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Flickering lights on Ceiling Fan - help!

Flickering lights on Ceiling Fan - help!

I have a ceiling fan that - on absolutely random occasions, the light bulbs on them flicker.

It doesn't matter whether or not the fan is running (the fan is usually not running, especially now in the Winter).

They are incandescent (not CFL) light bulbs. I can have 1 or 2 in them and when they flicker, they both flicker.

I have even thrown in one LED and one normal bulb, and they still flicker. I have tried different incandescent bulbs, and same results.

I don't understand when/how it decides to flicker - the flickering has no rhythm either - just completely random - and starts/stops at random times.
Ironically, it can go hours without it flickering, or it can start flickering for hours.

I end up just trying not to use the lights on the ceiling fan, but that's also getting annoying now in the Winter time.

ANY ideas what could be causing this?

I want to replace the whole thing if it will just fix it quickly, but don't want to waste time replacing the whole thing if it can be something else.

Any troubleshooting ideas? It's driving me crazy... Thanks.



Tags: lights, flickering, flicker

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Posted 2012-12-30T05:31:45+0000  by takabanana takabanana

Are there any dimmers/speed controls wall switches?  Age of fan?  Possible issue could be with the light switch located in the bottom of the fan, you would have to remove the light to gain access to the light switch.  If you replace with a new fan chances are it would happen, unless for some reason you are getting random voltages to the fan.

Posted 2013-01-29T18:04:40+0000  by jwatkins82

No - there are not any dimmers/speed control wall switches.

The fan - I have no idea how old - the townhouse I just moved into is about 10-12 years old?


ok - I didn't think about the light switch at the bottom of the fan - but would it still flicker even without the fan being on?


I did think about trying the next easiest thing - seeing if it is in the main (only) wall switch to the fan - but I realized I can see if that's the case with the fan running - since if it is the switch, the fan would also slow down.


It's so frustrating - I have had to stop turning on the light and I have been using a lamp on the floor.

Posted 2013-01-29T19:39:25+0000  by takabanana

If the light switch is worn it could cause flickering, and no the fan status would not affect it since they are are different circuits inside the fan.  The contacts in the switch become worn due to entended use.


This should get you started,


While your inside the fan check for any bad/loose connections.


Here is the switch you will need, you can get a different finish if needed.

Posted 2013-01-29T19:47:48+0000  by jwatkins82

I wanted to follow-up on this.

I went and bought the switch from HD - got home - and ironically, I learned that the fan AND lights are both going out.

I am not sure how/why I didn't notice this - probably because it usually just flickers.

BUT - it seems the light AND the fan go out together.  i.e. It'll flicker, and eventually, they will BOTH go completely out - for a few seconds up to many minutes - before starting to flicker again.

Soooo - thinking it was just the wall switch, I replaced that.  Well, same result.


Any ideas?  Is it time to call an electrician?  Or have I narrowed it down to the ceiling fan unit itself?
I never did try the Ceiling Fan Light Switch - because I realized the fan AND the lights go out (flicker) together - it's harder to tell with the fan because it'll keep on spinning if it's just flickering.... versus the lights going out for more than a minute or two.



Posted 2013-02-13T03:12:15+0000  by takabanana

I should add one more thing I noticed... and this is very weird.


It SEEMS like (not 100% sure but) over time, the flickering starts, then gets worse, then turns almost completely off with some light random flickering.


If I turn the wall switch off for a second or two, then on - it still shows the same problem.


BUT if I turn the wall switch off for 5+ seconds, then on - then the light/fan stays on for at least a few seconds, if not, almost a minute - before it starts to flicker and eventually "almost" turn off....


Thoughts?  I took a video - I'll post it on YouTube... 


Posted 2013-02-13T04:10:47+0000  by takabanana

After some intense Googling - it is starting to look like my ceiling fan has a "Watt Governor" that I need to bypass.

I will take it apart - hopefully this weekend - and post any updates.



Posted 2013-02-13T07:11:57+0000  by takabanana

Here's a video to the light and its flickering behavior - listen for the sound of me flipping the wall switch.



Posted 2013-02-13T16:51:31+0000  by takabanana

ok so I took apart the light kit from the ceiling fan - and there is no governor!  Just a capacitor (4.7uF 250V AC).


Soooooo - are there any other ideas?  I'm lost here...


From reading online, it sounded like it would pretty much be a watt limiter/governor, but... there is none!!!!


Unless it'd be in the main ceiling fan housing?  I assume not??


Any ideas/help would be appreciated...





Posted 2013-02-15T05:21:31+0000  by takabanana


Did you ever get this resolved? I'm having the same issue. at first the flickering was periodic but would come back on, now it's more constatnt. sometimes the bulb goes completely out, but if I remove it and put it back it sometimes work. I'm starting to think it's the fixture??


Maybe you can help from your experience.


Thank You

Posted 2014-01-13T17:26:13+0000  by ldemelo

Hey Idelmelo,


Thanks for your question and welcome to the community!


I hope you've researched like takabanana did regarding the bulbs and switches used in the fan. Some CFL and LED bulbs, as you may not know, can flicker if they aren't dimmable and are on a dimmer.

However, if this is isn't your problem, there could be a loose and/or bad connection in the wiring. While changing the light switch pull could be a solution (link in the thread above), you'll most likely need to check all connections leading to the fan.

Ceiling Fan Light Switch

This means inside the wall switch, to above the motor housing, and inside the light kit. Good ol' fashioned wire tracking will determine what and where the problem to the lights are. Be sure the power is completely turned off at the breaker before continuing.


When you find a loose or bad connection, fix it with either a wire nut or butt splice, then cover it with electrical tape.


Let me know if you have any further questions,


Posted 2014-01-22T20:32:03+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL
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