Nobody enjoys spending time in a room with flickering lights. Not only can this particular problem be annoying, but it may even trigger headaches or other health issues. Unfortunately, flickering can be a common problem in many commercial environments. Resolving this issue can drastically increase comfort for your building's occupants and help employees be happier and more productive.
Understanding Why Lights Flicker
As with any electrical issue, you will need to conduct some investigative work to understand the root cause of the problem. Observing the behavior of your lights is often the best way to start. As with residential structures, commercial buildings operate with multiple circuits connected to individual breakers. These circuits provide the first clue to the cause of your flickering lights.
Check if all of the flickering lights are on the same circuit. If you can isolate the problem to a single room or area, then you may be dealing with a wiring issue on that circuit. A fault anywhere in the circuit can impact everything on that circuit, so a single loose connection or wiring fault may lead to multiple flickering lights. In some cases, the problem may lie with the breaker panel or the breaker itself.
Flickering lights across multiple circuits usually result from a wiring problem at the service panel or even faulty mains wiring coming into the building. A fault at a service panel may affect every circuit on that panel, for example. As a general rule, persistent flickering throughout a building or on multiple circuits should cause significant concern.
Repairing the Problem
Even if you often perform some building maintenance yourself, it's best to leave flickering light investigations to a professional. Commercial structures (especially large ones) have complex electrical systems with many potential failure points. An electrician with commercial wiring experience can help you safely track down the issue.
In many cases, resolving the problem may be as simple as replacing an old switch or wall receptacle. These fixtures can wear out over time and through use, leading to wiring faults that impact the rest of the circuit. Since faulty wiring can present a fire hazard, it's critical to repair these problems even if they may seem relatively minor.
It may also be necessary to adjust your electrical usage. Overloaded circuits can cause lights to flicker, especially when turning on high-draw items such as microwaves. This situation can often arise if break room appliances share a circuit with other parts of an office. It may be necessary to remove appliances or install a separate circuit for the offending items.
A well-maintained electrical system is critical for any safe office environment. Always treat flickering lights as an early warning sign and resolve the issue before it becomes a more severe hazard. Talk to a local electrician, like those at Double D Electric for more information.