TechSpot: Nest Learning Thermostat Review

Like many of you, I never really gave much thought to something as basic as my thermostat. So long as it kicked on the heater or air conditioner when I needed it to, I was happy. Nonetheless I’ll admit I was a bit intrigued when I read about the Nest Learning Thermostat when it was announced back in October 2011 but even then, the thought of purchasing one never really crossed my mind.

I followed Nest and the success they were having with their connected thermostat over the course of the past two years and after making the decision to replace all incandescent light bulbs in my apartment with energy efficient LED units, I also decided it would be as good a time as any to see exactly what the Nest was all about.

The Nest Thermostat is currently in its second revision and has been for a little over a year now. When asked about a possible third generation unit, a representative for Nest’s PR agency told me they had nothing to share on the subject and were instead focusing their efforts on the Nest Protect. Fair enough. With that knowledge in hand, I felt less apprehensive about buying something that was already a year old. And even if a new model was on the horizon, the Nest had to be better than the basic non-programmable Honeywell model I’ve been using for the past five years.

Read: Nest Learning Thermostat Review

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The comments on this story are really fascinating. I've looked at the Nest, but was discouraged by the price. Does anyone have experience using it with oil heat? I would love to increase my efficiency there if I could. Also, how does it learn when I'm home and it should run? Does it somehow know when my schedule changes?

The only reason to buy it is you have a lot of extra money and you think it's pretty. There's no efficiency improvements and in fact it may not do as well as the one specifically designed for your system.

M_Lyons10... I have 3 of them and have an oil heat furnace simply because I have 3 zone heating. I started off by buying one for the main thermostat (controlled the AC and the heat on the main floor). I bought others later to offset the cost. I love the web interface. it makes it so easy to set my schedules. The unit also learns the AC's ability to cool. The "Airwave" feature shuts the compressor down but continues to cool using the residual coldness that is stored in the A coil. This saves a ton of energy over time. The nest also can take into account the temperature spike of direct sunlight on the unit if it's in view of the sun. Nest also sends you reports every month with usage. Some utility companies are now giving rebates if you install one. Their tech support is out of this world. You can always talk to a person. I highly recommend that you call the support and talk to someone that will be happy to answer all your questions.

Tech Greek said,
You can't tell Mr. Hand anything, he'll just say you're wrong over and over again, regardless of whether or not you actually are.

You can't tell me fictional marketing fluff because I know the engineering behind how these work. You're perfectly welcome to waste your money but denying the reality or trying to change the subject with personal attacks is pointless.

I completely agree Tech Geek. He doesn't seem to know much of anything as far as I have seen. Other than how to repetitiously say "personal attack". Quite humorous actually. And it seems completely logical to me that it can't be an "attack" if everyone here seems to have come to the same conclusion. I just have the balls to tell you that your full of it. That's not an attack. Its telling the truth.
I'm a beta tester for Nest and have had a few conversations with the engineers over the past 2 years. But of course he knows it all and I have no idea what I'm talking about. I mean considering he doesn't even own one.
By the way... Watching a tear down or review video on you tube does make you an expert in any way. You actually need to get your hands dirty.

Mr. Hand said,

You can't tell me fictional marketing fluff because I know the engineering behind how these work. You're perfectly welcome to waste your money but denying the reality or trying to change the subject with personal attacks is pointless.

Then why don't you explain to us how it's marketing fluff and also the engineering behind it instead of repeating the same thing over and over, dismissing what others who have first hand knowledge and experience say, and trying to pass your opinion off as fact?

That these devices connect to third parties seems highly unnecessary. Just let me connect it directly to my router and manage it myself through my VPN.

I think this is more for ease of access for the less tech savy, kind of like the DVRs now have their own DynDNS type services built in. The entire experience from pulling it out of the box is for ease of access I mean they include a screwdriver and sheet rock screws! lol

Geezy... there are a few reasons for this setup. First, the setup is straight forward and simple. No router (firewall) changes are required because the nest initiates the communications out. You can literally install the unit it in 4 minutes. There are actually a few you tube videos showing kids doing the install. The second reason is because the nest servers process the data and sends monthly reports on usage. You can watch over time how you are saving. They also push updates down to the device. Nest always send an E-Mail first with exactly what is happening, when and what the fixes/features are.

It's possible to send email, notifications, and statistics data on cheap embedded devices. I guess this isn't the device for me.

