Nest Thermostat: Stylish and Functional

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A few days ago, I shared a bit about the Nest Protect smart smoke alarms that we have installed in our home, so I wanted to share a bit more about another product Nest creates that we’ve had for several years now: the Nest Thermostat.

All the way back in 2012, we purchased our first Nest Thermostat, the 1st generation in silver from Best Buy. At the time it was a huge deal in the smart home world, there weren’t many smart thermostats on the market especially one this polished and striking!

Anthony (not usually the handy-person of the house) was able to install the thermostat in our apartment within about 30 minutes. It was really that simple.

A year or so later, we moved from the apartment into a rental house and Anthony was able to just as easily replace the old thermostat at the apartment, then install the Nest Thermostat in the rental home.

Fast forward to a few years later when we moved from Dallas, TX to Richmond, VA during the summer of 2017. We attempted to bring our Nest Thermostat with us, but during the time we were renting this house the heating and air conditioning unit was severely updated. This meant the old thermostat couldn’t be re-installed as it wasn’t smart/powerful enough to handle the new system. As a gift to our landlord, we left behind the 1st generation Nest Thermostat and purchased a 3rd generation Nest Thermostat (which now came in black) for our new home.

This time around though, even with a fresh device Anthony had a hard time installing things, due to no fault of his own or the thermostat.

See, the colorful wires that connect into the base? Those were far too short. Honestly, we’re still not sure how they were even connected to the previous thermostat! After a bit of poking around, we called up the Nest installation pros and one was out within a day or so.

It was somewhere around $100-150 to get things installed and setup and we learned a few other things about our new home’s heating/AC in the process (this is where we first uttered the words “thanks, inspector for catching that” in a sarcastic tone).

In the end, it came out beautifully. Although you can’t see it very well from these photos, the black finish on the metal is really sharp!

And here’s a quick demo of the interface.

I’ll be totally honest here and say that we don’t really use the auto-scheduling feature where it can predict when you’re home and make adjustments accordingly. One reason is that we don’t leave the house that much as we work from home. Another reason is that when we do leave the house, we still have pets at home and want to keep the temperature comfortable for them.

However, we do really love the ability to adjust and monitor the temperature when we’re not home (such as when we were on vacation in Italy), as well as the ability to adjust the temperature from bed, in the middle of the night, without having to risk encountering ghosts in the dark on the way to the thermostat downstairs.

The manual scheduling feature is also super useful, as is as the ability to set a range of temperatures. These features really come in handy during the fall and spring when temps really range throughout the day.

Oh and the reports generated within the Nest App are great fun to look at if you’re a data nerd like we are. If you’re frugal, you can use these reports to adjust your settings to conserve electricity.

Here’s just a quick snapshot of the last week or so. It’s been chilly here lately and we keep the temperature around 71º, which may seem warm, however we have a rather large house and the floors/rooms are not quite evenly heated at this point. We hope to get that sorted with an heating/air conditioning one day, but for now we make due.


Another cool thing about the Nest ecosystem is that it’s really blossomed since we picked up our first Nest about 7 years ago. Now they offer smoke detectors (as discussed in my previous post), cameras, doorbells, alarm systems, locks, and temperature sensors you can place throughout your home.

Though, I will admit that there is one pretty significant downfall to the Nest products and that’s their hesitancy to integrate into other smart home services like Samsung SmartThings. We’ve got the nest thermostat connected to our SmartThings app, but let’s just say it was not an easy or quick process. Although there’s not much to integrate here since we only have their smoke detectors and thermostat, it’s always nice when smart home ecosystems can work together and it’s a letdown when they can’t easily.

All in all, if you’re on the fence about getting a smart thermostat, I highly recommend trying out the Nest Thermostat 3rd generation. They come in a variety of metal finishes at this point (but honestly the black finish is the sleekest) and a variety of price points as well! If the $250 price of the Learning Thermostat (the one we have) is giving you sticker shock, there’s a Thermostat E version that’s almost $100 cheaper.

If you’re still not completely convinced, I found this review to be accurate and it brings up a lot of good points.

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