Question about lights and your HVAC

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

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 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 operate.

The question remains: Do dimming or flickering lights at the beginning of HVAC cycles show 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 probably 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 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, don’t have as much 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 Select Comfort System Heating & Air Conditioning. 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 investigate yourself. The problem could be dangerous for you or your home. Contact a professional if you experience:

  • Lights that continue to flicker. The normal flickering that happens 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 consistently at any other time—you could have an issue 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 key part of your home’s electrical system. When they trip and shut off power to an area of your home (powered by a specific circuit), they are attempting to protect you from an issue with your circuit. While it may be that you have too many appliances on the same circuit, it’s wise to bring a professional in to confirm there isn’t a more serious problem.

Any time your HVAC system and lights don’t work together, it’s safe to call a professional in to take a look. The team at Select Comfort System Heating & Air Conditioning is here to offer you the help you need. When you need us, you can give us a call at 801-305-4777 or schedule an appointment online. We’ll make sure everything is in order so your household can feel safe in your home.

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