Question about lights and your HVAC

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

Many things in your home depend on electricity—from charging your cellphone to keeping the temperature inside where you want it. That’s why it’s frustrating 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 run.

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

When are dimming or flickering lights considered common?

If you’re experiencing dimming that lasts for a fraction of a second when your HVAC starts, it likely 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 major 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 less 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 Patterson & Stirling Inc. We’ll assess the situation 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 assess the situation yourself. The problem could be unsafe for you or your home. Contact 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 continually at any other time—you could have a problem with your wiring.
  • Lights that dim considerably. 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 turn on your HVAC. Circuit breakers are an essential 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 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 Patterson & Stirling Inc is here to help. When you need us, you can give us a call at 814-308-0416 or arrange an appointment online. We’ll make sure everything is in order so you can feel safe in your home.

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