What Causes the Kitchen Lights to Flicker?

Flickering lights in your kitchen make preparing food and performing related tasks harder, making finding the source of the problem with the lights a high priority. Multiple potential problems may cause the kitchen lights to flicker, including some problems that put everyone in the house at risk of an electrical fire.

Fluorescent Lights

Loose or worn ballasts on your fluorescent kitchen lights cause them to flicker.

Fluorescent tube lights in a kitchen may flicker when a problem with the light fixture's ballasts develop. The ballast supplies the electrical current to the actual fluorescent light tube. You must remove the fluorescent light tube from the light fixture and turn off the power to the light fixture at the electrical panel before inspecting the ballast. You may tighten the ballast with your fingers or a screwdriver, which may stop the flickering. If the flickering continues, the problem may be that the ballast has gone bad and needs to be replaced.

High Electrical Loads

The demands on your house's electrical flow varies depending on what electrical devices are running at different times. If your lights flicker when devices that use a high amount of electricity, such as a clothes dryer or air conditioning unit, a momentary flickering in your lights because of the increased consumption of electricity is normal. If the lights in the kitchen flicker when smaller devices such as blenders or toasters are used, the flickering is a sign of a problem that lies between the house's circuit breakers and the electrical delivery system in your area.

Bulb Problems

Flickering in light bulbs may be due to defects in the bulbs themselves. If you replace the bulbs with new ones, of a different brand, if possible, you may see the problem disappear. If only one bulb in your kitchen flickers, a defective bulb is a much more likely cause of the problem. Using energy-efficient compact bulbs in light fixtures that have a dimmer switch may also lead to flickering, since these bulbs do not work properly with a dimmer.

Potential Danger

If your kitchen lights flicker while other lights in your house become brighter whenever you run an electrical device in the house, this may signal a serious problem that could lead to an electrical fire in your house unless you take corrective action. A bad neutral connection between the electrical transformer outside your house and the house's main electrical panel may be the cause of the problem; this may cause the electrical flow to some appliances to exceed the standard 120 volts, possibly leading to electrical fires in your house.

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