As the brand that shook up a once-sleepy market, Nest Labs still reigns supreme. Back in 2011, Nest Labs kick-started smart thermostat craze with its Self-Learning Programmable Thermostat. Since then Nest Labs has been acquired by Google and the puck-shaped device is now on its third generation.
This latest iteration combines the best of the past with the future, including a larger LCD which is easier to read among seniors, a thinner profile, Geo-fencing technology, and an array of new sensors. Like before, this programmable thermostat can talk to smart home devices – from the Logitech Harmony remote to the Amazon Echo and the Nest Cam.
Sure, Nest smart home thermostat lacks remote room sensors, and that is a bit of a shame, but otherwise, it is one of the best (and smart) thermostats out there.
Wondering if it’s worth the upgrade? Let’s go deep into features of Nest’s 3rd Gen Learning Thermostat.
Features of Nest 3rd Gen Thermostat
- Self-learning – is the crème de la crème of Nest 3rd Gen. Being a programmable thermostat, it saves your time and effort involved in manually feeding the temperature preferences. This is great for caregivers who are not present at their loved-ones homes to make adjustments to the thermostat in person. Caregivers need to install the Nest just once and the device takes over from there. For instance, if the care-recipient or loved-one regularly goes to bed at 10 pm or so, the Nest thermostat learns that and starts turning the system off around that time. For seniors who often forget to adjust the thermostat before bedtime, this is a valuable feature. Before long you’re saving some serious bcks and you don’t even have to touch the Nest.
- Energy Savings – is the next attractive feature of Nest smart thermostat. In fact, Nest claims that their thermostat can give an energy saving of 10% to 12% on heating bills and 15% on cooling bills. For retired seniors on fixed income, this is a meaningful savings. And, it means Nest can pay for itself in less than two years.
- EarlyOn – Want to wake up to a warm house when the temperature outside is chilly? The Early-on feature will get that done for you. It combines thermostat’ schedule, outdoor temperature, and time-to-temp knowledge. For example, if you want 70°F at 6:00 am, then Nest starts HVAC at 5:30 am to achieve the desired temperature at 6:00 am. Caregivers can rest assured that their loved-ones are always comfortable, and not suffering from too cold or too hot indoor temperatures.
- Off Mode – If you’re on a vacation or away from home, Off Mode can be a lifesaver. When in Off Mode, Nest runs at the lowermost energy setting, without turning the device completely off. That means no high energy bills for the time you were away from home.
- FarSight – is a smart feature unique to the 3rd Gen Nest, which makes it easy to see or detect things from up to 20 feet away.
Optional Accessories To Pair With Nest Smart Thermostat
Nest Learning Thermostat doesn’t really come with a vast array of accessories. That being said, there are a few smart add-ons you could use for a better experience.
- Temperature Sensor: It works similarly to other smart thermostats. Simply place the Nest Temperature Sensor in any room that you would like to monitor and let it do its job. The sensor will communicate directly with Nest and ensure that that room stays warm and cozy.
- Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm: Sure, it’s not really an accessory for Nest thermostat itself, this seems like the ‘right’ add-on. You could use Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm in conjunction with your smart thermostat for better air quality and full protection. As a caregiver, you can be sent alerts when smoke and CO2 alarms are activated. You can go to the household to rescue the loved one, or send emergency services.
- Voice Control Hub: The Nest thermostat doesn’t have built-in voice-control units. However, you can control it with Amazon Echo or Google Home. Once installed and connected, just say “Alexa (or Ok Google), set Nest to 68 degrees”. This is perfect for the elderly who have difficulties learning and operating electronic devices.
Wondering how Nest thermostat saves energy and money?
The performance of Nest comes down to two things really—energy efficiency and saving money. Here are some ‘energy-money-saving’ features Nest bring onboard.
- Auto-Away – The Nest smart thermostat knows when your loved-ones are away from home. By using sensors and phone’s location, it checks if they have left, then adjusts itself to Eco Temperature mode. That means you pay only for the energy you use.
- Auto Schedule – The auto-schedule feature automatically learns the temperature you or your loved one like at different times of the day. Set your temperature preferences…. the Nest will never forget them. And, that’s why we love calling it the ‘smart programmable thermostat’.
- Airwave – Another great feature for energy savings. Airwave will relieve the Nest when it reaches the set temperature, by turning on the blower fan. It learns how much cooling can still occur once the A/C unit shuts off, and adjusts how long it runs the blower-fan. No additional energy means you save some big bucks in the long run.
- Energy History Reports – The companion Nest app will give complete energy history. You can use the monthly energy reports to identify ways to save energy (and money).
- Alerts and Reminders – You never know when something goes awry at home. Be it HAVC system malfunction or an overheating furnace, the Nest will send a ‘Heads-up’ to your phone and on the thermostat.
Usability of Nest Thermostat
Arguably the daunting part of using any smart thermostat is the initial set up phase. Because let’s face it, if you’re not a certified professional, it becomes a little more daunting. But… but… but.. with Nest, you don’t have to stress too much. The Nest user guide will make installation a cakewalk – thanks to the helpful graphics, color-coded highlights, and simple diagrams included.
Nest Smart Thermostat: A Little About Day to Day Usage
The concept here is simple: Nest thermostat does what it learns. As you live your loved-one’s activities, it starts to teach itself all about their preferences. That said, the daily use of this programmable thermostat is as simple or as complex as you want it to be. Because you can control most of its features either through programmed pre-sets or manually.
Who Should Buy A Smart Thermostat?
- The elderly: One of the hardest parts of aging is having to ask for help and losing independence. With Nest smart home technology, the seniors get comfort, and security at all times, regardless of whether their children or caregiver is nearby or not.
- Users who want a high-end programmable thermostat: The whole idea behind Nest is that you teach your preferences and it will take it from there.
- Users who want a familiar feel: Think the full touchscreen a bit too futuristic to you? You’ll love the sleek design of the Nest with an outer ring that rotates to adjust the temperature or scroll through the menu or settings.
- People who love a simpler user interface: Nest has a simple yet sleek design and minimal settings on the home screen. Plus, the FarSight feature makes it easy to see the numbers users care most about.
The Bottom Line
Sure, there is significant price difference with a conventional programmable thermostat, but Nest is above all traditional (and the smarty, new-age) models.
Caregivers can control Nest remotely from their phone, whether at home or on the go. Team it up with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant and control it with just a voice command.
And, speaking of away… when you’re off to work or a weekend trip, the Nest can adjust to that as well. So, you use energy only when you need.
Long story short, 3rd Gen Nest Learning Thermostat has a lot of competition now, but it is still the best!