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

April 22, 2019

Lots of things in your home run on electricity—from charging your cellphone 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 HVAC system starts to kick in.

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

When are dimming or flickering lights considered common?

If you’re seeing dimming that lasts for a fraction of a second when your HVAC begins, it probably 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 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 Keystone Heating & Air Conditioning Co., Inc. We’ll take a look and see if an equipment upgrade or circuit changes can solve the problem.

When should I worry about flickering lights?

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

  • Lights that continue to flicker. The normal flickering that happens 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 regularly at any other time—you could have an issue with your wiring.
  • Lights that dim drastically. When you experience typical dimming, the effect is enough that you notice a small, brief change. If the intensity of your lights abruptly 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 critical part of your home’s electrical system. When they trip and shut off power to a part of your space (powered by a specific circuit), they are attempting to protect you from a problem with your circuit. While it may 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 safe to call a professional in to take a look. The team at Keystone Heating & Air Conditioning Co., Inc is here to help. When you need us, you can give us a call at 262-358-9468 or make an appointment online. We’ll make sure everything is in order so you can feel safe in your home.