Sometimes, managing the right temperature with your HVAC system can be a bit of a puzzle. That’s where a smart thermostat like the Nest Learning Thermostat becomes a game-changer for me.
You see, I prefer my house to be at the “Goldilocks-approved” temperature; neither too cold that I’m shaking, nor too hot that I’m breaking a sweat.
Adjusting the temperature manually can be a hassle, but Nest simplifies that by learning and adapting to your preferred temperatures during certain times of the day. With Nest, your AC or heat isn’t cranked up all the time, and this can really cut down on your utility bills.
Like any piece of tech though, Nest can have its glitches. One of these might be a “delayed” message that shows up on the display screen. Thankfully, this glitch is common for Nest thermostats and the fix can be pretty quick.
Be mindful though, some fixes might require you to roll up your sleeves or even reach out to a professional.
The Clever Fix
For a temporary fix, simply charge your Nest thermostat for a maximum of 2 hours. For a long-term fix, you will have to connect a common wire to the Nest thermostat and furnace.
Why is my Nest thermostat displaying a “delayed” message?
Before you grab your toolbox to troubleshoot, it’s good to understand if there’s actually a problem with your thermostat.
The Nest thermostat has an inbuilt delay feature to conserve energy, prevent continuous cycling, and reduce excessive wear on your HVAC system.
This delay feature is known as Time-to-Temperature and it appears on the screen with either an orange (for heating) or blue (for cooling) backdrop, showing the estimated time it will take for the room to hit the target temperature.
The thermostat will display the estimated time in five-minute chunks. If the set temperature will be reached in less than ten minutes, it will display “less than ten minutes” on the screen. If it’s going to be more than two hours, it’ll show “IN 2+ HR.”
As soon as the room hits the target temperature, the screen will go dark and the delay time will disappear.
However, if your thermostat is showing a “Delayed for X:XX” message or just a plain “Delayed” message, it could be a sign that something’s stopping your thermostat from hitting your target temperature.
Here’s what you should check first:
- Is the device updating?
- Is your internet connection poor?
If your Nest Thermostat is in the midst of a software update, it might temporarily be slower at displaying messages or responding to your commands.
These updates are rolled out and installed automatically, and sometimes they’re released to users in batches based on the specific update.
The best course of action here is patience. Wait until the update finishes installing, then see if that resolves the issue. If not, it’s time to consider the next possibility.
Weak or Slow Internet Connection
Another potential cause for your Nest thermostat displaying a delayed message could be a weak internet connection.
Use your phone to check the Wi-Fi signal strength where your thermostat is installed. You can also run a speed test on websites meant for that purpose. Is the Wi-Fi signal weaker here compared to the rest of your house?
If your Wi-Fi signal is indeed weaker, consider moving your Nest thermostat to a spot in your house where the Wi-Fi signal is stronger.
If your internet connection is solid and your thermostat’s firmware is up to date, then it could be an issue with the device itself. If this is the case, read on for possible fixes.
How to fix a Nest thermostat delayed message
The most common culprit behind a delayed Nest thermostat is a drained internal battery.
Unlike their predecessors that ran on AAA alkaline batteries, newer Nest thermostat models are powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that kick in as backup during power outages. This ensures your preferences, like temperature settings, are preserved.
If there’s no C wire hooked up to your thermostat (we’ll get into this later), it relies on your cooling or heating terminals to recharge its internal battery.
However, during extreme weather conditions when it’s either very hot or very cold, the battery tends to drain faster. The device cannot charge while it’s heating or cooling, so it postpones the heating/cooling cycle until the internal battery has enough charge to operate properly.
You can temporarily fix this by charging the battery. For a long-term solution, you’ll need to connect the thermostat’s C wire to your furnace or AC unit.
1. Charge the battery
To charge the battery:
- Remove the thermostat from the wall and plug it into a USB charger for a maximum of 2 hours. The light above the Nest display should be flashing green continuously, indicating that it’s charging.
- Once the battery is charged, reconnect to the wall.
The “delayed” message should vanish after the battery gets a full charge.
Keep in mind though, if your Nest thermostat isn’t getting sufficient power from your HVAC system (which might be due to a system-wide issue), this charging tactic is merely a temporary solution.
If your battery runs out once, it’ll probably happen again, and you’ll just need to charge the thermostat every time.
2. Connect a C wire
For a more permanent fix, you’re going to need to connect a C wire from the thermostat to your furnace or AC unit.
You can check if your Nest thermostat is already equipped with this wire by using the app on your phone or by looking at the thermostat directly.
Head over to Settings, then look for Equipment. Here’s what you should see in terms of wires that your device has detected:
- RH – for power
- Y1 – for cooling
- G – for fan
- C – for C wire
A C wire supplies constant power to your Nest thermostat, ensuring it operates as expected and preventing any delays when it comes to heating or cooling your home.
To hook up a C wire, you’ll need to get to the wiring behind your furnace or air conditioner.
(Please note: If messing around with electrical wiring isn’t your cup of tea, don’t hesitate to call in a professional to handle the C wire connection.)
Here’s how to connect a C wire to your Nest thermostat:
- Turn off your Nest thermostat and your furnace.
- Open up your Nest display case and search for the C wire (it’s typically blue.)
- Go to the furnace and find the C terminal, which is located on the motherboard with low-voltage wires. (Be aware that in some systems, this might be hidden behind a metal panel. If it is, take the panel off.)
- Connect the C wire to the C terminal on the furnace motherboard. This might be labeled as “Com.” Make sure the thermostat wire is securely in the terminal. (Important note: HVAC systems vary, and this step might not be accurate for some models. In any case, it’s best to contact a professional if you’re unfamiliar with your system.)
- Close the Nest display case and turn on the furnace and the Nest thermostat.
- Go back to the app and check if the app is detecting the C wire.
Once you’ve successfully connected the C wire, the “delayed” message should no longer be popping up.
3. Schedule a clean-up
If your HVAC system hasn’t been spruced up in a while, it might be time to schedule some maintenance.
Over time, dust, dirt, and debris can accumulate and block your condensate pipes, potentially causing problems.
A sudden shift in temperature can trigger the delay feature, either by making the thermostat think that the power’s been cycled off and on again or by giving it the impression that the surrounding temperature has changed.
Remember, your Nest thermostat adjusts the temperature based on your set preferences. So if it detects that the temperature isn’t within your preset range, it’ll automatically call for either cooling or heating.
If the temperature fluctuates too often, the internal battery might end up draining faster, leading to that pesky “delayed” message.
Once you’ve given your pipes a good cleaning, your system should be back at peak performance, and those delay messages should either disappear or show up less frequently.
However, as a preventative measure, I’d recommend connecting a C wire to the thermostat if you can, just to ward off future issues.
4. Contact Support
If you’re still facing problems, it’s a good idea to get in touch with Nest support. You can visit their Support page and submit a ticket or dial them up at (855) 888-8209.
They should be able to help you resolve the issue. Also, don’t forget to take a look at Google Nest’s warranty policy to see if your device is eligible for a refund or repair, just in case the thermostat itself is the problem.
Seeing a “delayed” message on your Nest thermostat can be a real annoyance, especially when all you want is to enjoy a comfortable temperature at home.
This issue often boils down to the device’s battery losing power. To rectify it, you can:
- Charge the thermostat for one to two hours.
- Connect its C wire to the furnace or AC.
- Schedule maintenance or clean-up.
If none of these steps do the trick, your best bet is to contact Nest support to see if they can fix or replace your Nest thermostat.