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Nest backplate installed on wall

Lets get into the details shall we?  The Nest Learning Thermostat is full of features.  Before you can take advantage of those features, you have to get it installed.  I chose to do the install myself. Which.. as I read through all of the warnings about cooking your furnace and damaging equipment, had me a little worried at first.  A furnace is not an inexpensive item to repair.

Nest has a large amount of support material to accompany the Nest Learning Thermostat.  Not just documents, but videos.  One of the first things that you view on the app as you create your account is an installation video.  After installation we will go through the fun stuff!  The apps you can use to control it, and the menus you can use to access them.

Installing the Nest Learning Thermostat

Original Thermostat pic

The original thermostat that was being replaced with the Gen 3, Nest learning Thermostat.

I was very worried that my furnace would not be compatible. I did some research and checked some wires.  The main thing that had me concerned was my existing thermostat  on the wall.

My house was built in 1978 and had only one previous owner.  They took great care of the structure, and choose to keep everything.. 1978.  While I new the furnace was only a couple years old, the thermostat on the wall, looked like I had to wind it up to get it to work.

I was happy to be replacing it with a Nest Learning Thermostat.  Still very concerned, I would take the old thermostat off the wall and find some ancient wiring that needed a Dick Tracy decoder ring to figure out. Nobody likes to start to dig into a project only to get stumped by some old wiring or you find out you have the most unique thermostat in the world and nothing is compatible with it.

Nest did a good job of including what I needed to do the replacement. There were several videos that explained the process and what you needed to identify to be successful.  They are referenced and shown as soon as you download the app and start the installation process.  If you are interested in a smart thermostat, Nest definitely delivers the tools for you to be sure its compatible.  They also provide an online compatibility checker on their website.

The installation was pretty standard as with anything that is wired to your home, there is a common first step. Turn off the power at the breaker. Make sure you turn off the power at the breaker. Double check you turned the power off at the breaker.  Lets face it, no one really likes to be shocked. This really is an important part, if you plan on doing it yourself.

After turning the power off at the breaker it was a simple process to remove my old thermostat. Nest provided a nice little bit of help. They provided stickers, so you can label your wires according to the terminal that they are connected to on your current thermostat.

Nest Learning Thermostat back plate

The Nest Learning Thermostat backing plate is well labeled. In this picture you also see the provided labels, that makes replacing your old thermostat that much easier.

You will see wires labeled as E, G, Rc, Y1, R and others.  I am sure if you work in the heating and cooling industry those make perfect sense to you. For the rest of us, I was glad Nest included stickers so I could easily label the wires.

Once labeled, I was able to remove the wires with the handy Nest screw driver that was included in the box.  I mounted the Nest backing plate to the wall and inserted the wires into the correct places.  It was very easy to push the button, slide the wire in and bam! its connected.

Then came the test. Time to plug the Nest onto the base and turn on the power.   The Nest powered right up . What a difference this sleek looking piece of technology made on the wall.  Its does remind me a little bit of Hal from 2001 space odyssey.  Especially when its in heating mode, and turns that bright reddish orange.

The Nest Learning Thermostat has a pretty complicated menu system.  Setting the Nest up was simple and akin to a lot of home automation products.  First thing, I had to figure out how to use the Nest.  Its sleek, simple design.. left me thinking it was a touch screen.  Which didn’t work so well. Once I realized that the outer ring is what you turn to navigate through the menu’s and it is also what you push in to make a selection, things went much smoother.  As I initially began to configure my Nest learning thermostat, it would reboot randomly.  I quickly suspected that I may have a loose wire.  I shut of the breaker and pulled the Nest off of the base.



Upon looking at the connections they were all secure and making good contact. I reattached the Nest thermostat to the backing plate.  Then I consulted the Nest website. The Nest Learning Thermostat has a rechargeable battery. As it was new out of the box, it became obvious after reading through the FAQ’s that it just needed a charge. I let it sit attached to the backing plate for 20 min, and we were in business.

Once the Nest had obtained a decent charge, I was able to use the ring to go to settings and connect it to the network. Using the ring to

Nest Main screen

The main screen of the Nest Learning Thermostat lets you easily scroll to all of the main options for configuration. It also shows the temperature date and the weather outside.

scroll through the alphabet is not as hard as you would think and went pretty quick.  It is as easy as typing in a screen name with a Roku remote or an Xbox controller. After a couple of seconds you get the hang of it and its off to the races.  Nest does a good job walking you through the initial setup.

There are cues everywhere, as with most smart home products to download the app from the store of your choice, Itunes or Play.  I downloaded the android app and started it right up. The first order of business is to create your account.  This is important, creating your Nest account not only grants you access to the Nest Learning Thermostat from your phone, but it also allows you to connect it to other devices and systems. I will cover that when we go through the Works With Nest program.

Once you create your account you are prompted to have your wireless password ready so you can configure you learning thermostat. Then you are prompted for a 7 digit entry key, to gain access to your Nest Learning Thermostat and connect it to your account.

After you configure the entry key and get your Nest thermostat on your wireless network you are up and running.   The Nest thermostat will begin to learn your habits and adjust the temperature accordingly.

Nest Learning Thermostat - App and Website

One of the ways many home automation manufactures can differentiate themselves is through

Nest on Iwatch

Nest app for the iwatch delivers the same interface as the thermostat and the applications.

their applications.  I think we all agree as we choose to install smart devices to automate and monitor tasks, we expect them to be easy to configure.

Nest does not disappoint. They offer apps for all your mobile devices including Iwatch, Android wearables

and all your android and ios devices. Their mobile application is easy to navigate. It also gives you access to all of the features that you find on the thermostat itself. You can view all of the specs, settings and make adjustments.

While the interface of the Nest Thermostat itself is a little different.  The mobile app, and the web interface is almost identical. For most practical uses.. it is.

This makes using and configuring the Nest learning thermostat easy from either the application or the web. In my experience over the several months of use, I rarely had to change the settings.  Nest did a good job of watching when we would come and go, and as I made adjustments to the thermostat the first couple of weeks, it made note and carried them forward.

Its easy enough to work on saving energy and dollars. As you adjust the Nest Learning Thermostat, just look for the leaf. That is an instant indicator that you selected a temperature that will save energy.

I always talk a lot about the applications and interfaces with home automation products. They are important.  If I need an IT department to use the products, then is it really beneficial? Probably not. It will end up unplugged and in the garage on a shelf.. destined for obsolescence.

The menu system on the physical Nest learning Thermostat is very much like the web and mobile app.  The icons are the same.  So its the naming conventions and locations of functions.  The menu’s on the thermostat are a little different to account for its display and the use of the ring to scroll through settings and make selections.

Now that I have gone through the setup and applications you use with the Nest Learning Thermostat, its time to take a look at some of the features that set it apart from other thermostats.  Nest offers a whole suite of features that my old honey well thermostat could never even begin to offer.  Read on to the next page as I go through these features and then on to the Works with Nest program and the summary.

Next Page :: Nest 3rd Gen Learning Thermostat Review – Nest Sense and Features
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