Smart switches and lighting have revolutionized the way we think about setting up a smart home. The products offered by Lutron and similar companies can make your existing fans and lights “smart” with new switches and dimmers, eliminating the need to spend more than what’s necessary.
A smart dimmer switch can replace a hardwired switch so you can turn the lights on or off, or adjust the brightness according to your mood.
However, you may encounter flashing issues whenever you use the dimmer. One common problem with Lutron Caseta dimmers occurs when your lights flash on and off, seemingly at random.
An incompatible bulb model could be the reason why the lights are constantly flashing, followed by the need to adjust the low end dimmer so the flicker at lower brightness settings is reduced. For those who have neutral wiring, it’s recommended that you buy the PD-5NE Caseta dimmer model.
Let’s take a look at how you can eliminate ghosting LED lights and flashing bulbs with your smart dimmer switch.
Why is My Lutron Dimmer Flashing?
A Lutron Caseta light blinking can mean different things:
- The Lutron dimmer and LED bulb are not compatible
- A low end dimmer adjustment is needed
- Interference from another smart system or hub
- Minimum wattage loads aren’t being met
- You’ll need to change to a neutral wire
Try These Basic Light Flashing Troubleshooting Fixes First
Reinstall the Bulb. A good fix to the question, ‘why are my dimmable LED lights flashing?’ is to ensure that your bulb is tight and secure in its socket. Sometimes a loose bulb is causing the lights to flicker, and for this issue, it’s just a simple matter of screwing it tight. Depending on your smart home setup, it may be worthwhile to “forget” and then re-add the bulb within your app.
Try a Different Light. If your lights are several years old then it may be time to replace them. This is most likely the case if you didn’t experience flickering before with the same bulb. All lighting will have a definite lifespan- LED bulbs typically burn out anywhere between 50,000 to 100,000 hours, while incandescent types have a lifespan of somewhere around 750 hours or so. However, despite the listed lifetime of LED bulbs, bulb failure within the first couple years of use is still tremendously common.
Check for Voltage Underload. Low load or voltage could be causing your lights to flicker as it struggles to get the optimal current. This problem becomes apparent if the circuit the light is connected to has other appliances. Try isolating the dimmer and unplugging all others to see if it does the trick.
Lutron Dimmer Switch and LED Bulb Incompatibility Issue
One of the most common reasons why dimmable LED lights flash on and off is compatibility.
When a LED bulb is incompatible with a dimmer switch you’ll see sub-par lighting performance, which includes flashing or blinking lights. Unfortunately, there isn’t a way around this problem – you will need to replace your LED bulb with a different make or model.
The good news is that flashing lights due to incompatible LED is an easy fix, and the brand even has a helpful tool to let you see which LED bulbs you can buy for their dimmer switches. Simply use the official link to find a compatible bulb that works with your Lutron dimmer. Hopefully, the current bulb you’ve bought is fairly new and you can get an exchange without having to shell out more money.
Also, keep in mind that LED lights are not as smooth in terms of performance when compared to other types such as incandescent or halogen lights.
The reason for this is that LEDs use electronic drivers which are more sensitive than the filaments that incandescents use. LED technology exhibits current fluctuations more visibly as well and depending on the bulb’s design.
As a side note, you should make sure that the LED or incandescent bulb you have is marked or rated ‘dimmable’ in order for the dimming function to work. Otherwise, you could end up with a light that only goes on and off. Read the product description and search for ‘dimmable’ online, or on the box or packaging if you’re buying at a store.
Caseta Dimmer Low End Adjustment Problem
Do you experience light flickering when adjusting the bulb on lower ranges? This could be due to improper or non-calibration of your light and Lutron dimmer. Low light levels can cause strobing or blinking even in compatible bulbs, but there’s a way to fix this.
Step 1. Locate and Familiarize Yourself with the Lutron Dimmer Switch
Find the Lutron switch that’s connected to the light bulb and take a look at the switches. The dimmer buttons are usually found in the middle panel, while the on and off are at the top and bottom. You can try pressing each switch to see what they do as well.
