Save Money: “Nest” Learning Thermostat

Raise your hand if you have a programmable thermostat. ::watches some hands go up::

How many of you actually program it? ::watches most of the hands drop quickly::

Both homes that my wife and I have owned have had the standard thermostats. Nothing fancy and no programming capability. I often wondered how much money I was wasting. And this was especially true when I got my first $300+ power bill in our new home. So when a friend mentioned a “self” programming/”self” learning thermostat called “Nest”…I was interested. How interested? I googled it at lunch and the wife purchased two units (we have two systems in our home) that day.

I won’t bore you with the particulars but here’s the skinny. Nest was designed from a user perspective, and is very space aged looking. It is very iPod like in it’s design, go figure it was designed by two ex-Apple engineers. Basically, Nest learns your habits after you spend a few days adjusting it like a normal thermostat. It incorporates motions sensors that knows when you are home, allows you to set a min and a max temperatures, it learns your patterns, learns your likes and dislikes, and basically takes care of the temperature for you. What’s “cool” is…Nest gives you a monthly report and you can easily compare it to your power bill and see how it’s doing.

The monthly report is not even close to the best part though. Nest plugs into your wifi; therefore, you can access your thermostat away from home.  Have a smart phone? Get the Nest App for your iPhone or Droid. Adjust the thermostat while you are away to maximize your energy savings.

So we are only a few days into using our Nest Thermostats, but here is what the online interface looks like and how we run our systems…

We have two systems. “Downstairs” actually runs the majority of the house. “Master Bedroom” only runs the Master Bedroom addition.  It’s the beginning of July so we have the A/C blasting. Before Nest we kept the “Downstairs” unit at between 75 and 77 consistently, and we kept the “Master Bedroom” unit at 75 (we like to sleep in a cool room).  And like most people we never adjusted them throughout the day.

Now with Nest we are operating a little differently. During the day we keep the “Master Bedroom” warmer and in a matter of two days of adjusting the unit upstairs to 75 at night, Nest has learned to adjust it down for us. Basically the “Master Bedroom” unit is rarely turning on the system during the day because it is set at 81 degrees, and it makes it cool just in time for bed. Booya!!!

“Downstairs” more or less stays around 75, except Nest has learned (and been taught) to allow the temperature to go up a bit while we are away. Remember it has motion sensors, it knows when we are gone. Pretty awesome!

A few other features:
1. You can flip to “away” before you leave on vacation or you can just do it after realizing you are going to be away the majority of the day (just use the app).
2. The system tells you when you have adjusted it within a high efficiency range (see green leaf).
3. Installation is pretty simple and even before purchasing you can use Nest’s Compatibility Wizard to figure out if your current system is compatible with Nest. I installed both my units in under an hour (20-25 minutes a piece).

In a follow up post I will let you know if I think it’s actually saving us some money. It’s got some work ahead of it. Each unit retails for $250. Yikes!

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One Response to Save Money: “Nest” Learning Thermostat

  1. Tony Fraga says:

    Great post! I was just wondering about this product and was looking for a good review. Just what I wanted to know. Looking forward to your follow-up post!

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