Q&A / 

Flickering LED Bulb


led bulb flicker

This is a led bulb flicker possibility. Not all LED bulbs play well with dimmer switches. Copyright 2018 Tim Carter

Flickering LED Lights Checklist

  • do you have dimmer switches?
  • does led bulb flicker happen with the dimmer set at halfway?
  • did led bulb packaging say it was okay to use with a dimmer switch?

 Related Links

Dimmer Switch Tips

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Mary Christy is trying to understand why she has flickering led lights.

She was trying to save energy in her Seminole, FL home and installed LED lights.

But in doing so, she's created a problem with flickering LED bulbs.

Here's the timeline of events at Mary's house:

"Hi, I have had recessed lights in my kitchen for about ten years since house was built.

I have replaced the bulbs with LED's.

Several of the lights are immediately flickering as soon as installed.

Do I need to upgrade to the newer recessed (6") fixtures for the LED bulbs?  Thank you!"

led bulb flicker

This is the side of an led bulb. The slots are to dissipate heat. Copyright 2018 Tim Carter

Do LED Bulbs Work With Dimmer Switches?

Many LED bulbs don't work with modern dimmer switches.

My guess is you have dimmer switches. If so, turn the switch to the highest light output and the flickering should disappear.

If you want to be able to dim the LED bulbs, you need to find ones that play well with dimmer switches.

What LED Dimmers Work With My LED Bulbs?

Because LED bulbs are not all the same, you need to use an online tool to match the bulb manufacturer and model with the correct dimmer that will be compatible.

CLICK HERE to use a helpful matching tool by Lutron.

Can You Get a LED Down Light With a Speaker?

Yes, you can get an LED downlight with a Bluetooth speaker. I have one in my own home.

Here's the one I installed at my home. It was made by Lithonia.

This bulb replaces a standard recessed light bulb. All you have to do is remove the existing bulb and the simple trim. The new bulb and speaker can be installed by you in just minutes.

led light speaker

This is a LED bulb with a Bluetooth speaker. It replaces almost all common recessed bulbs in minutes. Easy to install. CLICK THE PHOTO to have one delivered to your home.

CLICK HERE to get FREE & FAST BIDS from local electricians who can do LED work for you.


Flickering LED Lights - Look At Dimmer Switch
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Flickering LED Lights - Look At Dimmer Switch
Flickering LED lights are often caused by the pulsing electricity in a dimmer switch. LED bulb flicker is easy to fix.
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9 Responses to Flickering LED Bulb

  1. Tim, you only gave a partial answer, yes you need LED bulbs that are dimmable but you also need a dimmer switch that is LED compatible. I have been converting my entire house over to LED's and have completed much research on dimmable LED's and LED dimmer switches. Also electronic timers need to be LED compatible or the lights will flicker as well.

  2. Hi Tim,

    This is true, but it can get even a bit more complicated...

    Sometimes CFLs and LEDs can flicker without being on dimmers. There are other devices that can cause similar issues. Most notable among these is electronic timers. Most of the newest electronic lighting controls are engineered to handle CFL and LED bulbs on their controlled circuits and to not interfere with such bulbs on nearby circuits. But Mary has a house that is 10 years old. It is possible that her problems - or those experienced by others - may be due to electrical harmonics induced in the house system by older lighting controls somewhere nearby in electrical terms.

    I ran into a similar issue a couple of years ago when I replaced the bulbs in my front porch light - which is on a programmable timer - with new CFLs. One dark evening, I looked toward the front door and noticed that my front porch was putting on a strobe light show for the neighbors. Turning the lights off and back on didn't help the matter, but I did discover that switching off a nearby 3-way electronic dimmer that controls the lights in a front room stopped the strobing of the porch lights. When I switched the dimmer back on, the strobing started up again.

    My solution ended up being to swap locations with the switches on the 3-way dimmed circuit so that the dimmer is now on the far side of the room. And, voila, the strobing stopped and hasn't been back. So much for the neighborhood cat disco!

    Just thought this might help others of your readers.

    -- Matt

  3. I recently ran into a similar situation with the floods in my kitchen. Funny part is that I replaced the bulbs with LEDs one-by-one as the originals went out. I only ran into a problem when I replaced the fifth and final bulb. A few days later that new bulb began flickering and flashing while the rest of the bulbs were fine.

    My first thought, was a bad bulb, or a bad can... so simple test, I swapped positions for the new bulb and the flickering followed the bulb. Therefore, I deduced a bad bulb and replaced it. Imagine my frustration when that resulted in a different bulb starting the flicker! Again, I changed position on the bulb and this time, the flicker started in one of the other bulbs. I do NOT have a dimmer on this circuit, but I DO have two switches that control these lights on opposite doorways. My current suspicion based on discussions with some electricians is that these three-way switches may introduce the same issues as dimmers.

    LED/CFLs - just another government mandate of a one-size-fits some "solution".

    • hi john king did you solve this problem as we have a similar problem with our living room light. we replaced the G4 builbs with led bulbs, all seemed well for a start but after half hour the light turned in to party mode flashing like a strobe. we have allso got 2 switches on opposite door ways

  4. I guess that their bulbs are run on 12V installation with installed MR16 12V bulbs for example. There may be a problem with power supply. Check that first.

  5. This is an old thread but I can't help myself. Issues with LED replacement bulbs are actually very complex and the lighting industry (not the government) has been trying to address and standardize things so they work more seamlessly--as consumers have come to expect from incandescent bulbs.

    Flicker caused by dimmers can be a case of insufficient load on the dimmer (because LEDs draw much less power). That's one reason you need dimmers designed for LEDs. If it's a group of bulbs, try putting in just one incandescent or halogen to bring up the load. This same loading issue can happen with low-voltage bulbs that use electronic transformers, without dimming.

    Or dimmers cause flicker because the power supply (driver) in the LED does not respond well to the pulse-width modulation of the voltage (that is how the dimmer dims). Use bulbs designed for dimming. But in any case, you'll never get perfect dimming from 0-100%, it's technically not possible with typical off-the-shelf LED bulbs.

    Lastly, plain switches cannot cause flicker no matter how they're connected. The switch is just a mechanical device that breaks the flow of electricity. If the flickering LEDs are on a switched circuit, the cause is coming from elsewhere (noise or waveform distortion in the power line).

  6. I just moved into a newly built house and had dimmers put on all of the lights (LED) in the house. The only light that flickers is the pendant light over the table. The electrician told me to talk to our local trade supplier to get a bulb that would be compatible. As I was reading this and many other websites, I very slowly dimmed this light little by little and after about 15 minutes it is now on its lowest dim and there is no flicker. I turned it off then back on and there is a slight flicker again. I will continue to use this but will be patient by dimming slowly until someone comes up with a solution.

  7. My LED's are flickering. They are not on dimmers, but they are on electronic timers. These are high end, electronic timers. I would not have thought it would make a difference. Can you recommend in switch timers that will not flicker?

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