Why Do My Lights Flicker When My Washer Kicks On?

  • Blue Collar Electricians
  • January 2, 2019

Ask the Blue Collar Pros: Flickering Lights

Our electricians are always ready to help our customers. With that in mind, we thought it might be fun to give you some answers to some of the questions we are asked by our customers every day. This should help give you some insight into what might be happening in your home’s electrical system.

This month’s question comes from Chuck in Leroy, Ohio, who brought us this scenario:

“Hey guys, I own an older farmhouse in Leroy, and I keep having issues with my lights. If I turn on my dishwasher, plug in a hair dryer or turn on my washer or dryer, my lights flicker on and off. Why do my lights flicker on and off when my washer kicks on?”
– Chuck B. Leroy, Ohio

Great question, Chuck. We think we know what might be going on.

The good news is it might not be much of a concern. The bad news is that it could be a major concern.

The most common reason that lights flicker isn’t too concerning, but it should still be investigated by a professional. Most often, situations like Chuck’s occur when a light shares a circuit with another appliance. In Chuck’s home when the washer kicks on, it causes a change in the load in the circuit and the lights flicker. The problem is that without an evaluation by a pro, you don’t know why it’s happening. The issue could be one of these potentially more dangerous scenarios:

• Loose Circuit Connection
Thousands of fires start every year with this most dangerous possibility. A loose connection can lead to a high resistance point and overheating. If the lights are flickering more and more, you should be concerned. Have an electrician pay a visit sooner rather than later to avoid becoming a fire safety statistic.

• Faulty Equipment
Sometimes you just get a lemon and sometimes, your aging equipment just isn’t holding up well. Faulty equipment can cause a surge in the circuit, and that can cause your lights to go dim for a second. The scary thing here is that the faulty equipment could put you at risk for electrical shock. When the electrician comes out, have him test your appliances to make sure they are up to par.

• Bad Light Switch
There is always the potential that your switch is bad. This is an easy fix for your electrician, but if it’s not done, the switch could overheat and catch on fire. You still need to be cautious even for this easy fix.

No matter the reason, if your lights are flickering like Chuck’s, Blue Collar Electricians can help. Contact us today, and let us come out and perform a full inspection of your wiring.