Honeywell thermostats control your ventilation, heating, and cooling to keep your home at a comfortable temperature with WiFi and programmable options. This compact box is mounted on a wall in your home to display the temperature and give the homeowner control over the temperature inside.
A common notification with the Honeywell thermostats is a “waiting for equipment” notification. Most of the time, this is not a problem, but rather a safety feature to prevent wear and tear on the HVAC system. However, other causes of this notification may be due to issues with overriding the system, low battery power, extreme temperatures, or disconnected WiFi.
Thankfully, these issues can be easily addressed directly by you without the need for a service professional. Read on to learn more about what you can do to make that “waiting” notification go away.
What Does Waiting For Equipment Mean?
The “waiting for equipment” notification means that your thermostat is waiting to turn on your Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system. This device communicates with the HVAC system when to start and stop heating and cooling.
This safety feature is to protect your equipment from short cycling, causing damage to the compressor, or burning out from fluctuating voltage. It also makes your heating and cooling system more energy efficient.
If it were to turn rapidly on and off with temperature fluctuations, then more electricity and energy is used. This can create wear and tear on your equipment as well, and ineffectively warms or cools your home, resulting in increased cost.
The “waiting” feature normally occurs when the system has just turned off and a sudden temperature change triggers it. Or, it can appear when you switch from heat to cool modes.
The notification lasts for about 3 to 5 minutes before the HVAC system will restart. If the notification remains for longer than 5 minutes, then there may be a problem.
Why Does Your Honeywell Thermostat Say Waiting For Equipment?
While the “waiting for equipment” notification is designed to protect your HVAC system, there are other reasons it may appear.
This could be due to overworking the thermostat, extreme temperatures, WiFi connectivity problems, or low power due to poor batteries or circuitry.
You’re Overworking Your Thermostat
When the thermostat activates, or “calls” the HVAC system too much, the “waiting for equipment” safety signal can appear.
Overworking the thermostat causes problems that wear down equipment and lower energy efficiency. These problems occur when someone constantly overrides the system by pressing the up or down arrows to quickly change the temperature to turn the equipment back on.
An overworked thermostat can burden air conditioning units, resulting in frozen equipment that becomes non-functional or ineffective. Overworked HVAC systems can cause premature wear and tear that results in equipment repairs or replacement as well as increased utility bills.
It is best to set thermostats on schedules or set temperatures and avoid pushing those arrows. The thermostat is designed to work well under these conditions without manual overrides.
The Temperature Is Extreme Outside
Extreme temperatures can cause a thermostat to work hard. Heat or cool air can move through windows, doors, and uninsulated basement joists or attics. Even with well-insulated homes, excessive heat or cold will change the indoor ambient temperature.
When people leave windows and doors open, it can bring in blasts of extreme temperatures that turn the thermostat on. For homeowners that have outdoor heating pumps, the coils can freeze in extreme temperatures, sending a call to the thermostat.
Air conditioning units can also run excessively when exposed to extreme heat, running continuously without efficiently cooling down the home.
Your Honeywell thermostat is sensitive to these temperature changes and may become overworked as it tries to keep up. If your heating system is “waiting for equipment” too often in extreme temperatures, try closing windows, doors, and curtains, and sealing any air leaks.
Use a ceiling fan to circulate cool air on hot days. An energy audit can help find where energy loss is occurring as well.
It’s Not Connected To WiFi
Honeywell smart thermostats can be connected to and controlled by WiFi from both Android and IOS phones. This allows the homeowner to manage heating and cooling from anywhere.
Connection problems can occur if the thermostat is updating software, needs an app update, or your phone app and thermostat are on different WiFi networks.
Router and interference issues can also cause poorly connected or disconnected thermostats.
When the thermostat is not connected to WiFi, it could trigger the “waiting for equipment” notification. This is because it is waiting for the connection so that it can turn on the HVAC equipment.
If the notification has been on for longer than 5 minutes, the WiFI could be the problem.
Your Batteries Have Gone Bad
Old batteries can trigger the “waiting for equipment” signal.
If they are low, worn out, or corroding, the power to the thermostat is disrupted. As a result, the thermostat does not function properly, resulting in it misreading the need for heating or cooling.
Honeywell thermostats typically use AA or AAA batteries to power their LED displays. Not all models of Honeywell thermostats use batteries, however. Some are powered directly by the main electrical wiring.
If there are any voltage issues related to powering the thermostat, the “waiting” notification can appear.
Best Fixes For Honeywell Thermostat
Thankfully when a Honeywell thermostat is not working, there are many strategies you can try before calling in a professional.
If you have your thermostat’s user manual, you can find troubleshooting solutions there. However, the following are simple things you can try right away.
Read on to see how you can solve this problem easily by yourself.
Reconnect Your Thermostat To The WiFi
You can quickly check to see if the WiFi is your issue by reconnecting the WiFi manually or through the app.
Before you start make sure you do the following:
- Check that your home router is plugged in, powered on, and working.
- Reset it if necessary.
- The router should be operating on 2.5GHz to work with the Honeywell thermostat.
- The router should be in the range of the thermostat.
- This varies by the model of the router, and the range of the signal is indicated in the router’s user manual.
- If the router and thermostat are not close enough to each other, then, a WiFi signal extender may need to be installed.
- Check your router firewall to ensure it is not blocking the thermostat.
- Make sure that your Honeywell software or app is up to date.
- It may help to delete and reinstall the app.
To manually reconnect the WiFi only a few quick steps are needed.
