We have had a LED light in the family room for several months now. In the past week it has started to act funny. We turn on the LED light and after a while it turns off and then goes back on and then a little while later off and on again. The time between turning off and on varies. Is this normal after several months of use? Is this an indicator the light is starting to burn out? A malfunction? Or a short in the wiring?

The light is not loose in the socket as we checked that.

What should we do? I do not want to have fire result from this.

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    If it were flashing at regular intervals, my guess would be that it's telling you that it's broken. Since it's flashing at irregular intervals, my guess is still that it's broken, and isn't healthy enough to realize that it's broken (which sounds like an oxymoron). If it were on a dimmer circuit, then it could be a problem with a non-LED compatible dimmer, but that's not the case on a switched outlet. – Johnny Dec 23 '14 at 18:10
  • @Johnny That would have made a good answer, especially as a contrast between this post and the other one about regular blinking. In future, please post your information as an answer so that it can be voted on and possibly accepted; that way, the question won't come back to haunt us. – Niall C. Dec 25 '14 at 23:34
  • I'm having this problem on an LED-compatible dimmer circuit with 4 LED bulbs, but only one socket exhibits the problem. Swapping bulbs confirms that it's the socket which is problematic. Thumping or slightly twisting the bulb in the problematic socket causes the light to come back on before it resumes the irregular on-off pattern. – Dolph Jul 24 '15 at 16:39
  • I have the same problem, seems to me that there is probably a capacitor that is under rated and is about to break soon. I will open my lamps up and check that to see if I can fix it. They probably do this so people will buy more lamps, cos any stores wont replace lamps if they go bad after a couple of months. And you would never even save the recipt that long either. – user50746 Feb 27 '16 at 10:30
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    I have the same problem with retrofit lights in the kitchen , I took one down and took a temp reading it was 120^ degrees when it had just turned off and then turned on at 95^ , so I suspect that it's an internal problem? There is 11 light on this ckt and only 6 are doing this on off thing, I still have 120 volts at each light and no dimmers , I will call the manufacturing comp. and see what is the specs of these lights that I bought at Costco. And let you know I'm mr electric of imperial beach – user52903 Apr 20 '16 at 5:55

The LED light bulb is malfunctioning and needs to be replaced.

There are several possible causes of the malfunction, but the bottom line is that it is no longer functioning according to specification.

Some stores have good return policies to handle this sort of issue. In addition, some bulb manufacturers provide a replacement warranty. One of those options may help you get a replacement.


Things that happen on a 5-60 minute timescale are generally thermal.

LED emitters proper are very tiny. They must remain cool and are rather sensitive to overheat. Your LED-based light bulb has a big heat sink to remove heat from the emitter proper. Heat moves through a heat sink proportional to the difference in temperature. So as the air around the heat sink gets warmer, the heat sink loses effectiveness.

If your lamp has a confined space, or if it is a downlight with no ventilation, it can capture heat (heat rises) and the heatsink will not cool properly.

Better LEDs have thermal detection and will shut off to spare the LED emitter from overheat. That being pretty much the only way to kill an LED emitter; they will certainly outlive all of us.

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