Why Is My Thermostat Showing A Blinking Snowflake?

The blinking snowflake means that the delay timer is preventing your system from turning on. When these messages are present your air conditioner will not be able to turn on for 5 minutes.

Air conditioning systems contain a finely tuned and balanced load of pressure, that when interrupted can cause problems to your system’s compressor. For this reason, there are safety measures put in place in the form of a blinking snowflake icon or “Cool On” message on the screen of the thermostat.

Delay Timer

Air conditioner systems come equipped with a delay timer which prevents your system from starting up before the system’s pressure has had a chance to level out. If your air conditioner were to start before the pressure has time to balance out it could cause costly damage to your air conditioning system’s compressor. This feature protects the compressor from unnecessary damage.

The delay timer is in place to prevent your unit from short cycling. It usually takes 2-3 minutes for the pressure to level out in your system but most delay timers are set to a 5-minute delay. These extra few minutes are just in place to ensure that your system does not start too soon. If you try and start it before the 5 minutes is up the icon will be blinking.

Blinking Snowflake or Flame Icon on Thermostat

If you notice a blinking snowflake or flame emblem on the screen of your thermostat when you try to turn on your air conditioner that means that your system just recently shut off and the thermostat is in delay. When you try and start your air conditioner before the delay timer has gone off it will show the snowflake emblem on your thermostat to indicate that the delay timer is engaged.

The snowflake, or “cool on” message should disappear in no longer than 5-minutes. If it persists and you are not able to turn on your air conditioner I recommend you consult with a licensed technician.

No Delay Timer

If your system has no delay mode you will want to make sure that you wait for a minimum of 5-minutes between the time your outdoor unit shuts off and the time you restart it. This serves the same purpose as the delay timer by allowing the pressure inside your unit to return to its static level in order to protect your equipment.

There are a number of things that can happen to the compressor if it is started too soon. Some are more serious than others – if you are lucky it may just trip your breaker, if you happen to be of the unlucky sort you may find yourself replacing the compressor or entire air conditioner unit.

If you try and turn your thermostat down to a cooler temperature right after it shuts off and you don’t get a blinking snowflake or “cool on” message then you do not have a delay timer installed and you need to make sure that you wait 5-minutes between starts moving forward.


If your thermostat is showing a blinking snowflake icon don’t panic, there’s nothing wrong with your system. This is in place to prevent potential damage to your system’s compressor. If you experience this icon when trying to change your thermostat give it a few minutes and try again. It should never last longer than 5-minutes, if this occurs you can try resetting your furnace at the circuit breaker.