NICE AND EASY: RF Remote Problems? Try Turning Off the Lights

This is an older tip but still really good. If you are finding that your remote seems flaky sometimes and you can’t explain why, try turning off the lights and see if it works better. The culprit could be aging CFLs (compact fluorescent lightbulbs) putting out a lot of interference. Because compact fluorescents last so long, the electronics in them can become a problem over time. Every CFL has some componentry to allow the bulb to actually work and those components could be giving off RF radiation that could be interfering with your remote. CFL bulbs can also interfere with powerline adapters, Bluetooth, cordless phones (if you still have one) and even wireless signals like cellular and Wi-Fi. It’s possible you could fix a lot of the problems you’re having with just one flip of a switch.

If you find that your home electronics work better with the lights off than with them on, try replacing aging CFLs with LED lights. LED lighting has really come of age in the last few years and prices are really low now. So even if the CFL isn’t burned out, it could be time to replace it with an LED bulb, which will probably never need replacing in your lifetime. Just remember to obey local laws for getting rid of CFLs… some states don’t let you put them in the trash because of the mercury inside.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 6,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.