Nest, the company that makes what they claim to be the “next generation thermostat” is facing a few challenges. Out-dated HVAC systems, Wifi connectivity, and vocal, unhappy customers during a national cold spell are in the forefront in today’s news. TechCrunch discusses the situation on a recent blog post here. You can learn more about the product and read reviews on Amazon – Nest Thermostat product info and reviews.
I seriously considered purchasing a “smart” Nest thermostat when we built a large addition on our home last year. We upgraded our HVAC system throughout the home. We installed a Carrier Infinity HVAC system and Mitsubishi Mini-splits. The Carrier is a 3-zone system and 3-thermostats; the mini-splits have their own thermostats. In our case, the cost of the Nest for the potential savings appeared questionable when compared to other energy saving investments and the respective ROI (6″ walls, insulation, smart building techniques, etc.). Today’s programmable thermostats are pretty good w/o being “smart” – the stupid things have worked (always) as advertised.
On Nest’s website they claim, “Programming thermostats is complicated and irritating – but an un-programmed thermostat can waste 20% of your heating and cooling bill. So the Nest Thermostat programs itself.”
Programming our standard thermostats wasn’t complicated or irritating – it was simple. One control panel programs all three; it took about 20 minutes. I focused on energy savings when I programmed them; tweaked them during the first few months. I likely have them set for less demand then the Nest would allow based on living habits; I only turn them up/down when I feel uncomfortable in the home. They appear to be saving us money without the need for software upgrades, wifi connectivity, etc.
WRT energy conservation and saving money, the smart thing to do is focus on containing the energy you generate; over insulate the attic, stop air infiltration, etc.
Simple is a solution.