Should You Invest in a Nest Learning Thermostat?

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Nest Thermostat is a “Smart Home” Device

There are a couple of things I usually check on before leaving home and taking off for travel.  One of those things is to adjust the thermostat.  If you have Google’s Nest Learning Thermostat (which is in its 3rd generation), that’s not something you need worry about.  It is considered a smart home device, with good reasons.

 

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Nest thermostat on Amazon

 

Key features include:

  • The device adapts to your temperature needs over time. For example, if you typically set the thermostat to a cooler temperature when you sleep, it will know to adjust to a certain temperature at night.
  • The device is able to sense when no one is home, and it will adjust itself to conserve energy.  This translates into actual cost savings.
  • If you are a fan of voice control, the Nest thermostat works with Amazon’s Alexa.
  • You can also control the temperature remotely, via an app.

 

Getting a New Thermostat

Several years ago, I didn’t take up on a small Nest rebate offer from my gas company.  I had a “manual” thermostat at the time and it was working fine. I thought, “Why spend money to replace something that’s not even broken?”

Of course, I spoke too soon.  Not long after, some of the buttons on the manual thermostat no longer worked well, likely due to years of constant use.  During a regular maintenance, the service technician mentioned that most people had already replaced the model that I was using.  He asked if I wanted to replace my thermostat.

It was time.  I asked about the Nest thermostat.  He said it would just be the cost of the installation ($100+) plus the cost of the Nest device.  I knew I needed a thermostat replacement, soon.  I asked if he had the Nest thermostat available for install during the same appointment.   He didn’t.  He said he would have to order first, and we’ll have to schedule an appointment for the installation.  I didn’t want to take more time off from work and wait for another appointment.

 

A Programmable Thermostat?

The service technician then offered another option.  He had a digital programmable thermostat in his truck.  He could do a same-day installation for just a little over $100 (device + installation).  I thought, “I needed a replacement, and it is an upgrade from my manual thermostat”.  It’s also cheaper than the Nest thermostat, so I ended up getting the Aprilair programmable thermostat.

 

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Aprilair Thermostat on Amazon

 

Granted, the Aprilair thermostat is not nearly as sleek as the Nest Learning Thermostat, but it is easy to use and it does its job well.

Do I need a Nest thermostat?  Probably not.  Do I want one?  Sure, but I’m not going to upgrade now when my thermostat is working well.  Would I consider investing in a Nest thermostat in the future?  Yes, but I hope that would be years from now before I have to replace my thermostat again.

 

Adjusting Temperature for Travel

For my programmable thermostat, I set the thermostat for every day of the week by time range (i.e. before work, daytime, night time).   I find that I don’t have a real need to adjust the temperature anymore, though I can easily (manually) override the default temperature.  If I need to be away for a trip for an extended period, then I’d need program the temperature accordingly.  Fortunately, it’s not too difficult, as I tend to set it this way:

  • If I am traveling during the Spring/Summer/Fall months, I turn off the system completely.
  • During the winter months, I keep the heat at about 65F when I am away.  This varies depending on who you ask, but most recommend setting the temperature to a minimum of 60F to avoid frozen pipes.  Since New England winter weather can get chilly, I tend to set it to 65F just to be on the safe side.

 

If you have a Nest thermostat, is it all it’s cracked up to be?  Would you go back to a programmable thermostat if your Nest thermostat breaks?  If you have a regular thermostat, do you normally adjust your thermostat before a trip, or do you just leave the temperature as is? 

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