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What Is a Nest Thermostat, and How Does It Work?

HVAC Logo IconBy Tom MoorApril 12, 2024
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Nest thermostat

Homeowners are increasingly turning to smart thermostats for added convenience and greater control over their home’s comfort. Of the different thermostat makes and models available, one brand – Google’s Nest – often stands out for its convenient features, affordable price, and ease of installation and use. In this comprehensive guide, HVAC.com explains what a Nest thermostat is, how it operates, its features, and considerations regarding pricing.

What Are the Different Types of Nest Thermostats?

First introduced in 2011, Nest is one of the best-selling smart thermostats. Along with other top thermostat models from ecobee and Amazon, Nest thermostats helped revolutionize how we interact and manage our home environments. At its core, Nest thermostats use a combination of learning algorithms, connectivity features, and advanced sensors to enhance user comfort and increase energy savings.

Homeowners interested in a Nest thermostat have two options – the Nest Learning Thermostat and the Nest Thermostat.

  • Nest Learning Thermostat. Nest’s most advanced model, the Nest Learning Thermostat, features a sleek, modern design with advanced energy-savings and comfort features. Compatible with 95% of HVAC systems, it provides a high-resolution display with Farsight that shows the temperature, time, and weather. Priced at $199 after a $50 savings, it’s potentially eligible for up to $75 in rebates from your utility provider. It comes with a two-year warranty.
  • Nest Thermostat. A more budget-friendly model, the Nest Thermostat is priced at $129.99 and is also eligible for up to $75 in rebates. With a sharp screen featuring a mirrored glass lens, the Nest Thermostat is compatible with about 85% of HVAC systems. Some heating and cooling systems require a Nest Power Connector or C wire to operate. It provides a one-year warranty.

How Does a Nest Thermostat Work?

Although you have the option to pre-set the temperature like a standard programmable thermostat, Nest thermostats offer expanded capabilities beyond traditional models. They utilize machine learning algorithms to quickly learn your temperature preferences and create a customized schedule accordingly. For instance, if you typically raise the temperature in the mornings during the fall, the Nest Learning Thermostat will autonomously adapt to this pattern within a week.

Leveraging geofencing technology, Nest thermostats can also adjust the temperature settings based on occupants’ location data from their smartphones, conserving energy without compromising comfort. For example, when you enter the predetermined geofencing area around your home, your Nest thermostat will automatically adjust the temperature to your preferred setting to ensure the perfect temperature when you walk through the door.

Nest thermostats seamlessly connect with Wi-Fi networks, enabling homeowners to remotely control and monitor their home’s temperature through the Nest mobile app. This connectivity facilitates features like energy usage tracking, software updates, and integration with other smart home devices.

Installing Your Nest Thermostat

Nest advertises its thermostats as being designed to install on your own in about 30 minutes or less, potentially saving you the cost of hiring an HVAC technician. Nest provides step-by-step instructions as your main guide to install and wire your new thermostat.

Click here to check if your current HVAC system is compatible with a Nest thermostat.

The Benefits of Installing a Nest Thermostat

Installing a Nest thermostat in your home offers many benefits including:

  • Energy Savings. According to Google, upgrading to a Nest thermostat can save you an estimated 15% on cooling costs and 10-12% on heating costs for an average savings of $131 to $145 per year. Meanwhile, Nest’s monthly energy usage reports can assist you in making energy-efficient changes. The Nest Learning Thermostat was the first thermostat to receive the coveted ENERGY STAR certification.
  • Convenience. Between its geofencing, Wi-Fi, and AI learning capabilities, Nest can completely control your thermostat, so you don’t have to lift a finger.
  • Price Point. With savings, potential rebates, and the possibility of no installation costs factored in, you can potentially buy a Nest Learning Thermostat for under $150.
  • Enhanced Comfort: Nest thermostats prioritize comfort by maintaining your temperature preferences throughout the day. They can easily adapt to changing weather conditions and occupancy to ensure your home is comfortable without manual adjustments.
  • Sensors. The Nest Temperature Sensor (sold separately) allows you to specify different temperatures for different rooms at various times of the day, ensuring personalized comfort. Simply place it in a key room like the living room or nursery to achieve your desired temperature precisely.
  • Smart Integration: Nest thermostats can seamlessly integrate with other smart home equipment – including lights, home security systems, and smart speakers – to enable an interconnected home automation experience. Additionally, their voice capabilities allow homeowners to adjust the thermostat effortlessly, further enhancing convenience and control.

Potential Drawbacks of Nest Thermostats

While Nest thermostats offer several intriguing benefits, they may not be for everyone. Although they are affordable in terms of smart thermostats, homeowners who are on a budget or don’t prefer all the bells and whistles may prefer a manual or programmable thermostat option, with many of those models costing less than $40.

It’s also important to note that there are many other smart thermostat options available, so it’s worth exploding the various brands and models to find one that best suits your preferences, needs, and budget.

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