Have you ever bought a product for a particular functionality only to find you end up using it differently to how you expected? That is the exact experience I have had with my Nest – the networked, hockey puck sized thermostat which I have now had for just shy of 2 months.
I never really paid much attention to our old thermostat, the basic Honeywell model that came with our home. We were very much of the ‘set and forget’ mentality and we never bothered to learn how to program it. When I first saw the Nest I immediately loved the design, but the key feature for me was the fact that it would learn our routine over time and generate a suitable schedule. I knew there was lots of other cool features but the auto-scheduler was the primary reason I dropped the cash in Lowes a few weeks later.
Installation was a breeze and I’m not particularly handy, so if I can do it anyone can! It was actually more of a pain getting the old thermostat off the wall than it was putting the Nest on. Setup was equally trouble free, a few spins of the dial and it was on our wi-fi network. I popped the app on my iPhone and then left my Nest to start the learning process.
After a few days the Nest started to come up with a schedule, but we quickly realised just how erratic our comings and goings were. Sometimes my wife would get home from work early and change the temp, some days we’d get up early and rush downstairs to crank the heat, and so on. Whilst the Nest did an admirable job of trying to make sense of it all, it is hardly surprising that the schedule we ended up with was something of a jumbled mess. I deleted it, turned the learning feature off and created a very simplified schedule using the iPad Nest app. By the way there is a nice clean interface for creating your own schedule, much easier to do than a standard thermostat.
So if the main selling feature of the Nest didn’t work out for us was it a waste of time and money? Fortunately not, because the other feature of the Nest which I’d hardly paid a moments notice to on the back of the box actually turned out to be the most useful feature for people with routines as erratic as ours. The fact that I can connect and control the Nest remotely from anywhere really is a great feature, and one we use all the time. Left the house but forgot to turn the heat down? 1o seconds on my phone and it’s sorted. Setting off early from a far away destination? No problem, change the temp when you’re 30 minutes out to return to a toasty warm house. It will even estimate how long it will take to reach the desired temperature. If you’d have asked me before if I wanted my thermostat connected to the internet I’d have said, “why?” but after a few days I couldn’t imagine not having this ability.
It’s a bit early to say what the savings are on our energy bill, but after just a couple of months I’m really pleased with our Nest and wouldn’t dream of going back to our old model. Now if only we can make our lives a bit less crazy!