The Nest Learning Thermostat by Google is now up to its 3rd generation of thermostats. The 1st generation launched in 2011 and this last version launched in 2015. With each new generation, it adds better usability and functionality. I won’t be going into details of each generation of the thermostat but I will be talking about the usefulness of the product in general.
One of the things I did not like about the old fashioned thermostats was I had to walk over to it. If I’m upstairs and the thermostat is downstairs, well, I pause for a second to think if I really need to turn on the air conditioner. Yes, I guess you can say that I can get lazy at times.
Another aspect of the standard thermostats installed in your home is that they are analog controlled. What I mean is that you had a slider over printed temperature numbers and lines and it’s not exact. Whenever I move the slider, I look at it closely and think “is it at 75°F or is it lower or higher than 75°F”? And when you test it with another digital instrument that reads the exact temperature, I’ve had the air conditioner turn on when my other instrument reads 78°F but the thermostat looks like it’s set to 75°F.
So, I like the fact that the Nest thermostat is a digital controller. Yes, there are other, lower cost, digital thermostat alternatives but they do not have the other features that the Nest products have.
At my place, it originally had a digital thermostat so that I didn’t have to guess what exact temperature I had it set to. But, I was not able to control it remotely. There were days that I left the house in the morning and forgot to turn off the heater or the AC and I didn’t realize it until I got home that night. What a waste of money.
When we had solar panels installed, Solar City threw in the Nest thermostat and it made things a lot more convenient.
I can lay in bed upstairs and control the thermostat from my phone. In the past, during the hot summer days, I would turn on the AC and then turn it off just before going to bed. I hated doing this because I was already in bed when I needed to turn it off and so I had to go all the way downstairs to do this. Not anymore.
If I forget to turn it off before I left the house, I can open the app and turn it off as long as my phone has connection to the internet. But, the Nest is also a learning thermostat and I discovered that it automatically set the system to away one day when I had accidentally left it on.
One of the things they claim is that by using the Nest thermostat, that it will help you save money on your heating and cooling costs. I can see that if you were one of those who always leave your thermostat to either heat or cool mode 24/7. But for me, it will actually cost me more money.
I rarely use the heater or the AC. I’m in sunny Southern California and I only use the AC when temperatures reach above 90°F in the house during the summer. And, I only use the heater when temperatures in the house go below roughly 65°F. I’m ok with these wide temperature ranges.
Based on this, we only use the AC or heater maybe less than 5% of the year. If I leave the Nest on and allow it to control the AC and heater with the temperature setting to 78°F, either the AC or heater would be on at least 50% of the day. This would definitely increase my heating and cooling costs, not save.
While I love having the Nest thermostat. Be smart about the supposed “benefits” of the Nest. Leaving it on all the time thinking that it’ll save you money isn’t always the case. As mentioned earlier, if you were one to always have your thermostat set to heat or cool 24/7 before you got the Nest, then yes it will save you a bit of money. But, if you’re like me and don’t use your heating or cooling all the time but then set the Nest to always on, you will be spending more money.
The best thing I love about the Nest is being able to control it remotely. If Google ever decides to shut down support for the Nest, I can still use it directly from the unit itself. I’ll just have to walk up to it like in the old days.
Also, if I was ever to get Google’s smart home hub, Google Home, I would be able to voice control it, supposedly.