White Rodgers Thermostat Blinking Snowflake: Fix a Flashing Cool Sign!

White Rodgers is a popular thermostat brand for both residential and commercial heating, air conditioning, and appliance control. If you are here, then your White Rodgers thermostat has a blinking snowflake and your air conditioning unit isn’t working. Let’s fix it!

A White Rodgers thermostat normally has a solid snowflake when cooling, but a blinking or flashing snowflake typically means that the unit is in ‘delay mode’ which is used to prevent short cycling and usually lasts 5 minutes. A flashing snowflake can also be caused by battery or power issues as well as improper cleaning or maintenance.

Let’s take a look at the most common reasons for a blinking snowflake on your White Rodgers thermostat as well as the simplest and quickest fixes!

What does a blinking snowflake on a Whiter Rodgers thermostat mean?

When an air conditioner is functioning normally, there usually isn’t much going on with the display on the thermostat. When the cold air is on, the thermostat will typically display the set temperature along with the current mode. For cold settings, thermostats will typically display a snowflake.

If your air conditioner has a problem, your White Rodgers thermostat will have a blinking or flashing snowflake to alert you. A blinking or flashing snowflake means that your air conditioner is set to cooling mode but isn’t able to turn on or operate normally.

Whenever you see an alert or error on your thermostat, you need to address the problem as quickly as possible to both avoid potential permanent damage to the system as well as to minimize the downtime without air conditioning!

Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons for a flashing snowflake on a White Rodgers thermostat and how to fix them!

Fixing a White Rodgers thermostat blinking snowflake

How to fix a White Rodgers thermostat with a blinking snowflake

Unless there is a major mechanical issue, which is possible, most thermostat issues can be resolved fairly easily.

In this section, I will explain the most common reasons for a blinking snowflake on your thermostat and I’ll start with the most likely and easiest to fix causes first and then work my way down into the less likely and/or more complicated and time-consuming fixes as we go.

This way, you will have the best chance of getting your system up and running as fast as possible!

Note: Before you go too far, be sure that you have properly set up your White Rodgers thermostat! Check that the mode is set to ‘cooling’ and that you have properly set a temperature below the current temperature in the room! Perform a quick test by lowering the temperature to the minimum and see if the unit clicks on!

Here are the most common reasons for a White Rodgers thermostat with a blinking snowflake:

  • Thermostat is in delay mode
  • Thermostat needs to be reset
  • Thermostat has a battery or power issue
  • Air conditioning unit needs to be reset
  • Air conditioner has a power issue
  • Air conditioner has a blocked drain
  • Air conditioner has a clogged air filter
  • There is a more serious mechanical or maintenance issue with the air conditioner

Thermostat is in delay mode

Although every thermostat is a little different, most of them operate with the same basic functions.

One of the most common reasons for a blinking snowflake on your thermostat is that the thermostat has activated a ‘delay mode’ as it switches between heating, cooling, or fan modes. In certain situations, an air conditioner might switch frequently between modes, often called short cycling. Short cycling is bad for the air conditioning unit as it puts a lot of stress on the system.

To avoid short cycling, the thermostat has a built-in delay, usually about 5 minutes. During this 5 minute period, you might see a blinking or flashing snowflake while the unit waits to actually turn the air conditioner on. If a delay mode is the cause of a blinking snowflake, it should ‘fix itself’ after the 5 minutes has passed.

If your thermostat is still blinking after 5 minutes, you’ll need to move on to the next fix.

Thermostat needs to be reset

As is the case with pretty much any piece of technology, most problems can be fixed by turning it off and turning it back on again! In this case, we’ll go one step further and perform a system reset just to be sure that this isn’t the culprit.

Each model of White Rodgers thermostat will have a slightly different procedure for resetting it, but generally it will involve holding down a combination of buttons until the screen turns off and back on. You can also usually completely disconnect the thermostat from both wall power and battery power for a few minutes to reset it and clear out previous settings.

Classic 70 series White Rodgers thermostats

Press and hold the ‘Up’ and/or ‘Down’ arrow and the ‘Time’ button at the same time and hold until the display goes blank and reappears.

70 series White Rodgers thermostats

First, move the system switch to the ‘Off’ position. Then, press and hold both the ‘Up’ and ‘Down’ buttons simultaneously while moving the system switch from ‘Off’ to ‘Heat’ before letting the buttons go.

White Rodgers 70 series thermostat reset procedure

Classic 80 series White Rodgers thermostats

Press and hold the ‘Up’ and/or ‘Down’ arrow and the ‘Time’ button at the same time and hold until the display goes blank and reappears.

80 series White Rodgers thermostats

Reset the thermostat by removing the thermostat from the wall plate and removing batteries for 2 minutes. After two minutes, replace the batteries and replace thermostat on wall plate.

