Most 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 expect. 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 depends.
When are dimming or flickering lights considered usual?
If you’re experiencing dimming that lasts for a fraction of a second when your HVAC begins, it probably isn’t something to be worried 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 only 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 Ilten's. We’ll take a look and see if an equipment upgrade or circuit changes can help the problem.
When should I be concerned about flickering lights?
Flickering lights can also indicate a more serious matter. Don’t assess the situation yourself. The problem could be unsafe for you or your home. Call a professional if you see:
- Lights that continue to flicker. The normal flickering that happens when there isn’t enough power to support 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 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 switch 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 smart 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 a technician in to take a look. The team at Ilten's is here to offer you the help you need. When you need us, you can give us a call at 319-208-2351 or make an appointment online. We’ll make sure everything is in order so your household can feel safe in your home.