How Does the Nest Temperature Sensor Work?

Nest thermostat with mounting plate on wall.Nest thermostat with mounting plate on wall.

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The Google Nest Temperature Sensor supplements the Nest thermostat to regulate the temperatures in your smart home better. You can place it on a wall or a table, and it’ll take care of everything else. However, there are some things to know about the Nest Temperature Sensor that may change whether you buy it or not.

The Nest Temperature Sensor works as soon as you place it on a wall or shelf. Once you set it up in the Nest app, the sensor will tell your smart thermostat (either the Nest Thermostat E or the 3rd generation Nest Learning Thermostat) what the temperature is in the room where you placed it.

Knowing how the Nest Temperature Sensor works will help you choose strategic places to leave the sensor(s) and better regulate the temperatures in each room of your house, allowing you to have different rooms be different temperatures as well as set priorities for the Nest Thermostat to focus on when adjusting the temperature. This also simultaneously saves you money on your next energy bill and keeps you comfortable no matter what part of the home you’re in.

How Many Sensors Do You Need?

How many Nest Temperature Sensors you’ll want will depend on how many rooms you think might benefit from being at a different temperature. For instance, maybe you want your living room moderately cold from the hours of 4 PM to 9 PM, and your bedroom to get chilly between 9 PM until the morning. In this case, you’ll want to have two sensors (which you can purchase here). All you need to do is tap on a thermostat in the Nest app, and you’ll be able to control which sensor is prioritized at what time.

The Nest Temperature Sensor has four times for you to choose from:

  • Morning: 7 AM to 11 AM
  • Midday: 11 AM to 4 PM
  • Evening: 4 PM to 9 PM
  • Night: 9 PM to 7 AM

(Source: Google Nest Help)

You’ll be able to choose which sensors you want the Nest Thermostat to prioritize during which time; this means that you can have your bedroom sensor prioritized from night to morning and your living room sensor prioritized from midday to evening. These time zones allow you to have some flexibility in how your thermostat maintains the temperatures.

One thing to keep in mind for those interested in purchasing Google Nest Temperature Sensors is that although you can attach up to 6 sensors per thermostat, you won’t be able to set two or more rooms to be different temperatures at the same time (unless you have a zoned system or special vents installed in your home).

What the Sensor does do is let you choose which room in your home will be the priority room and for what time frame, and it will let the thermostat know which sensor to get its readings from at which time.

If you do happen to have a zoned system with multiple thermostats, then you can use up to six Nest Temperature Sensors per thermostat to regulate the temperatures at the same time.

Do You Need to Have a Nest Thermostat for Them to Work?

Before you purchase a new Google Nest Temperature Sensor, you’re going to want to make sure that the thermostat you have at home will be compatible with the sensor.

The Nest Temperature Sensor is only compatible with the Nest Thermostat E or the 3rd generation Nest Learning Thermostat in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The sensor will not work without one of these thermostats.

Each Nest Temperature Sensor reports the temperature data to the Nest Thermostat via Bluetooth, and so buying the sensors without a compatible Nest Thermostat will render your purchase useless. Through the Nest app, you’ll be able to connect however many Temperature Sensors you like (up to 6) to either Nest Thermostat, and from there, you’ll be able to adjust the temperature of different rooms to your liking.

Just place the Nest Temperature Sensor where you want it to monitor the temperature, and the tech will do the rest.

Final Thoughts

For the Google Nest Thermostat ecosystem, the Nest Temperature Sensor offers something more than just a smart thermostat. By allowing you to adjust the temperature in different rooms at different times, you might even be able to save some money. A smaller room can get to a desired temperature faster than a bigger space would, so your central air conditioning unit wouldn’t have to run as long when being prompted by the Nest Thermostat and Nest Temperature Sensor combination.

That said, you will need to already own the Google Nest Thermostat, which can be a high starting point in terms of price. However, the added flexibility and comfort that comes with the Nest Temperature Sensors can be hard to beat.

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