Troubleshooting: Why Your Hue Bulbs Are Flashing and How to Fix Them

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It’s so frustrating, isn’t it? You spend good time and money to get your perfect smart home setup, and then something goes wrong. Whilst Hue bulbs are the most reliable on the market, you can still encounter issues. So, why are your Philips Hue bulbs flashing?

The most common reason that your Hue bulbs are flashing is due to an incompatible or damaged dimmer switch, you can test this by trying the bulb in other fittings in your home. However, other reasons for flashing bulbs include damaged products, incorrect installation, wiring problems or a bad circuit breaker.

In the rest of this article, I’ll look at each of these issues one by one and explain how to diagnose and fix the problem.

Reasons Why Hue Bulbs Are Flashing

1. Incompatible Dimmer Switch

The most common reason that a Hue bulb might start flickering is that it is incompatible with the dimmer switch. If you have a hard-wired dimmer switch that is controlling your bulb socket, you are probably going to experience issues.

  • It may be that your dimmer doesn’t have enough power for the bulbs that it is controlling – a 400w dimmer will struggle with five 100w bulbs – this may cause some flickering or flashing.

How to check: Test different bulbs in your light or remove some. This will help to establish whether the wattage is the problem.

  • Your dimmer switch may be damaged – either as a result of a power surge, or just from wear and tear over time – they tend to last for around 10 years, so if you have had yours for a while, this may be the issue.

How to check: Try a different, non-smart, bulb in the socket and see if you experience any flickering or flashing. If you do, it is likely that your dimmer is damaged and you will need to replace it.


2. A Broken Bulb

If your bulb has been working without any problems, only for it to suddenly start flashing or flickering, there may be a problem with the bulb itself.

Even though Hue bulbs are generally the most reliable bulbs on the market, like with any product, occasionally there will be defective or broken bulbs that make their way out of the factory.

How to check: Replace the bulb with another LED bulb. If the new bulb is working, it is likely that the issue is with the bulb, so you may need to replace it. 


3. Incorrect Installation of the Bulb

It is possible that the bulb has not been installed correctly. If the connection between the bulb and the socket is a bit too loose, and it is not correctly hooked into place, you may find that this causes the light to flicker or flash.

How to check: try moving the bulb around in the socket until it clicks into place. If it is already clicked in securely, the issue is elsewhere.


4. Wiring Problems

A more serious potential problem is that there is a fault with the wiring in your house. While this is frustrating when it comes to your bulbs, it could be much more damaging, and could even start a fire.

How to check: if you think that you might have a problem with your wiring it is not something you should attempt yourself unless you are qualified to do so. Call an electrician or a technician to come and take a look for you.


5. A Bad Circuit Breaker

If all of your lights are flickering, including any non-Philips Hue bulbs, then you may have a problem with the circuit – it may be overloaded or there may be a fault with the circuit breaker. 

How to check: If you notice the problem getting worse when you use other electrical appliances, like the kettle, it is likely that the problem is with the circuit. This is another issue that you will need a trained professional to look at.


Why Is My Philips Hue Bridge Flashing Blue?

If the lights on your Hue bridge are flashing, it can have different meanings depending upon which colour it is as they all indicate something different.

  • The first blue light on the left is the power indicator. This will be on if you have power, and off if you don’t – this one will never flash.
  • The second blue light in the middle let’s you know if the bridge is connected to the Home Network. If it is blinking, then this means that it is in the process of connecting.
  • The third blue light is concerned with the internet connection – if it is lit, then you have a connection, if it is flashing then you have lost internet connection and it is trying to reconnect and if it is off completely, then it cannot detect an ethernet link. In this instance you should double check the ethernet cable at both ends and ensure that it is in place.

Find out more in my full troubleshooting article on hue sync box flashing.


Why Are My Philips Hue Bulbs Flashing 3 Times?

If you find that your Hue bulbs are flashing three times, there may be a connection issue. The best thing to do at this point would be to reset the bulbs via the bridge. To do this:

  • Locate the serial number on the bulb itself – usually around the connector. Put it back in place and make sure that it is turned on.
  • Go into the Hue app and select ‘Add light’. Rather than searching, select ‘Add serial number‘, and enter the serial number of that bulb, and hit search. This will reset the bulb and it will rejoin the network – hopefully without the flashing.

Related Questions

Can I Still Use Philips Hue Bulbs Without an Internet Connection?

Yes, you can still use Philips Hue bulbs without an internet connection as long as you are at home because they work off their own ZigBee network via the Hue bridge so are not dependent on your internet connection.

However, you won’t be able to control them via a smart speaker and their party automation (such as Alexa routines) may not work as these rely on the cloud connection.

How Long Do Philips Hue Bulbs Last?

Philips Hue bulbs have an average lifespan of 25,000 hours – much longer than a standard light bulb (between 750-2,000 hours). Obviously how many hours a day you have the bulbs switched on will determine how often you will need to change them, but they could last up to 25 years.

Why Are My Hue Bulbs Not Turning On?

The most common reason is that they are lacking a power supply, so the first thing to check is whether the switch has been turned off (in my experience this most commonly occurs when a parent has been to visit…)

If you have checked the switch and it is still not working, try replacing the Hue bulb with a regular light bulb and then you can work out if the problem is with the light or the Hue bulb.

Do Hue Bulbs Have a Warranty?

Yes, all Philips Hue bulbs have a 3-year warranty, so if you do encounter any problems, you can contact Philips directly for guidance and support on how to replace the bulb.

Kieren

I have been building up my smart home since 2016 so I'm a bit of a smart home expert by now. On this blog, I share my favourite smart home devices that I've tested along with tips and tricks I learn by watching countless YouTube videos, scrolling through forums, and tinkering around with my own smart devices. I've always been a Google Home user but I'm starting to think Alexa might have the edge, what do you think?