Why Do Lights Flicker When AC Turns On?

Have you ever wondered why lights flicker when AC turns on? If you use an AC more frequently, you may have at one point noticed the lights flickering upon switching on the unit. The first question that will run across your mind is, “Why do my lights flicker when my AC turns on?” You no longer have to ponder now that you’re in the right place. So, why do my lights flicker when the ac turns on? Could there be a problem with the AC unit? Or is something wrong with the electricity? Flickering AC lights are not strange for many homeowners, and there are many reasons behind the issue. While there’s no need to panic when you experience this problem, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t act. This guide explores why LED lights flicker when ac turns on in your home. You’ll learn what causes the problem and why you should ensure you work with a reputable contractor like Direct Air for HVAC maintenance.

Why Do Lights Flicker When AC Turns On

Sometimes it’s normal for the lights to flicker when you turn on your AC, and there is no cause for concern. The primary reason is electricity draining; you can compare it with your plumbing. For instance, when you flush the toilet while running a shower, the water force in the showerhead will reduce due to pressure splits between the different fixtures. Like the plumbing example above, when you switch on a high-energy electronic device, such as an air conditioner, the initial power draw can substantially drain the available electricity. As a result, the lights on your property will dim due to electricity diversion or split, so it’s normal. But sometimes, the flickering lights could signify a bigger problem.

So, how can you determine if flickering lights are normal or a sign of a bigger problem?

When Flickering Lights Are Normal

For a normal functioning AC unit and electrical system, expect the lights to dim or flicker for a split second. Also, consider it normal when the lights lose their brightness by about five percent. In such cases, you don’t really need to stress out over your AC unit.

When Flickering Lights is a Bigger Problem

Consider it a bigger problem if your lights dim for a long time, dim on specific circuits, or flicker on and off rapidly when you switch on your air conditioner unit. That could occur as a result of more significant electrical issues that require immediate action.

Why Lights Flicker for a Long Time When AC Turns On

When your lights dim or flicker longer than expected, it could signify a bigger problem. In that case, you may have to hire an HVAC contractor to help determine the issue’s source. Thankfully, HVAC experts at Direct Air Conditioning can help.

Here are the primary reasons your lights dim or flicker longer than expected.

Loose or Damaged Electrical Wires

If you notice your lights flickering longer than expected upon turning on your AC unit, you should inspect the electrical wires. The chances are that your electrical wires are loose or damaged. Faulty electrical wires can result in current loss, affecting your bulbs.

Besides the loss in electric current, the voltage drop that can occur when an air conditioner turns on can worsen the problem. As a result, the lights will flicker more rapidly as your AC unit keeps running. You need to book an appointment with an HVAC contractor to evaluate the problem. They will check if the wires are loose, charred, or discolored.

Weak or Broken AC Capacitor

Another reason your lights could be losing more than 10 percent of their illumination when your AC starts is a capacitor issue. An AC capacitor works like a car battery, which draws and stores electric power to help light or start a car. So, it gives your air conditioner’s compressor the energy boost it requires to power up.

When your AC capacitor breaks or weakens, it will lose its ability to store or maintain power over time. As a result, the air conditioner will pull more voltage from other appliances, including light bulbs, and stress the AC’s compressor to start up. As a result, your lights will lose their brightness temporarily.

When you notice the lights dimming more than expected, please don’t hesitate to contact a professional HVAC contractor to assess your AC capacitor and replace it.

Overloaded Circuits

Overloading circuits is a common issue in many homes that use several electrical appliances, including an air conditioner. Unfortunately, this presents significant risks to homeowners. Therefore, the National Electric Safety Code recommends that all major appliances use dedicated circuits to mitigate the risks of fires and electrical shocks.

If you turn on an air conditioner and the circuit breaker trips, or you hear some buzzing sounds, the chances are that you’ve overloaded your circuits. In that case, consider unplugging the household devices that use the same circuit as the air conditioner when it’s running. However, this will only provide a short-term solution to the problem.

For a long-lasting solution, hire an electrician or expert HVAC contractor to help you perform a complete assessment of your electrical circuits. Then, they will help you find a viable solution to stop overloading circuits.

Maxed-Out Distribution Panels

Your home has a maximum voltage threshold it can use or maintain through a power distribution panel. Unfortunately, the distribution panel gets overloaded and overworked if several appliances or circuit breakers run simultaneously. As a result, this can pose significant risks to your home’s electrical systems and AC units.

When the distribution panels get maxed out, your lights will dim or flicker upon turning on your AC unit. That is because the HVAC system will utilize the last bit of power available and eventually cause an electricity outage. A viable solution to this problem is to replace the entire distribution panel with a new one to handle more voltage.

Final Words

Now that you know why lights flicker when AC turns on, you don’t need to be surprised when it happens in your home. However, if the lights dim or flicker longer than expected when you switch on your AC, consider hiring an expert HVAC contractor at Direct Air Conditioning to help you evaluate the source of the problem and repair it.

Contact us today to discuss your HVAC repair project with our experts.

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