What Does The Hold Button On A Thermostat Mean

Modern HVAC systems have many advantages over older HVAC systems that are not programmable and rely on manual changes. One of the things I love the most about my new heating and cooling system is that it comes with a programmable thermostat. The smart thermostat allows me to program the temperature without manually adjusting anything. It regulates the temperature and allows me to set a temperature schedule.

But one of the things that I have often been asked about the smart thermostat on my HVAC system is how I adjust the temperature when my regular schedule changes. People are curious to know if they should adjust the programmed schedule according to their needs or if there is something else they can do to adjust the temperature only for the time being. That is when I introduce them to the hold button!

If you have an older HVAC system, you might not have a hold button on your thermostat. This option is more common on modern programmable thermostats. It makes it easy to deviate from the regular schedule without many significant changes. You press down the button to adjust the settings and press it again when you want to go back to the regular schedule.

You need to know a bit more about programmable thermostats and the hold setting before you start using them. In today's guide, I will tell you all about what the hold button on a thermostat means, so stick around if you want to learn more!

What is the "Hold" Button on a Thermostat?

The thermostat is a panel of settings that you would use to regulate the temperature settings in your home. It comes as part of any HVAC system, and you can use it to set the system on cooling or heating, depending on your needs. Most systems nowadays come with digital thermostats that are fully programmable, so they allow you to not only program temperature settings but also set entire heating and cooling schedules for your home.

That said, the thermostat will usually have a few buttons on the side that allow you to make certain changes to the schedule. For example, arrows might allow you to increase or lower the temperature by a few degrees. A button could allow you to go into energy-saving mode, which will save energy, thus helping you save money on your energy bills.

But the most important button of all is the hold button. It is usually located on the side of the digital panel. Still, it could also be a feature of the digital panel itself. When you press the button, the thermostat settings change or lock in the current settings. The usual schedule is ignored until you cancel the hold and run the schedule again.

If you have never used the hold setting before, it is wise to look into the manual of your HVAC system and learn what the hold setting can do for you. Also, it is wise to learn how to return to the regular thermostat setting after pushing the hold button. The commands will vary depending on your system, so review the manual to know exactly what you are doing.

How Does the "Hold" Button Work?

How Does the Hold Button Work

If the current temperature does not fit your needs for the time being, you do not have to reprogram your entire schedule. Instead, you can use the programmable thermostat's hold setting to keep the same temperature for at least a while. The good thing with this button is that you have two options: the permanent hold and the temporary hold. Here is a bit more on these options:

Permanent Hold Setting

You would use the permanent hold when you must deviate from your smart thermostat's schedule for a long time. You do not have to know exactly how long it will take to return to the normal schedule - it could be weeks or months before you do so. In the meantime, the temperature settings will be locked to the ones in effect when you push the hold button.

Temporary Hold Setting

The temporary hold functions the same way as the permanent hold. The only difference is that the temporary setting is only in effect for a short while. Depending on your schedule, it could be in effect for an hour or two, but the next schedule change will cause the hold to be discontinued, so the schedule will return to normal.

Let's elaborate further.

For example, let's say that your normal schedule involves the cooling system going into energy-saving mode from midnight until 5 PM when you return from work. That means the air conditioning will start working around 5 PM, cooling down your home before you arrive from work.

When the air conditioning unit works, it adjusts the temperature according to the weather and movement throughout the house. It works twice as hard on hot days, even if you do not regulate the temperature yourself. You would click on the hold setting if you want the temperature to lock at, for example, 78 degrees Fahrenheit for the time being.

The thermostat will not make any changes until the following change in your family's schedule, meaning going into energy-saving mode at midnight. With that change, the thermostat returns to its regular schedule and automatically cancels the so-called hold.

How to Use the Hold Setting?

Using the hold setting is very easy but depends on the type of smart thermostat and HVAC system you have. To activate the hold mode, you only need to locate the hold setting and press the button to activate it. The new mode will be in effect instantly, and the new temperature will be in effect for as long as you want.

How to Go Back to the Normal Schedule?

Going back to the normal schedule after a hold is also effortless. There could be a separate button called run that you need to push to run your regular schedule. If there isn't a run schedule button, there might be a cancel button with the same effect. You can see how to exit the hold setting if you check the manual for your HVAC system.

The only thing to be on the lookout for is the type of hold you activate. You must manually change the settings to run the normal schedule if it is a permanent hold. If it is a temporary hold, the schedule will return to normal with the next schedule change.

Again, the best thing is to consult the manual or a trained air conditioning contractor to avoid user error, which might lead to problems with the entire system.

When Should You Use the "Hold" Button?

When Should You Use the Hold Button

There are several cases when the hold button comes in very handy. I already mentioned that it is perfect for quick thermostat changes without uprooting your entire schedule. But here is a bit more detail on the times when you should consider using the hold setting:

  • Holidays - Holidays are the perfect time to use the temporary hold option. Your entire family will be home, so you might need the heating and cooling system to work extra hard that day. Whether it is Memorial Day or Easter, just press the hold button and rest assured that your thermostat will maintain your ideal temperature all day.
  • Guests - Having guests over means the HVAC system must work extra to keep the home temperature at the ideal level. So, it is wise to use the short-term hold and deviate from your family's schedule to make the temperature enjoyable for you and your guests.
  • Sick Days - If you or someone in your family takes a sick day off work or school, you might need to keep the air conditioner to a lower setting or get the heat up to keep that person comfortable. The short-term hold is ideal for short schedule changes, but you can also consider the permanent hold if you must take care of someone who will be out sick for a while.
  • Vacation - Vacation is a great example of when you need to use the permanent hold, as you will be out of the house for at least a week, maybe even more. Set the thermostat to hold the energy-saving mode, and you will save on energy while maintaining the perfect temperature.


Thank you for reading this detailed guide on the HVAC system's hold setting. We would like to know what the hold button on a thermostat means, when you can use it, and how to use both the hold and run options for short- and long-term schedule changes.

If you have a new thermostat, do not be afraid to explore its option and see what settings work best for you. If you have any experience with the hold button, do not hesitate to share all about it in the comments below. I cannot wait to read all your stories and recommendations on using this amazing setting effectively and efficiently!

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