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Why Does My Nest Thermostat Say “Delayed for Two Hours”?

Why Does My Nest Thermostat Say Delayed

The “Delayed for X” message is one most Nest Thermostat owners have seen at least once.

What’s the cause of the problem?

And how can you rectify it?

Your Nest Thermostat says “Delayed for Two Hours” due to a power-related malfunction. The thermostat relies on an internal rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery, which recharges itself from the HVAC system. Any issues in power delivery can lead to malfunctions, such as “delay” messages.

This article will look at the problem in a bit more detail and offer solutions that can help you prevent “delay” messages in the future.

The Nest Thermostat Power System

A quick comparison between your Nest thermostat and older models, and it’s easy to see that the former is far ahead with lots of extra functions.

It can also save you significant money on your energy bill

However, these functions need a lot more power to run.

The Nest thermostat comes with an integrated rechargeable battery to deliver the power.

As power goes to the thermostat, some of it recharges the battery while the leftover is redistributed across connected systems such as the air conditioner, fans, heat pump, furnace, etc.

Now, inadequate power input will affect this distribution and battery recharging process.

The thermostat battery won’t get charged properly, and the systems connected won’t get optimal power to function. 

Once that happens, your HVAC system will start displaying some of the top signs of malfunction, such as random or erroneous temperature fluctuations and on/off cycles.

The problem might cause more severe damage that will require some spending to repair.

It’s at this point that the thermostat will start displaying all kinds of “Delayed for X” messages and lose some of its main features, such as Wi-Fi connectivity and motion detection.

Fortunately, you can rectify the power problem responsible for the “Delayed” messages.

Using a C Wire (common wire) is the most common approach.

Introducing the C-Wire

A C wire is an important single wire (usually blue) that can improve the power output of your thermostat.

Most Nest models in the market can work without the C wire because they charge when the heating or cooling system is active. 

However, as we’ve seen above, this doesn’t always work.

If you’ve seen the occasional “Delayed for X” message that disappears after a few minutes, you most likely don’t need to do anything.

However, if it says “Delayed for Two Hours” or similar long periods, it’s time to look under the thermostat’s hood.

Remove the display and check for a part labeled C. This is where you can install the C wire to solve the “Delayed for X” problems and any other issues you can associate with low power.

Reading tip: Nest Not Cooling To Set Temperature: 7 Causes & Fixes

How To Solve the “Delayed for Two Hours” Message With a C Wire 

If you currently don’t have a C wire connected to your thermostat, there are a few approaches you can take:

Hardwire or Use a Sender/Receiver

To hardwire a C wire, you need to shut down your HVAC system and the Nest Thermostat.

Disconnect them from the power source, and then connect both ends of the wire to the thermostat and the HVAC unit.

Here’s a good video showing how to complete the installation: 

The process isn’t for everyone, though, as it may require going into the walls.

If you’re not qualified for electrical DIY, it’s best to hire a professional to get the job done.

You may also need to spend some money to refurbish the affected wall area.

A good alternative to this is to use a common maker like the Nordic Fast-STAT Wiring Extender from to wirelessly send and receive power between your HVAC unit and the Nest Thermostat. 

You’ll connect the sender to the thermostat in the wall while the receiver is installed in the furnace.

Use a C Wire Transformer/Adapter

Another way to deal with the “Delayed for X” messages caused by low power is to install transformers or adapters like the Wuyelin C-Wire Adapter from These are easier to install and will work with Nest thermostats.

The installation process is simple:

  • Connect the two wires in the pack to the “RH” and “C” terminals on your thermostat.
  • Connect the adapter unit to the power source through a thermostat.

You can complete this without professional help. However, it’ll be a bit difficult if the wall outlets nearby are far away from the thermostat.

Again, the adapter wires will likely hang out from the thermostat – a problem if you don’t want anything affecting the aesthetics of your décor.

Some people hide the wiring with a concealer for this reason and hold the wires against the walls, but it still doesn’t completely solve the problem.

How To Solve the “Delayed for Two Hours” Without a C Wire?

There are a few alternatives you can work with here:

Charge the Internal Battery With a USB Cable

Most Nest products come with a micro USB cable in the box. You can use this to charge the thermostat’s internal battery and deal with the low power problems.

The USB cable will ensure there’s a steady source of electricity to the unit. 

However, just as with the adapter, you’ll need a wall outlet close by, and it should have provisions for a USB slot.

You’ll also need to find a way to keep the thermostat in place as the USB cable is typically short and stiff.

Convert Your G Wire to a C Wire

Your G wire isn’t the same as your ground wire. It is a green wire that helps ensure independent control of your blower fan.

To convert it to a C wire, open up the thermostat, remove it from the G port, and then install it in the same way as the C wire. Finish up the process by hooking it up to the HVAC unit.

This is a straightforward way of delivering adequate power to the furnace, but it’s not without its downsides.

For instance, once this is completed, you’ll lose some fan functions, such as “standalone” and “fan-only” modes.

Before you start the conversion, you need to confirm no other systems are connected to the fan.

You may also need a jumper cable to be connected to the empty G-terminal and Y-terminal. Of course, if you have a zoom panel, this option won’t work.

Check out: Nest Thermostat Cycling On and Off: 6 Reasons and Fixes

Can You Ignore the Delay Message?

Ignoring the delay message doesn’t quite work in this situation because your HVAC system will not function as long as the error remains on the screen. 

There’s also no guarantee that the internal battery will get enough charge during that wait time, so you may end up waiting a lot longer than two hours.

You should also remember that the problem goes beyond just preventing your system from functioning.

Persistent low power can cause more serious damage to your system overall. This is why you should rectify the problem as quickly as possible.

Final Words

The “Delayed for Two Hours” message is often a sign that your thermostat isn’t getting enough power.

Fortunately, fixing the problem isn’t usually very complicated. 

Connecting a C wire is the most popular remedy, but you can also convert your G wire for the same purpose or use a wire transformer.

Go over the approaches and choose the option that works best for you.

Although this is a minor electrical project, it can lead to major issues when done incorrectly.

That’s why you shouldn’t hesitate to call in a professional if you need to.

Learn more: Why Second Nest Thermostat won’t connect to app?