Blue Series 12-inch Touchscreen thermostats

Reset the thermostat by removing the thermostat from the wall plate and removing batteries for 2 minutes. After two minutes, replace the batteries and replace thermostat on wall plate.

Blue Series 6-inch thermostats

Reset the thermostat by removing the thermostat from the wall plate and removing batteries for 2 minutes. After two minutes, replace the batteries and replace thermostat on wall plate.

Note: after a successful reset, you will likely have to reconfigure your thermostat, including reconnecting it to the home Wi-Fi, setting up any automatic timers or schedules, and selecting your preferred temperature.

If this reset worked, congrats! If not, let’s move on to the next!

Thermostat has a battery or power issue

Another common thermostat issue is related to power.

Most thermostats these days, including White Rodgers will be mounted to a powered base that has been installed into the wall. This base not only provides power, but also serves as a power hub that connects the thermostat to the air conditioning unit itself. In addition, your thermostat probably includes a battery backup to preserve system settings in the event of a power outage.

If your White Rodgers thermostat has a blinking snowflake, you’ll need to check both power sources.

First, consult your owner’s manual to confirm that it is plugged into a powered base and can be removed. Usually, you’ll just have to gently but firmly pull the thermostat straight out from the wall.

Once disconnected, go ahead an check and replace any batteries that are installed on the back of the thermostat.

Next, find and check the breaker responsible for your thermostat in your breaker box. Normally, this is not the same breaker that controls the HVAC unit itself which has different power requirements. Ensure that the breaker isn’t tripped and, if it is convenient, go ahead and turn the breaker off and on.

At this point, check to see if your thermostat and air conditioner are working normally by setting your thermostat to cooling mode and lowering the set temperature to the minimum possible. Listen for a click on the unit and verify that cold air starts blowing out of the vents.

If your air conditioner still isn’t working, move on to the next step!

Air conditioning unit needs to be reset

Now that we’ve finished with the easy thermostat stuff, it is time to move on to the air conditioning unit itself.

Similar to the thermostat, one of the first things we want to try is resetting the air conditioning unit itself. Generally, you will be able to find a large, red reset button somewhere in an obvious location on the outside of your HVAC unit. Sometimes you will have to remove a cover or other access panel to see the button.

Here, you’ll need to consult your user manual to be sure you are in the right place!

If the reset button does the trick – great! If not, keep reading!

Air conditioner has a power issue

Next, we’ll move on to a power issue with the air conditioner itself.

Generally, AC power issues are easy to identify but tricky to properly diagnose and fix. To rule out a power issue, inspect your AC unit and see if there are any blinking or solid lights anywhere on the outside of the unit or inside where you found the reset button.

If you see blinking lights, it probably isn’t a power issue.

If you don’t see any lights on your AC unit, you should check the breaker to ensure that it hasn’t been tripped. Generally, your HVAC unit will run on 220v power and it will have its own, separate breaker. It might even be located in a separate breaker box somewhere else in your home.

Once you locate the HVAC breaker, check to see if its tripped. If it isn’t tripped, there likely isn’t an issue with the breaker. But, while you are there, go ahead and turn the breaker off, wait about 30 seconds, and then turn it back on.

If the breaker was the issue – great! If not, move on!

Air conditioner has a blocked drain

After the power issues, we’ll want to make sure that your unit is refusing to turn on because of a clogged or blocked drain.

Because of the way HVAC units work, there is typically a fair amount of condensation that needs to be drained away from the unit. Depending on where your unit has been installed, the drain system will look a little different.

Generally, however, you’ll see a piece of PVC pipe coming out of your AC unit and running into a wall. The end of this PVC will usually come out of the side of the house or apartment outside. If the drain is blocked, water backs up and will eventually trip a little switch that turns off the unit to avoid causing damage. Removing the block and draining the water will fix this issue.

Locate your AC unit and check the drain pan for water. If water is setting in the pan, you have some kind of blockage. Don’t rely on drips outside to identify a (lack of) blockage as even a partial blockage can keep your unit from moving.

If this was your issue – great! If not, read on!

Air conditioner has a clogged air filter

Sometimes, a blinking snowflake can be caused by the simplest of things – a clogged air filter.

If your air filter is clogged, the unit has to work extra hard to pull in air to recirculate through your home. Eventually, this can cause issues with the unit and cause it to stop working until the issue is fixed.

To see if this is the issue, check your filter. Even if it looks good, remove the filter completely and check to see if your unit will come on with the filter removed. If the unit turns on, great – this was your problem.

But, don’t run the unit without a filter for long – turn the unit off and replace your filter ASAP!

There is a more serious mechanical or maintenance issue with the air conditioner

If none of these causes and solutions have helped you, then you might have a more serious mechanical issue to fix.

Unfortunately, advanced HVAC repair is outside of the scope of this article so we’ll have to ask that you call in a professional at this point!

Professional service for outdoor HVAC unit

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