Dimming LEDs: Common problems and how to work through them
When you dim LEDs, you expect the same performance you get when dimming incandescent bulbs. Unfortunately, it doesn't always pan out that way and can be frustrating.
We understand the challenges that come with dimming LEDs and are here to help you work through the issues as best as you can. Please keep in mind that you may need to change your LED bulbs or the dimmer you are using so that they are compatible. Compatibility between the dimmer and the bulb is key to better LED performance.
This article will help you to better understand what causes the lamps to flick or flash and will also provide solutions
What causes LED bulb flicker or flashing?
LED bulbs can sometimes flicker because LEDs are more sensitive to electrical fluctuations than are standard incandescents / halogens.
When current flows through an incandescent/halogen bulb's filament, the current heats it up. That heat is what creates the light and causes the bulb to glow. The heat also smooths the light out.
An LED bulb does not have a filament. Instead, it has an electronic driver. When current flows into an LED bulb, the driver will apply that current to individual LEDs and they will light up. Because electronics and not heat are involved, the LED is more directly impacted by fluctuations in current than an incadescent or halogen bulb is. The amount of this impact is dependent on the LED bulb's design. This determines how sensitive the bulb is to these fluctuations.
What can you do about it?
Make sure your Lutron Dimmer and LED bulb(s) are compatible
There aren't any manufacturing standards for LEDs, which means they differ from bulb to bulb. Even though a bulb may say that it is dimmable, some will dim down further and smoother than others. Some bulbs perform best only when working with a specific type of dimmer. This can make choosing the right dimmer and compatible bulbs difficult.
Lutron is one manufacturer that tests the latest LED bulbs and posts the ones that we have found to work best. To view Lutron's list of compatible dimmers and tested bulbs, visit the Lutron LED Compatibility Tool
Adjust your dimmer's low end
Flicker is often more prevalent at lower light levels. The low end on your Caseta dimmers can be adjusted to reduce low-end flicker by following the directions below or watching this Video
Use a dimmer with a neutral wire
If you are using a PD-6WCL Caseta dimmer and are unable to resolve your flicker issue by changing bulbs or adjusting the low end AND you have a neutral connection (typically 2 or more white wires connected together with a wire nut in your electrical box), we would recommend using the PD-5NE Caseta dimmer.
If you are using a PD-5NE already, you can also try changing the phase of the dimmer. All incandescent/halogen/MLV bulbs typically use Forward Phase Dimming Technology. ELV and some LEDs require Reverse Phase Dimming Technology. The PD-5NE is capable of working on both technologies. Please see the instructions below for checking and setting the dimmer phase on a PD-5NE dimmer.
Change out one bulb for an incandescent/halogen
Because this is not ideal, this is the last resort. If you do not want to change all of your LED lamps, then you can insert an incandescent / halogen bulb into the circuit. This can help to stabilize the other LED lamps and improve the dimming performance.
To learn more about common problems with dimming LEDs, please visit Lutron's LED troubleshooting page