Why Does My Honeywell Thermostat Say Wait? (Find Out Now!)

Nick Durante
by Nick Durante

Honeywell thermostats have helpful, user-friendly, and visually appealing display screens. They tell you your program settings, temperature, fan setting, and can display many messages. These messages are helpful, but what does it mean when your Honeywell thermostat says “Wait”?

Honeywell thermostats display a “Wait” message when there is uneven pressure in the compressor. Your thermostat will wait for up to 5 minutes before it starts your air conditioner or furnace back up. This waiting period can balance out the pressure within your compressor to prevent damage.

Honeywell thermostats can also say “Wait” when there is a problem with the compressor, a refrigerant leak, or clogged condenser coils. Follow along as we take a look at what it means when your Honeywell thermostat says “Wait”, and what you should do about it.

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What Does Wait Mean On a Honeywell Thermostat?

The “Wait” message on your Honeywell thermostat means that it needs time to balance the pressure in the compressor. All HVAC systems contain compressors that are vital to making the system run properly. Compressors have pressure on either side while your air conditioner is in operation.

When your compressor is balanced, your air conditioner can start up right away without hesitation. However, compressors with unbalanced pressure won’t automatically startup if you have a modern HVAC system. This preventative measure prevents your compressor from taking on damage leading to expensive repairs and replacement.

A thermostat can also blink “cool on” without working when it enters delay mode. Don’t worry when a “wait” message appears on your Honeywell thermostat display. It is rare for you to have to wait longer than 5 minutes for your Honeywell thermostat to return to normal.

Short-Cycling Compressor

Short-cycling occurs when your AC resets before the compressor has had time to cool off. The “wait” or “delay” function on a thermostat and HVAC system works to prevent short-cycling. Short-cycling is when the AC keeps starting and stopping repeatedly without ever completing a cycle.

This can burn out components within your HVAC system, wear out your AC blower fans, and increase your energy bills. Honeywell thermostats can prevent short-cycling from ever happening with the “wait” mode. The “wait” mode


There are several causes for a “wait” message on a Honeywell thermostat besides an unbalanced compressor. Each of these possible causes can contribute to short-cycling, and thermostats enter a waiting period to combat it.

Low Refrigerant

HVAC systems don’t frequently need more refrigerant unless there is some kind of leak. Refrigerant lines can leak and cause the HVAC system to work harder, or not work at all. This can also put stress on the compressor and your thermostat will display a “wait” message.

Equally damaging, the refrigerant lines can get blocked due to shifting and movement. Both refrigerant leaks and blockages can cause the compressor to accumulate pressure and eventually overheat. If your Honeywell thermostat won’t resume working after a 5-minute delay, it could indicate a problem with your refrigerant lines.

Clogged Condenser Coils

Condenser coils can clog easily and disrupt your entire air HVAC system. Your condenser coils serve to help drain condensation from your air conditioner to the outside. Dirt, dust, and debris can clog your coils leading to short-cycling or a “wait” message appearing.

Overheating is the major concern when it comes to clogged condenser coils. Professionals are best equipped to clean an air conditioner’s coils. However, DIYers can clean AC coils with a comb or brush to alleviate pressure and prevent overheating.

How do I get my Honeywell thermostat out of wait?

The best way to get your Honeywell thermostat out of “wait” mode is to wait 5 minutes. Almost every time that a Honeywell thermostat displays a “wait” message, all that you need to do is wait it out. Inspect your compressor, condenser coils, and refrigerant lines for damage if “wait” mode continues past 5 minutes.

Outdated Honeywell thermostats may have a harder time returning from “wait” mode. In that case, hire an HVAC professional to inspect the system and look for serious damage. You may have to replace your AC compressor, and that costs the average homeowner $600 between parts and installation.

Ideally, your AC compressor will fail when it is still under warranty. However, it can cost over $2,000 to replace an AC compressor in many cases, so it is best to leave our thermostat alone during the “wait” period. In some cases, you may need to simply remove the batteries from your thermostat, wait 10 minutes, replace them, and reset the unit.

Related Questions

How long should thermostat say wait?

A thermostat should say “wait” or “delay” for 5 minutes, on average. Delay periods generally last 5 minutes, but they can last longer if there is another problem with your HVAC system. Extended wait periods can indicate that your HVAC system has a problem with its filter, coils, fuses, or fans.

Should a thermostat be set to auto or on?

Set your thermostat to “on” if you want it to run constantly and “auto” if you to conserve energy. The “on” setting can improve the air quality in your home, but it can also wear out your air conditioner filter quickly. The fan setting on your thermostat can lower your bills on “auto”, but the stopping and starting can wear out your AC blower fan.

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Summing It Up

Your Honeywell thermostat says “wait” when it is balancing out the pressure in your compressor. The waiting period generally lasts 5 minutes before it lets you start your AC or furnace back up again. This delay period prevents short-cycling or turning on and off without completion, which can cause your air conditioner to overheat.

If your Honeywell thermostat says “wait” for longer than 5 minutes, then it may indicate that there is a bigger problem at hand. Hire an HVAC professional to inspect your air conditioner and thermostat to see if there is irreversible compressor damage.

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Nick Durante
Nick Durante

Nick Durante is a professional writer with a primary focus on home improvement. When he is not writing about home improvement or taking on projects around the house, he likes to read and create art. He is always looking towards the newest trends in home improvement.

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