Nest Thermostats

Over Christmas vacation, we installed two new Nest thermostats.  One was a Christmas gift and (after seeing how cool it was) we ordered the other online and installed it upstairs.  We’ve only been using them for about 6 weeks, but so far we’re really liking them.

The Nest for the Main Floor (installed in the dining room)

The Nest for the Main Floor (installed in the dining room)

The Nest for the Second Floor (installed in the master bedroom)

The Nest for the Second Floor (installed in the master bedroom)

We love the way they look in both locations – much more streamlined and unobtrusive than the old touch screen thermostats we had.  Probably more than that, though, we love the fact that they’re internet enabled so we can adjust the temperature from anywhere in the house or even from the car (so the house will be all warmed up by the time we get home).  We also like being able to set the “away” status of both thermostats at the same time from the iPhone app (one of the benefits of having multiple Nests), but since Haley and I are home most of the time, we haven’t yet turned on the auto-away feature.

Installation was really simple.  We took a photo of how the old thermostat was wired and used the online tool on the Nest website to map that wiring to the new thermostat.  Easy peasy.

The Wiring for the Old Thermostat

The Wiring for the Old Thermostat

The wiring for the Nest

The wiring for the Nest

To be honest, the “hardest” part of the installation in both cases was touching up the paint around the new thermostat since the paint in both rooms had been applied around (and not behind) the old thermostats.  We had the left over paint in both cases, but had mixed results in touching up the walls.  Everything turned out fine in the dining room, but the bedroom paint doesn’t quite match up – I guess that’s what happens when you try to paint a patch in the middle of a wall that was last painted 5 years ago.  It’s good enough for now, but we’ll probably wind up re-painting the wall sometime later on.

So far, everything about our installation of the thermostats has been working exactly as expected.  Our only concern going forward is that the thermostat is designed to do what Nest calls “power sharing”, which means that the it charges the battery by using power from the circuit only when the furnace (or air conditioning) is running.  This is discussed a lot on various forums as a concern – some folks have issues with it, others don’t.  So far, we haven’t seen any problems, but our plan is to keep an eye on it as the weather changes and the furnace runs less.  At that time, we’ll probably update the wiring for both thermostats to make use of the “C” wire, which is a common ground that would allow the Nest to charge as needed without the unit running.

We’re also super excited about how the Nest will continue to improve and evolve over time.  A new forum was recently launched to provide a place for the Nest community to request and vote for enhancements to the current Nest solution.  We’re pretty excited about the top two items on the list:  1- increased access to the data that’s collected by the Nest (the reports currently provided are ok, but not great and not available until the next day) and 2- a networked thermometer accessory that could be placed in a location separate from the wired thermostat.  For us, this would be really great since Haley’s room (which is on the second floor of our house) is serviced by the furnace on the main floor since that was the easiest (only?) way to get duct work to the room when the house was re-fitted with a forced air system.  It works fine except that it causes us to heat the main floor of the house probably more than required in an attempt to keep her room at an acceptable temperature overnight.  With a networked thermometer that we could place in her room and link to the Nest on the main floor, we would be able to tell Nest to run the downstairs furnace to maintain the temperature according to the thermometer in her room at night and the main thermostat in the dining room during the day, which would eliminate the guess work.

Anyway, so far, so good.  We’re happy with how the Nests are working for us so far … and excited for what’s (hopefully) coming!

3 thoughts on “Nest Thermostats

  1. Jason says:

    I saw the Nest at Lowe’s over the weekend and am thinking about getting one for our house. How successful has it been at learning your schedule?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Jason,

      The Nest learned our schedule pretty well. While this is talked about as being a great energy saving feature (and it probably is), we had our set points pretty well determined on our old thermostat, so I’m not sure if we’ve seen a lot of energy savings over what we had before.

      Regardless of whether you enter a schedule yourself or let the Nest build one for you, though, it provides a lot more flexibility (things like defining an unlimited number of set points in a single day) than a traditional thermostat.

      Hope this helps!
      -Sarah

  2. Jason says:

    Thanks Sarah! We have not programmed ours at all so I bet we would benefit from the Nest.

    Jason.

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