Fix kitchen light bulb flickering

Last Updated on March 13, 2021 by Dave Farquhar

Flickering lights can be a sign of a serious electrical problem. But kitchen light bulb flickering often is due to other issues because a kitchen provides challenges you usually don’t find elsewhere in the house. Let’s look at things that cause kitchen light bulbs to flicker and burn out more quickly than other rooms and things you can do to prevent it.

And yes, flickering usually does go hand in hand with reduced lifespan.

Power hogs

Fix kitchen light bulb flickering
If your kitchen lights flicker, try these simple fixes before bringing in an electrician.

The biggest difference between the kitchen and other rooms is that more of your power hogs live there than anywhere else in the house. Your refrigerator, range, microwave, dishwasher, and garbage disposal all live there. All of these appliances are supposed to have a dedicated line and their own breaker. But in some houses, people took shortcuts.

If you’ve moved your fridge or your microwave for renovations and your light started flickering, that appliance is probably on the same circuit as your lights. When you move the appliance back to its intended place, the problem will go away.

If your lights flicker when you run your microwave and you haven’t moved the microwave, you might try plugging the microwave into a different outlet where it isn’t sharing a circuit with your lights.

If that isn’t possible, you can try changing your lights. LED bulbs use a lot less wattage than obsolete incandescent bulbs did. Replacing them with LEDs may very well reduce the demand on the circuit so that everything can work properly.

Dedicated circuits

But in the long run, you really do need your power hogs to be on their own dedicated circuits. Assuming there’s room in your breaker box, a handyman can install a line inexpensively. If you’re out of room in your breaker box, it may be time to get a new 200-amp box. There are serious safety issues with many breaker boxes from the 1960s and 1970s anyway, so installing an up to date electrical box can be a good long-term safety improvement. Expect it to cost $1,000-$1,500. But your insurance company may lower your rates if you replace the box, which can help with the expense.

Cheap and simple fixes

All that said, if lights flickering don’t seem to have any relation to your use of power hogs, there may be other things going on. Fortunately, these tend to be pretty cheap and easy to fix. Fixing ceiling light fixtures isn’t as hard as it sounds.

You’ll also want to see my post on bathroom light flickering. Everything I say there about fixing light switches and fixtures and treating bulbs applies in kitchens too. Yes, replacing a $2 light switch often solves lighting problems.

Kitchen light bulb flickering cured

It takes a little work and usually a little expense to cure kitchen light bulb flickering. But it’s still a project you can easily tackle in an afternoon. It eliminates an annoyance, improves safety, and saves you money. All three of those are good things.

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