Unmatched design and appearance
Easy to use
Saves you money
Learns your habits
The mobile app functions well
Installation could be tough
Cannot create zones
The Nest Learning Thermostat learns your habits and uses that data to save you more than 10% a year on your energy bills. Even if you hire someone to install it for you, this device may easily pay for itself within a year or so.
The Nest Thermostat aims to use smart technology to make your life simpler. The manufacturer claims that this device alone reduces your energy consumption by up to 10% and honestly, we believe them.
The Nest can learn your habits and adapt your home’s temperature to conserve energy when you’re away. If leave home at 8 a.m. and come home at 3 p.m., for example, Nest begins to learn that habit and turn down your heat (or air conditioning) while you’re away. It will also raise the temperature so it’s comfortable when you return.
Of course, you can also control the temperature from your phone, so there is still a human element to this. However, the goal is to have the thermostat make the adjustments for you.
After you install your Nest, the first thing you will do is set up the schedule, so the device can begin learning your habits. You can set different temperatures for each time of day and day of the week.
If you are a caregiver setting this up for someone, it is incredibly easy since you know when they will and will not be home. It allows you to keep the heat at a lower temperature when they are not there and a higher temperature when they are.
You can also program the thermostat to initiate “Smart Mode” which will override your existing schedule if it feels something is different. The Nest has a motion sensor, so it detects whether or not the home is occupied. If it does not sense any motion even when the owner is scheduled to be home, it may still turn down the heat or air.
This makes it incredibly important to put the Nest in a place where there is a lot of traffic. You do not want to keep this in a room where you will not be passing by when you arrive and leave home. Putting the Nest in an entryway or hallway will help sync your schedule with the thermostat’s technology.
Even though most homes only require one thermostat to heat the entire house, we wish the Nest were able to detect different temperatures in different areas of the home.
For example, if your bedroom tends to be much cooler than the rest of the house and your thermostat is downstairs in a room that is warmer, the thermostat will not adjust to make the bedroom warmer. It will only assume the temperature of the room it’s in is the temperature of the entire house. We imagine in the future Nest will change that, but as of right now there’s no way to avoid this problem.
Installing your Nest is not as difficult as it may seem, but the company does recommend having a professional do it.. However, if you want to go the DIY route, there are a few things you need to do.
First, you need to make sure that your system is compatible with the thermostats wiring setup. Luckily, Nest makes that fairly easy by providing several diagrams on their website. The thermostat is compatible with just about any heating and cooling system that uses natural gas, oil or electric.
Next, go to your current thermostat and uninstall it from the wall. Take a look at the wiring and snap a photo of it. Go to the Nest website or the manual and check the wiring diagram to make sure that everything lines up as it does with the Nest.
The wall plate tells you what wires go where and what is required. If you have a proprietary system, you may not be compatible, but it’s best to check with a professional to make sure. Most homes should have no issue working with a Nest thermostat.
Overall, the installation may sound complicated, but the company walks you through everything and has an excellent support staff on-call for assistance.
Once you have the Nest installed, you can focus on getting your Nest connected to your Wi-Fi network. After you have done that, you can download the app, create an account, and add the thermostat to your Nest profile. In the account, you can have more than one Nest device, which is a handy feature.
The primary reason many seniors and caregivers opt for a smart thermostat is energy savings, and the company claims that Nest can save you around 10% on your bill. After reading many testimonials from others, we see that Nest backs up this claim in a variety of different ways.
We found that the most saving occurs during the months when you would expect to spend the most money on energy, usually January and February. These months tend to be the coldest, so we often overuse the heat in our homes, not realizing that we are forgetting to turn it off when we’re out of the house.
We also noticed a lot of savings during transition months like October and March when you may also be overusing the heat because of fluctuating temperatures.
Caregiver Peace Of Mind
As a caregiver, it is also important to remember that you will have full control of the Nest Thermostat from your phone, so you can monitor the current temperature in the house and the user’s energy consumption remotely. This is a powerful tool since you do not have to be in the house to adjust the thermostat physically. In addition to helping your loved one save money on their utilities, you can also help keep them safe by ensuring their home stays at the appropriate temperature.
The Nest Thermostat is beautifully designed. It comes in four different colors: stainless, black, white and copper. The screen on the thermostat is bright and easy to read with large print.
We also liked the overall size of this thermostat. With all the technology the company packs into this thermostat, you’d expect it to be bigger, but it is about the size of a standard wall thermostat.
We also feel that the dial on the thermostat turns smoothly and that the operating system is easy to use, even for older adults who may not be familiar with advanced technology.
Other Smart Home Integration
Nest has a lot of other smart home products like a smoke alarm, security cameras, doorbells, and alarm systems. All of these devices can be linked together. For example, if your smoke alarm starts to detect smoke from a fire, Nest will automatically shut off your heating systems, so it does not make matters worse.
The nest is also compatible with the Amazon Echo and Google Home. With these integrations, you could walk into your house and tell Alexa to set the thermostat to 72 degrees, and it would comply. Having these types of features makes everyday life easier for seniors who may have problems with dexterity or vision.
Optional Temperature Sensors
Recently Nest added a unique new feature to the thermostat: temperature sensors that you can place throughout the house to better control the overall temperature. This has allowed for more evenly zoned heating and cooling throughout the house, but it is still not perfect.
For the sensors to work in a zoned manner, you have to program the Nest to raise or lower temperatures in one particular area at certain times. For example, if you install a sensor in the bathroom and take your showers at 8 a.m., you could have a scheduled temperature increase for 8 a.m. every day. Nest will not be able to automatically pick up on that habit. That can only get done from the central thermostat hub.
It would also be nice if Nest added additional motion detectors in living areas to better detect when the occupants are home and the heat or cooling should be turned on.
The Bottom Line
We love the Nest thermostat, and we think technology like this can improve lives for lots of independent seniors.
If you are a caregiver, purchasing a Nest means not having to worry that your loved one is uncomfortable in their home or unable to change the temperature. If you are an aging adult, having a Nest means keeping your house comfortable year-long without wasting money or constantly getting up to adjust your thermostat manually.
Beyond saving you money, the goal of smart devices is to make your life easier and more streamlined. We believe the Nest can help with these goals.