In a long journey to turn my house into something reminiscent of the Jetsons, I decided to start with something basic, my thermostat. So after weeks of debating I finally settled on the Nest Thermostat, but is this the ideal solution for people’s WiFi heating/cooling needs?
Ease of Installation
The Nest Thermostat is advertised as being compatible with 95% of homes with low voltage systems and able to be installed in 30 minutes or less by the average consumer. In my own experience I can say that it was indeed just as simple as they claim. I got the cover off my existing thermostat then marked each of the wires with the provided labels, screwed in the Nest faceplate, matched up the wires to the correct slots snapped in Nest itself and I was up and running all in about 20 minutes.
Navigating through the menus on the Nest is surprisingly easy for a device that isn’t touch screen and has no discernible physical buttons. The unit itself can be rotated to highlight different options, then simply pushed in to select. On the initial setup, Nest will have the user connect to their network and setup a couple of preferences including preferred away temperatures. These are the temperature marks that when reached will automatically kick on the heat or air in order to maintain said temperature.
The most important part of any home automation gadget is of course its functionality. The Nest can be controlled from the base itself, via the iOS and Android apps (not available for Windows phone at the time of this writing), or through a web browser by visiting the Nest website. But, in order to be able to control your Nest using one of these methods, an account needs to be made at which point the thermostat will be synced. Once the account, which can be created directly from the app, is made a thermostat can be added by entering the entry key found in the nest settings and then the Nest can be fully controlled from anywhere. Being able to control the temperature of your home without even being at home is quite useful and the Nest goes about this very well by utilizing an easy to use UI that is feature filled.
Living out on the West Coast means that it has been getting hotter and hotter with each passing day and coming home to a hot house is never fun. So since it takes me about 20 minutes to drive home I am able to load up the Nest app on my phone and see that my house is currently at 84 degrees (my away temperature that I set) and turn that AC to a more manageable 79. So now when I get home it is already nice and cool for me. But what sets the Nest apart from other thermostats is its ability to learn the user’s behaviors and schedule itself accordingly. This means that after a few days of setting my temperature before coming home the Nest automatically builds that temperature into its schedule for the future. The Nest also has a feature known as Airwave which automatically switches off a home’s air compressor after the room has cooled and then uses the fan to spread the remaining cool air throughout the house. By utilizing Airwave and the predictive scheduling, Nest Labs claims the Nest Thermostat will save consumers an average of 20% on their monthly energy bills. Consumers can even track the amount of energy being used by going into the “Energy History” tab of the app which breaks down each day’s usage.
Nest Labs has put together an extremely productive and efficient device that does exactly what it’s supposed to. It’s feature filled and addresses the needs of people looking to automate their heating/cooling needs. It simply works and takes a lot of the guesswork out of having to constantly program a normal thermostat. While its $249.99 price tag puts it well above most other thermostats its capabilities far outweighs that of any other thermostat on the market.