Flickering CFL

A client claims to have a hallway CFL that flickers even when the switch is off. It’s not on a dimmer but is on a 3-way circuit.
Is it possible?

Could be a bad bulb or bad ground, but here is a snipet.

The first compact fluorescent bulbs flickered when they were turned on because it took a few seconds for the ballast to produce enough electricity to excite the gas inside the bulb. Thanks to the refined technology in our new GE compact fluorescent bulbs, there is now no significant flicker (less than 1 second). However, these bulbs do require a short warm-up period before they reach full brightness, which is why they may appear dim when first turned on. Compact fluorescent bulbs are best used in fixtures that are left on for longer periods of time, rather than in fixtures that are turned off and on frequently.

Ask your client if one or more switches are illuminated switches. I’ve heard CFL’s tend to do this on these type of switches.


I would simply suggest they replace the CFL’s and see if that solves the problem. Before I moved onto other concerns I would see if it is just a bad CFL.

I hate them
They will hopefully be replaced by LED in the future.

I love um in my house…I got CFL’s everywhere. In other words I have enough private mercury to give mining rights.

The only problem I have with them is that they take about three minutes to come up to full brightness.


Really…I never noticed much. Guess I am so used to them as I said my entire house has them. While they are still questionable in some areas i wont go into , as for the light output I am quite pleased with them versus incand. bulbs but again might be that i am used to them by now.

It’s more apparent on the flood types.


As Tom Hanks said at the beginning of Joe vs the Volcano.
Flourescent lights suck the life out of you.

I also just read an article that they produce electromagnetic pulse.

The only CFL in my house is right above me for hours everyday ,above my computer. yikes

lol…any it also causes paranora…( how ever you spell it…lol ) and if I worried about that just imagine what our cell phones are doing to us next to our ears on a daily basis ( which is why I use BlueTooth…)

Now you are risking ear infection and having people think you are talking to yourself.

Wait 'til the public finds out there’s radioactive material in smoke detectors.:o


Funny you should say that…I get dozens of calls a day from electricians around the US and while talking to them and doing inspections, you should see the local electricians look at me funny when they finally realize I was not talking to them but in fact on my bluetooth answering questions.

I have a neat BlueTooth attachment, it allows (2) lines on one unit.

Does anyone have an answer to the original question? :stuck_out_tongue:

John Kogel

Up and down in regards to 3 way switches has no meaning. Either position can be on or off depending on the position of the other switch.

Paul is right in changing the bulb first as it could be many things.

I have seen dimmer switches that look like regular switches.

Need to hear back from the OP. If John confirms that one of the switches is illuminated, THAT is the problem. The client seems to be sure that it is not a dimmer (even a toggle type dimmer).

Rather than investing in another lamp, I would suggest moving it to another location in the home to see if the problem moves with it.

I’ll try to find out.