Nest 2nd Generation Self Learning Thermostat
Until recently no one cared about what thermostat they are using. But that is no longer the case. This is the era of smart thermostats, thermostats which can be easily programmed or better self-learning.
Nest self learning thermostat is such a programmable, self learning gadget developed by Nest Labs, a company co-founded by former Apple employees Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers in 2010 and was acquired by Google in 2014. The first generation Nest thermostat was released in the year 2011 and it grew very popular. In 2012 the second generation Nest thermostat was released. After thousands of sales and opinions received from customers I am finally writing my review of this home automation gadget.
Design nowadays plays a key role in the popularity and sales of a gadget. This fact was not lost on the designers of Nest thermostat. Unlike traditional thermostats Nest self-learning thermostat is a beautifully designed gadget with a round shape. It is 20% thinner and more refined than its previous version and comes with a single stainless steel ring casing around it (This also act as the dial for increasing or reducing temperature). With a bright retina display of 320×320 pixel density to display temperature and other information this gadget is definitely eye candy.
It mainly displays three background colors: Blue while cooling, Orange to show heating and Black when it is not doing anything. The backlight doesn’t stay on the whole time, it lights up only when you walk by it or move the dial.
It is not just the exterior that boasts of great design; this gadget looks classy even under the hood. The design of the easy-to-press connectors for connecting the wires have been refined, they also moved the positions of the screw holes to improve its ergonomics.
Compatible with 95% of low voltage heating and cooling systems – The first question that came to my mind after seeing this eye-candy product was ‘Will this work for my home?’ The first generation Nest thermostats weren’t good with multi-stage systems but they made sure their latest version is compatible with 95% of the households. This is a big improvement.
If you are still not confident Nest has developed a compatibility widget with which you can check the device’s compatibility with your home air conditioning.
Easy installation: – Nest Labs offers a hoe installation service but its installation is pretty Do It Yourself. More on this later.
Self Learning – The product name itself say ‘Nest self learning thermostat’. This self learning ability is the most favourite feature of its customers. After training it for a few days (an initial hassle) it will learn your timings and start to adjust the temperatures itself.
For example if you like your home to be 75 degrees from Sunday to Tuesday morning and 78 degrees from Wednesday to Friday, after a few days of manual usage the Nest thermostat will by itself adjust to those temperatures for you.
The self learning capability of this gadget is truly amazing, in a few days it will learn when you are home and not, it learns your daily routines and manages the temperatures by itself. The system is also smart enough not to be confused by an occasional temperature adjustment; you will have to do that a number of times to alter its schedules.
Note: – A high end thermostat model like this one from Nest is not suitable to be used as a baseboard heater thermostat. There are specifically designed models for this purpose.
Energy saver – Another corner stone of Nest thermostat’s popularity is its ability to save energy. An average household saves approximately $145 per year using Nest thermostat. (Click here for details). It is a little complicated to explain how this works, if you see a green leaf icon on your thermostat it means you are saving energy. Its mobile app will show its history of energy usage and how efficient the system was.
How is this energy saving achieved? Researchers say that a programmable thermostat can save upto 20% on energy bills but this reduction of 20% is achieved only by very efficient programming. Since Nest thermostat is self learning it programs itself to your schedules and thus make the system as efficient as possible. Its features like Auto-Away, True Radiant, Heat Pump balance, Early On and Filter Reminders make sure that only minimum energy is spent on achieving the pre-set temperatures, thus minimizing energy bills.
Auto Away – This is an amazing feature which detects human activity and reduces heating and cooling if you are not home. The Nest self learning thermostat has a combination of sensors called Nest Sense which can detect whether you are home or not. If no activity is detected the thermostat will turn itself down reducing its cooling/heating activities. A lot of energy is spent on air-conditioning empty houses, Auto-away is the solution for this.
Auto away is activated if no house hold activities are detected for 2 hours. But it is also smart, for example if you leave your home at 8am every morning then the Auto away will kick in within just half an hour. You can set the Auto-Away temperature during setup and it can be easily changed by navigating to Settings->Away. Another thing is that Auto-Away doesn’t activate during night, unless it is installed in a business. Do note that the thermostat needs to be in an area where it can sense movements, if you keep it behind a shelf better turn the Auto-Away feature off.
True Radiant – This is an energy saving feature useful for radiant systems. Since radiant systems take longer to heat up they usually overshoot temperatures by 2-3 degrees. With the True Radiant feature your Nest Thermostat learns how long it takes to heat up your home and will turn off the system at an early temperature to balance out the excess heat reducing energy usage.
Heat Pump Balance – For homes with a heat pump and auxiliary heat the Nest Thermostat saves energy costs by reducing the use of Auxiliary heat. Heat pumps alone are slow but cost efficient. Therefore the Nest Thermostat turns on the heating system early so the correct temperature can be achieved at the right time without expending any AUX.
Early On – This feature takes into account the weather conditions and start the heating/cooling early to reach the set temperature on time. For example it takes more time to heat up to 70 degree from 60 degrees on a cold day, so the thermostat will start heating at an earlier hour. This makes your system more efficient and saves wasted energy.
Filter Reminders – This is a very useful feature for saving energy. Unlike other thermostats it reminds you to change the filters based on the system runtime. Timely changing of clogged filters will reduce your energy bills.
The Nest Thermostat can be easily installed by you. Watch the installation video below.
Ease of use:
A recent article in Washington Post says that most people owning programmable thermostats are still not using all their features, and are not saving much energy either. This is where the Nest Self Learning Thermostat has its advantage. It is very simple to use. Within a week it learns your habits and self-program to work by itself. Its interface is so simple even a grown up can learn to use it (No offence but children learn things faster than us). No other thermostat challenge Nest in this area.
Nest 2nd generation thermostat can be connected to Wi-Fi and controlled via its mobile app. The app is available for iOS and Android mobile platforms. This app lets you set temperature, change the schedule, view energy reports and more. The Wi-Fi connectivity also allows this gadget to receive latest updates from the manufacturer.
What customers say?
Nest 2nd generation thermostat is a hot selling product. In Amzon.Com it has received a rating of 4.2/5 out of 3800+ customer reviews. More than 74% of the customers gave this product 4+ star rating. It is also to be noted that 15% of the customers gave it a 1 star rating, but the majority of the complaints are about the price and its technical glitches, most of which are solved by the last software update.
Nest 2nd generation thermostat is a great product and saves energy for an average household. But if you already have a programmable thermostat and is good at programming it efficiently then you won’t achieve much with the Nest thermostat. This is a product for the average person, who forgets to turn down the thermostat when leaving, who doesn’t like the hassle of managing it. If you are such a person then the Nest 2nd generation Thermostat is for you.