possible that existing dimmer switches in your home are not compatible with new LED lighting. In that case, you should consider buying the right LED dimmers.

Wrap Up

All bulbs flicker, and LED light bulbs are no exception.

More often as not, the flickering occurs less because of some issue with LED lights than some other problems. Have the wiring checked by a reputable electrician and ensure you are using the right kind of LED dimmer.

If you live in an area where the supplier offers different charging tariffs depending on the time of the day, have your local electrician install a ripple frequency filter.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.       What causes an LED light to flicker?

There could be many things. For instance, loose electrical wiring or incompatible dimmers can cause flickering in LED lighting. Another reason could be “Ripple Control” signal, which is used by Australian Electrical Suppliers to signal the tariff change to electrical appliances where On-Peak and Off-Peak electricity is used.

2.       Are flickering lights dangerous?

If the flickering lights problem is because of some electrical problem, yes, things can turn ugly if left unattended. We recommend you rope in the services of an experienced electrician and get the issue fixed.

3.       How do I fix flickering lights?

That depends on what is causing your lights to flicker in the first place. If the issue is because of “Ripple Control” signal, you may need to install a ripple frequency filter. On the other hand, if your LED light bulbs are flickering because of an incompatible or old dimmer, you should switch to LED dimmers.