By Dwight Spivey

Nest is the best-known self-learning programmable thermostat that you can control via your smart device. When the Nest thermostat (owned by Nest Labs, by the way) was introduced in 2011, it was an instant hit. Today, the company that started in 2010 has boomed into a bona fide big boy in the home automation market (especially now that Google has bought Nest Labs for a few jillion dollars).

The Nest Learning Thermostat can actually learn how you like your temperature to be set at various times of the day, including whether you are home or away. This cool gadget does everything a conventional thermostat can do, only better. And you can also control it remotely via your iOS or Android device; don’t forget that little nugget.

[Credit: Image courtesy of Nest Labs.]

Credit: Image courtesy of Nest Labs.

A user directly interacts with the Nest Learning Thermostat via its control wheel, which can be spun and tapped to access heating and cooling controls, make device settings, set schedules, and more. And since the Nest is connected to the Internet, Nest can push software upgrades to your device ­automatically, keeping you up-to-date without so much as lifting a finger.

Installing your Nest

Before you get all giddy and rush out to purchase a Nest, visit Nest’s website to make sure your current heating and cooling systems will work with the device.

When you have your Nest in hand, installing it is much like installing other thermostats:

  1. Remove the old thermostat.

    Be sure to first take a picture of the wires while still connected to the old thermostat so you’ll know where to connect them to your Nest (or where to reconnect them to the old thermostat should you run into an issue with the Nest).

  2. Install the base for your Nest Learning Thermostat.

    Nest provides a level built into the base itself to make sure it’s properly leveled before attaching the base to your wall.

  3. Connect the wires as instructed for your wiring setup.

  4. Connect the display to the base.

    Just push the display onto the base until it clicks.

By the way, if you have problems when installing your Nest, or if you would simply like to have a professional install your Nest for you, find a local Nest guru.

Nest features

Nest is loaded with features that you’re going to love. To get the full understanding of just how good the Nest Learning Thermostat is, check it out at the aforementioned website.

Nest includes these features:

  • The Nest programs itself in about a week, based on your preferences and input.

  • Auto-Away automatically turns off heating and cooling when you’re away from home.

  • Nest can learn how long it takes to heat or cool your home, and it will even display the time it takes to do so.

  • While you can indeed control your Nest directly, you will love the Nest apps for your iOS and Android devices. The app helps you make adjustments to your thermostat and also view energy statistics for your home. You can even control your Nest from your computer.

    [Credit: Image courtesy of Nest Labs.]

    Credit: Image courtesy of Nest Labs.
  • The Nest Learning Thermostat uses sensors and Internet information to help keep you comfortable:

    • Temperature sensors detect how warm or cool your home is.

    • Humidity sensors help you see the humidity in your home.

    • Activity sensors detect when someone is in the home. When Nest detects that no one is present, it will activate its Auto-Away mode.

    • Nest gets weather information from your home’s network, so it’s able to learn how weather conditions outside affect the temperature inside your home, and make adjustments accordingly.

  • A single Nest Account, which you create when setting up your Nest, can control up to ten thermostats.

When you see Nest’s famous Leaf logo on the thermostat’s display, it means that you’re currently saving energy. It’s Nest’s way of giving you a virtual pat on the back for saving energy and to give you a heads up on times that your wallet should feel a little heavier.