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

April 22, 2019

Most things in your home depend on electricity—from charging your phone 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 want it to. 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 noticing dimming that lasts for a fraction of a second when your HVAC kicks in, it usually 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, don’t have as much 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 George Home Services. We’ll review your system and see if an equipment upgrade or circuit changes can alleviate the problem.

When should I take action about the flickering lights?

Flickering lights can also point to a more serious matter. Don’t assess the situation yourself. The problem could be hazardous for you or your home. Call a professional if you experience:

  • Lights that continue to flicker. The normal flickering that happens 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 challenge 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 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 an essential 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 might be that you have too many appliances on the same circuit, it’s wise 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 an expert in to take a look. The team at George Home Services is here to offer you the help you need. When you need us, you can give us a call at 570-244-2510 or schedule an appointment online. We’ll make sure everything is in order so your family can feel safe in your home.