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Nest Review

As stated in a previous post, I recently bought a new condo. This condo has two stories with the bedroom upstairs and then the rest downstairs. One of the first things that I noticed upon moving in was that the upstairs temperature varied a bit from the downstairs temperature. This was natural and expected. The condo also had the really old style thermostat that had a dial on it.

What this generally meant was that I obviously couldn’t program it to go up and down to save me money. Also, at night I found myself being uncomfortable with the temperature and being annoyed when I had to get up and go downstairs just to turn down the thermostat a couple of degrees.

With that in mind, I decided that the first upgrade to my house was to find a new programmable thermostat. Because of my need to change the temperature upstairs and downstairs I also got it in my head that I wanted an internet-connected thermostat so that I could adjust the temperature up in my bedroom without having to travel.

I quickly found several products that would suit my needs, but one that quickly caught my eye was the Nest. This product was advertised as the thermostat that trained itself to your schedule automatically. Being a naturally lazy person this attracted me.

But what attracted me more was its look. Where other programmable thermostats were beige boxes, this one was a sleek chrome dial. I honestly don’t mind the dial, the old style was just not cool, it was hard to control and hard to understand.

The cost was an issue. Most programmable thermostats go for about $50-$80, but this went for $250. However, when looking around at other wifi enabled thermostats, it seemed like most went around $200-$300 anyway so I don’t feel like I overspent here.

Nest Thermostat
The Nest Thermostat provides a simple and elegant interface

The Nest was made to be really easy to install and use. It came with good instructions and the only screws I needed were the ones to hold it into the wall. It was also easy enough to set up and connect to their website. I’d say the whole process took me about 15 to 30 minutes which isn’t bad for a self install of a thermostat, especially considering the internet connection.

Once set up, the instructions tell you to turn the temperature up and down normally and it would learn your habits in about three days. Sure enough, after 2 days it said that it learned enough to work on its own but I should continue changing it as it continues learning through time.

One thing I will say is that when I installed it, it was a weird time when I was not coming and going as I normally might. Therefor, it actually did a fairly bad job, or rather it did a good job but it just didn’t work. But after a few weeks it finally did catch up to my schedule just fine.

The Nest also has a motion sensor on the front and keeps track of whether there is anyone walking by. If no one walks by after a couple of hours it will put itself on auto-away, which turns off the heat and the air conditioning unless it goes above or below a preset range (usually much higher and lower than usual). Pretty cool.

There are some features on it which do help with lowering your monthly bill. For instance, it will continue using the fan for a couple minutes after it turns off the air conditioner to get every last ounce of cooling. This actually has the affect of cooling your house slightly too much, and then the air conditioning won’t turn on until it is slightly too warm. This is quite good actually as it means that overall, my A/C wasn’t running that much in the summer. And I think it does a similar thing for the heater too.

Despite a fairly decent program, I eventually found myself programming the Nest manually after a couple of months. The reason for this isn’t that it did a bad job, just not good enough for what I wanted. For instance, I didn’t want the heat to go on 10 minutes after I woke up (the time it took for me to wake up, go downstairs and turn on the heat), I wanted it to turn on 15 minutes before I woke up. Similarly, I wanted it to turn off 15 minutes before I left. It would have been nice if they had an option in the settings to kind of do this automatically because I can’t be the only person to think this way, but they didn’t.

Another issue that I had was that for whatever reason, it never caught onto the fact that I went out frequently on Tuesday nights. Now to be fair, this night isn’t completely frequent. About one time a month I don’t go out and I think this, coupled with averaging out what happens other weeknights meant that the heat went on automatically at the same time every night regardless of if I was generally went.

I do think that overall the Nest was worth getting despite these flaws. The price wasn’t far off from other similar programmable thermostats, the styling is very sleek and trendy, and it has a few extra features like the auto-away. I would definitely recommend this product to anyone looking to buy a new programmable thermostat.

If you are interested in buying a Nest, you can buy one from Amazon. At publish, it is currently going for $249.99.