The terrible LED Light Bulb "Flicker": How to get rid of it.

Information distributed by Teris Pantazes, Co-Founder of and based in Baltimore, Maryland. 

LED bulbs are great. They use a minimal amount of energy and last forever. But then again, sometimes they aren't so great. . . like when you develop the LED FLICKER!

I was unaware of the "flicker" until recently. Living in a new home (older home, but new to us neighborhood), we were still in the phase of getting used to the nuances of the place when my family and I suddenly noticed an older lamp that was recreating a nightmare version of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra Christmas Show (nothing says Christmas like a laser show).

Of course this impromptu show was cause for concern. So, after unplugging the lamp to prevent what might have been the lamp's final act- I did my research and actually found the reason to be very simple.


Older, non- dimmable LED are made from a small, single light "pod" inside of a traditional lightbulb housing.  Unlike traditional bulbs which are basically a wire that, when energized, interacts with a gas to make "light", the LED is more "electronic" and complex (extremely simplified version, sorry).

When electricity passes through a traditional bulb, that simply means less energy interacts with the gas and therefore you have, less light.

However, when less electricity is provided to a non-dimmable LED bulb, a the little diode inside the bulb notices the lack of energy and . . . . it turns off.  and on. and off. and on. and off- - - REALLY FAST!

- now the fun part -

Did you know, that the ENTIRE energy grid in the U.S. uses an energy source that is called "AC" (alternating current- Wikipedia). Without getting into details reminiscent of my days in solar energy, all you need to know is electricity has a natural frequency when it comes from the power plant.

Depending on your location, local power lines, the energy usage patterns of your neighbors, etc, etc, etc- all this can effect that frequency. When it becomes too volatile- the LED is the first to notice the change- - - it doesn't like it! (*also note, your other appliances typically are effected as well however they are usually designed to adapt).

So when the frequency drops, or when the energy delivered dips (think of your AC turning on during a hot day and your lights dim), your LED Bulbs flicker.


The solution is simple and and thankfully most newer bulbs have evolved enough to overcome this issue. To reduce or remove the flicker, you best option is to install a newer bulb and in tougher cases- get a dimmable LED bulb.

Dimmable LED bulbs actually contain additional components so when the power supply to the bulb decreases, the light diode things it is just being dimmed and will act more like a traditional (incandescent bulb). It won't flicker.

Below are our recommendation for bulbs to consider. Stick with brand name, high quality bulbs when purchasing LED bulbs that are known to be in problematic areas. But, if you have an older (cheap) bulb installed with no problems--- let sleeping dogs lay.

The information in this blog is meant for discussion purposes only. Sometimes, issues observed may be signs of a deeper problem and a professional should be consulted if you suspect something is wrong. EFynch is a Baltimore Based, Homeowner and Handyman Community and has consulted with electricians on this topic however in no interpretation should this blog post be considered as directions to perform work or imply that EFynch will perform the work discussed. EFynch is a communication system and likes to share information however EVERY circumstance is different and if you experience any of the problems discussed above, please work directly with a licensed and qualified electrician to determine the best solutions. EFynch is based in Baltimore, Maryland- but is also serving Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia.We would like to thank Baltimore TV Mount and Maryland REO Rehab for contributing to this article.

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