How to Fix LED Lights Flickering in Australia

Fixing LED downlights flickering in Australia is explained with simple step by step process, depending on where in Australia you live and if you have an LED dimmer.

Written By Simon J Richardson

On June 13, 2020
Simon has been involved in smart homes for over 20 years in Australia, China, Singapore, Korea, Japan and Hong Kong and currently works with SAL National and SAL Commercial to develop, adapt and adopt new IoT solutions for the Australian Commercial and Residential markets.

Read more

If your LED lights are flickering, knowing how to fix LED lights flickering in Australia can save your sanity.

LED lights flickering in Australia is a common occurrence as more and more people either upgrade their old lighting to LED or as part of a renovation or new home build, install LED lighting to save energy.

Some of the solutions to fix LED lights flickering are straightforward, some are expensive and problematic and not all of the issues can be solved all of the time. We give you all the different ways to fix flickering LED light.

The first recommendation to fix LED downlight flickering is to use high quality LED lights and LED dimmers.

Its stands to reason that the cheaper the LED dimmers and the LED lights the lower the quality these are and the more you are likely to experience LED downlights flickering. 

Fix LED Lights Flickering Checklist

Choose the right solution to fix LED lights flickering in Australia by answering these LED flickering questions:

  1. Do the LED lights flicker at the same time of day or night, always?
  2. Do the LED lights flicker when dimmed below a certain level?
  3. Do the LED lights flicker all the time?

Use the menu below to navigate to the solution to your problem quickly.

How to Fix LED Lights Flickering in Australia: Fact 1

Before we answer the 3 questions asked, its important to understand that LED lights are nothing like traditional incandescent bulbs (halogen), downlights (tungsten) or energy savers (CFL). The technology is fundamentally different.

And its this technology difference that can explain at least part of the reason why so many homeowners complain about LED lights flickering.

2 of those older lighting technologies create light (and heat) via a glowing filament. LED lights do not, they create light through an LED - a light emitting diode - essentially an electronic component.

Electronics versus a glowing piece of wire, that’s a major technological difference.

It is entirely likely that a lot of the flickering you see from LED lights was always occurring when you had these older style lights in place, you just couldn't see it happening due to the ‘thermal inertia’ in the filament.

So its not like something bad has happened that wasn't happening before, it’s just that your human eyes could not detect it.

How to Fix LED Lights Flickering in Australia: Fact 2

If you are upgrading to LED lights you must change to an LED dimmer - a dimmer that is compatible with LED downlights or LED filament lamps. This is one of the best ways to stop flickering downlights.

If you’re installing LED lights ensure the chosen dimmers are LED compatible.

This is one surefire way to strike this issue off your LED lights flickering troubleshooting list.

If you haven’t done this, stop reading and do this first.

If you still have issues, come back and read on as we answer the 3 questions.

Do the LED lights always flicker at the same time of day or night?

Answering this question in certain parts of Australia will provide a very quick answer to the issue. If you find your LED lights are flickering at the same time every evening AND you live in NSW or South-east Queensland it is likely you are experiencing the impact of the off-peak hot water tone that is injected by electricity suppliers.

Whether you have a water heater that needs this signal or not does not matter, as the tone is injected into the electricity supply and delivered throughout the supply network.

But don’t panic!

This has been happening for decades and the LED light flickering problem can be solved, most of the time, but it is not currently inexpensive or very easy to do.

Essentially your electrician will need to install 1 or more filters into your electrical board where the electric supply is connected from the street.

There are a number of manufacturers that make devices specifically for this, however NONE of them guarantee that all problems will be solved.

Beyond this, there is nothing more that can be done - other than removing dimmers and reverting to switches - and or reverting to your previous older style , NON-LED lighting.


Download Complete SFI Ripple Stop Downlight Brochure

Do the LED lights flicker when dimmed below a certain level?

Assuming you don’t have problem #1 and / or you have fixed problem number 1 but you still experience the issue and want to know what else you can do to fix your LED lights flickering on a dimmer, this is the next question.

If, when your LED lights are on at 100%, you experience no led light flickering but when you dim them to a certain level, they start to flicker -  there are a few possible solutions to fix this LED flickering issue.

2 of these are an easy fix you can do yourself as the homeowner, the others will require an electrician to do the work.

  1. If you are using an analogue rotary dimmer, simply don’t dim the lights below the level where they flicker.
  2. If you have a push button dimmer, it is likely it will have a feature that allows a minimum dim level to be set in the dimmer. Setting this minimum dim level just above where your lights start to flicker means you will no longer experience this issue. Dimmers like the SAL PIXIE smart dimmer have this function built in.

This solution may be acceptable to a number of people, but sometimes this minimum dim level does not meet the expectations of the homeowners for the minimum of light needed for a space.

For example in a movie room, you may like to have the lights dimmed very low so you and your family can both navigate in the space safely and maximise your viewing experience as a result of a lower overhead light level.

In this case if your LED lights continue to flicker there are some additional troubleshooting steps to take, and you’ll need more information about your LED lights and your LED dimmers first.

