Question about lights and your HVAC

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

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

The question remains: Do dimming or flickering lights at the beginning of HVAC cycles show a serious electrical problem? It varies.

When are dimming or flickering lights considered common?

If you’re noticing dimming that lasts for a fraction of a second when your HVAC kicks in, it usually isn’t something to be stressed about.

While it might not feel like it, your home has a limited amount of electricity it can use at any given time. Large appliances—like your HVAC system—need a substantial 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, have a lower amount of power available to them.

If this is the only issue you are facing, your lights should dim for less than a second and quickly return to full brightness. If you’re irritated by the flickering, schedule an appointment with Tri City Fuel & Heating Co., Inc.. We’ll review your system 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. Reach out to a professional if you experience:

  • Lights that continue to flicker. The normal flickering that takes place when there isn’t enough power to accommodate 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 drastically. When you experience normal dimming, the effect is enough that you notice a small, brief change. If the intensity of your lights unexpectedly drops considerably, you could have something wrong with the outdoor compressor on your air conditioner.
  • A circuit breaker trip when you turn on 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 home (powered by a specific circuit), they are attempting to protect you from a problem with your circuit. While it might be that you have too many appliances on the same circuit, it’s smart to bring a professional in to check that there isn’t a more serious problem.

Any time your HVAC system and lights don’t work together, it’s a good idea to call an expert in to take a look. The team at Tri City Fuel & Heating Co., Inc. is here to help. When you need us, you can give us a call at 803-265-4208 or arrange an appointment online. We’ll make sure everything is in order so your household can feel safe in your home.

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