Jump to a Page:

Nest Sense

As I mentioned on the previous page, the smart thermostat market has become a popular place.  You have long standing names like Honeywell. As well as new comers like the Ecobee3. There are many others in the mix as well. Nest was the innovator they have changed things for everyone, and opened the door for many new products.

Nest has done a good job of setting itself up with leading features and innovations you don’t see on every product.  As part of this review it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t go through these features. They are the features that make a difference in performance and in your wallet.

Nest Learning Thermostat – Nest Sense “Airwave”

Nest has a suite of features that you have seen me make reference to in this review.  The are grouped under the Nest Sense category. These are the smart features that allow the Nest Learning Thermostat to determine the best use of your heating and cooling equipment to keep your home energy efficient and comfortable.


Nest Learning Thermostat using its Airwave feature to cool the house using less energy the just running the AC compressor.

Airwave is one of these features. According to the Nest website, Airwave uses exclusive software algorithms running inside the Nest Learning Thermostat to automatically lower air-conditioning costs. They also note that it only works in houses with air conditioning.

This is a pretty neat feature. I have had the luck of taking advantage of it during the summers here in Oregon. We do get a hot spell from time to time.

With the Airwave feature enabled, the Nest Learning Thermostat will keep track of the time it takes to cool my house to my selected temperature.

Then it will go one step further to save me money.  The Nest thermostat will use my AC to get close to the selected temperature, then knowing that my AC condenser will still be cold for a period of time after it shuts off, it will shut of the condenser and continue to use the fan to pull cold air across the condenser and into the home.  This allows you to save energy by cutting down the use of your AC condenser and keeping your house cool.

Nest Learning Thermostat – Nest Sense “Sunblock”

Sunblock is another Nest Sense feature. It is pretty smart when you get down to it. The sun is a powerful force. When it shines on a temperature

Nest Sense Sun Block

Sun Block is a Nest Sense feature that allows the Nest Learning Thermostat to adjust for an increase in temperature from direct sunlight.

sensor, its radiation quickly makes the reading rise. We have all gotten into a car on a hot day. Where it is 85 degrees outside, then 105 degrees when you get inside your car. That’s the sun, heating the inside of your care like an oven.

To counteract the possibility that your Nest Learning Thermostat may be exposed to direct sunlight, you can enable the Sunblock feature.

According to Nest 60% of thermostats are exposed to direct sunlight throughout the year. This can cause them to read temperatures that may be up to 25 degrees higher than they should be.

Sunblock uses the Nest Learning Thermostats built-in light sensor to watch for the sun.  The Nest Learning Thermostat will track the light in the room so it will map out the light cycles through out the day. Then the Thermostat takes into account its own internal temperature sensor.

The Nest learning thermostat will notice that when it detects direct sunlight, there is also a spike in its internal temperature sensor. It will even check the sunset and sunrise times in your area as another data point.  With all that information, the Nest Learning Thermostat will then take all those data points into account and set itself to the correct temperature. Even in direct sunlight. That is a great feature that looks out for your wallet.

 Nest Learning Thermostat – Nest Sense “Early-On”

While there are features in the Nest sense category that are meant to help you reduce energy usage and lower your bill. There are some that are there for comfort as well.

Early-on, is another predictive feature of the Nest Learning Thermostat. As the Nest Thermostat gets to know your house. It learns how long it takes to cool it and to heat it.  While you are going about your day, the Nest Thermostat is calculating away. One of these calculations, is Early-on. The Nest Learning Thermostat will know when it needs to start heating your house so that the temperature is 70 degrees at 6am. This is different then other thermostats that follow a schedule and start heating at 6am.  That allows you to be warm during your set times, no waiting.  These are the features I like to test.

Nest Learning Thermostat – Nest Sense ” Cool to Dry”

Nest not only monitors the temperature of your house, but it pays close attention to the humidity also.

cool to dry

The Cool to Dry feature will kick on even if your away. Keeping your house from rising above 65% humidity.

Cool to Dry is a feature that helps keep your humidity to a lower level.  When the Nest Learning Thermostat detects high humidity, Cool to Dry automatically turns on the AC  to lower the humidity to healthy levels.

This is a common action in cars. Often when you run the window defroster, the car will use the AC compressor to remove moisture from the air to help the defrosting action and keep the air dry.

The team at Nest have taken this to another level and are using  a similar system to keep your home at a lower humidity level.

The Nest Learning Thermostat will even watch the humidity while your away.  If the humidity gets about 65%, the Nest thermostat will take action and turn on the AC to lower it. It will also be indicated in the app and website, as the Nest will indicate away, but Cool to Dry is on.

Nest Learning Thermostat – Nest Sense ” Heat Pump balance”

Nest even thought of other heating types. There are many homes that are equipped with Heat pumps.  Nest Learning Thermostat will help balance the use of AUX heat with your heat pump. You can select if you would like more comfort or savings. Then The Nest Learning Thermostat will take over and control the balance for you. Working to maintain a constant temperature and reduce spikes and over heating.


Nest Learning Thermostat – Nest Sense “True Radiant”

Nest is the trendsetter in this category. It is clear they have spent some time listening to customers and installers as they have improved on their product over the different generations.

True Radiant is another feature that shows that Nest is doing more that turning your furnace and AC on and off.  True Radiant is a Nest Learning Thermostat feature that keeps homes with in-floor radiant or radiator systems working together.  It will work to monitor the temperatures and reduce swings up and down.


If you have ever had radiant heating in your floors, it is a glorious thing. Stepping on warm tile in the morning is treat up here in the NW.  It is no trivial task to coordinate your heated floors with your thermostat. Doing it manual is a no win situation. You usually end up trying to compensate for one by adjusting the other. Which ends up in a back and fourth battle.

The Nest Learning Thermostat will take the guess work out of the equation and control all the pieces for you. Making sure your home and your floors are the temperature you want, when you want it.

There are a lot of features in the Nest Learning Thermostat.  I have gone over the basic scheduling and normal thermostat features.  You just read about the advanced features the Nest has developed. On the next page we are going to go over the Works with Nest Program.  Don’t miss all the great ways to integrate the Nest Learning Thermostat into your smart home using your existing devices.  Then we will wrap it all up on with a review summary.

Next Page :: Nest 3rd Gen Learning Thermostat Review – Works with Nest
Smarter Home