With how expensive the Nest smart thermostats have become, one starts to wonder if it’s truly worth the upgrade.
I live in Dallas where it was 80 degrees last week and in the low 20’s this week and I know it is gonna wreak havoc on my next energy bill. But would the Nest Thermostat have helped at all?
With me, worth comes in the ability to save me some money.
So, will the Nest Thermostat save money? It will most definitely help save you some money by adjusting the climate of your home based on your families patterns. It can be programmed to a seven-day schedule or you can let it learn your routine over time and let it program itself.
Instead of setting your thermostat to one temperature all day, the Nest will learn your habits and patterns and adjust the temperature of your home accordingly.
Your home will stay comfortable when you and your family are around and Nest will make sure you are not throwing money away through heating or A/C when you are gone.
Let’s dive into exactly how the Nest Thermostat can benefit you!
How Does the Nest Thermostat Work?
But wait, this article is about saving money? Why do I need to know how it works? To fully understand where the savings come from, I really think a high-level understanding of how The Nest works is vital. We will get to the saving money part next, I promise.
Nest is what is called a “learning thermostat” meaning it recognizes and adapts to the patterns of your home. Pretty cool, right?
These thermostats can be managed by an app or directly on the device.
With the Learning Thermostat, Each time you adjust the temperature in your home, the Nest takes note. Once a pattern has emerged, typically in about a week, it will take over the climate management for you.
It also is built with sensors that monitor humidity, temperature, light and movement.
The light and movement sensors help Nest manage and regulate temperatures when no one is home, something called Auto-Away mode. This really contributes to the savings by not heating or cooling an empty home.
With Auto-Away mode, you can also set it to track your phone with geofencing. If your phone is outside of that “fence” it will automatically enter Auto-Away mode.
The Nest is outfitted with a lot of really cool features and have been moving towards being the centerpiece of smart homes. I can see why! They are sleek and seem to have a lot of smart components coming out.
Aesthetics are kind of important at my house. These look really great on the wall! Much better than the old school, “dumb” thermostats.
What Are the Average Savings?
Average savings are tough to nail down as everyone’s home situation is different. The savings will really boil down to the size of your house and heating or cooling routine you follow now. Are you a set it and forget type household or are you an actively changing temperature every few hours type household?
To be honest, whatever type of household you fall into, you will save some money each month.
Nest claims here that the average household will save between $131 and $145 a year. 10-12% on heating costs and 15% on cooling costs.
If you are like me, you know these companies tend to stretch the truth so I dug a bit deeper. After checking a few forums and other blogs, those numbers accurate, if not on the lower end.
I found some people saving over $50 a month on their energy bill and people saving a few bucks a month. I am assuming the guy that saved $50 a month has a huge house and had terrible home heating and cooling habits before getting Nest. This is why your current habits matter when determining the value add of a Nest thermostat.
Where Do the Savings Come From?
The bulk of the savings will come from the auto adjusting of temperature, called Eco Mode, Nest takes care of. Nest will learn your home and your homes patterns. It will learn how long it takes to heat or cool the home and how drafty the home may be. It will learn your families schedules, when you are home and when you are away.
The Nest takes all of this info and uses it to ensure your home climate is comfortable at all times and increase the efficiency of your home.
Nest will even take into account the local weather and use that to adjust the home climate accordingly.
You can also receive energy consumption reports to see when you are using the most energy and how much you are spending on heating and cooling.
It’s a lot for sure and having Nest take care of it all is so convenient! How much is convenience valued? That will be up to you to decide.
What is Eco Mode?
When Nest senses there is no one home, it will set itself to Eco Mode to conserve energy. Eco Mode sets the highs and lows for the thermostat when either no one is home or you manually set the thermostat to Eco Mode.
When you are first setting up your new Nest, you will also set up the ranges for Eco Mode. You will set a “cool to” and “heat to” setting that will keep the home in a range you are comfortable with when you are away.
Nest uses sensors and/or geofencing to know when you are away to set the thermostat to Eco Mode.
The thermostat will turn the system on if the temperature inside your home raises above your “cool to” setting. Let’s say you decided you your “cool to” setting while in Eco Mode is set to 75 degrees. Once the temperature reaches 76 degrees, the thermostat will kick on the A/C and cool the home back to your “cool to” range.
Same scenario for the “heat to” setting. Let’s say you have this set to 55 degrees. Once your home drops below that temperature the Nest will kick the heat on and heat your home back to 55 degrees.
You can also manually set the thermostat to Eco Mode. Be aware though, if you manually set the thermostat to Eco Mode, it will stay there until it is manually turned off.
