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NEST LEARNING THERMOSTAT - REVIEW

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Specifications

 Nest Learning thermostat
Display5.3cm, 24-bit colour LCD display, 480x480 resolution at 229 pixels per inch (PPI)
SensorsTemperature, Humidity, Near-field activity, Far-field activity, Ambient light
Connectivity802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi (2.4GHz/5GHz); 802.15.4 (2.4GHz); Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
ColoursStainless Steel; Copper; Black; White
DimensionsDisplay: Diameter 8.4cm, Height: 2.7cm; Base: Diameter 7.7cm, Height 1.2cm

Smart thermostats offer full control of your heating straight from your smartphone, with an abundance of other intelligent features to heat your home efficiently whilst you save money on your energy bills. In the palm of your hand, you have the power to control your hot water and when you switch your heating on or off.

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Today we take a closer look at the 3rd-gen Nest Thermostat - a user-friendly smart thermostat with some excellent features. It is compatible with other smart devices and has a sleek, modern design.

Features of the Nest Learning Thermostat

Installation

Installation of the Nest Learning Thermostat is straightforward. In most cases, you’ll be able to install the thermostat using the existing wiring from your previous thermostat to power the device. If you are replacing a much older thermostat, this might not be completely compatible, so we always recommend that a Gas Safe engineer installs this for you. With this model, you also have the option to use a stand for the device, although this will set you back an extra £29.

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Included with the thermostat is the Heat Link, also known as a bridge box that connects your thermostat to your boiler. This is attached to your boiler with built-in WiFi. Most other thermostats require an ethernet connection to the bridge box to be able to set up your thermostat, so this is a neater solution as long as your WiFi coverage is fit for the job.

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The kit also includes a plastic plate if you’d like to cover up any torn wallpaper or holes once you remove your old thermostat. With all smart thermostats, we highly recommend that you get a professional to take care of the installation for you. Not only will they leave you with a neat and tidy installation, but you will be safe in the knowledge that someone with experience has set this up efficiently for you and you won’t have to think about it again, aside from controlling the heat from your phone.

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Compatibility

The Heat Link is compatible with the majority of heating systems including combi boilers and system boilers. Our Hometree Gas Safe Engineers can double check your home’s heating set up to make sure it works correctly.

The good news is that there’s no need to worry about installing any additional wires or drilling new holes to accommodate the device. This smart thermostat can be installed in the same spot as your previous thermostat using existing wiring (in most cases). You’ll also be able to fit the thermostat if your existing thermostat is wireless. Either way, we’ll be able to take care of the installation for you.

Design

The Nest’s instantly distinguishable circular design makes it a gadget that you’ll want to show off to friends and family as a conversation piece rather than hide it away. Its bright and colourful LCD display is especially pleasing to the eye. The metallic rim that surrounds this device rotates and serves as your temperature and settings control, with the ability to push on the device to select options. If you’re keen to put the old square-designed thermostats to bed, then the Nest is a great choice.

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Geofencing

The Nest offers a Home/Away Assist feature, which takes advantage of geolocation technology using your smartphone’s location. Like the Honeywell Lyric smart thermostat, the Nest app will alter your heating settings whether you’ve left home, or upon your return. With this feature switched on, you don’t have to manually switch your Nest on/off, which will save energy and reduce your heating usage. It really is one of the elements that put the ‘smart’ into ‘smart thermostat’.

Zoning

Would you prefer to control the temperature in different areas of your home? The Nest can do just that with the ability to control up to 20 zones. You will, however, need to install a thermostat for each zone and your plumbing will need to be set up with the ability to heat individual zones independently from each other.

For example, older homes with a regular boiler (sometimes known as traditional, conventional or heat only boilers) installed will usually heat the entire house, unless the pipework has been changed to include different valves for different areas of the house (upstairs and downstairs).

Without multiple valves, the Nest will control the boiler to send hot water to all radiators. We haven’t seen smart thermostatic radiator valves being offered by Nest yet that can control individual radiator settings, but we will wait to see what they have in the works over the coming months.

Controls & configuration

With the Nest, you can use it just like an old-fashioned programmable thermostat. Simply walk up to the device (which ‘wakes up’ the device thanks to the onboard motion sensor), and turn the heat up or down by twisting the device’s circular rim.
Alternatively, the Nest app is straightforward to use and easy to set up with complete thermostat control available straight from your pocket. While the onboard interface allows you to schedule, set temperatures and access settings, the app will give you access to other features including zoning, geofencing and monitoring of your heating usage.

Monitoring your heating usage

A fantastic feature with the Nest is the small green leaf that appears on the thermostat or your smartphone if you choose an energy-saving temperature. So if you’d like to start saving on your energy bills, keep a look out for that icon.

The Nest app also enables the user to take a look back at their energy history, including how long their heating was switched on and the days that their temperature was set to an energy-saving temperature (indicated when the green appears next to the date). At the end of the month, you will see if you used more or less heating hours than the previous month, as well which mode made the biggest saving on your energy usage, such as Auto-Away, a mode that the Nest thermostat enters when it detects that your home has become empty.

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Schedule for your routine and ‘learning’ your schedule

The easy-to-use app or display can be used to set a schedule for the exact time you are in your home, and the temperature you want to reach at that time. You can also arrange a “setback” temperature, which is a low setting for the times you are out of the house or asleep.

This smart thermostat can then learn your routine, hence the name; Nest Learning Thermostat. Thanks to the learning feature, the Nest will create a schedule based on your routine and record any changes in temperature when the dial has been used to change the temperature at a specific time. You can override these learning settings by inputting your schedule manually.

Summary

The 3rd Generation Nest Learning Thermostat is a sophisticated smart thermostat with great monitoring features, as well as incredibly useful tools to control your home’s central heating. The ability to control your heating remotely is particularly useful, but the serious wow-factor of the Nest is the additional features which can easily rival other competitor smart thermostats on the market; such as heating specific zones and learning your heating routine.

The Nest is well-designed, easy to use and is an excellent choice for any consumer looking for entry into the world or smart thermostats or looking to upgrade their existing device.

Calling the Tech Savvy! Is central heating control not enough?

Nest also offer smart home security cameras and smoke alarms, which are both compatible with their thermostat. The cameras will track motion, as well as facial identification, whereas the smoke alarm switches off the heating once smoke is detected to prevent any additional risks.

You can also benefit from other third-party products thanks to Nest’s “Works With Nest” programme, which works with other smart devices such as the Philips Hue bulbs, enabling you to dim or brighten your bulbs via your smartphone or tablet.

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