Resetting your thermostat when you’re not home or asleep can save you money on your heating and cooling bills. You can set the thermostat to do this automatically by installing an automatic setback or installing a programmable thermostat. 

However, homeowners sometimes run into an issue where their thermostats will continue holding the same temperature, even after manually adjusting the thermostat temperature. Here’s our breakdown of what hold means on a thermostat and why it may prevent you from changing your settings to a new temperature. 

How Does a Programmable Thermostat Work?

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A programmable thermostat allows you to adjust when the heating or air conditioning in your home turns on according to a preset schedule you determine. These smart thermostats can usually store multiple daily settings, with up to six or more different temperature settings a day, while allowing you to override your thermostat settings for one day. For example, if you set your thermostat to lower temperatures in the winter during the work day when you’re out of the house, you could choose to override this thermostat setting on the weekends or on a sick day. 

What Is the Hold Setting?

A hold setting on a thermostat allows you to override the previously established temperature-programmed settings. Essentially, the hold setting will enable you to adjust your home’s temperature, which is different from the schedule you programmed. 

Why Won’t My Thermostat Change Temperatures?

If your programmable thermostat is not adhering to the normal schedule by making temperature changes throughout the day as you have it set, it’s time to troubleshoot. 

In many cases, your thermostat may be stuck on the hold setting, which will keep your home’s current temperature rather than adjust the temperature throughout the day on a schedule. 

If you suspect the hold setting is on, look at your thermostat screen and check if it says “Permanent Hold” or “Temporary Hold” anywhere on the screen. 

The two primary hold options that most digital thermostats have: 

  • The Permanent Hold feature keeps your home’s temperature at the same temperature indefinitely until you manually cancel it. If you can’t reprogram your thermostat’s temperature, this is likely the cause. You should be back on your programmed schedule as soon as you cancel it. 
  • The Temporary Hold preset, also known as Hold Until, allows you to override your thermostat’s programming for a certain period. For example, you may set this override for an hour in the middle of the day if you know you’ll stop in for lunch. 

How Do I Take My Thermostat off the Hold Setting?

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If your thermostat is on a hold setting and you wish to remove the hold, simply check for “Cancel,” “Run,” or “Run Schedule.” Depending on your thermostat model, the specific run button you need will be labeled differently. However, once you locate this button and press it, your thermostat should immediately return to the regular programmed schedule, and you should quickly feel the air conditioner or heat turned on in your home. 

Closing Thoughts

Programmable thermostats and Wi-Fi thermostats are convenient home appliances that make it easy to save money on your energy bills with preset temperature changes throughout the day. While older dial thermostats are simple to use, a new thermostat gives you greater control over your home’s temperature. It’s often more energy-efficient, allowing you to save money and help the environment. Once you’ve learned how to set your energy-saving thermostat and use the run and hold button appropriately, you’ll be good to go to save money, set your desired temperatures, and take the stress off your HVAC system. 

Editorial Contributors
Alora Bopray

Alora Bopray

Staff Writer

Alora Bopray is a digital content producer for the home warranty, HVAC, and plumbing categories at Today's Homeowner. She earned her bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of St. Scholastica and her master's degree from the University of Denver. Before becoming a writer for Today's Homeowner, Alora wrote as a freelance writer for dozens of home improvement clients and informed homeowners about the solar industry as a writer for EcoWatch. When she's not writing, Alora can be found planning her next DIY home improvement project or plotting her next novel.

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Roxanne Downer


Roxanne Downer is a commerce editor at Today’s Homeowner, where she tackles everything from foundation repair to solar panel installation. She brings more than 15 years of writing and editing experience to bear in her meticulous approach to ensuring accurate, up-to-date, and engaging content. She’s previously edited for outlets including MSN, Architectural Digest, and Better Homes & Gardens. An alumna of the University of Pennsylvania, Roxanne is now an Oklahoma homeowner, DIY enthusiast, and the proud parent of a playful pug.

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