Nest Thermostat

The Nest thermostat is a learning thermostat which has recently launched in the UK.

The recently launched UK Nest Thermostat.
The recently launched UK Nest Thermostat.

Originally from the US, the company (now owned by Google) touted that their Nest would save you money by intelligently learning your routines, and combining that with details such as the local weather, the speed at which your house warms and cools and your preferences for a comfortable temperature. All presented in a slick designed package.

What self-respecting gadget freak could resist?

The Nest works by combining its own sensor information, information on your usual comings and goings and knowledge from online sources (such as the local weather) to create a profile and schedule for your house; which can be amended at will from a simple app on your phone.

It even knows when you are away on holiday and reduces the temperature to a minimum value until you return, thus saving even more money. It even has a fall-back temperature for frost protection.

British Gas's Hive
British Gas’s Hive

This differs from the British Gas ‘Hive’ offering as Hive lets you control both your hot water and heating remotely, but does not constantly adjust to your lifestyle. You can change the temperature manually on the Hive, by flicking through a colourful wheel, or automatically. Hive also has Customisable presets which let you set up profiles for the morning, middle of the day and night, and an overnight frost protection setting ensures that your pipes won’t freeze. Think of it like your existing heating controls but with better control and online connectivity.

Did I also mention that Hive is seriously ugly!

When the Nest was launched in the UK they were offering free professional installation too; something which made the whole offering irresistible and I quickly took advantage. I even managed to get my significant other to agree (mainly as our existing thermostat/programmer was missing it’s covers and looking really ugly).

The installation was a breeze – I gave Nest a few options of dates, and an Electrician (from just around the corner from my house) popped over with the necessary skills/kit and worked magic for about 30 minutes. He even removed all the old ugliness of the previous controllers.

So what is it like living with the Nest?

Quite simply brilliant!

The first time I came home to the Nest gently heating the house to our desired temperature was spooky. I have some unusual hours with the job I do, and my usual routine is to come home, walk to the heating controls and turn them on. This time I walked up to the Nest (which senses your approach) and its wonderful display told me that it was already warming the house.

Amazing, considering that it was an unusual time for me to be in the house.

The simplicity of control is great too; just turn the chrome edge clockwise for hotter, anticlockwise for cooler, and press for other options (settings, energy report, away, etc.).

There’s a funky little leaf that appears when you are saving energy to make it abundantly clear.

Periodically the Nest generates information on the energy you are using for the source of your heating (Gas in my case) or cooling. This can be greater or lesser depending on your usage, but the first energy report I got told me exactly when the Nest was using energy and tips for using less.

Yes you read correctly – Cooling – it can also be used to control cooling technology such as air conditioners, not that we need cooling in the UK!

The ‘Auto away’ function – which detects that you are away and reduces the temperature – is a fantastic was to save even more money, and I can use the app on my phone to control the Nest and warm up the house before we even get there.

So to sum up:

  • Saves you money so will pay for itself.
  • Easy installation
  • Great looking.
  • Internet connected and controllable.