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Troubleshooting LED Lights: What to Do When You're Stuck

Posted by Birddog Lighting on Jul 20th 2020

Troubleshooting LED Lights: What to Do When You're Stuck

You transitioned to LED lights because they help you consume 75% less energy than what you used with your old school incandescent lights. At first, the relationship felt great, but lately, you've noticed a few puzzling LED light problems.

Though LED lights usually don't have serious issues, sometimes they flicker, dim, or buzz. Some people complain about too much glare.

Whatever problem you're experiencing, reading today's post should help with troubleshooting LED lights. Before you decide to switch back to the old energy-hungry lights, let us help you figure things out.

What About That Buzzing?

After flickering, there's nothing more annoying than buzzing noises coming from your lights. LED lights buzz for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Circuit overload
  • Loose connections
  • Improper LED wiring
  • Wrong dimmer setup

If you're confident in your skill level working with electricity, you can often troubleshoot and fix the problems. If not, call an electrician! Whether it's a power excess or shortage in the electrical circuits, or another problem, a professional can safely and efficiently fix the issues.

Hint: Buzzing has nothing to do with quality—both low and high-quality lights can make noise.

Dealing With Flickering LED Lights

LED lights flicker much less than those in fluorescent light systems, but that doesn't mean it never happens.

Two types of flickering are associates with lighting—visible and invisible flicker. Visible flicker happens when frequency falls below 100Hz. Both types pose health risks, including seizures, eyestrain, migraines, dizziness, and general malaise.

There are two primary reasons your LED lights flicker.

First, some manufacturers use cheap driver components, which can cause alterations to frequency, resulting in flicker. Second, if flickering happens when you use a dimmer, you're likely not using an LED-specific dimmer.

One way to avoid cheap driver components is to buy high-quality LED light bulbs. Purchase your lights from a trusted lighting company and buy a reputable brand.

More Reasons Your LED Lights Flicker

There are a few other reasons why you're dealing with flickering LED lights. You may have a loose connection, loose bulbs, or high power appliances.

Loose Connections

A loose wire connection between the circuit can cause flickering. Fix the problem by inspecting the connection points. Look for loose or broken wires.

Loose Bulbs

Check your bulbs! If you haven't tightened them firmly in the light fixture, you'll end up with poor contact between the fixture base and the bulb. Poor current transmission may cause flickering.

High Power Appliances

Most of us use multiple high power appliances in our homes. For example, you may notice flickering LED lights in the kitchen if you're running a refrigerator, microwave, and electric stove at the same time and on the same circuit as the lights. If you turn off a few of the appliances and notice a decrease in flickering, the problem is likely too much voltage drawn in the circuit.

You can quickly fix any of these issues on your own, but an electrician can also help.

You Cannot Dim the Lights

Whether you're trying to create a little romance, or you just prefer less brightness, it's frustrating when you can't dim the lights.

Before you spend a lot of time troubleshooting, make sure you bought the right LED lights. You may have a non-dimmable LED. If that's the case, continuing to use the wrong LED not only reduces brightness, you risk damaging the LED light.

If you're confident you've installed a dimmable LED, the next step is to check the dimmer.

Check first for compatibility issues. Not all dimmers work with LED lights. It's also possible there's a problem with the electronics inside the dimmer switch.

Too Much Bright Light

While LED lights are a favorite green lighting option, they do put out a large amount of bright light. LED lights work great for flashlights and spotlights, but we also use them in multiple products, including appliances, T.Vs, and laptops.

Sure, they're the best energy-efficient lighting choice, but their one-directional light can create a glareThey are ideal for things like flashlights and places where you need spotlights, but for rooms, they can be a bit harsh.

In addition to glare, you may notice something doesn't feel right with light distribution. LED lights may also create a blue glow and a cool temperature, which feels unnatural.

When you get room lighting right, you get color and temperature close to natural sunlight.

LED lights troubleshooting for glare should include using covered lights. You can purchase plastic LED covers, which will help with even light distribution and ultimately cut down on glare.

You can also reduce glare by matching the LED light to the right location.

Has an LED Light Stopped Working?

Even though LED lights offer a durable lighting solution, like anything else, they may stop working for multiple reasons.

You may be experiencing power fluctuations. You could also have a faulty installation. As we mentioned earlier, it's critical to use a compatible dimmer—the wrong dimmer can cause a light to quit working.

Another reason your light may stop working, especially if you've recently installed it is quality. Choosing a high-quality brand name light can make all the difference.

If you're experiencing problems with your LED ceiling lights not working, you'll want to check for the following:

  • Bad fuse
  • Bad bulb
  • Faulty wiring

When LED strip lights stop working, it's rarely the strip. More often than not, you have an issue with the strip controller.

Need More Help Troubleshooting LED Lights?

We hope our guide helps shine some light on any problems you're experiencing with your LED lights. As you can see, many things can cause your lights to flicker, dim, or buzz. 

If after reading this post you still need help troubleshooting LED lights, we're available to help!

Contact our team today at (406) 586-5970 for help figuring out issues or for assistance ordering new lights. You can also request a free catalog here!