Flickering lights are usually not anything to worry about. Lights can flicker because there's something wrong with the ballast, bulb, switch or the lighting fixture itself. Some types of lighting, such as fluorescent lighting, frequently flicker for a few seconds and every once in a while. These problems are easily remedied and often don't pose a threat of fire or damage. However, some types of flickering and dimming could be a sign that something is wrong with your home's wiring. Here are some other signs in addition to flickering lights that may signal more than just needing a bulb change.
Your circuits break more often:
It is not normal to blow a fuse, especially if it's been happening frequently. If you find that you're blowing fuses often, especially when you use a certain outlet or an outlet on one side of the room or building, then it may be a sign that you have a short somewhere in that circuit. This is especially true if using different appliances with that outlet also cause fuses to blow or if you use the same appliance or light on other outlets with no problem.
You smell funny odors when you turn on the light or appliance:
If you notice a burning smell, especially at the same time that you notice that the lights are flickering, then it may be another sign that you have a serious problem. The burning smell doesn't necessarily have to be in the same location as the flickering light. It is entirely possible that the problem in the circuit is at another outlet or fixture. You may also see sparks or have outlets that frequently feel hot even when they're not being used.
In addition to flickering lights, shocks and odor, if you notice that a particular outlet looks burned or discolored, stop using it immediately and call an electrician as soon as possible.
Shock when using the lamp or appliance:
These types of shocks are different than the type of shock that you get from static electricity against a metal object. They happen when you are turning on a switch. You actually may see a flash of electricity at the same time. Though this is not uncommon once in a while, if it happens frequently, it may be a sign that you have a problem on that circuit.
All of these signs are serious indicators that you may need work on your electrical wiring. Often, finding and replacing the worn wiring or outlets on the bad circuit is enough to fix the issue. An electrician like those at RDS Electric may be able to help.