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How Nest Learning Thermostat works

This smart home gadget gets to know your comfort zone and lowers your bills.


It knows when your home’s empty, adjusting the temperature accordingly. It knows when you come home, and will automatically set it to your liking. Like it cozy in the morning but cool at night? Done. Those are just a few things the Nest® Learning Thermostat™, 3rd Generation can do on its own, not to mention lower your energy bill. Here’s how it thinks and learns for you.


What does a learning thermostat learn?

It'll know when someone's home and when the house is empty, along with the settings used at those times. You can adjust temperatures to what you want, either with the Nest itself or with your smartphone or tablet. After installing it, Nest begins learning your routine, including how warm or cool you like to keep your home, by studying how you've programmed and adjusted the thermostat.

How do I install Nest Learning Thermostat?

Set aside about 30 minutes—it’s really a snap to install, and everything you need comes in the box. Or you can hire a professional, who will remove and recycle your old thermostat and install the new one, connecting it to your Wi-Fi network and giving you a quick overview.

How does Nest work?

Manual adjustments: Nest has a digital interface and a wheel controller that you spin to adjust the temperature and other settings.

Remote adjustments: When you’re away, you can use the Nest app on your smartphone to switch to heating or cooling, control your fan, or change your schedule. You can also check your energy history and review the outdoor temperature and indoor humidity.

Programming the thermostat: You can use the app or the thermostat itself to program your settings. You can do things like control only the fan in your HVAC system, automatically kick on the A/C when humidity hits a certain level or adjust temps when the thermostat gets direct sunlight (so it won’t think the room is hotter than it actually is).

How does Nest save energy?

An HVAC system uses a lot of energy when it's set at a single temperature. But the Nest has Auto-Away™ and manual away modes, so your HVAC will stay off until your home reaches your chosen minimum or maximum temps. Set a low away temperature in winter, and a high one in summer to cash in on this feature-literally. Nest will also send you monthly energy reports so you can see how much you're saving and if you need to change any energy-hungry habits.

Nest’s Time-to-Temperature tells you how high or low to set it to be more efficient as well, and it will estimate the time it will take to get your desired climate.

How do I teach Nest my preferences?

Nest looks at how often you dial the thermostat. Let's say you chill things down a bit before you hit the hay. Nest will eventually change to your preferred temperature on its own. A deviation here and there-such as cranking the heat up one night when a cold snap hits-won't derail those learned preferences.

What other information does Nest use to keep me comfortable?

If you enter your ZIP code and Nest will sync with local weather conditions and forecasts. It stores and maintains your preferred temperatures for when you're away, and adjusts according to the forecast to keep the temperature within range.

Nest has three temperature sensors and a humidity sensor that all monitor the room to keep it comfortable. It also has motion and light detectors that wake up the interface when you approach, so you can see the current temperature at a quick glance.

What information does Nest share about me, and how secure is it?

Nest provides certain pieces of information (energy use, temperature adjustments, email address and location) to the manufacturer to help make its product more efficient. Nest doesn't share any other information unless you grant it permission to. Strong security features like public key cryptography and 128-bit encryption protect your private information. Nest's cloud servers host this information for as long as you're a Nest customer, and you can request that information be deleted if you like.


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