Once you have this detail you can do some simple math and decide on a solution.

Every LED dimmer has a minimum load requirement - that is the minimum amount of electrical load needed for that dimmer to perform its functions.

The SAL PIXIE smart dimmer has a minimum load requirement of 2watts as an example.

Every LED has a power consumption defined as a wattage.

With old style light lamps (globes), this used to be 75watts or 100watts; with Tungsten halogen downlights this used to be 50w and more recently 25w.

This represents that total amount of power consumed by each of the lamps and bulbs.

With LEDs this number for residential applications will typically be between 6w and 12watts per LED light. So whereas you may have had 4 x 50w halogen downlights in place for a total load of 200watts, when replaced with LED downlights you now have 40w (using 10w as an easy number for math) - 4 x 10w LED downlights.

Clearly you are saving a lot of energy and money and one of the major benefits for using LED downlights. It should also be clear why the first recommendation was to upgrade your dimmers to LED dimmers as part of an LED lighting upgrade or smarthome upgrade.

As you dim these lights, the load on the dimmer reduces also, and if it is dimmed below the minimum load requirement then this may cause issues.

It should also be noted that whilst there are a huge number of LED downlights on the market, and many of them dimmable, often these are not always dimmable through the full range 1% to 100% without issues, or these lights are only 100% dimmable when used with a precisely specified LED dimmer.

Back to the first point again, use high quality LED lights and LED dimmers to achieve the best outcome and avoid flickering issue related to this specific problem.

There are a range of other issues related to 2 wire dimmers versus 3 wire dimmers; analogue dimmers versus digital dimmers that can impact this as well - but these are not covered here.

Smartplugs help fix LED flickering in Australia

Smart Plugs Can Solve this LED Light Flickering Problem Too.

Another way to approach this issue is to consider use of wall and table lamps as your day to day ambient lighting in your home. For living rooms and bedrooms as an example of 2 spaces where this approach works best.

If you also have LED downlights installed, perhaps these are used as a more rarely-used light source for when you need the most light possible, but day to day they are unused.

This way homeowners can still use energy-efficient LED lamps in these table and floor lights, and by choosing lamps with the exactly right power output (amount of light) and colour ( warm white, cool white etc. or 3k,4k,5k if you understand what that means) this is a perfect way to set the mood without using overhead downlights every day - and therefore avoiding the issues of flickering lights when dimmed to a low level.

Smartplugs like SAL PIXIE Smart plug, are a device that plug into normal power points and provide the ability to control table and floor lamps on and off from a number of locations with additional benefits such as:

  1. Automatic Schedules - lights turn on and off at prescribed times every evening and morning
  2. Lights can be controlled via the smartplugs from mobile Apps as part of a smarthome installation
  3. Lights can be controlled from a wall switch too. The SAL PIXIE smarthome solution has a multifunction wall switch controller which can be ‘synced’ to control a group of smartplugs - and therefore a group of 1 or more table and floor lamps - together with the press of a button on the wall.

Other than the installation of the smart multifunction wall switch by an electrician, the installation of these smartplugs can be performed by the homeowner and the syncing, grouping, schedules etc. again are easily accessible for the homeowner to setup themselves and ‘sync’ to the wall plate button or via Bluetooth mesh without the need for an in-home-hub, Wifi connections or any knowledge of electricity or internet technology.

If you can use a mobile phone, you can use the SAL PIXIE smarthome solution as a work-around to fix LED lights flickering.

Do the LED lights flicker all the time?

If your LED lights flicker all the time you’re going to need the assistance of your electrician.

Top 3 things to look for:

  1. Compatibility between the LED dimmer and the LED lights. - You updated your dimmers to high quality LED dimmers too..right?
  2. Wiring faults at the LED dimmer connection or the LED lights.
  3. Overloaded LED dimmer - Just as dimmers have a minimum load requirement they also have a maximum load rating. Exceeding this maximum load means the number of LED’s on the dimmer circuit exceeds this maximum load rating for the dimmer. This is dangerous as the dimmers will overheat and over time, stop working, and this continuous flickering of the LED lights could potentially damage the lights too.

If you’ve ticked all these boxes there is one last possible solution. Sometimes a load device installed onto the line by the electrician is able to ‘smooth’ out how the dimmers and the LED lights operate with each other.

This has been common practice for many years and all major suppliers of dimmers in Australia sell something similar.

Sometimes called a capacitor or a load bypass device, these are installed by the electrician on to the problematic lighting circuit across the neutral and the line and can cost  about $50 depending on the supplier.

One is required per dimmer, not one per light.

If after you have checked off all of these items in the article you still need to know how to fix LED lights flickering, maybe you just got a bad batch of LED lights.

Try replacing all the lights on a single circuit with a different type of LED light and see if the issue continues, or try swapping out a dimmer to a different type due to incompatibilities between the dimmer and the LED lights.

If it does, you and your electrician will need to decide on the next course of action.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments