Why is the snowflake blinking on my Emerson thermostat?

A thermostat is a great way of controlling the temperature in your home. However, from time to time, these devices do experience issues. Luckily, they come with a warning system when such issues occur. In Emerson thermostats, the warning occurs in the form of a blinking snowflake.

A flashing snowflake on an Emerson thermostat means that that the unit is in a time delay or lockout mode. Depending on the issue, it can last for a few minutes, or go on until you fix the root cause.

So, what can you do when you get a blinking snowflake on your thermostat? Below, is an Emerson thermostat troubleshooting guide that can help you fix the issue when it occurs.

Why am I seeing a blinking snowflake on Emerson’s thermostat?

To resolve the blinking snowflake, you must first understand what is causing it. The first reason for the issue is if the thermostat is in a time delay (waiting mode). The delay is a built-in function that protects your HVAC unit from short cycling – turning on and off too frequently.

Short cycling is usually an indication of an issue with your cooling unit. Examples of such issues include:

  • Malfunctioning parts in your cooling system that needs repair.
  • Lack of maintenance causing inefficient operation – for example, clogged filters.
  • Thermostat issues – if your thermostat is malfunctioning and not reading temperature correctly.

With these issues, your outdoor unit might still continue to run, but turn on and off too quickly and too often. This can result in further damage to the system. As a result, the thermostat initiates a delay, usually five to ten minutes after the outdoor unit turns off.

Another cause of the snowflake blinking is if the thermostat is in lockout mode. The mode occurs when there is an issue with the AC units and it shuts itself down. When this happens, it locks the thermostat out and sends it a signal to let you know there is an issue.

How do I reset my Emerson thermostat?

More often than not, the blinking snowflake will stop after about 5 to 10 minutes (time delay mode). However, if there was another problem, you will have to reset the thermostat.

To reset simply press the up and down and menu buttons simultaneously until it resets. In some models, the sequence might vary, with the menu button being replaced by a timer button. Alternatively, instead of using the buttons, you can remove batteries from your thermostat for about two minutes.

Here is a guide for resetting different Emerson thermostat models.

After resetting your thermostat, two things might happen:

  • The snowflake will stop blinking: this means that the issue was minor and has resolved itself.
  • The snowflake continues blinking: this means that the underlying issue is still present. In this case, it is best to call a professional HVAC professional to come to look at your cooling system.


A blinking snowflake on Emerson’s thermostat can be a cause for concern. However, more often than not it is only indicative of a small issue that will resolve itself.

Resetting your thermostat can also restart your cooling system again, thus fixing whatever temporary problem was present. However, the blinking might persist even after resetting your thermostat, which could mean that your outdoor cooling unit is defective. To prevent further damage, you should call an expert to look at your system.

Related Articles