When in Eco Mode, you will see the word ECO on the thermostat face and in the app, as well as a green leaf.
And don’t worry, you can always adjust your Eco Mode setting later if needed. These changes can be made from the app or directly on the thermostat.
Nest has two main programming options: learning and manual.
The learning feature is the most interesting and used by most. All you have to do is manage the temperature for the first week or so. Nest will pick up on all the changes and start recognizing patterns and habits.
This can all be done from the app and it is not that difficult or a hassle at all, don’t worry. It’s really as simple as moving the temperature up or down from the app. Nest breaks down a lot of the app here.
If your routine is pretty similar every day, like mine, it won’t take long for it to take over and start auto adjusting temperatures automatically. It continues to learn until it has your routine down and knows how the heating or cooling system functions.
Even if your daily routine is a bit more random, it will get to know you and your schedule.
The manual programming option is just that, manual. You input the schedule and that’s what it runs off of.
What Products Work With Nest?
There are a lot of products that work well with Nest. Google Home and Alexa of course, as well as so many other great products.
You can find a list of compatible devices here on Nests site.
Some of my favorites from the list are the Phillips Hue, Wemo, Kasa, Wink and the MyQ Smart Garage Hub By Chamberlain. There are literally pages of compatible devices so check it out!
Unfortunately, Nest does not integrate with Apple HomeKit.
Installing the Nest Thermostat
Installation is much more simple than I was expecting. Here is a quick rundown of the installation process:
- Turn off the power to the breaker that controls the old thermostat you will be replacing.
- Remove the old thermostat faceplate and check the wires for compatibility.
- Remove any jumper wires (wires that span two terminals) as the Nest does not require these. Label the wires with label pack that comes with the Nest unit.
- Disconnect the wires and remove the base plate of the old thermostat from the wall.
- Mount the Nest backing plate on the wall. Take advantage of the rectangular base plate if needed.
- Connect the wires to the appropriate slots. This is where those labels really come in handy. Make sure they are secure.
- Attach the Nest faceplate and turn the power back on.
The device will now walk you through the rest of the install process. You will need to create an account and download the app.
Not as bad as you thought, right?
As always, consult a professional if you need help with the install. Nest also has great customer service, so I would not hesitate to reach out to them for some assistance.
How Is the Warranty?
This is where the Nest is slightly lacking. The Nest Learning Thermostat does come with a 2-year warranty, but that’s slightly lower than the average warranty offered with most smart thermostats.
The Nest Thermostat E comes with a 1-year warranty.
There is a way to get an extended warranty but it requires the purchase and installation from a Nest Pro. This Pro warranty adds 3 years to the Learning Thermostat and an additional two years of warranty to the Thermostat E.
Something to consider for sure, but not a necessity. I didn’t see too many complaints about the durability or malfunctioning units.
Some Cool Features
One of my favorite features is pretty simple, but I love it. When the device senses movement, the face turns on. You can have it set to the temperature or time and a few other options.
The high res display is extremely sleek. It just looks cool on the wall.
You can also add a temperature sensor to place in rooms that might need more attention. This is best for those rooms that might be warmer or cooler than the rest of the house.
Eco temperature mode manages the home temperature when no one is home.
Energy reports really break down the homes energy consumption. Heating and cooling can account for up to 50% of the homes total energy bill. Having a report can really help you keep those costs down.
Get alerts if the temperature of your home falls down below freezing, putting your pipes at risk of bursting. It can even alert you to an underperforming heating or cooling system.
They are really covering all the bases here.
Is Nest Worth It?
I say the Nest Learning Thermostat is completely worth it! They are on the pricier end of smart thermostats but make up for it by being packed with features. Especially the Learning Thermostat.
All these features add up to be extremely convenient and will keep the home effortlessly comfortable. Remote accessibility, energy reports and its sleek design also make it pretty attractive.
With the energy savings, it will eventually pay for itself as well. Save money, live better and think about investing in a Nest thermostat!
Other Questions That Came Up
Will Nest Work With Older Heating Systems?
Nest will work with older heating systems. Gas, oil and natural gas. It will work with boilers can even learn to account for the overshoot these at times come with. Nest will also work with heating pumps and will learn to take into account the amount of time needed for these to heat or cool a space.
These things are really, really smart.
How Do Nest Cameras Work With the Nest Thermostats?
Nest offers indoor and outdoor cameras that can be controlled and monitored from the same app as the thermostat. These cameras plug directly into a power source so they are capable of monitoring 24/7.
They are very easy to install and set up. Almost too easy. They have a lot of packages and subscription services available so finding the right security for your home will be simple. Whatever you are looking for, they most likely got you covered.