Question about lights and your HVAC

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

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

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 experiencing dimming that lasts for a fraction of a second when your HVAC begins, it usually 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 use a larger amount of the available electricity. This means the other appliances in your home, like your lights, have less 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 irritated by the flickering, schedule an appointment with Forster Heating. We’ll assess the situation and see if an equipment upgrade or circuit changes can solve 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 dangerous for you or your home. Contact a professional if you see:

  • Lights that continue to flicker. The normal flickering that occurs 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 a problem 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 abruptly drops considerably, you could 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 home (powered by a specific circuit), they are attempting to protect you from a problem with your circuit. While it could be that you have too many appliances on the same circuit, it’s smart 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 an expert in to take a look. The team at Forster Heating is here to help. When you need us, you can give us a call at 530-885-8081 or arrange an appointment online. We’ll make sure everything is in order so your family can feel safe in your home.

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