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

April 22, 2019

Most 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 infuriating when electricity in our homes doesn’t work the way we expect. For many homeowners, this stress can come to a head when lights flicker after their air conditioning or heating system starts to operate.

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 begins, 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 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 lone 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 Giordanos Heating and Air Conditioning. We’ll take a look and see if an equipment upgrade or circuit changes can alleviate the problem.

When should I be concerned about flickering lights?

Flickering lights can also indicate a more serious matter. Don’t investigate yourself. The problem could be hazardous for you or your home. Reach out to a professional if you experience:

  • Lights that continue to flicker. The normal flickering that occurs when there isn’t enough power to keep up with 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 challenge with your wiring.
  • Lights that dim drastically. When you experience normal dimming, the effect is enough that you notice a small, brief change. If the intensity of your lights unexpectedly 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 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 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 check that there isn’t a more serious problem.

Any time your HVAC system and lights don’t work together, it’s safe to call a technician in to take a look. The team at Giordanos Heating and Air Conditioning is here to help. When you need us, you can give us a call at 203-772-8319 or arrange an appointment online. We’ll make sure everything is in order so your household can feel safe in your home.