Growing up in South Texas, I became used to hot summers and high electricity bills. A winter electricity statement might only run $50, but it could easily climb to $200-300 in the summer months. Studies show that your thermostat controls half your energy bill on average, so it could be a wise investment to purchase a smart thermostat that learns your schedule and provides energy saving tips.
This month I finally decided to purchase the Nest learning thermostat. Last year I got one for my parents and then I read a ton of positive reviews, so I felt I should give it a try as we entered the warmest months in Dallas. Normally I would wait a couple of moths before reviewing a product such as this, but I was so impressed with Nest that I decided it was time to share my thoughts.
Fast installation: I installed my Nest thermostat in less than 30 minutes, and I could probably do it in under 10 the next time I move. The package includes a universal mounting brace, screwdriver and screws, and optional wall plates. Videos are provided to help you check compatibility before you purchase and show you how to complete the install if you run in problems. For those that want a professional to install the device, Nest offers a concierge service for $115.
Ease of use: Before I purchased the Nest for our place, we gave one to my parents last Christmas. They had no problems using it and told me they love it. I have found that basic operation is no different than most thermostats. Anyone can operate the Nest.
Build quality: Nest is sleek and stylish. It looks and feels like a high end product. The rotating dial is so smooth and the clicking action feels solid.
Saves money: The Nest thermostat has multiple ways to save you energy and cut down on your monthly energy bill. Auto-away allows Nest to turn itself down when you’re out so you don’t wast energy cooling an empty home. With the help of Airwave, your AC can run up to 30% less. When your home’s humidity is low, Nest can turn off your compressor and keep cooling your house by running the fan and blowing air over your cold evaporator coil.
Convenience: Does your wife or significant other always complain about the temperature? With Nest, you will no longer have to climb out of bed in the middle of the night to adjust the thermostat. Just reach for your phone and you can easily turn the temperature up or down. It’s also really convenient to turn on your AC a couple of minutes before you get home after being away. Nest learns your schedule within within a week, so no programming is necessary.
Monthly energy reports: I haven’t completed my first month yet, but the sample reports look pretty cool. Envery reports include detailed info about what your thermostat has been up to and pointers on how to save more. Every month you will get a new, personalized tip on how to save more energy.
It gets better: Just like your Android phone or tablet, the Nest thermostat receives firmware updates over the air. They just released Version 2.0 in April that added a ton of new features, and more updates are planned in the future.
Android app doesn’t work with tablets: I tried installing Nest mobile on several tablets. I was greeted with a message, “Nest Mobile doesn’t work with your Android device’s screen size and resolution.”
Price: Nest retails for $249, but I doubt the bill of materials is no more than $100. They don’t exactly have a lot of competition in the smart-thermostat-that-connects-to-your-phone department, so Nest can charge a premium for their product right now. Hopefully the price will come down as sales start to take off.
Not all HVAC systems are supported: Most of the negative reviews I have read on Nest are related to customers with heating or cooling systems that were not compatible. Make sure you visit the compatibility checker before you purchase.
To put it simply, I love my Nest and I’ll never return to my old thermostat. Even though I have only used it for a couple of weeks, I can already tell it is going to save me money. I’ve always been a forgetful guy, so having the auto-away feature is a big help. Now I check my energy reports each day and review where I could make small adjustments. I’m looking forward to my first energy report to find additional ways to save.
As mentioned above, I think the asking price is a little high, but Nest should pay for itself in under two years. I’m already pleased with the product as is and I can’t wait to see how it is improved with the next software update. It’s unfortunate that the mobile app doesn’t work with Android tablets, but I expect that will eventually get fixed (you can use the browser in the mean time).
If your home is compatible and you can afford it, I would definitely recommend Nest. They are starting to appear in several retail stores, but the easiest way to grab one is on Amazon.
As I keep using Nest, I will return to this review and continue to update my experience.