Household & Real Estate

Why Do My Lights Dim When an Appliance Turns On?

You have a load of laundry to wash, so you decide to start the wash cycle on your machine. However, as you begin the process, your lights dim.

The problem is there are no appliances on, none that require additional power from the electricity grid. The lights dim when a device turns on, which is an actual occurrence. So, why does this happen?

You can read on for an answer to that question and how to solve the issue if you are experiencing dimming lights when an appliance turns on in your home.

Why Do My Lights Dim When an Appliance Turns On?

It happens because some machines, especially those that use a lot of power, draw a lot of electricity when they start up or run at peak load. Here are the main things that make this reaction happen:

Voltage Drop

When a high-power appliance like an air conditioner, refrigerator, or electric motor starts running, it requires a surge of electricity to power its motors, compressors, or heating elements. This sudden demand for electricity can cause a temporary drop in voltage along the electrical circuit.

Electrical Resistance

Electrical circuits have resistance, and the lines that carry the electricity also have some resistance. When a high-current device is turned on, this resistance can cause the voltage to drop, especially if the faulty wiring is too small or the electrical system is old.

Voltage Sag

Voltage sag, also called a voltage dip, happens when the voltage from the power grid drops quickly. It can happen for several reasons, such as when the grid is overloaded, when nearby equipment starts up, or when there are problems with power distribution. When the voltage drops, it can affect all gadgets on the same circuit.

How to Mitigate the Dimming Effect?

Mitigating the dimming effect when high-power appliances turn on can help ensure a more stable and reliable electrical system. Here are several steps you can take to reduce or eliminate this issue:

Wiring Upgrades

If your lights dim when machines turn on, you might want an electrician to check out your home’s wiring. Upgrading to larger-gauge wiring can reduce voltage drop and make the effects on your lights less obvious.

Voltage Stabilization

Voltage stabilization devices, such as surge protectors with voltage regulation features, can help maintain a steady voltage supply to your sensitive electronic equipment and lighting. It is especially beneficial if you’ve noticed that the lights in the house keep dimming when high-power appliances start, as it can minimize the impact of voltage fluctuations.

Professional Assessment

If you consistently observe frequent or severe voltage drops when old appliances start, it may signal an underlying electrical issue in your home’s wiring or even within the electrical grid. In such cases, it’s advisable to consult a licensed electrician to ensure the safety and efficiency of your electrical system.

Say Goodbye to Flickering Nuisance

In conclusion, the phenomenon when your lights dim when an appliance turns on can be explained by the sudden demand for electricity, which causes a voltage drop. Understanding your home’s electrical capacity and considering upgrading or redistributing the load is crucial.

So, next time your lights flicker, remember to be mindful of your energy usage and consult a professional electrician for any potential power grid issues.

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