Why LED bulbs can flicker

Got yourself brand new LED bulbs to create the perfect atmosphere? Great! However, there are few things to take into account when it comes to dimming your LED bulbs. Have you perhaps noticed that they make a buzzing sound or flicker when dimmed? Well, this is a common problem..read on to know why!

The cause & its effect

Flickering or buzzing LED bulbs are common issues experienced when you use them with standard dimmer switches as it is a common mistake that is often made. You have to ensure that when you purchase dimmable LED bulbs can flicker, making buzzing noise or even blow if you connect it to a standard or traditional dimmer switches, this is the main cause of this.

But why does this happen? Because LED has a lower wattage than halogen or incandescent lights, if you connect an LED bulb to a standard or traditional dimmer switch it will not reach the minimum power required to allow the bulb to dim, this confuses the dimmer switch and starts to overheat the LED bulb therefore this is how flickering, buzzing or even your bulbs blow.

Look closely at the power of the dimmer switch

Suitable dimmer switches for LED bulbs are those that have ‘RC” on them. The minimum and maximum power of the dimmer switch is always stated on the packaging or at the back of the fixture itself. An example is, when a dimmer switch has a range of 20W to 300W and you use a 15W bulb with it, the bulb will start to flicker, buzz or blow. However, if you have 2 bulbs of 15W each (together 30W) then the bulbs will not flicker, buzz or blow as it has exceeded the minimum required on the dimmer switch. If you use bulbs that together come to a total of 400W and you use with a maximum dimmer switch that can withstand up to 300W then the dimmer switch will short circuit and fry itself causing it to become faulty.

Another tip is to check if your bulb is a leading-edge or trailing-edge and for it to be compatible with the dimmer switch itself to ensure that both bulb and dimmer switch have the same phase as each other.

It is important that you use a dimmer switch that is suitable for LEDs such as an electronic dimmer switch, also ensure that you stick to the minimum and maximum wattage outlined by the dimmer switch itself!

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