Question about lights and your HVAC

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

Many things in your home rely on electricity—from charging your electronics to keeping the temperature inside where you want it. That’s why it’s annoying 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 indicate a serious electrical problem? It depends.

When are dimming or flickering lights considered usual?

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

While it might not feel like it, your home has a certain 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 take 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 done with the flickering, schedule an appointment with Bishop Heating & Air Conditioning. We’ll assess the situation and see if an equipment upgrade or circuit changes can solve 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 see:

  • 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 regularly 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 might 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 critical 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 an issue with your circuit. While it could be that you have too many appliances on the same circuit, it’s smart to bring a professional in to make sure 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 a technician in to take a look. The team at Bishop Heating & Air Conditioning is here to help. When you need us, you can give us a call at 760-784-9034 or make an appointment online. We’ll make sure everything is in order so you can feel safe in your home.

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