January 28, 2013
| by Rachel Cericola
Lately, it’s been cold. It’s the kind of cold that stings the skin and has you seeking out the family pet to provide some additional warmth. It’s also the kind of cold that has most homeowners cranking up the heat.
The problem is that you don’t always need to have the heat so high—or so low, for that matter. Having a good thermostat can save you some of the time spent tweaking and even a few bucks, especially in peak months like this one. That’s probably why the Nest Learning Thermostat has become such a hot item in the Electronic House world.
The first Nest launched in late 2011 and was recently upgraded to a second-generation version, which is what I used for this review. The good news? It’s still the same price. The bad news? It’s still the same price. Since the product was first released, I had a hard time wrapping my brain around paying $249 for a thermostat. After all, my old thermostat was a small fraction of that cost. Of course, it was downright ugly and always seemed to need a battery and/or constant tweaking.
The Nest is for people that don’t want that. They don’t want complicated programming and don’t want to tweak. And if tweaking is necessary, they want it to be as easy as putting on socks. The bottom line is that the Nest delivers and is well worth the price. Now, let’s take a closer peek at the device that’s turning thermostats into a hot commodity.
The Nest is a slick little device. I mean, the thing looks good on the wall. For this review, I got to check out the second-generation Nest, which is 20-percent slimmer than its predecessor. Not only does it look good, but it doesn’t take any crazy tools and hours to get the thing installed.
The carnage left behind by my old thermostat. Nest includes labels to mark your wires.
Before removing unit, I turned the furnace off. (Don’t forget that!) The old thermostat popped off easily, but it’s important to note that you’re going to need to keep track of the existing thermostat wires. Not all thermostats will be the same. However, Nest is kind enough to give you little stickers to do just that.
Another nice perk is that the Nest comes with all of the hardware and tools to get the entire job done. That includes a little screwdriver, as well as a base, a trim plate and a steel plate. It also has screws that are designed to go into Sheetrock with no anchors.
Once the Nest is powered up, it will walk you through an on-screen setup. Choices are made right on the Nest, by turning the dial, and pushing it in to confirm actions.
Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at www.rachelcericola.com.