The WiFi features are appealing, but no thermostat made could learn between my wife's and my work schedules. She works away from home every other week and I work rotating shiftwork.

Auto Away senses when you're not there and lets the AC/HEAT get to a certain temp before it kicks the unit on (kind of like a worst possible temperature that you set). When you walk in the door it automatically resumes your scheduled/preferred temperature [unless you want to change it] and turns auto away mode off. I usually "prep" the house by turning my unit on from my truck before I leave downtown at my office, in the 10 minute drive it takes me to get home my house is already perfect and if I decided to go else where and not go straight home it switches back to auto away mode automatically.

Some companys thermostats are really crap including Honeywell. I haven't used Nest and have no Idea if it good or not. But people not giving such a thermostats a chance without actually using it is a ridiculous.

That's the sad reality of the situation; some people have become such experts on EVERYTHING on this world that they pathetically shun everything away because they can't fathom how something could beat their mighty brain power of the google search engine. They used to have a word for that? I wonder what it was...

Sorry but Honeywell has the best stuff on the market and has been doing it for decades. The following ad hominem argument is a fallacy and not worth responding to. You're perfectly welcome to waste your money and there's no reason to attack people giving you the truth.

Mr. Hand said,
Sorry but Honeywell has the best stuff on the market and has been doing it for decades. The following ad hominem argument is a fallacy and not worth responding to. You're perfectly welcome to waste your money and there's no reason to attack people giving you the truth.

The thing I've mainly see you give is your opinion. Honeywell having the best stuff on the market is one of them. Talk to someone with Carrier, and they will not agree.

benthebear said,

The thing I've mainly see you give is your opinion. Honeywell having the best stuff on the market is one of them. Talk to someone with Carrier, and they will not agree.

Talk with Trane and they will agree. See how fallacies don't work? The facts are this Nest thermostat brings nothing to the game except a big price tag. It's a all a load of BS to get people to cough up big bucks.

Mr. Hand... You have no idea what t you are talking about. And it shows. You continue to spew nonsense with no justification or insight. Have you read the postings above? There are at least 3 people that have given detailed explanation and the actual cost saving that they have obtained while using the product. The facts are... Is the unit more expensive - YES (no argument there) Do you get a noticeable cost savings - YES (documented over and over again). Any thermostat can turn AC or a heat pump one and off. That's electronics 101. The secret sauce is in the intelligence and the programming that Nest has engineered into the unit. It learns. It watches, it adapts. That fact that you are too ignorant to understand the difference between monetary value actual realized value over time is not my problem. Personally I don't care if you buy one. I'll sleep just fine. I'll sleep even better knowing that you pay more for energy costs than I do.

lucifer_Mendez said,
Mr. Hand... You have no idea what t you are talking about. And it shows.

Sigh...stopped reading at the personal attack. What creates this strange religious devotion to shiny electronics that people will go to such irrational length to defend the ridiculous prices? Waste your money, go ahead, I don't care, but don't lie to other people about it.

Mr. Hand said,

Talk with Trane and they will agree. See how fallacies don't work? The facts are this Nest thermostat brings nothing to the game except a big price tag. It's a all a load of BS to get people to cough up big bucks.

I work for a TCS Trane dealer. They do use rebranded Honeywell thermostats, I've installed thousands of them, but they're starting to move away from Honeywell and manufacture their own. And if the Nest brings nothing to the table, then how come the thermostat market is responding to the Nest? Have you sat in various meetings with different manufactures who've all admitted that the Nest woke them up? Probably not, but I have.

Electric Bill before Nest (WITH programmed Thermostat) - $320
Electric Bill AFTER Nest with Auto Away & Auto Schedule - $130

It paid for itself in two months, and I have the ability to control it from anywhere in the world. I love mine!

sounds more like you have a crappy furnace. I don't think I could hit a $320 electric bill if I had everything in my house on 24/7.

You do know you have to compare months with the same weather? Do you also really believe some company started by visual designers came upon a magical element of physics no other engineers on the planets have figured out?

Rohdekill said,
sounds more like you have a crappy furnace. I don't think I could hit a $320 electric bill if I had everything in my house on 24/7.

Or crappy windows, doors, and insulation. I can actually get up to 320 but it has to be really cold or really hot all month.

Mr. Hand said,
You do know you have to compare months with the same weather? Do you also really believe some company started by visual designers came upon a magical element of physics no other engineers on the planets have figured out?

