In Canada most homes rely upon furnace/air conditioning thermostat to maintain a comfortable home. The Nest thermostat is one of a few new modern Wi-Fi enabled wall thermostats recently released. The first version of the Nest thermostat was released on October 2011 while the current version (Ver. 2.6) was released in Q3 2012. This review is based on most recent release of the Nest thermostat.
The thermostat is priced at $249 CDN and is available at multiple stores including Lowes, Home Depot as well as online. Designed by ex Apple designer Tony Fadell (designer of the iPod), the Nest thermostat takes a refreshing approach to the design of a home device that has typically been very bland and designed to blend into the wall.
Since it's still winter here in Canada, I will only be reviewing the heating feature of the Nest Thermostat. The air conditioning feature review will have to wait another few months.
Instructions are very straight forward and easy to follow. As an added bonus, Nest comes with its own installation tools which should allow most installations to be completed without having to dig through your toolbox. Stickers are included to allow you to mark the wires before disconnecting
Depending on how big the hole is behind your existing thermostat you may need to use the included cover plate as I had to. For the ideal look you will want to mount it flush to the wall without the cover plate.
Registering and creating an account with Nest enables remote access to your thermostat from any internet connection.
Learning to use Nest
Nest is round in shape and measures about 3 inches wide and 1.5 inches thick while it displays bright blue and orange background colors. There are absolutely no buttons to push you simply turn the outer control dial to select menu items and then press the dial in to select it.
For about the first week after installation the Nest will be in "learning mode" in which it's supposed to learn when you are home, away and sleeping. If you adjust the temperature during this week it will the change into account when it determines the optimal programming schedule. You can still add your own scheduled on/off and temperature levels if you do not want to rely upon Nest's discovery.
The thermostat has an automatic motion detection feature that detects nearby motion in order to it override its away condition and to turn on the heat/air conditioning.
APPS and Web Access
NEST makes an easy to use app available for iPhone and Android and their respective tablets however no app is available for Windows Phone or BlackBerry OS. The mobile apps have a very simple to use interface allowing you to instantly adjust the thermostat as well add make changes to you pre-programmed schedule. You can also access your thermostat by logging into their web site (https://home.nest.com/accounts/login/?next=/home) but I found the interface to be a bit clunky when using a mobile browser (i.e need to zoom in out to change temperature).
Energy Consumption Reports
The Nest thermostat has a great reporting feature where you can look back and see how much or how little energy you have been using.
The report utilizes intuitive daily bar graphs to show usage (insert screenshot here), the smaller the bar the less energy you are using. A green leaf indicates you are doing your part for planet Earth and using your furnace that is conserving energy (while wearing slippers and your favorite sweater all the time :)).
Does it add to an automated life?
Yes in a few ways.
The thermostat detects motion and can automatically override its default heat/school schedule in order make the occupant comfortable. The reporting feature allows you to see (in almost real time) how much you are using your furnace. Of all the features of the nest thermostat, the one that adds most to an automated life if the remote access and control feature. Being able to remotely interrupt your thermostats schedule is very handy. Imagine your coming home early from work but your furnace thermostat is set to turn the furnace on for another 2 hours. Now you can simply use your phone and turn on your furnace early so when you get home your house is at its optimal temperature. You can also set it up to remind you to change filter.