Nest Thermostat

As winter is fast approaching we thought it would be a good idea to update the central heating in our new house. When we moved in a few months ago I noticed that it had a crude programmer which simply switched the heating on and off at fixed times every day. We soon realised that this was more or less useless because nobody wants their heating to follow the same programme on Sunday as it does on Wednesdays. In fact, any fixed time programme is useless for us because we leave and arrive at different times every day.

As soon as I started looking into more modern alternatives I realised that things had moved on enormously in the last few years. Finding a more sophisticated programmable thermostat is the easy bit. Some of these now link to your wifi network and can be controlled remotely by an app. There is much talk of 'smart' features which claim to improve convenience and save you money and some of which might actually work.

Eventually, having looked at dozens of alternatives, we settled on Nest. It seems to offer everything we want in a very attractive and easy to use package. The smart features seem to work well and can be selectively switched on and off. It integrates well with our existing Smart Home system which further improves things. And it also works with IFTTT giving further potential for remote control.

It's early days and it will only get really tested when winter sets in but there are a few things that we already like about it.

  • When we leave the house, it automatically switches the heating to 'away' mode and reduces the temperature, saving gas.
  • Using our mobile phones' location service, Nest knows where we are. When we get close to home it increases the temperature and we always return to a warm house. We arrive home at a different time each day so this is really useful. Why turn the heating on at 6pm on a day when we unexpectedly don't get home until 10pm?
  • It has already learnt how quickly our heating system can warm up our house - and plans ahead accordingly, taking account of the temperature outside and the weather forecast.
By saving gas, Nest claims to pay for itself in 2 years. We'll see if this happens but in the meantime we're certainly enjoying having more control over things.