Tony Fadell is way more than just a visual designer...

I like the speculations! No, my house was built in 2009 and has more energy efficient things than most peoples.

Unfortunately for us in Louisiana, it gets HOT, very freaking HOT and HUMID. In order for the house to cool down properly it takes a long time of the AC unit running, and that's in EVERY house I've been in (and that's a LOT considering I own an IT Consulting company).

The AC went from running whenever I THOUGHT I may be home, to not having to worry about it due to the auto away feature by it's self and I wasn't always having to adjust the thermostat to worry about if the outside heat may overtake the current temperature inside the house and the AC unit lose (and I said, everyone's does this around here, not just mine).

I'm also in the top 5% of "nesters" in the world due to me not having to have it on all the time due to my random work schedule. I don't fidget with the setting anymore because it has automatically adjusted the perfect point for me via the auto schedule. Everything basically was automatic after the first two weeks.

So, say what you want - the thing works. It's worked for everyone I know. This was in June and July, two of the hottest months in Louisiana.

Edited by Tech Greek, Dec 18 2013, 3:19am :

Bingo. My guess for your high energy bill was that you lived in the south.

My in-laws' live in Florida, and their power bill during the summer months would hit around $500 mainly because of the two 8 SEER systems trying to cool the house down. I ripped them out and put in two communicating 20 SEER systems with dehumidification, and that bill dropped down to about $180. They've paid for themselves.

I could only imagine that satisfaction of a dehumidification system in my house, now if we could just make one to cover the outside weather!

Most peoples bills around here range from $300-900 in the HUGE homes, I'm in no shack, 2,000 SQ/FT is a decent size to cool for any AC system in this area.

If you're only paying $50 a month now, and expect a HUGE savings, you're insane in the first place and the features of wireless/etc would be the only things I look at.

Energy efficient things? Unless you explain specifically how it works magically better than the rest of the planet, it's nothing but marketing fluff (which it is). It's like those laughable Dyson commercial selling those cheap plastic vacuums for $600. Spend enough on marketing you can make some people believe anything.

Tech Greek said,
I could only imagine that satisfaction of a dehumidification system in my house, now if we could just make one to cover the outside weather!

It works wonders. All systems dehumidify to an extent. That's why you have a PVC drain hooked up to the coil, but you also have systems that can have the humidity set, and it will turn the system on in a low, low stage (you won't even hear it turn on or running) to suck out the moisture.

Mr. Hand said,
Energy efficient things? Unless you explain specifically how it works magically better than the rest of the planet, it's nothing but marketing fluff (which it is).

When he says energy efficient things, and seeing that his home was built in 2009, I'm assuming that his house was built with such things like better insulation, windows, tankless hot water heater, LED TVs, CFL bulbs, and an air tight duct system. You know, the usual marketing fluff that's proven to cut down on energy use.

Edited by benthebear, Dec 18 2013, 4:18am :

Of course all of the above plus a two stage AC system (and my AC system does do that, but it runs the AC in doing so, there's no stand alone dehumidifier unit so it has to cool in order to do so, so If I'm already comfortable I don't want to be cold to get rid of the humidity) and much more, so much more that I qualify for a free tax credit every year because I invest even more in these stupid technologies! The biggest thing I haven't invested in yet is Solar Panels because the neighbors would complain.

BUT hey, what do I know? Just IT, Automotive, Plumbing, Electrical, Wood Working and Drywall. I obviously KNOW NOTHING about a homes construction, or anything like that. I should just trust a kid on the interwebz who can't afford a Dyson and is mad at the world to tell me what I don't know and that I'm throwing away my money!

For the record, it's my money. You can have your opinion, but it's your opinion. No need to try to insult anyone because you're butt hurt some of us don't care about your personal opinion.

benthebear said,

When he says energy efficient things, and seeing that his home was built in 2009, I'm assuming that his house was built with such things like better insulation, windows, tankless hot water heater, LED TVs, CFL bulbs, and an air tight duct system. You know, the usual marketing fluff that's proven to cut down on energy use.

That stuff actually works unlike this laughably overpriced thermostat which is the topic. Why are you trying to change the subject?

Mr. Hand said,

That stuff actually works unlike this laughably overpriced thermostat which is the topic. Why are you trying to change the subject?

