Hands On: Nest 2 Learning Thermostat
We see why the second-gen thermostat is such a hot home commodity.
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January 28, 2013 by Rachel Cericola

You’re going to have to let the Nest know your preferred language, heating and cooling types (i.e. forced air), your location, the current date and time, the number of thermostats in the house, the number of inhabitants, when the home was last built or remodeled, and more. It will even ask you to name the thermostat and how low you want the temperature to get when you’re away. You’re also going to have to input your Wi-Fi password, if you have one (you should really have one), so have that info handy. Inputting that password and all other selections are done right on the dial, so it can be a bit of a tedious process. However, it’s a “set it and forget it” type of thing. Once it’s done, it’s done.


With the old thermostat completely gone, the wall looked bare—and kind of scary!

From there, the device sensed that we only have heat (sadly, there’s no central air in this house) and instantly connected to our system. According to Nest, this device is compatible with about 95 percent of the 24-volt heating and cooling systems out there, which includes gas, electric, oil, solar, hot water, geothermal, forced air, heat pump and radiant. Once connected to your home’s wireless network, it will also check outside weather conditions and adjust itself accordingly.

It’s also important that you set up an online account on the Nest website. After supplying an email address and password, you’ll be able to access the thermostat, settings, and support, all through the website. 

Well Hello There!
When the Nest is just hanging out, it’s in a hibernation mode. To wake up the device, just walk up to it. (My 6-year-old did this a lot.) The Nest’s face will turn red when it’s heating, blue when it’s cooling, and black when it’s doing neither. If you see a little green leaf underneath the temperature, that means you’re in an energy-saving mode. When you want to turn the Nest up or down, turn the face, similar to the setup process. Of course, you can also use the compatible iOS or Android apps, which we’ll get into later.

The hook on the Nest is that it can actually learn how you like things around the house. There’s no programming needed. After one or two days, the device seemed to figure out that we liked the heat to crank up to 68 around 5:30 a.m., and go down to 62 at 11:15 p.m. On the weekends, the heat would kick on a little later and little lower, easing into each day—just like my family does. It also has a new Auto Away feature, which can actually sense when you aren’t around and go into the Away mode. Of course, some days are going to be warmer, colder and more sloth-like than others, so you can adjust the temperature by turning the device or using one of the apps.


If your old thermostat was rectangular, use the included trim plate.

Although there isn’t much sparkle to a thermostat, it’s important to note that the second-gen Nest has some improvements over its predecessor—and most of them are things you’d never even notice. For instance, this Nest has a little something called System Match. This basically tweaks your heating and cooling, based on the type of system that you have. For instance, radiant heating doesn’t reach its perfect temperature in an instant and the Nest knows that. It will also adjust itself accordingly.

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Rachel Cericola - Contributing Writer
Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at www.rachelcericola.com.

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