Step 2. Reset the Bulb
Start by pressing both the dimmer button and ‘on’ button at the same time. Hold this position for six seconds until you see the lights start to flash in a rhythmic pattern. Release your hold and proceed to the next step.
Step 3. Adjust the Dimming Range
The dimmer panel switch will have two separate buttons- one for dimming and one to make the light brighter. What you’ll want to do is press and hold the ‘darker’ button until the light indicator on the left of the panel is blinking. Release the button and press the ‘brighter’ button until you see a light that doesn’t flicker. Once you’re satisfied with the results, e.g., no blinking or pulsing, proceed to the next step.
Step 4. Save Your Dimmer Adjustment Settings
To save the optimal dimming settings, all you need to do is press and hold the ‘off’ button at the bottom for six seconds until the light turns off. You can then proceed to test it out and see if the lights flashing Caseta dimmer problem has been fixed.
Don’t worry if you weren’t able to get it right the first time- start at step 1 and continue the process until you’re able to dim the lights and it doesn’t flash. Remember to save the settings so you won’t have to do it every time.
Operating Below Minimum Load
Dimmer switches require a certain minimum load in order to function. We will try not to make this into a physics lesson, but here is the gist — because LED lights have very low energy requirements, it is possible that your Caseta switch is operating below its requisite minimum load.
- For this reason, you will probably want a minimum of 4 bulbs on a switch. If your outlet only powers 1 or 2 bulbs, LED bulbs might not provide the minimum wattage to function with a Caseta dimmer.
Verify that Smart Away Mode is Off
The Smart Away feature can be accessed through the Lutron app. This feature turns the lights on and off at random, in order to provide the appearance that your house is occupied rather than empty.
Needless to say, if your Smart Away is turned on, it could be the reason your lights keep turning on/off without any prompt. The fix for this is simple — just turn Smart Away to “off” on the Lutron app.
Is Alexa Causing Issues?
Amazon Alexa can do a lot of great things for your smart home. Unfortunately, Alexa can also cause issues in about a dozen different ways.
Be sure that Alexa’s “hunches,” “routines,” “automatic actions,” or “guard” modes aren’t interfering. All of these features can cause light bulbs to turn on and off in an attempt to be helpful. But if you can’t explain why your bulbs are turning on/off without a command, it would be prudent to check your Alexa settings.
Smart Hub or System Interfering with Your Lutron Caseta Smart Dimmer
Having two different switches on a light can cause it to flicker, mainly because the bulb is getting two commands at the same time. For example, your Lutron Caseta dimmer could be set to the lowest brightness while the remote for the fixture is set to the highest.
The problem can easily be fixed if you’re using a smart hub or plug – just remove the smart socket and the flashing problem should be resolved. However, if you have a remote that comes in with your light fixture or lamp then you will need to calibrate the Caseta wall switch dimming range.
Alternatively, you might be able to work some kind of compromise between your smart hub and Lutron light by setting the light at 50% brightness with the hub or remote, then adjusting the dimming range until the flickering vanishes.
- Lastly, don’t forget that other aspects of your smart home setup (IFTTT, geo-fencing, Alexa or Google Home routines, etc.) can interact with your smart switches.
Neutral Wire Compatibility / Upgrade your Caseta
If changing to a compatible bulb and adjusting the dimmer doesn’t work, then the next thing to do is change to a PD-5NE Caseta dimmer. Before doing this, it’s recommended that you check the wiring and see if it’s neutral, e.g., at least two white wires running through your electrical box.
Unfortunately, the best “fix” for a basic Lutron Caseta that continues to flicker is simply to upgrade to a Caseta model that doesn’t experience this problem. This is where the PD-5NE comes in to solve the issue — albeit at a price tag that is ~2x as high!
To start, you’ll want to locate the FASS switch, which can be found at the bottom of the ‘off’ switch. Pull it out and back in, then press and hold both the ‘on’ and ‘off’ buttons for around six seconds or when the status LED on the outlet starts blinking.
From here, you can choose either a forward phase (MLV) load type or a reverse phase (ELV) load type by pressing the topmost button or the lowermost button, respectively. Don’t forget to save your settings by pressing the ‘off’ button for six seconds or until the light goes off.
