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

April 22, 2019

Lots of 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 anticipate. For many homeowners, this stress can come to a head when lights flicker after their air conditioning or heating 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 depends.

When are dimming or flickering lights considered normal?

If you’re noticing 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 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 Rescue Heating & Air . We’ll take a look and see if an equipment upgrade or circuit changes can alleviate the problem.

When should I worry about flickering lights?

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

  • Lights that continue to flicker. The normal flickering that occurs 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 problem with your wiring.
  • Lights that dim significantly. When you experience normal dimming, the effect is enough that you notice a small, brief change. If the intensity of your lights suddenly drops considerably, you might have something wrong with the outdoor compressor on your air conditioner.
  • A circuit breaker trip when you start your HVAC. Circuit breakers are a critical part of your home’s electrical system. When they trip and shut off power to an area of your home (powered by a specific circuit), they are attempting to protect you from a problem with your circuit. While it could be that you have too many appliances on the same circuit, it’s best 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 not a bad idea to call a professional in to take a look. The team at Rescue Heating & Air is here to help. When you need us, you can give us a call at 361-265-4371 or make an appointment online. We’ll make sure everything is in order so your family can feel safe in your home.