I paid for these myself and was not compensated to write this post. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission, thank you! When I wrote about ways to reduce your environmental impact and save money, I mentioned that I’d had Nest thermostats installed. I’ve now been using them for 6 months and have used them for both heat and air conditioning, so I wanted to share my experience.
The Nest thermostat is more than just a programmable thermostat. You can use the app (or website, or Amazon Alexa) to control up to 20 thermostats in your home and man, am I getting used to this! I can change the temperature without getting off the couch or out of bed! You can set a schedule, yes, but Nest will actually learn what you like and set the schedule itself, as well as setting eco-temperatures when you’re away from home with Home/Away Assist.
Select which thermostat you’d like to control (if you have more than one installed), then change the mode and settings from there.
Your Nest will learn your preferences within about a week, but I began by setting a schedule to save energy when no one was on a particular floor of the house. You can add to or modify the schedule from the app or the website.
You can see your usage history in the app, and if you tap a particular day, it will show you details such as when your unit was running. The house icon indicates that I was away (the home/away assist uses the location of my phone to determine this, and you can set up a “family” to use multiple phones to decide when no one is home), the person indicates that a change I made affected the energy use for that day, and the cloud indicates that the weather that day caused a change in usage.
You get a little green Nest Leaf when you’ve chosen an energy-saving temperature. When you first install your thermostat, it’s easy to earn one based on your set temperatures. Over time, Nest makes you work a little harder to earn one! You’ll always get a leaf for a heat setting below 62 degrees or a cool setting above 84, but otherwise the leaf will challenge you to choose temperatures a bit higher or lower than you’re used to, in order to earn the leaf. (Did you know that tiny changes, as little as one degree, can save you as much as 5% on your energy bill?)
With the kids at home this summer, I’ve found myself making changes a bit more often as people are up & downstairs, in and out of the house, but it’s so easy to do with the app. As with the heat, I try to choose more energy saving temperatures when no one is on that particular floor. Ceiling fans make it comfortable in each room and I find that I’m able to keep the thermostat at a warmer temperature since it’s so simple to change it if I need to. With our old “dumb” thermostats (LOL) I kept them set at 76/77 all the time, and it really wasn’t all that convenient to try to remember to change them.
It’s really interesting to see the history, and I keep trying to earn that leaf every day! Some other features of the Nest are Airwave (when the humidity is low, it turns your AC compressor off a bit before reaching your target temperature & uses just the fan to reach your set temp), Sunblock (a light sensor that prevents direct sunlight from making your thermostat think it’s hotter than it is), Cool to Dry (which can use your AC to reduce excess humidity automatically), Early On (which will begin heating/cooling just early enough to reach your selected temperature at the desired time, eliminating the need for guess-work or running the unit excessively), and other features that help balance comfort with savings. You can even set a lock code to prevent little (or big) hands from cranking the temperature outside of the range you’ve chosen.
In May of 2016, I replaced my electric water heater with a hybrid water heater, I’ve been gradually changing all of my light bulbs over to LED light bulbs (I think they are all changed over as of June!) and in January my downstairs HVAC system was replaced with a more efficient 16 SEER unit. Therefore, I think it will be a bit longer before I can truly see the effect the Nest has on my electric bill, and can’t necessarily attribute it all to the Nest. That said, here is my most recent electric bill, which compares July 2016 to July 2017 (so the efficient water heater was present for both of these time periods and wouldn’t affect the change).
It may not seem like a lot, but that’s a pretty huge decrease! (17 KWH, or about a 30% reduction.) As you can see, the average daily temperature was nearly the same, as were the number of days in the cycle, so it’s a pretty fair comparison. I’m finding it pretty fun to try to challenge myself, and look forward to getting each month’s electric bill. Maybe slightly crazy, but true!
Would you want a Nest Thermostat?