I'm having an issue in a house I bought last fall where I'll be sitting in a room and the lights will flash on and off so fast it feels seizure inducing. I don't think it's every bulb every time this happens, but I'm not sure. For MOST of the bulbs in the house, this happens just the once every so often. I've tried changing bulb brands in some fixtures (all LED) but with no luck. It still happens but in varying degrees. This is in multiple rooms, on multiple circuits, on both sides of the panel.

I had an electrician look at it and he basically said to ask the power company to come out and check the neutral connection. They did that, still no luck.

I installed a hard start kit installed on my AC compressor and that seems to have helped some. There's also 6 fridges/freezers in this house (some small beverage ones) so tracking devices kicking on and off is incredibly tricky.

The one room I can get consistent flicker is in our master bathroom. We have a Toto washlet with heated seat and some "vintage style" LED bulbs around the vanities. If the Toto washlet kicks on (I imagine it's the heater causing this), these vintage style bulbs will flicker like crazy. This room is consistent, everywhere else is super intermittent. I'm thinking the bathroom is its own separate issue, but wanted to include this just in case.

Is there anything I can do to try and track down the source of this? Anything I can measure to show my utility company an issue on their side? My electrician basically said I'm out of luck until the transformer gets replaced but the occasional flicker is extremely jarring.

  • I would add more accent and task lighting such that you reduce the amount you depend on middle of the ceiling lighting. Options include spots, strips, and fairy lights. This lighting should be LED, driven by explicit DC adapters, which won't flicker like LED bulbs do.
    – dandavis
    Jul 26, 2021 at 22:43

2 Answers 2


Try turning one thing off at a time. When you find the problem the flickering will quit. However you may have multiple sources so you should bring the ones you turned off back on one at a time. If you can narrow it down to one with this process you can work on finding the problem. Check breakers and see if one is hot and or the wire is not tight. I doubt this is it but you never know until you check. You can get a recording voltmeter but I doubt it will show the transients. It will give you a voltage trend and let you determine what time of day the problem is at its worse. It is possible the transformer supplying you is to small and or the feeder to your home is undersized. What size breaker panel do you have? If you have neighbors on the same transformer check with them and see if they also have the same problem. If several of you do complain to the power company.

  • 200 Amp panel. I have a commercial grade UPS that charts incoming voltage min/max and frequency. Always get 60Hz, voltage fluctuates between 110-120.
    – nwalke
    Jul 26, 2021 at 19:05
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    That's a lot of fluctuation. Does the voltage drop to 110 for just an instant or does it stay there for a while? Is it a gradual drop, or instantaneous drop? You may be on a power company circuit that has other customers using heavy duty equipment requiring large start up currents. Or a neighbor with an oddball electrical usage pattern, like an arc welder. LEDs are notorisiouly sensitive to voltage variations and react INSTANTLY. Gil's advice is good: Turn everything off but the lights and see if you still have the flicker, then turn circuits back on, one by one. Jul 26, 2021 at 20:49
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    Curious question, does the problem go away very early in the morning or when it cools down outside? Is the grid loaded in your area, California is one that is having problems. There are test instruments called power quality meters, made by several manufacturers. Quite pricey but they can be rented if you so desire.
    – Gil
    Jul 26, 2021 at 21:07

Another option in addition to the turning off one light or appliance at a time is to ask your power company to test your electric meter. This happened to me – the same issues you're having – and after multiple inspections of the breaker + a breaker replacement, it turned out to be the electric meter. The power company replaced the meter at no charge and the flickering stopped.

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