The Nest thermostat’s “Time-To” indicator is very handy in helping you estimate how long it will take to reach your desired temperature setpoint.
However, if it displays “In 2+ Hours” indefinitely, without the HVAC equipment kicking in, there might be an underlying issue.
So if this has happened to your device, don’t worry. Below I’ll show you how to fix it.
What is the “In 2 Hours” Message Trying To Say?
The “In 2 Hours” message on the thermostat’s home screen is just a prediction or ETA of how long it will take to heat up or cool down your home to the desired setpoint temperature.
In the Nest thermostat, this feature is called the “Time-To-Temperature” indicator which learns about your HVAC equipment’s performance and gauges how long it will take to reach the desired temperature.
The Time-To-Temperature Feature
Time-To-Temperature is an intelligent feature that’s constantly measuring how well the HVAC system is able to improve temperatures inside your home.
It only pops up when you’ve adjusted the temperatures manually or set up a temporary hold in the thermostat. It won’t show up when the thermostat changes temperatures automatically according to its schedule or home/away assist.
However, during the initial stages, especially in the first two weeks, the thermostat will put out a general “In 2 Hours” message to avoid confusion.
Over time, it’s able to fine-tune itself and provide more accurate predictions.
When to Troubleshoot the “In 2+ Hours” Message?
The Time-To-Temperature feature gets more reliable the more time it spends learning your temperature habits and how the HVAC system responds to them.
This information can get deleted after a factory reset, software update, or sometimes during battery swaps or power failures.
However, if this message won’t clear out after a couple of hours and the temperature in your home doesn't improve, you need to start troubleshooting.
Diagnosing the Issue: Check the Energy History
To confirm if your HVAC system is indeed faulty and it's not an issue with your thermostat, you can easily check the energy history on your Nest thermostat.
How to Check Energy History
You can check the previous energy usage patterns of your Nest thermostat via the mobile apps or the thermostat display itself.
For this process, I recommend going through the mobile apps (Nest and Google Home) since it’s much easier to navigate and read the information.
Via the Google Home App
For Nest thermostat 2020 Models
- Open up the Home app and select your Home (if you have several of them set up).
- After that, select your thermostat. It’s either in the “favorites,” or “devices” tab.
- Choose “Energy dashboard” to view the energy consumption details.
- Then, from the energy dashboard menu, pick between Day, Week, or Month to observe the different durations and their energy usage.
Via the Nest App
For Nest E and Nest Learning Thermostats (all gens)
- Find and open the Nest app, then select your thermostat from the home interface.
- Click on the History icon, it usually provides a 10-day summary as soon as you open this sub-menu.
- For a more detailed review, simply select any particular date.
Via the Thermostat (Nest E and Learning Models Only)
- For Nest Learning Thermostat: Open the Quick View menu and tap on the History icon.
- Nest Thermostat E: Navigate to Settings, then choose “History” to reveal your thermostat's past habits.
What To Look For
Check if your HVAC equipment was successful in adjusting the temperatures in your home within the two-hour period of you adjusting the temperature.
Usually, the energy history should indicate that your HVAC equipment kicked in when you adjusted the temperature and it was able to achieve this desired setpoint within the allotted two hours.
Beyond that, check for any red flags. These include:
- The heating and cooling equipment was running constantly the entire day
- The equipment turned on and off in short bursts (usually in a span of several minutes)
- The equipment never turned on
So if you notice any odd behavior or any of the issues mentioned above, your thermostat or HVAC system might be running into power issues or requiring maintenance.
Solution 1: Wait a Couple of Days
Newly installed thermostats need some time to understand your home.
This learning phase is when the thermostat observes your temperature adjustments and measures how long it takes for the HVAC equipment to fulfill them.
So when it initially displays “in 2+ hours,” the Nest thermostat is trying to figure out your home's specific climatic behavior and playing it safe, without giving false promises.
So essentially, it means that your Nest thermostat is still learning.
How Long Does It Take to Be More Accurate?
After a week or so, the Nest thermostat will have a firm grasp of how the HVAC equipment operates and how soon the temperatures can change in your home.
As a result, the Time-To-Temperature will be more accurate, so instead of the “In 2+ hours” message, you might get an exact estimate (usually in minutes if your HVAC equipment is properly scaled and in good condition).
However, if it’s still showing the “In 2+ Hours” message, your HVAC equipment might actually be struggling or there might be an underlying issue with your devices.
Solution 2: Recharge or Replace the Batteries
An constant “In 2 Hours” or “Delayed” message can pop up whenever the thermostat is underpowered.
So the first thing you should do is make sure the Nest thermostat is fully charged to trigger the HVAC system. For that reason, it's crucial that you recharge or replace the batteries in your Nest thermostat.
- For the latest Nest thermostat (2020 model), make sure you replace the old batteries with a fresh set of Alkaline AAAs.
- For the Nest Thermostat E and Learning Models, recharge via the Micro or Mini-USB port found at the back of the thermostat display. Then check out my Nest battery guide to learn how to permanently solve this.
Solution 3: Update, Reset or Restart the Thermostat
Your thermostat might also be stuck in a software glitch or running into issues with the automatic temperature adjustment functions, such as Home/Away Assist and Nest Sense.
In that case, a firmware update, a quick restart, or a factory reset is worth a shot.
However, don’t forget that a factory reset will delete all your custom settings and schedule information.
In the steps that follow, you might have to check the physical wiring in your Nest thermostat. This means, fiddling around with potentially live wiring. I highly recommend that you follow the necessary safety precautions and if you’re not comfortable doing this yourself: get help from a professional.
Solution 4: Check For A C-Wire and Install One (If Necessary)
In some HVAC systems, the thermostat needs to draw in extra power via the C-wire. So in these systems, the constant time-to-temperature message shows up when it's underpowered.
To check if a C-wire is installed in your system, simply pull the thermostat display off the wall mount and check the physical wiring. Usually, there should be a blue-colored wire attached to the “C” terminal in the Nest thermostat's wall mount.
If you don't have a C-wire set up, now might be a good time to consider installing one or checking out alternative solutions such as:
- Installing a Nest power connector
- Setting up a common maker or C-wire transformer
- Repurposing your G wire as a C-wire.
To learn more about the missing C-wire and how you can add one to your thermostat, check out this article.
If you do have a C-wire already installed, make sure it's properly connected. The wire should have enough copper exposed with the connector tab (on the Nest thermostat's terminals) fully held down.
Solution 5: Run Maintenance on Your HVAC System
If you find the problem to be the rest of the HVAC system, especially if you identified any of the red flags I mentioned above, the heating and cooling equipment might be faulty.
Therefore, it's a good idea to perform maintenance on your system or get an HVAC professional to come and take a look.
The “In 2 Hours” message shows up in a Nest thermostat when it’s trying to learn how long it takes for the HVAC system to change the temperature in your home.
This message goes away and makes more accurate predictions after a week or so of learning.
However, if the message stays on indefinitely and temperatures do not improve in your home, try carrying out the steps mentioned above and drop us a comment if you have any problems.