Light bulbs buzzing/flickering on dimmer what to do?

tklahrMarch 7, 2008

We just recently had our kitchen pendant light switches replaced with Lutron Maestro dimmers. Using standard 100 watt bulbs, the lights buzzed pretty good when they were dimmed. We then replaced the bulbs with 100 watt rough service bulbs, which helped the buzzing, but now the bulbs flicker every minute or so. ItÂs just as annoying as the buzzing.

The only other option I can think of is to use halogen bulbs. Do you think this will help?

Any other thoughts are appreciated!

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Are your pendants by any chance controlled by a 3-way switchs? You use the term "switches". If this is the case, only one switch is controlled by a three-way dimmer. The other switch remains as a standard 3-way switch.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2008 at 9:01AM
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Thanks. Yes, the pendants are controlled by 3-way switches. But the Lutron dimmers we're using are multi-location. You use one main dimmer on the 3-way switch and "companion" dimmers on the other switches. Our electrian installed them so I'm assuming they're wired correctly. No problems with operation, I think it's just the bulbs.

Can anyone else think of another option for us?


    Bookmark   March 8, 2008 at 11:02AM
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I do not understand what you are saying. Lights controlled by three way switches only have two switches. They do not control other lights. You can use dimmers on other light circuits but only one three way dimmer on the pendants. You do not use two dimmers on a 3-way switch. If your electrician used two 3-way dimmers on the same circuit, he did so incorrectly. I am speaking as a master electrician in Dallas.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2008 at 2:46PM
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I think tklahr is referring to the product in the link - Lutron does indeed make multi-location dimmers for 3-way circuits.

The only advice I can offer is to try a few different brands of bulbs. We've had some make really unpleasant ringing noises, and others are just fine.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lutron Maestro

    Bookmark   March 15, 2008 at 7:49PM
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I guess the question begs, why do you need to be able to dim the lights from both 3-way switches? Obviously it is not going to work without testing expensive light bulbs. We are electricians in Dallas and we simply do not do it when wiring homes where there are 3-way switches. I have also read on the wiring board where bulbs burning out have fried dimmers.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 9:23AM
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Sorry to be catty but be wary when taking advice from certain users. Refer to this thread as an example: "o
Hardwire a chandelier"
. I am tired of seeing advice which is given as authoritative when it is wrong.

Dimming from more than one location is simply a matter of preference in most cases but also of convenience. Texasredhead, if a light is turned to a dim glow where one can barely see should one have to walk across a room to find a dimmer to turn it up if there is a dimmer closer by?

Dimming from more than one location is possible. Any reputable electrician would know that. The dimmers communicate with one another through leads on the dimmers which are linked together through the switch wiring.

Tklahr, try different brands of bulbs rather than just different types. Also look for bulbs which have filament supports. Many bulbs simply have a filament stretched between two arms with nothing else and that lends itself to vibration.

As for flickering, if the wiring is all sound it may be an issue of a heavy load somewhere in your home causing the flickering.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 2:04PM
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Mr. Von Hamm, don't really care if you don't like my advice. I said that we don't put dimmers on both legs of a 3-way. Doesn't mean it can't be done, as a policy we don't do it. Don't know what type of pendants use 100 watt bulbs. We have installed a lot of pendants over kitchen islands and some use candleabra based bulbs. Seems the big problem is the light flickering. Now, my thinking is perhaps the OP has both dimmers working at the same time and that may be causing the flickering especially if they are at different levels of dimming. The test would be to dim one leg and turn the dim feature on the other leg off. Then see if the lights still flicker. Once again, that is the reason we do not dim both legs of a 3-way Mr. Von Hamm.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 9:38AM
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Ms Texasredhead, I don't care whether you like my advice or not, the fact of the matter is the advice you give, from what I have seen, could very well kill someone someday and you'd have blood on your hands.

Again, you are showing your total lack of knowledge. Dimmers NEVER go on both legs of a three-way, multi-location dimmers use a traveller as a means of communicating with one another. A reputable electrician would know this. Most systems have a master dimmer and slave dimmers, the slave dimmers communicate with the master dimmer which does the dimming.

What is the name of your company?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2008 at 9:34PM
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Sorry, apparently you are an older man.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2008 at 3:23PM
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I would like to say both of you are correct and reading your comments completely resolved the same problem I was having as I too installed two lutron slide / toggle dimmers in the circuit and had the flickering problem. I did the bulb change out and decrease the wattage loads but the problem still existed and using LED bulbs made it worst but II now know that trying to have convience over circuit / device design limitations is not worth the visual aggrevation and trying to explain to a client what the problem is or was so I removed the other dimmer on the downside and replaced it with a standard three way switch and no more flickering period. And yes you can use a master with a slave in two separate locations to make the circuit work but the expense is on the client if thats what they want and that should be discussed up front. You two shake hands and call it a day cause your both great electricians and I was glad I was the dummy today and learned a thing or two

    Bookmark   August 27, 2013 at 4:49PM
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