Nest Review: Hot or Cold?

Let my start my review of the Nest Thermostat by saying that I think it is an incredible product. They’ve taken a product that I would never, ever think twice about and made me want to spend $250 on it. That takes some sizzle. The marketing and product are amazing, however it didn’t work out for me.

Today, I returned my Nest. The voltage in my condo building didn’t give the Nest enough juice to power it for more than a couple of days without dying (which is extremely frustrating living in 100+ degree weather in Texas). That being said, let’s start with what I loved and hated with my Nest review:

The Best about The Nest

  •  It’s incredibly well designed. The product looks like it was made by Apple (oh wait, it was made by the same guy who designed the original iPod) and the operating system is just as slick.
  • It’s incredibly easy to use. You simply move the wheel around to make it hotter or cooler. It learns your behavior and automatically changes the temperature for you based on your schedule. No complicated controls.
  • The setup is easy, even for a home improvement novice like me. Simply unscrew your old thermostat and follow the instructions provided. Take a picture of your old thermostat and make sure the wires go in the same labeled-spot on the Nest, so you’re good.
  • I loved the iPhone/iPad/Web interface for managing the Nest. When I would head home early from an event, I could adjust it on the go.If I left at an unusual time, I could also turn it off from my iPhone
    The Nest even has a motion detector and will turn off automatically.
  • Customer service is really great. You talk to someone in America and they are super helpful (more on them in a second) and wouldn’t be placed on hold for more than a couple of minutes.
  • The Nest has an interesting feature called “Air Flow.” This turns off the air conditioning, but leaves the fan on – as the coils are still cold. This should save money, theoretically.
  • It’s an interesting conversation piece for people visiting your home, they always ask, “What is that?!”

How The Nest is a Pest

  • I have to applaud Nest at making a product work with so many different thermostats and HVAC systems. I can’t imagine the undertaking. Unfortunately, it didn’t work with the setup of my building.
  • I called support several times through the course of the issues and they were all very enthusiastic and helpful. But several gave me the conflicting advice. One rep even told me to open up the electrical unit (yikes!) and make changes to the wiring. It made me super nervous and I accidentally killed the A/C for a couple of hours (until I could figure out what was wrong).
  • My electricity bills actually raised from last year, at the same time. I wouldn’t say that means that it was more expensive, since I didn’t go and compare the temperature outside and what I had the A/C set at last year. I think it would, overall, save money if used for a year.

The Verdict?
I would recommend a Nest, but make sure that it works with your system as soon as you get it. I kept my Nest for a couple of months (mostly because I was too buys to deal with it) without returning it, but was frustrated by it. If it works with your system and you like new and interesting gadgets that could save you money, I recommend it.

The Nest is one of the few gadgets that will make you cooler.

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