Nest Learning Thermostat

Nest Learning Thermostat
Photo by Dan LeFebvre / Unsplash

Everyone knows I am completely hooked on new technology. I think technology to me is like shoes to many women. I see something amazing and have to try it. My tech of the day is the Nest Learning Thermostat. Check out this video and then tell me you don’t want one; (If you tell me you don’t want one you are lying.) The story behind the company is interesting as well.

The one big thing someone could object to is the $250 price tag. I admit this is the only thing that made me shy away, but I thought a lot about it and the saving on electricity and heat should, over the years, make up for the cost. It will immediately cut down my heat/electric usage however which is good for the environment. It’ll also make the house more comfortable which is a soft return that isn’t cash but a comfortable life has value. Thermostats have always annoyed me. They have been inaccurate about temperature and hard to program. I always find myself using the Hold button to lock the temp because it’s so much effort to get the thermostat programmed just right. By using the Hold button I waste energy all the time.

I decided I could justify just getting a single unit to see how it goes. I bought it the other day and left it in the corner slightly afraid to try to install it because I’m not always the best at installing devices in a house. I checked out this video and it gave me confidence to try to do the install myself;

I have to say that it was just as easy as the video. I took off the old thermostat. Labeled the wires. In the old thermostat there was a wire bridging Rh to Rc which I wondered about but in the manual they mention what to do if you see that. If you read the short printed instructions and label the wires with the included stickers you will have zero trouble. The unit I replaced was rectangular, and wouldn’t you know it… Nest includes a rectangular plate so you can cover up the holes or lack of paint that was under the previous unit. They even include a metal mounting plate if your thermostat is on an electrical box. They thought of EVERYTHING.

Mounting it on the wall is a snap. There’s a level in the mounting plate so you know that it’s mounted level. The wires get inserted in clearly labeled holes in the mounting plate. It reminded me of my old stereo speakers. You press the button and push in the wire. Very very easy.

Once connected the unit asked me for my login info for my WiFi network. It updated it’s software and then took me through a step by step setup. In my case I replaced a heating thermostat so it only asked me questions related to the heat. As part of the setup it showed me which wires it believed I connected which was great because it verified to me that I put the wires in far enough. At the end of the setup I turned up the heat and checked if the furnace kicked in. It did. Success! So I turned down the heat and I heard the valve close near the furnace and I knew I was good to go.

I am not sure how they did this, maybe by detecting my iPhone was on the same WiFi as the thermostat, but they automatically asked to add the thermostat to the Nest app on my iPhone. I assume they do this by seeing the devices were on the same WiFi, and that the Nest was not yet bound to an account. Just one of the many little cool things they do. So the thermostat is in and it took me all of 15 min from opening the box to finishing the install. I plan to now replace the other units in the house after this success. With the warm weather here I think I’ll replace the since A/C thermostat next and wait to do the other Heat units in the fall.

If you have been thinking about getting a Nest, and can get past the cost to see the value, then I hope my story gives you the confidence to know you can do it yourself. Before buying one you should check that it works with your system using their compatibility check. If you chicken out on the install you can always buy the concierge service to have a professional installer come. Some people are just too busy to do installations themselves. The concierge service is the perfect answer. I think the folks at Nest have finally fixed the problems that traditional thermostats have, and I hope they do very well. I look forward to software enhancements, and whatever the next version of this unit is capable of.