Most things in your home rely on electricity—from charging your cellphone 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 anticipate. For many homeowners, this stress can come to a head when lights flicker after their heating and cooling system starts to operate.
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 normal?
If you’re seeing dimming that lasts for a fraction of a second when your HVAC starts, it likely 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 consume a larger amount of the available electricity. This means the other appliances in your home, like your lights, have less power available to them.
If this is the lone 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 Three Rivers Heating & Cooling. We’ll review your system and see if an equipment upgrade or circuit changes can solve the problem.
When should I take action about the flickering lights?
Flickering lights can also indicate 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 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 consistently 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 suddenly drops considerably, you may 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 house (powered by a specific circuit), they are attempting to protect you from an issue 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 make sure 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 Three Rivers Heating & Cooling is here to offer you the help you need. When you need us, you can give us a call at 503-213-4433 or make an appointment online. We’ll make sure everything is in order so your family can feel safe in your home.