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 phone 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 anticipate. For many homeowners, this stress can come to a head when lights flicker after their air conditioning or heating 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 common?

If you’re experiencing dimming that lasts for a fraction of a second when your HVAC starts, it usually isn’t something to be worried 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 consume a larger amount of the available electricity. This means the other appliances in your home, like your lights, have a lower amount of 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 tired of the flickering, schedule an appointment with Total Comfort. We’ll assess the situation and see if an equipment upgrade or circuit changes can alleviate the problem.

When should I be concerned about flickering lights?

Flickering lights can also point to a more serious matter. Don’t assess the situation yourself. The problem could be hazardous for you or your home. Contact a professional if you experience:

  • Lights that continue to flicker. The normal flickering that occurs when there isn’t enough power to keep up with 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 usual 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 start your HVAC. Circuit breakers are a key part of your home’s electrical system. When they trip and shut off power to a section of your house (powered by a specific circuit), they are attempting to protect you from a concern with your circuit. While it may be that you have too many appliances on the same circuit, it’s smart 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 Total Comfort is here to help. When you need us, you can give us a call at 201-268-5663 or schedule an appointment online. We’ll make sure everything is in order so your family can feel safe in your home.

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