I'm not trying to change the subject, and that thermostat works. The data is there to back it up. I've installed many of them and I've seen first hand what they do. You've just Googled around and played armchair HVAC technician.

Compared to my Communicating thermostat which was made for my furnace, this nest thermostat just plain sucks... it claims it's "learning" but this doesn't do advanced things like IAQ or other digital communicating techniques that new furnaces uses... where the furnace can talk to the thermostat and talk to the AC unit or heat pump and make adjustments on the fly based on conditions those units are observing... I put a Modulating furnace in with a two stage AC and communicating thermostat... it's drastically more efficient then the nest because it can modulate gas burning rates down to 40% of the max BTU/hr the furnace can do, and the blower is 100% variable and ramps up and down depending on what its sensing as static pressure and how much gas is burning... stuff like that which are true efficiency measures, nest can not do

100% variable? That's interesting. I don't think I've seen one with a DC blower motor before. Maybe may new system does. It's only 6 months old and hopefully many more years before I'll have to worry about repairs.

Tech Greek said,
It does do multi-stage HVAC though.

It doesn't support communicating systems. Basically, each component of the HVAC system tells each other what it is, along with what neufuse said above. So instead of installing an air handler and flipping a series of switches in it to set the tonnage of the outdoor unit, it does it automatically once you put power to the system.

I'm hoping they add the communicating feature in with the third generation because we've had people buy our communicating systems and inquire about the Nest, but we can't install it.

The only systems I've come across are two stage which are hi-low compressor/blower settings in the HVAC system - unless you're talking about something that outputs a sensitive .1v variable voltage signal to the blower motor to tell it at what RPM to run.

EDIT: Sounds like you have a much more advanced heater system but a traditional two stage AC. I'm not sure on yours, you would be better off contacting nest, but by the sounds of your heater system costs more than most peoples vehicles. Links? I'd love to see it

He's talking about a gas burner. My gas is a two stage but I have no idea about the blower speed. If it's continuous variable it would have to be a DC motor. The next level up added a two stage heat pump compressor but the efficiency improvements from that were not remotely worth the cost difference.

My heat and AC are also two stage, but I was assuming he was talking about an extremely adjustable blower motor RPM speed. I don't know of any system that'll control that short of what an OEM unit would (but I've also never seen one out on site in anyone's attics either which is weird because I've been in multi-billion dollar homes where the attics are bigger than my entire house)

Actually, I have a mini-split system at my office down town. It has a spot for trigger wires just a like a regular AC unit, I'm willing to bet you could use the same if yours has one and just make sure it feeds the proper voltage to the nest unit to power it up and charge the battery.

And with that being said, this gives me an idea.

What a huge waste of money. I laughed when they announced all their initial "advanced" features that were also in my 20 some year old Honeywell Chronotherm III. It's basically a $99 thermostat they throw a lot of marketing behind and convince you it's worth $250. I laughed even harder when I saw that joke of an overpriced smoke detector.

You guys really need to smell the stuff your shoveling. I have 3 of these things in my house and they are 1 Million % worth the $$. I have personally saved more in heating and cooling costs than I paid for all 3. No Honeywell can compare to the feature and AI that the nest has. If you don't know what your talking about... Keep your mouth shut.

I have a 3M-50 in my house and while it works, the setup and function is without a doubt below the Nest. I had a question during setup on a Nest with heat pump and was actually able to speak to a human, on a Sunday. I personally could not justify the extra $150 for the Nest but I have to say its setup and use could not be easier.

You guys need help. Nest is one of the greatest with their tech right now. With Nest, you don't need a browser. Any thermo with an app is great. But Nest is trying to give us unification with our needs at home. Next thing you know, they have a great Nest Safety for preventing break-ins and whatnot.

lucifer_Mendez said,
You guys really need to smell the stuff your shoveling. I have 3 of these things in my house and they are 1 Million % worth the $$. I have personally saved more in heating and cooling costs than I paid for all 3. No Honeywell can compare to the feature and AI that the nest has. If you don't know what your talking about... Keep your mouth shut.

I know you don't want to feel like you've been ripped off but denying facts and personal attacks won't help.

Mr.XXIV said,
You guys need help. Nest is one of the greatest with their tech right now. With Nest, you don't need a browser. Any thermo with an app is great. But Nest is trying to give us unification with our needs at home. Next thing you know, they have a great Nest Safety for preventing break-ins and whatnot.

