Question about lights and your HVAC

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

Many things in your home run on electricity—from charging your electronics 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 heating and cooling system starts to operate.

The question remains: Do dimming or flickering lights at the beginning of HVAC cycles show a serious electrical problem? It differs depending on the situation.

When are dimming or flickering lights considered normal?

If you’re experiencing dimming that lasts for a fraction of a second when your HVAC kicks in, it probably isn’t something to be stressed about.

While it might not feel like it, your home has a regulated 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 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 Contra Costa Heating & AC. 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 point to a more serious matter. Don’t try to figure this out by 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 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 considerably. When you experience usual 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 switch 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 space (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 best 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 a good idea to call an expert in to take a look. The team at Contra Costa Heating & AC is here to offer you the help you need. When you need us, you can give us a call at 510-343-9841 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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