I have been contemplating investing in a wider array of smart-home devices for quite some time now. I’ve had a Google Home, Philips Hue lights, a Ring Pro doorbell and another smart plug that hooks up to a lamp for about a year now – slowly but surely, I’m building my castle. While they don’t all work together with one another natively, they get the job done and I like each for its own reasons.
I think it was two weeks ago at the time of my writing this post that Target had a sale on Nest thermostats. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take advantage of that sale – thanks, procrastination… and bills…
Not to worry, I had an offer from American Express to get cash back on purchases of Nest products. Sweet!
Rather than do the responsible thing and get one to test with, I went all-out (kind of) and bought three Nest-E’s.
Why Nest and not others?
So why did I go with Nest? In short, ecosystem and automation.
I had an Amazon Echo at one point, but decided to return in to keep my Google Home. While most thermostats can work with both (either natively or with a little magic), I felt that there was a better outlook for the integrations as Google Home evolved (Google bought Nest in 2014).
Additionally, I was looking into thermostats to help my home with automation and energy efficiency. Nest had a leg-up on the competition in this field – Nest thermostats learn your habits and learn to automate the fluctuation of temperatures within your living space to make you the most comfortable without you having to think about it!
I didn’t just want a thermostat that I can control with my phone or smart device of my choosing, I wanted one that I could do that with and would help me save money without compromising my comfort. While the room sensors and built-in Amazon Alexa features on the Ecobee devices were tempting and albeit pretty cool, in my opinion, Nest seemed to provide the best experience and more of a ‘true’ smart-home device.
Why Nest-E and not Nest?
This one was easy – at least for me. There were two, maybe three differences between them, as laid out on the Nest website:
- Enhanced color display
- See the weather outside on your Nest thermostat
- Different colored rights for the thermostat
To me, those three things didn’t add up to an additional $80 in value for each of them (totaling an additional $240 for those math majors out there).
Besides, I could deal with the sleek, frosted look of the Nest-E.
The arrival and unboxing
Orders from Nest typically get two-day shipping, so my near-instant gratification standard was well met. I came home from work to a large box with the thermostats in them and quickly opened it to get my hands on them.
Before opening the shrink wrap, I run over to my current thermostat one more time to ensure that my home is Nest-compatible – their website couldn’t make it easier. Everything checks out, so we’re on to the next stage: open the box!
I quickly open the shrink wrap, only to be greeted by another seal telling customers to verify compatibility once more. I’ve already done so, so I open the box. Right on top, we have the Nest-E with cardboard inserts separating it from the wall assembly, instruction manual and wall plate.
Being the nerd I am, I run through the installation guide that comes in the box and verify that I can get this done on my own. To put it simply, almost anyone can install this thermostat – assuming that your house is wired properly for it.
Installation was a breeze – Nest even breaks it down into 15 simple steps. These steps are extremely broken down, though; to a point that I would sometimes consider three steps to be one step, really.
The first night I had them, I was only able to install two of them – mainly because of sheer laziness on my end. In a nutshell, I have two units outside, only one of them is connected to my circuit breaker in the garage – this one handles the two upstairs zones, hence, two thermostats installed! It was cold, dark and late when I started this, so I had not initial plans of installing all three that night (honestly, I wasn’t going to even install one, but I had to try them out).
Including the unpacking of the box, reading through the booklet and completing the installation of the first two (including one instance of a previously-installed thermostat not wanting to come out due to poor installation and stripped screws), it took just about an hour.
First things first, cut the power. Once the power is off, uninstall the previous thermostat – Nest recommends taking a picture of the wiring prior to disconnecting in order to know where to hook wires back up and/or label them. Then, install the mounting bracket, make the wire connections and set up the Nest on-screen! After all is said and done, link your device to your Nest account and: voilà! You’re done!
This seemed almost too easy, so, on day two, while it was still light out, I timed myself on the installation. From start to finish (cutting the power to modifying the settings from my phone on the Nest app), it took me just over 15 minutes to complete the unboxing and installation of the Nest-E.
Experience and thoughts so far
It’s been just under a week so far with all three Nest-E’s installed and, so far so good!
I am still learning about the different ways I can interact with Nest, along with the settings choices that I have both in-app and on-screen. At this point, I’m not sure who is learning more, me or the Nest. I guess we will soon find out.
As for my experiences and first impressions, I’m a big fan of the range settings that can be controlled without having to flip a switch as well as the Eco mode and I’m looking forward to predictive changes in the future (not sure exactly how long the system takes to ‘learn’ my habits).
More so, however, I’m looking forward to saving money with my new energy-efficient thermostats!! I can see energy consumption from my units and have reports emailed to me to show the improvements (hopefully) in consumption.
I’ll come back and edit this post once I have more to report on the automation, savings and experience as an end-user!