You forgot the /s

Cyborg_X said,
I have a 3M-50 in my house and while it works, the setup and function is without a doubt below the Nest. I had a question during setup on a Nest with heat pump and was actually able to speak to a human, on a Sunday. I personally could not justify the extra $150 for the Nest but I have to say its setup and use could not be easier.

Usually you get the people installing your HVAC system to do the setup. The thermostat is programmed and tested for the HVAC hardware by the manufacturer. My system is dual fuel multi-stage with a set of external and internal environmental sensors so it needs a control box that understands what all those inputs mean and how best to drive the system using them.

Mr. Hand said,
What a huge waste of money. I laughed when they announced all their initial "advanced" features that were also in my 20 some year old Honeywell Chronotherm III. It's basically a $99 thermostat they throw a lot of marketing behind and convince you it's worth $250. I laughed even harder when I saw that joke of an overpriced smoke detector.

I'm sorry, but the advanced technology found in the Nest was not also in your 20 year old Honeywell. I know for a fact that the Chronotherm can't even detect what type of system it's plugged into, or tell me what wire I'm not getting 24 volts on because of a short.

I know that something being overpriced is subjective, and I agree that when the Nest first came out it was a bit steep, but after seeing the competition I think the $250 is pretty competitive. I mean, for only $100 less you can get a somewhat comparable thermostat, but it comes with a monochrome third-class touchscreen.

I've spoken to a few representatives from different manufacturers, and they all agree that the Nest was a wake up call. Some have spent the past two years coming up with their answer to the Nest, and they're still not ready to announce what it is. All they can say is that their thermostat is not round.

You also have other manufacturers that have rushed their answer to the market, and it's still not up to snuff. Honeywell's answer to the Nest is priced the same, but has a build quality that I find similar to a knock-off. The touchscreen is comparable to the one found in a Nintendo DS, the casing it comes in is cheap plastic, and the UI is lacking. But I can pick that background color to match my favorite sports team! If you throw in another $100, you can get the same model that has voice control, but I don't know anyone who wants to yell at their furnace from across the house.

benthebear said,

but I don't know anyone who wants to yell at their furnace from across the house.

Probably the same dorks that like to talk to their game consoles.

froggyliver said,
I am interested which LED bulbs the author bought. I am looking for descent ones that are bright enough and don't cost $40 each!

Look at the band the light operates in. For the best 'home' environment you want WARM light, which is very low, like 2700K. If you are working you want COOL light, like 7000K or higher. WARM light is yelllow'y and warm feeling, easy on the eyes so to speak. COOL light is blue and cold feeling, giving an office or warehouse feel. Heres good reading: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_temperature

Once you know what range of lights you want, phillips makes very good ones I've found for $5 a piece at my local hardware store. Just seen they are starting to make them sorta donut-shaped now, of course dimmable and all. Costco sells decent 50W MR16 prong ones for ~$10 a pop. quick check of amazon I see a ton for around $8-10 of all wattages, shapes, sizes and features. If you're in Montana as your profile claims I have no idea where you are shopping thats gouging you 75%.

froggyliver said,
I am interested which LED bulbs the author bought. I am looking for descent ones that are bright enough and don't cost $40 each!

just grabbed some nice LED bulbs from Costco for a sale of 3 for 9.99 .. Dimmable as well

Unfortunately that's the state of the technology. If you need bright, LEDs aren't really the way to go yet. They'll call it a "60 watt replacement" but they're really pushing that definition. You have to look only at the lumens and nothing else they claim.

Mr. Hand said,
Unfortunately that's the state of the technology. If you need bright, LEDs aren't really the way to go yet. They'll call it a "60 watt replacement" but they're really pushing that definition. You have to look only at the lumens and nothing else they claim.

you need to look at newer bulbs.... HALO and Cree LED's are awesome, I can get 100 watt 1200 lumens equivalent from a 14 watt LED bulb now and get them as low as 2700K to be almost indistinguishable to incandescent I just did an entire basement with these and you can NOT tell they are not normal reflector lights in my recessed cans and dimming is just as good as incandescent now too if you get one of these better more recent bulbs

1200 lumen would be a 75 watt equivalent. You usually get 1600 with a 100 watt. What's the cost on those? I've only been about to find 600 lumen for around $40 which is more of 40 watt replacement.

