If you use a vacuum cleaner, you’ve might have experienced your house lights flickering when using a vacuum at least a few times and probably still do. This can be a bother as we can’t identify the issue; whether the vacuum is faulty and needs replacement or are we doing something wrong.
Don’t worry. This article will explain in detail, the reasons for the malfunctioning of lights and the solutions to the issue.
We’ll guide you into quickly identifying the problem and fixing it immediately so you can continue vacuuming without worry.
Lights Flicker When the Vacuum Turns on (Reasons & Solutions)
Many people experience flickering lights due when they use certain appliances, especially vacuum cleaners. This issue can be fixed. Let’s first see the reasons why this happens before moving on to the risks involved and then the solutions to this problem.
Why Do Lights Flicker When Vacuum Turns On?
There are four main reasons why your house lights flicker when you turn on your vacuum or are in the process of vacuuming your house. There could be circuit issues, overloading, problems with your vacuum or the connection might be loose.
Let’s look at these factors in detail:
1- Faulty Electrical Panel/ Circuit Breaker
If you live in an old house or have been using your circuit breaker for a long time, there’s a possibility it has become weak or developed some faults.
This can make your lights flicker when you turn on your vacuum. This is because your vacuum is a strong power source and will be draining more than the circuit breaker can handle.
Depending on how weak the circuit breaker is, your lights may not flicker when you plug in other appliances that are less powerful.
Your lights will sometimes flicker if other appliances are turned on while you are using your vacuum.
The circuit breaker does not even have to be old for this to happen. It just means the circuit breaker can’t handle giving out all that power source.
It could also be because the circuit breaker wasn’t properly wired.
3- Faulty Vacuum
Sometimes the problem isn’t the power source but the vacuum itself.
If your vacuum has electrical issues, plugging and turning it on can cause your lights to flicker. It could be that the motor is even damaged. Check for this.
If you can’t figure out the electrical fault, give it to an expert that can check and fix it for you.
4- Loose Connection
Your lights flickering can also be an indication of outdated wiring or a loose connection.
A loose connection could be a result of bad wiring or substandard wiring. If this is the case, not solving it immediately can be very dangerous for your home.
Outdated wiring of your home is also a cause of concern as you’ll be using appliances that these wiring systems can’t handle so they will always trip.
Is It Normal for Lights to Flicker When Vacuuming?
It is not normal for lights to flicker when using a vacuum cleaner. Your lights are supposed to function and work as they did before you plugged your vacuum and started vacuuming.
Any flickering or malfunction is an indication that there is a problem that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
We have explained the possible causes of this problem and will be discussing the solutions in the latter part of this article.
This happens because of a slight voltage drop that your vacuum causes when it is turned on.
You may also experience this when you turn on other big appliances or appliances that consume a higher voltage power. Your vacuum’s motor draws a big current as it is getting up to speed which reduces the available current for other appliances and devices connected to the panel. However, this is normal.
You should only be concerned if your lights stay dim or get dimmer as you vacuum. Your electrical panel may have gotten weak, need rewiring, or the transformer in your area is faulty.
Dangers of Vacuuming with Flickering Lights
If your lights flicker when you turn on your vacuum, you should find the problem and solve it immediately. Sometimes, It could be dangerous.
These could be the risks associated with the long-continued use of the vacuum when the lights keep flickering.
1- Damage to Vacuum
Your vacuum and other appliances can burn if you continue using them while your lights flicker.
Whatever the cause of flickering may be; whether it’s a faulty electrical panel or vacuum, the appliances plugged in aren’t safe, they could melt or become faulty. Even the lights may burn.
2- Damage to Circuits and Power Outlets
If there is an overload on the circuit breaker, continued use can burn the power outlets or circuits which is very dangerous for your home. You may not notice it until the next time you want to use one of the outlets.
The outlet would have been weak so plugging an appliance into it would just melt or burn it. This can also affect the appliance.
Solutions for Flickering Lights due to Vacuuming
1- Repair Vacuum
Once you discover that your vacuum is the cause of the flickering lights, take it to a Vacuum repair technician/engineer immediately. If you are not sure, have an engineer check it for faults, especially if it’s an old vacuum or it smells burnt.
2- Reduce Load
Try removing other appliances that are also plugged and connected to the circuit breaker. This will solve the problem if overloading is the issue.
If the problem persists, then go for the next solution.
3- Call an Electrician
There is a great chance it’s an electrical problem you can’t solve. Once you notice this sign, call an electrician immediately.
Your panel may need to be changed if it has become weak or developed faults.
Your wiring should also be checked and corrected. New wires should be bought and installed by someone who knows what they are doing.
Your home’s connection to the power source (transformer) of your area may also be bad.
An electrician can detect all these issues and have them corrected.
Can Flickering Lights Cause a Fire?
Flickering lights can be an indication that something isn’t right with your wiring system or electrical panel. It might be the cause of a fire. (Source)
If your vacuum is what is causing your lights to flicker, you are in no danger of fire but if it’s about your panel, then you better act fast. Your house is due for an electrical check-up. This is why you have to identify the problem fast when you notice lights flickering.
Outdated wiring or bad wiring can melt, cause a spark, and has been the cause of many fires. Your circuit breaker could also become heated, burn or blow up.
Imagine your wire melting beside something flammable or your bulbs burning and causing a thin smoke around plastic or rubber asbestos.
So please, take it as a warning that can help you avoid unfortunate incidents.
Your lights can flicker when you turn on your vacuum, for several reasons. Some harmless and some dangerous. We have explained the reasons for this problem and solutions for them.
You shouldn’t ignore this sign and just continue vacuuming because it could destroy your vacuum and other appliances, further weaken your electrical panel or even start a fire!
So when you notice this, follow the suggestions given in the article.