So a friend of mine told me last October about this learning thermostat called Nest.
I was immediately intrigued, but found they were backordered. Apparently early interest was high! So I signed up on their site to be notified when stock was replenished, and on January 4 I got an email! They were available – so I placed my order and waited for it to arrive.
Email notified me of the upcoming shipment, and when it arrived, I had to go to work! Boo! It would have to wait until the next day. The next morning, I set out to do the install.
Nice packaging – simple and clean. Once inside, you get:
Cool! Very Apple-esque. Just featuring the product – nothing extra here. Make a product that looks this good, and you don’t need any fancy graphics or anything to distract, I think. Lift up the top layer, and you get:
The base for wiring, wall anchors and a multi-tip screwdriver. Screwdriver included! Nice touch. Another layer lifted up and you get:
Instructions, and various wall plates to cover your old wall holes from your old lame thermostat. Because they know we are all impatient and don’t want to patch, sand, and paint our wall – that would mean we’d have to wait to try Nest! Here’s the various stuff included in that layer:
So now it was on to the install. Nest provides some FANTASTIC videos online that give you simple instructions on how to install Nest. Essentially you find the wires attached to your current thermostat, and match them to the pre-labeled spring terminals on the Nest base. Very simple!
I had a jumper wire on my thermostat, which the Nest instructions informed me was unnecessary. So, four wires, an included bubble level for making it all nice and neat, and we’re ready to rock! Just pop Nest onto the base – it just snaps in place.
Nest is powered by your furnace, using the low voltage already on the lines – so there’s no extra wiring or anything needed. Wifi connects Nest to the outside world, and setting it all up is again, just simple. The outside ring of Nest is also a button – so you simply push the ring, rotate to make your selection, and push the ring to select.
Pop Nest onto the base, and switch the power back on and Nest begins to boot:
Once you booted Nest walks you through some settings, where you enter your zip code and wifi info, among other settings. When I connect to my wifi at home, Nest gave me this screen:
Yup. Software update. For your thermostat. Completely cool – and I’m excited to see what possibilities this means for the future.
Once Nest is installed, the real fun begins. We set a temperature when we leave, when we return – and Nest learns our schedule. It is super easy to manually set points in the schedule – so even if you have a change it’s no problem.
Once Nest learns your schedule, it also learns how long it takes to get to your selected temperature – which is a very handy feature. Nice to know at a glance how long the system will run. Of course the web interface and iPhone app are both terrific – and the Wife Approval Factor of the iPhone app in particular is quite high. Through the colder times it was nice to be able to set the heat so by the time we came home it was comfortable.
The only thing I’ve noticed so far is the flip between heat and cool – just like your standard thermostat you have to manually change the system between heating and cooling. You can put Nest in a mode to heat or cool your home within a range of temperatures, but you lose the energy savings and some other functions. The way I see it, until you can do some more detailed scheduling (software update, anyone?) to set temperatures to auto switch between heating and cooling, the energy savings are more important.
Speaking of energy savings, I haven’t had enough time yet to really investigate the gas savings for heating – but it seems to be doing a wonderful job. I only have 30 days of data, but so far it looks to be between 10-15% savings of gas usage. Of course we just switched to cooling here, so this month will be difficult to tell. I can’t wait for summertime months to check on savings!
Overall I couldn’t be happier with Nest. Everything about it – daily use, setup, install – it all is just simple and elegant. Solidly built, great communication from the company, and energy savings! I highly recommend it to everyone looking for a simple programmable thermostat that just works.