600 lumen is ~50w replacement, and you can get them for 9$ at IKEA (oddly, the only place that seems to sell a 600 lumen LED)

800 is the minimum to be considered a 60w equivalent. Cree and Philips make price competitive dimmable and non dimmable option at this brightness for ~12-15$ per bulb (and the price is dropping fast)

1100 is the minimum for a 75w equivalent, and the space for this is strange, but the Philips LED bulb for this range seems to have come down somewhat in price to ~24$

1600 lumen is a 100w equivalent, Philips makes one at this brightness and costs 30$ (I just got one a few months ago)

You should not be paying 40$ per bulb for 600 lumens these days unless you are getting a network attached, colour variable bulb (Like the Philips Hue)

gohatters said,
These are very cool, but it would take quite a while to make your money back on the cost of it with energy savings.

You don't make the cost back.

Energy companies aren't stupid. In the hypothetical universe where everyone wakes up tomorrow in their houses which are now twice as energy efficient, the first bill you receive from the energy provider will, as if by magic, charge you twice as much for each kWh you use.

If the company is in private hands they exist to make money and lots of it. In fact they prefer to increase profit and revenue over time. This is inconsistent with the idea of the end consumer ever "saving".

Tin foil hat time?

First of all, the energy companies here at least in the US, their prices are regulated by the government, they cannot just change the price per kW. Actually recently they some of them in the south-east went and asked for a price increase and they were denied. Do to the nature of electricity, they cannot out-price the consumers, since they are regional and power companies do not over-lap service areas if they over-priced their commodity they would lose customers and create a health issue for those residents.

What would you rather make, $100 a month, or $0 a month. Well if you are making $100 a month now, and raise your price to $200 a month, people won't be able to afford it, guess what.. you get $0 a month from them..

ROFLCOPTERS said,

You don't make the cost back.

Energy companies aren't stupid. In the hypothetical universe where everyone wakes up tomorrow in their houses which are now twice as energy efficient, the first bill you receive from the energy provider will, as if by magic, charge you twice as much for each kWh you use.

If the company is in private hands they exist to make money and lots of it. In fact they prefer to increase profit and revenue over time. This is inconsistent with the idea of the end consumer ever "saving".

Yeah as said before, here as well prices are centrally regulated, there's some local ability to adjust over and under but at the end of the year they have to be within what they say they should have charged or they have to undercharge next year to make up.

And actually they don't increase prices when you use less power, they charge more when people start using more power to prevent people from using to much.

Installed one of these at the in-laws house over the weekend. Hard to believe a thermostat can be this sexy. Jealous, but not enough to drop 250 on it.

techbeck said,
Yea, for that cost...I will stick with my manual programmable thermostat.

Agreed. I picked a Honeywell M-F/SS programmable thermostat for $40 this year and have been pleased. It's setup to lower energy usage when we are scheduled to be away, and its easy to temporary set it to whatever temperature you need. The investment was worthwhile as my energy usage did go down about 5-10%. (Sucks that energy PRICES went up 5-10% so I broke even with last year, lol).

I think the appeal of Nest is more aesthetic than functionality. It is a really nice eye-popping device, no doubt. But I'm with you in the "not worth $250" boat.

You don't have to spend that. Around $100 will get you an adaptive thermostat. A little bit more if you want wifi but really I don't see that being useful beyond the initial novelty. The Honeywell RTH6580WF wifi model is going for $112 on Amazon right now.

Mr. Hand said,
You don't have to spend that. Around $100 will get you an adaptive thermostat. A little bit more if you want wifi but really I don't see that being useful beyond the initial novelty. The Honeywell RTH6580WF wifi model is going for $112 on Amazon right now.

I guess I don't understand the advantages of an "adaptive" thermostat over a programmed one. I had always assumed that the adaptive one was just easier to use for someone who doesn't want to go through the programming steps of a programmed one. Are there other advantages?

Most folks have a pretty set schedule. I know when about I go to bed, wake up, go to work, and come home. I think I would rather set the temperature of these time frames directly but I am intrigued by these adaptive thermostats. I almost bought one but couldn't see any clear benefits so I went with the cheaper M-F/SS scheduled one.

