I got a Nest Thermostat at the beginning of the summer, as I covered in my first post on the topic. My first impressions were positive. Now that I’ve had it for a while, how has it held up?
The Artificial Intelligence
Over the summer I had a very regular schedule. The Nest learned my habits and started to anticipate my temperature needs within a week or so. It was impressive; I barely touched the thing after its initial learning period.
However, in the early autumn, when my wife was between jobs, the Nest didn’t handle the schedule unpredictability well. We would manually adjust the temperature, but then it would move back to the temperature it “thought” we wanted after a few hours.
In other words, the AI is good, but don’t expect miracles. If you have an unreliable schedule, it’s not going to work. What may work instead: the Nest can monitor your phone’s location, as well as whether you’ve been walking past the device, to tell if you’re home or not, and change the temperature accordingly. For me, it was a little too invasive to fully enable, but I could see others really enjoying this function.
Also, if you want to disable the AI component entirely, you can do that. For those who know their schedule already, this might make sense: you can simply manually program the Nest to your desired settings. That’s easy.
The app is also easy-to-use and has a pleasant interface that mirrors that of the device itself. I love the app!
For me, the best part is being able to adjust the temperature in my home when I’m not there. Whether that means turning off the A/C to save electricity after forgetting to do so when I left, or adjusting the temperature on the way home, it’s great to have that level of control, and to know what the temperature is in your home.
Also, if you have multiple people living in the home, you can all be connected to the device via the app, so anyone can control the temperature from afar. Cheers to the app!
Customer Service and Support
I happened to have an issue with my Nest (it was engaging the heat and A/C simultaneously) that required a 9pm call to customer support.
Not only did Nest’s support staff pick up the phone (they have 24 hour service), they quickly routed me to the proper person, and helped me troubleshoot whether the problem was with the thermostat itself or the HVAC system. When it was clear it was the Nest, they walked me through some potential fixes, one of which worked.
They made sure the problem was resolved before hanging up and never lost their patience. In my experience, their customer service was excellent – and that’s worth something, especially if you’re considering also getting their security products.
The Energy Report
Nest sends you a monthly energy report, detailing how many hours you ran your HVAC system, compares your usage to others in your neighborhood and gives you points for your efficiency. It’s a helpful reminder to be environmentally conscious.
You can use the app to see which times you used your system, as well as when the Home/Away Assist kicked on. Seeing exactly when you’re using your HVAC is a really neat feature, and a helpful way to learn to minimize your overall energy consumption.
Yes, it’s expensive for a thermostat. But, as I detail in part one, it’s competitive with other smart thermostats if you are getting an energy-saver rebate from your local government or power company.
It has a lot of bells and whistles, but also a lot of features that are genuinely convenient and help you save electricity. The customer service is superior. It looks great. It’s easy to use.
Internet of Things is where the future is going and Nest is a leader. So, I would recommend the Nest, provided you’re tech-inclined and want a smart thermostat.