Rule Out Possible Electrical Issues
This is perhaps obvious, but it’s important nonetheless. Faulty wiring and power fluctuations can cause havoc on smart lighting and dimmer switches especially.
Voltage drops have an effect that is even more pronounced with LED bulbs.
Understanding How Your Electrical Setup May Affect Your Smart Dimmer Performance
Every home’s electrical setup is unique, and the intricacies of your home’s electrical wiring might influence the performance of your smart dimmer switch. Here’s what you need to know:
Circuit Load: The total electrical load on your circuit plays a vital role in how your smart dimmer operates. If the overall load is too high (due to too many appliances or lights being connected to the same circuit), your dimmer may struggle to maintain a stable light level, resulting in flickering. On the other hand, if the load is too low (which can happen if you have energy-efficient LED bulbs that draw less power), the dimmer might not operate correctly and could cause lights to flash.
Line Noise: Electrical noise or interference on your circuit can also lead to flashing lights. Such noise can come from a variety of sources, including other electronic devices or appliances connected to the same circuit. If you notice your lights tend to flicker when you use specific devices, it might be due to line noise.
Grounding and Neutral Wire: Proper grounding and a neutral wire connection are necessary for the smooth operation of many electronic devices, including smart dimmers. If your home’s electrical system is older or doesn’t include a neutral wire at the switch, you may encounter issues with your smart dimmer. Consider consulting with an electrician to assess your wiring setup.
Choosing The Right Light Bulbs For Your Smart Dimmer
While smart dimmer switches are compatible with a wide range of light bulbs, not all bulbs are created equal. Here’s how to ensure you choose the right bulbs for your smart dimmer:
LED Bulb Compatibility: While LED bulbs are energy-efficient, not all LED bulbs are dimmable, and not all dimmable LED bulbs work well with all dimmers. It’s essential to check the bulb manufacturer’s compatibility list to ensure that the bulb will function as expected with your specific smart dimmer model.
Minimum Load Requirements: Some dimmers have minimum load requirements. If the total wattage of the bulbs being controlled by the dimmer is below this minimum, the dimmer may not function correctly, leading to flickering or flashing.
Bulb Lifespan: Even the best bulbs have a finite lifespan. As they approach the end of their lives, light bulbs can sometimes start to flicker. If your bulb is near or beyond its expected lifespan, replacing it might solve your flashing problem.
Bulb Quality: Unfortunately, not all bulbs are of high quality. Lower quality bulbs may have inconsistent brightness levels or might flicker when dimmed. Opt for high-quality, reputable bulbs for the best performance.
Remember, lighting is an essential aspect of your home, and the right setup can make a significant difference in your comfort and the functionality of your smart home system. Don’t be afraid to experiment and troubleshoot to find the best solution for your needs.
Troubleshooting a Lutron Caseta dimmer that causes lights flashing on & off can be tricky because there are several elements involved, namely the bulb’s compatibility, seeing if there are any smart plugs connected, or if it’s just a matter of calibrating the dimmer settings. The fix can come in quickly if it’s a loose bulb, or take half an hour or so if you need to set up the right voltage or load type.
With a bit of luck and know-how, you should be able to get your lights working again with a Caseta dimmer. Whenever possible, check if the light is supported on Lutron’s official website before you buy.
What are the advantages of using smart dimmer switches?
Smart dimmer switches allow you to adjust the brightness of your lights remotely using a mobile app or through voice commands with a smart home system. This adds convenience and allows for more personalized lighting settings.
Are all LED bulbs dimmable?
No, not all LED bulbs are dimmable. To ensure compatibility with dimmer switches, you should look for bulbs labeled as dimmable.
Why are LED bulbs more efficient than traditional bulbs?
LED bulbs convert a higher percentage of electrical energy into light rather than heat, making them more energy-efficient. They also have a longer lifespan, resulting in less frequent replacements.
How does the Smart Away feature work?
The Smart Away feature is designed to give the illusion that someone is at home, even when the house is empty. It does this by randomly turning the lights on and off, mimicking typical human behavior.