Why Does Your Light Flicker when you turn on the AC?

wall air conditioner unit

wall air conditioner unitElectricity has made our world better, from cell phones to microwaves, to refrigerators to ACs, everything is easier and more comfortable.

But as significant as electricity is, it can develop into a disaster, just like fire, if care is not taken.

An electrical malfunction should not be ignored, and you should handle it with care. For example, your lights flickering whenever you put on the AC may be a sign that you need to call an electrician. Fortunately, CLD Electric is a reliable electrical company to call.

Do Flickering Lights Always Indicate a Problem?

Not necessarily. Sometimes, your lights may flicker when you turn on the AC because of the high power demand on what might be a limited supply of power, especially if your home is much older.

However, flickering lights may also be a sign that there is trouble in paradise. You can sometimes tell from how the lights act. Do they flicker in an area more? Is it flickering just with the AC? Does it get bright or dim just before it flickers? These may help tell if it’s serious or not. However, we still suggest that you call an experienced electrician immediately.

Potential Reasons for the Flickering Lights When You Turn on the Ac

Circuit Overload 

Circuits are constantly supplying power all over the house at the same time. So, sometimes, when you turn on the HVAC system, the amount of power that goes to the light switches gets cut short in a split second because the HVAC requires more power. This will sometimes come with a crackling sound and sometimes the light might completely go off.

If it keeps happening, that signifies a circuit overload. To fix this quickly, unplug things on the AC circuit. Alternatively, you can have one circuit dedicated to just the AC.

Circuit Overloads are quite common in older homes because they were not designed to handle modern ACs. A circuit overload is not safe and may pose a threat.

Weak/Damaged Capacitor 

The AC capacitor powers the compressor motor. But when it starts to get older, it is unable to store as much energy.

As a result, the AC has to pull more voltage from the connected appliances for the compressor motor to start. This may cause the flickering or dimming of the lights in which case, you’ll need an electrician to replace your AC capacitor.

Damaged Wires

It could be charred wiring or discolored wires, but whatever the case, it could lead to flickering bulb lights. This is because damaged wires reduce the amount of current that gets to the light bulbs. This, plus the voltage drop when the AC turns on, causes the dimming or flickering of lights.

It’s important to get an electrician to change these wires.

Exposed Wires 

If there are exposed wires on the power block of your HVAC, it could lead to an electrical short, causing electricity to skip one wire to the next. This is unsafe and dangerous because it can lead to a fire hazard.

Contact CLD Electric to diagnose and fix these flicker problems.

CLD Electric - San Diego
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