Question about lights and your HVAC

My Lights Flicker When I Use My HVAC. Should I be Concerned?

Lots of things in your home depend on electricity—from charging your cellphone to keeping the temperature inside where you want it. That’s why it’s frustrating when electricity in our homes doesn’t work the way we want it to. For many homeowners, this stress can come to a head when lights flicker after their heating and cooling system starts to operate.

The question remains: Do dimming or flickering lights at the beginning of HVAC cycles signify a serious electrical problem? It differs depending on the situation.

When are dimming or flickering lights considered normal?

If you’re experiencing dimming that lasts for a fraction of a second when your HVAC begins, it probably isn’t something to be concerned about.

While it might not feel like it, your home has a regulated amount of electricity it can use at any given time. Large appliances—like your HVAC system—need a significant amount of electricity to start up. When those appliances turn on, they use a larger amount of the available electricity. This means the other appliances in your home, like your lights, don’t have as much power available to them.

If this is the single issue you are facing, your lights should dim for less than a second and quickly return to full brightness. If you’re done with the flickering, schedule an appointment with Herman Allen Plumbing, Heating & Cooling. We’ll assess the situation and see if an equipment upgrade or circuit changes can solve the problem.

When should I take action about the flickering lights?

Flickering lights can also signify a more serious matter. Don’t try to figure this out by yourself. The problem could be unsafe for you or your home. Contact a professional if you experience:

  • Lights that continue to flicker. The normal flickering that happens when there isn’t enough power to support all appliances in your home should last a fraction of a second. If your lights continue to flicker on and off when you start your HVAC system—or consistently at any other time—you could have a challenge with your wiring.
  • Lights that dim significantly. When you experience typical dimming, the effect is enough that you notice a small, brief change. If the intensity of your lights unexpectedly drops considerably, you may have something wrong with the outdoor compressor on your air conditioner.
  • A circuit breaker trip when you switch on your HVAC. Circuit breakers are a key part of your home’s electrical system. When they trip and shut off power to a part of your house (powered by a specific circuit), they are attempting to protect you from an issue with your circuit. While it could be that you have too many appliances on the same circuit, it’s wise to bring a professional in to confirm there isn’t a more serious problem.

Any time your HVAC system and lights don’t work together, it’s not a bad idea to call a technician in to take a look. The team at Herman Allen Plumbing, Heating & Cooling is here to help. When you need us, you can give us a call at 804-302-6657 or make an appointment online. We’ll make sure everything is in order so your family can feel safe in your home.

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