Question about lights and your HVAC

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

Lots of things in your home rely on electricity—from charging your cellphone 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 run.

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 common?

If you’re noticing dimming that lasts for a fraction of a second when your HVAC starts, it usually isn’t something to be stressed 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 substantial 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 lone 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 West Michigan Heating & Air Conditioning Services. We’ll take a look and see if an equipment upgrade or circuit changes can help the problem.

When should I take action about the flickering lights?

Flickering lights can also signify a more serious matter. Don’t investigate yourself. The problem could be dangerous for you or your home. Call a professional if you notice:

  • Lights that continue to flicker. The normal flickering that takes place 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 usual dimming, the effect is enough that you notice a small, brief change. If the intensity of your lights abruptly drops considerably, you may 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 part of your space (powered by a specific circuit), they are attempting to protect you from a problem 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 make sure 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 West Michigan Heating & Air Conditioning Services is here to help. When you need us, you can give us a call at (616) 669-3961 or arrange an appointment online. We’ll make sure everything is in order so your household can feel safe in your home.

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