An Honest Unsponsored Review of the Nest Thermostat

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People who know me know that I love technology.  Not to say I’m great at it, but I love it.  When we first moved into our new home in the fall of 2015, one of the first things we got was a smart thermostat in preparation for winter.  It was version 3 of the Nest Thermostat.

We’ve had the thermostat for over 8 months now and we can now say that we do love it.  We have to admit that we had some MAJOR difficultly with it in the beginning and I hope that if you are considering a Nest thermostat, you’ll continue to read about our experience.

When we first considered smart thermostats, we were between the ecobee3 and the Nest.  Price wise they were pretty compatible.  The ecobee3 had a leg up in that they had sensors that you could put around your home to ensure that the temperature was set according to the average temperature around your home and the rooms that you were active in.  The Nest on the other hand judges temperature based on its location (in our case the dining room).  Points for the ecobee3.

Then we looked at how compatible the thermostats were.  The Nest was compatible was the nest cam (which we had) and the smoke/carbon monoxide detector (which we were going to get).  Apart from those Nest specific products, both thermostats spoke to smart systems like the Amazon Echo and other smart home devices.  To me, it was a close tie but the Nest won out there for us.

The last and most important point for us was how easy it was to install.  We knew (and still know) nothing about HVACs and when we read about the ecobee3 needing a C (aka common wire) and all that jazz, we were a little scared off.  We weren’t sure if our system had one and if it didn’t, how much would it cost to get one?  Based on that little tidbit, we decided on the Nest given that they outrightly said a C wire was not needed.  (Just as an aside, we now know that the C wire is the extra wire that helps provide enough negative charge to supply power to the thermostat which otherwise runs on batteries that recharge when it isn’t in use)

Well, a month or so into using the thermostat, one fine night in the freezing dead of winter, our thermostat stopped working.  The house was a balmy 50 degrees.  Turns out there was a glitch and a software bug drained all of the Nest’s battery leaving us freezing since the thermostat didn’t have enough power to tell the HVAC to turn on.  You can read more about it in this NY Times article.  We called Nest in the middle of the night and was told (after much frustration might I add – they told me at first to follow some unearthly number of steps to charge the Nest using a micro USB cable) that it would be best if we had a C wire.  What in the world – this was why I chose the Nest – because they said we didn’t need this mysterious C wire.  Anyway, long story short, we got a HVAC person in on the same day to install a C wire (turns out we had one, it was blue and all we needed was to connect it to the Nest) and Nest paid for the entire emergency HVAC visit.

So that’s our Nest story.  We honestly do love it.  We love changing temperatures from anywhere in the house – even at 3am in the morning.  We love that the temperature changes based on whether we’re home or away.  We love that it looks pretty darn cool on our wall.  We love that it does make us more energy conscious because of all the pretty reports we get from it.  And strangely enough, we love the 2 sided screw driver that it came with too.  There are potential pitfalls with it as well – its highly reliant on wifi although if your wifi is out (we’ve had that happen to us before), your thermostat still works and talks to your HVAC – you just can’t remotely control it.  Not a problem in our book.  Two, it is susceptible to software bugs.  This is something that is beyond our control but having a C wire directly power the device will reduce any issue the Nest losing power and not being able to talk with the HVAC system.  Turns out without all the bells and whistles, its just a thermostat that talks to your HVAC.

So even with the issue we had with the Nest thermostat last winter, I would definitely recommend it and I would get another one for our next home in a heartbeat.  Not a sponsored post here folks, just my honest opinion.  All I can say is if you do intend to get a Nest thermostat, don’t forget your C wire!

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