Question about lights and your HVAC

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

Most things in your home depend on electricity—from charging your electronics 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 expect. For many homeowners, this stress can come to a head when lights flicker after their HVAC system starts to kick in.

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 normal?

If you’re seeing dimming that lasts for a fraction of a second when your HVAC starts, it usually isn’t something to be concerned 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 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 lone 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 McNatt Inc. We’ll assess the situation and see if an equipment upgrade or circuit changes can alleviate 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 experience:

  • 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 continually at any other time—you could have an issue 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 might have something wrong with the outdoor compressor on your air conditioner.
  • A circuit breaker trip when you start your HVAC. Circuit breakers are an essential 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 could be that you have too many appliances on the same circuit, it’s best 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 a good idea to call an expert in to take a look. The team at McNatt Inc is here to offer you the help you need. When you need us, you can give us a call at 361-247-0605 or arrange an appointment online. We’ll make sure everything is in order so you can feel safe in your home.

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