Lots of things in your home run on electricity—from charging your phone 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 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 differs depending on the situation.
When are dimming or flickering lights considered usual?
If you’re noticing dimming that lasts for a fraction of a second when your HVAC kicks in, it likely isn’t something to be worried 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 use a larger amount of the available electricity. This means the other appliances in your home, like your lights, don’t have as much 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 tired of the flickering, schedule an appointment with Patterson & Stirling Inc. We’ll assess the situation and see if an equipment upgrade or circuit changes can help the problem.
When should I be concerned about flickering lights?
Flickering lights can also signify 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 occurs 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 consistently at any other time—you could have an issue 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 switch 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 home (powered by a specific circuit), they are attempting to protect you from a concern with your circuit. While it could be that you have too many appliances on the same circuit, it’s wise 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 provide support. When you need us, you can give us a call at 814-308-0416 or make an appointment online. We’ll make sure everything is in order so your family can feel safe in your home.