Simply remove the faceplate, wait for 5 to 10 seconds, and then put the faceplate back on. The thermostat should automatically reconnect to the WiFi.
If you have a smart-design thermostat, do the following:
- Select “menu” on the faceplate screen.
- Scroll to choose “WiFi Setup”.
- Choose your home network, and enter your password.
- Once it successfully connects, follow the prompts to indicate that you are done.
If manual reconnection does not work, you can try using the Honeywell app:
- Look for an “X” or strikethrough line on the WiFi icon on your thermostat’s panel.
- Or, check the WiFi setting on your phone app to see if it is connected.
- Check that both your thermostat and WiFi are on the same network, and adjust if necessary.
- Once your WiFi system is restored, the thermostat will automatically reconnect.
- The “X” or strikethrough should disappear.
If the WiFi still will not connect, then there may be a wiring issue with the common C-wire. (More on that below.)
Change The Battery
Generally, batteries in a Honeywell thermostat should be replaced yearly. Often an HVAC technician will do this when providing yearly service and maintenance to a system.
As previously mentioned, most Honeywell thermostats use two AA or AAA batteries to power them.
In addition to the “waiting” signal, you may see a low battery warning, diminished visibility of the display, or a blank screen. The thermostat may signal the HVAC system to blow air but is not cooling or heating.
A low battery indicator may come on as much as 60 days before it runs out of power. Don’t delay, and replace them right away.
To replace batteries, do the following:
- For safety, turn the switch to “off” to turn off the thermostat.
- Remove the faceplate only. Refer to your user manual.
- Some models’ faceplates pull straight off, and others come off angled from the top down.
- Some thermostats have a battery compartment that is accessible from the side.
- Once the faceplate or battery compartment is exposed, remove the old batteries. (See below if there is corrosion.)
- Replace the batteries, ensuring they are lined up correctly according to the negative and positive connections.
- Put the cover or faceplate back on.
- Switch the system back on.
- It may take about 1 minute for the HVAC system to cycle back on.
What To Do If The Batteries Are Corroded
If there is corrosion from the batteries, you will need to clean the thermostat’s internal battery contacts before putting in new batteries.
What to do:
- Turn off the power at the main breaker for your safety.
- Use a cotton swab to apply a few drops of lemon juice or vinegar to clean it away.
- Use a water-soaked cotton swab to remove any remaining residue.
- Use a dry cotton swab to remove excess moisture.
- Allow it to fully air dry.
- Follow steps 4 through 6 from above.
Reset The Breaker
If your home’s electrical system gets overworked or there are power surges, the breaker for the thermostat can “trip” to off.
Find the main electrical panel in your basement, garage, or on an exterior wall. Locate the individual breaker that is out of alignment or that has a different color than the others.
Simply push it back to the “on” position. If this does not resolve the issue, push the breaker off and then on again.
If the beaker continues to trip or does not solve the problem, there may be a wiring issue with the common C-wire. This wire connects the thermostat to the HVAC system. Never attempt to touch or resolve wiring issues without the help of a professional electrician.
How Long Will Your Thermostat Say “Waiting For Equipment?”
Honeywell thermostats have internal timers that prevent them from turning on and off excessively. Each time it turns off, it will delay a restart for 3 to 5 minutes.
Anything longer than 5 minutes could be an indication that there is a bigger issue, as described above.
You can speed up a 5 minute wait by overriding the system and pushing the arrows to increase or decrease the temperature.
You could also disconnect the power or WiFi briefly, and reconnect it to “reset” the thermostat to turn on sooner.
Keep in mind that repeatedly overriding the system can shorten the life of your equipment, and increase utility bills.
Should You Call Customer Care?
Honey thermostat customer care is available to help customers troubleshoot issues. They have extended hours available every day of the week.
Customers can speak directly with a live agent, request a live typed chat on their website, or chat with them through their Twitter page.
You should contact customer care if your thermostat is not working despite trying the above strategies. You can also contact them if you are unsure about how to implement these strategies or cannot find your user manual.
Customer care can give you specific instructions for your model.
However, in the case that the thermostat is faulty due to wiring, you will need a service professional to come directly to your home.
Other issues could be related to the installment of your thermostat.
Perhaps someone bumped into it and broke an internal component or sensor. If the thermostat is not level or has a loose hardwire connection, it may not operate correctly.
In these cases, a professional can come to your home to investigate and remedy or replace the thermostat.
Lastly, if your HVAC system is not the proper size for your home, it will not deliver adequate temperature control.
Your furnace may be the source of the problem as well if it has a clogged filter or a problem with the blower.
A qualified professional can help you figure out what heating and cooling system will best fit the needs of your house, as well as maintain the health of your furnace and air conditioner.
A “waiting for equipment” notification is not a signal to panic. Most of the time the thermostat is functioning as intended. This means it is waiting 3 to 5 minutes before restarting the system, thus protecting the equipment from overuse and damage.
The “waiting” notification may also appear if there are issues related to the batteries, wiring, circuitry, WiFi connection, or the air conditioning or furnace unit itself.
Try the strategies above to solve any “waiting for equipment” notification issues first. If these do not resolve the issue, try checking out our other Honeywell troubleshooting posts for any additional problems you may be having with your Honeywell system or contact customer care support or an HVAC professional.
Ruben has a diverse background in the home services industry, with experience running a construction company, a kitchen and bath showroom, and a moving and relocation company. This breadth of experience has provided him with a wealth of knowledge and expertise in various areas of home improvement in general and specifically in the heating and plumbing niche.