Our kitchen ceiling lights are can lights in series on three-way switches. One 3-way switch is a dimmer switch. When the lights are turned on, after a while a single can light goes out and then comes back on after a while. This continues as long as the lights are on. All the bulbs are LED. The bulb in the one that goes on/off is only 13-watts. As far as I know, the can lights do not have a thermostatic regulator. The space between the floors is not insulated so the regulator is not required by code. I have switched bulbs and the same fixture continues to go off/on. The bulbs the go off/on in that fixture work fine in a different fixture.

  • How long has it done that?
    – JACK
    Commented Jan 17, 2022 at 18:40
  • 1
    Sounds like a loose connection. Heat expands enough to lose connection and then cools down and makes a good connection again. Turn off breaker and check all connections tight.
    – crip659
    Commented Jan 17, 2022 at 18:51
  • 3
    Freaking LEDs. My kitchen looks like a disco with all the flashing bulbs. Good thing I can dance.
    – Willk
    Commented Jan 17, 2022 at 18:58
  • This happens at full brightness or only when dimmed? If dimmed, adjust the little knob on the switch (take the plate off).
    – Mazura
    Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 17:48

3 Answers 3


I had the same problem in a series of four recessed cans containing LED flood bulbs. It was a faulty bulb. I replaced it and haven't had a problem since.


If there other lights in your home doing this you need to get an electrician ASAP as you probably have an intermittent connection or worse.

Simple trick for finding loose connections, not guaranteed to be 100%: Use an AM radio and tune somewhere on the low band that does not have a station. Does it buzz when the light is on then quit when off? If so that strongly indicates a bad connection or loose wire.

I also question them being in series, it makes more sense if they were parallel on the same circuit. Do this first: If you remove 1 bulb and the others stay on it is parallel. Second: Try swapping the "bad" with a "good" and if the problem changes you have a bad bulb, the one that is flickering.


OK the easiest fix would be, with the power off, to bend the center tab in the socket down a bit to ensure it's making good, solid contact with the bulb. The not so easy fix is to disassemble the light from below to check/redo the electrical connections. You can usually remove the can adjustment screws and move the can only further up into the ceiling. It's probably connected to the light frame with some flexible metal conduit so it can move around. Then find the connection box on the frame and remove the cover. Check those connections and also check the wires where they go into the socket. Many recessed lights can be fixed this way. It's hard for a DIYer if you're not familiar with the lights and can be difficult because you'll be working on a ladder. If this is over your head,(no pun intended) get a pro to check it out. Worse case scenario, they'll have to replace the fixture.

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