Flickering Behind Light Switch


Old 10-31-06, 11:11 AM
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Flickering Behind Light Switch

Hi -- looking for advice on perhaps an obvious problem. My husband and I just bought a 1927 house. It passed inspection and haven't had any issues. Last night I discovered a "flicker" behind a light swith in an unused bedroom (the second floor is the original knob and tube). When the light switch is OFF, I can see flashed behind the switch. When the light switch is ON, the flickering stops and the overhead lamp lights.

I don't know how long this has been going on. I don't know how immediately I should handle the issue (husband is out-of-town). What can I do to avoid a potential hazzard? The switch is not hot to the touch and the room is never used. Should I keep the light on, to avoid the flickering, or tolerate the flickering until I can get an electrician in when my husband returns?

Thanks for any help you all can offer!
Old 10-31-06, 11:44 AM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: welland ontario
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Do you mean when the light off there is flickering behind the switch or when you flip the switch on there is a flash.?
Unless this is a lighted switch there should be no flickering when the switch is off. You should change the swtich asap.

Last edited by joed; 10-31-06 at 04:57 PM.
Old 10-31-06, 03:09 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
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Yeah, kinda spooky -

My guess is that the switch is sparking when the contacts are supposed to be in the off position, they're not fully separated and electricity can jump the gap. But they make good contact when in the "on" position.

I , like you, would be really nervous having that sparking going on.

Leaving it in the on position sounds like the better short term solution. Also, you might unscrew the light that's turned on, at least so you can see the action better in a darker room, and make sure it doesn't flicker in the on position.

Good Luck

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