If you don’t think it’s possible to be excited about a thermostat, well, I’m here to say you haven’t been paying attention.
I just got my Nest Learning Thermostat installed, and it’s way more interesting than you might think. And yes, it’s just a thermostat. You know, for your home.
One of the key figures behind Nest is Tony Faddell, who was the Senior Vice President of Apple’s iPod division. As you might imagine, the Nest comes to market imbued with a strong sense of Apple’s design and user experience aesthetic.
But it’s more than just a pretty face. It’s a smart pretty face.
From its chrome control ring (retro-reminiscent of classic thermostats), to its round LCD, to its motion sensors that wake Nest up when you approach, to its WiFi connection that allows Nest to know what the outside weather is in your area, this is an accessible piece of smarthome technology. And that’s to say nothing of the iPhone and web apps that allow you to remotely and instantly change your house climate and view your energy use over time.
The best part of Nest? The “learning” part. Other programmable thermostats have been on the market for years; they’re nothing new. The Nest takes this a step farther: while it’s recommended you program a starting heating/cooling program (not unlike you would any programable thermostat, but far easier), the Nest takes that data only as a baseline instead of a static program. From there, Nest learns as you adjust the temperature in your house.
Work from home one day a week and don’t want your program to kick in and freeze you out? Just adjust your Nest on the day you’re at home and it will learn that pattern and accommodate it. Think you have your heat set too high? Adjust it downward and Nest will apply the change to its logic. Quite literally, the Nest learns as you live. Make changes, and Nest notices. There’s no need to constantly go in and fiddle with program settings.
Even installation is totally Apple-like. The documentation is crisp and simple, and Nest even provides you with a screwdriver that fits its hardware perfectly so you don’t need to go hunt one down. Once wiring is done, Nest will ask to connect to your home WiFi network to get outside weather data. And when you set up your online Nest account, it will immediately tell you that a Nest has been detected near you. You go to your Nest, add your email address (which it automatically pre-populates), and boom, your hardware is connected to your web account.
Nest also has the ability to process far more information than your average programmable thermostat. It uses outside weather data combined with its own sensors measuring indoor temperature, humidity and activity to develop a program for your house based on this combination of variables. When a green leaf appears on your Nest LCD readout, it means you’re saving energy/money versus what a mere schedule could provide.
My installer told me he’s doing 12-15 Nest installations a week, and that among his employees, it’s all the rage.
Also, because I have the wiring/electrical skill of a monkey covered in mayonnaise, I opted for Nest’s “concierge” installation service. Let me tell you: it was insanely seamless. Within an hour of my Nest showing up on my desk in the office, I had a welcome email from Nest introducing me to my installer. I called the installer, told them my name, and they said they were expecting my call. The next morning, my Nest was installed. Total install time: 40 minutes, and that’s including me totally geeking out with the install guy for 10 minutes.
The Nest makes you wonder two things: (1) what took so long for someone to reimagine the pedestrian household thermostat, and (2) what else will be reinvigorated in the same way?
I get paid nothing by Nest. I don’t do paid reviews. I’m telling you this because if I know our readers, this is something they’ll want to know more about. And since Nest appears to have caught up with its massive backorder queue, now’s your chance to get one without waiting a few months.
So yeah, thermostats. Woo. How’s that for a kickoff to your weekend?
See you on Monday, everyone.
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