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There are two types of “Wait” when it comes to Honeywell thermostats. The first is when you trigger heating or cooling on the thermostat and you see the Wait signal. The second relates to newer thermostats which are in the process of establishing a Wi-Fi connection. We provide guidance on both “Waits”!

Type 1: System not heating or cooling

What does “Wait” or “Waiting for Equipment” mean?

Your Honeywell thermostat has a built-in “Wait” function to protect your HVAC equipment, in particular the compressor. If your system were to continually respond too quickly to calls, it would damage your equipment. The “Wait” function is a preventive measure that gives your system up to 5 minutes to initiate and avoid short cycling.

What is short cycling?

Short cycling describes a scenario where your HVAC system turns on and off too quickly. It doesn’t provide enough time for your system to start up and shut down properly and can cause long-term damage to the equipment. That’s why some HVAC systems and thermostats have a delay or wait facility installed.

Step 1 – To resolve, simply wait!

If you want the “Wait” signal to disappear, give your Honeywell thermostat up to 5 mins to work its magic. Many times it doesn’t take as long as this.

Make a hot beverage, catch up on the news, or tune in to some music. You don’t have to keep an eye on your thermostat. When you go about with your stuff, you’ll find your system getting to work in no time!

Step 2 – Change batteries

If the “Wait” signal hangs around for longer than 5 minutes and your HVAC system does not start then you have a problem to fix. The first port of call is to change your thermostat batteries. If the current batteries are low on power, they won’t have enough juice to make the calls for heat or cool air to your HVAC system.

Check for a Battery Low indicator on your thermostat. Even if the batteries are not the issue, it helps to rule them as a cause.

Step-by-step instructions on how to change the batteries on your thermostat is available here.

At SmartHomePerfected we always advise readers not to undertake any work they are not competent in performing and if, in any doubt, it is best to seek the assistance of a professional.

If your thermostat runs on 24 VAC instead of batteries, the wiring needs to be checked. To do this, you’ll have to power down your system to protect your equipment. Then you need to detach the thermostat and check for the C-wire to ensure it is installed correctly.

Step 3 – Reset breakers

If changing the batteries does not work, you can try resetting your HVAC equipment from your circuit breaker.

First, turn off your thermostat and HVAC equipment. Then locate the controls for your equipment and switch them off. Wait for a few moments (10-30 seconds) before turning them back on, in reverse order.

Problems with your equipment’s circuits and/or connections might be causing the malfunction.

Step 4 – Check voltage with a Voltmeter or call in the Professionals!

You can try resetting the circuits for your equipment again for longer (30 minutes) before trying this step.

There might be a problem with the fuses or wiring, maybe a short circuit. To check voltage, you’ll have to use a voltmeter or multimeter. Only do this if you are comfortable and competent with electrics.

We recommend calling a professional to get a broader scope of the problem and solutions. They can inspect inconsistent voltage, faulty, improper, or loose wiring, and other electrical issues that might be contributing to equipment problems.

Type 2: Connecting to Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi Programmable Thermostats

Some Honeywell thermostats are capable of Wi-Fi connectivity. If you have a model with this feature, you’ll be asked to wait on some occasions. Whether you’ve just entered a new Wi-Fi network and the thermostat’s verifying, or it’s trying to connect to the server for updates, it will usually take a few moments.

It’s also common to encounter problems with connectivity, whether on your thermostat or with your network. Oftentimes your thermostat will display a specific connection error. If it’s already taken some time or your thermostat has displayed an error, try the following troubleshooting steps.

Step 1 – Restart the router

This is a common but often effective step to resolving connection problems.

Start by unplugging your router. If you have a separate modem, unplug that also. You’ll plug that in first after waiting no more than a minute. Check if there’s a power button you’ll have to switch on.

After another minute, plug in your router. Give it a couple more minutes, then check back on your thermostat.

Step 2 – Restart the thermostat

You can also try restarting your thermostat. This resets any stuck processes on your devices.

Some thermostats can be easily restarted by detaching them from the wall plate. Wait a few moments before reattaching it.

The steps to do might vary between models. You can refer to your user manual/guide for the steps for your specific model. If you lost your physical manual, we have a huge list of Honeywell thermostat manuals.

Step 3 – Reset Wi-Fi settings on the thermostat

Try resetting the Wi-Fi settings on your thermostat. This will clear the connection information.

There are different steps for different thermostat models. Here’s a helpful link on how to reset the Wi-Fi settings of your thermostat. Look for the Wi-Fi Reset instructions in your specific model’s section. You can also refer to your thermostat’s user manual as mentioned above.

After resetting the Wi-Fi settings, you’ll have to reconnect to your Wi-Fi network.


It’s not fun waiting for your cooling or heating to kick in, especially when you’re not sure how long you have to wait! But your Honeywell thermostat does this to protect your HVAC equipment. We hope the above troubleshooting advice helps if the “Wait” signal hangs around a little too long. 

Leave a comment if the above helped you get your HVAC system back up and running or if you have other tips we can add to the list to help others!


Honeywell Home

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