Our apartment had a very ugly fluorescent light in the kitchen (not a fixture with a bulb - but a one piece circular fluorescent with a plastic diffuser cover over top). We replaced the fixture with an IKEA fixture that has three sockets and put in three 9W LED bulbs (also tried three 14W fluorescent bulbs).

After about a minute of being ON, one bulb starts to blink, and then two (but never three). I've tried different LED bulbs (IKEA brand and other brand) and the same two sockets blink. I've tried putting the bulbs that blink in the socket that doesn't blink, and they don't blink there. I even replaced the fixture with an identical one and have the same issue.

I don't think it's the bulbs.

The fixture is on a single switch in the kitchen (not a dimmer) and is wired with black/white (hot/neutral) and no ground.

The breaker is a 15A breaker and the only other lights I can find on the breaker are three can lights in the hallway that are currently on fluorescent bulbs.

We also tried removing the LED bulbs and using fluorescent bulbs in there and they don't even light up.

What might be the issue here? I've read a bad connection on the negative side - is this the likely culprit? Should I just replace this fixture with something that can take a higher wattage incandescent (the IKEA fixtures at rated at 10W per socket)?

MODS: Please don't mark this as a dupe of the question about lights blinking when being turned off. This is: turn ON lights, wait 1 minute, lights begin to blink. The dupe from the last question had nothing to do with this one.

  • Are the symptoms the same when the hallway lights are on or off? At around what frequency is the blinking; a few times a second? Since you say "blinking" rather than "flickering" I am suspicious if these LED lights have light or motion sensitive sensors on them like these ones?
    – Octopus
    Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 20:14
  • it's a slow blink. Like 2 times a second. No motion sensors - these are regular 9W LED bulbs. I'll tell you that they stay solid for about a minute then start to blink - however if I flip on the hall lights that does appear to accelerate the process. They live on the same breaker.
    – jimmy0x52
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 22:03

2 Answers 2


I had the same issue after I remodeled my bathroom. The culprit was an illuminated switch-the switch glows when it is off so you can see it in the dark. Apparently it allows a small current through to illuminate, which in turn was triggering the CFL bulbs, causing them to 'blink' ever so slightly.

  • Thanks for the suggestion. No illuminated switches in the apartment. This circuit has five other fixtures on it: two are wired into other IKEA lights with 2 x LED bulbs (no blinking), 3 are can lights with 40W fluorescent bulbs (no blinking). All on different switches but on the same breaker. This is the only light on this switch, and the only thing having this issue!
    – jimmy0x52
    Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 17:53
  • 1
    @jimmy0x52 Blumbo's point is that this problem applies to any kind of switch with any kind of hat-trick. So many of these vexing problems end up being "Oh you said dimmer, you didn't ask about this other hat-trick ...." With all that said, I suspect this is inapplicable to OP's question. Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 18:03
  • this is a plain old switch. It's black in color and has nothing of note that's interesting about it. I might try swapping it to see what happens.
    – jimmy0x52
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 21:45

Could it be the switch? some old mechanical switch designs arc a tiny bit when switched on and this creates a deposit on the switch terminals which over time might cause lights to flicker.

I've also seen a modern switch full of ants which as you can imagine caused some problems.

Either way, turn off the power, pull out the switch and look behind where it's wired. If it looks really old, consider replacing it. If it's full of ants, deal to those and replace the switch. Also check the obvious, a loose wire at the switch and also inside the light fitting.

  • Interesting. I'm planning on taking a multimeter over and testing for both resistance and voltage to see if either seem unusually high or low.
    – jimmy0x52
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 22:04

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