The adaptive ones learn when best to run the system. For example, say you want it to be 70 degrees at 6pm, it will figure out over time when to start heating or cooling to hit that temperature at that time. If it was totally manual, you would have to guess how much earlier to set it to reach your target on time. Mine (Honeywell) also has outside temperature and humidity inputs to help it make decisions. It's a dual fuel system, so it decides when best to use the heat pump or natural gas. Newer systems also tend to have more than one output level, so it manages that too. This is old technology, so you may already have it if you have a digital thermostat.

Mr. Hand said,
The adaptive ones learn when best to run the system. For example, say you want it to be 70 degrees at 6pm, it will figure out over time when to start heating or cooling to hit that temperature at that time. If it was totally manual, you would have to guess how much earlier to set it to reach your target on time. Mine (Honeywell) also has outside temperature and humidity inputs to help it make decisions. It's a dual fuel system, so it decides when best to use the heat pump or natural gas. Newer systems also tend to have more than one output level, so it manages that too. This is old technology, so you may already have it if you have a digital thermostat.

So I have mine set to 65 deg F while I'm at work, and then 70 degree F when I come home from work. I come home at work at 6pm, but I have it kick on at about 5:30pm so that it is at the temperature I want when I get home. So by using an adaptive one like this it might learn that it can get from 65 to 70 in less than 30 mins and cut down the energy usage? Or is it more of a ramp up to 70 deg F starting even earlier? I've heard that going 100% duty can lead to heavy energy usage.... like, going down to 65 and maintaining during the day is probably OK, but going down to 30 or 40 deg F and then having to go full blast 100% duty for an extended period of time to get back to 70 when I get home would probably result in wasted energy.

You'd have to break out the engineering documents to see how a particular usage pattern impacts energy usage. The whole point is with the adaptive system those matrixes are integrated into the software so you don't have to worry about it. You only have to enter what temperature you want when and it figures out the best way to do it in the current conditions.

It has a smart time estimate. If you want it set to be at 70F when you get home at 6PM it'll automatically start it EARLIER than that to get it to the SET temperature of what you want it to be at when you walk in the door.

I found that instead of changing the thermostat constantly everyday that it figured out the changes that I made and applied them in an intelligent way to the schedule, automatically.

I look at my app now maybe once a day, max and that's just to see what the energy usage has been. My adjustments are little to none at this point (it does take time for the AI to learn everything so don't expect instant results, it shows you this in the status when it says "learning").

My work schedule changes constantly personally, one day I may be home at 3 PM and the next 9 PM. So if I work late I can always use the app to end the auto-away mode before I start my drive home, by the time I get home life is good and the sensors detect my motion and keep it out of autoaway.

I'm not sure what "it" is. The adaptive features have been available at least since the 80s when the previous HVAC system in my house was installed. Anything beyond the dirt cheap ones do it. It doesn't take much of a microprocessor to crunch that kind of data.

I don't think my current Honeywell controller has any adaptive features but I haven't really looked. I think it is just operating as an on/off controller, but I may be wrong.

Setting aside potential energy usage issues, would something like this NEST learning thermostat or another adaptive learning system work better at making the room more comfortable? I.e., more stable temperature throughout the house? I'm not real sure how much my current setup varies room-to-room, but at the thermostat judging by its own indicator it doesn't appear to vary more than about plus or minus 1 degree F from the set point.

Shadrack said,
I don't think my current Honeywell controller has any adaptive features but I haven't really looked. I think it is just operating as an on/off controller, but I may be wrong.

What's the model? Even my Honeywell from the 80s I just replaced did it.

That was one of my main issues before, my $100 Honeywell Programmable Digital Thermostat would say 74 (and my honeywell never had any adaptive learning, period).

The Nest would put the temperature at 72, the AC/HEAT cycles a lot more consistent for me, so yes I would say so, plus any modifications you make to adjust the temperature to fit your needs will influence the auto scheduling.

Tech Greek said,
That was one of my main issues before, my $100 Honeywell Programmable Digital Thermostat would say 74 (and my honeywell never had any adaptive learning, period).

What's the model number? Stop declaring and provide facts.

Tech Greek said,
That was one of my main issues before, my $100 Honeywell Programmable Digital Thermostat would say 74 (and my honeywell never had any adaptive learning, period).

I can't say off the top of my head how long they've been doing it, but the most basic Honeywell comes with, "Adaptive Intelligent Recovery." Since your home was built in 2009, I'd bet a crisp Benjamin that your Honeywell had it.

Cyborg_X said,
Installed one of these at the in-laws house over the weekend. Hard to believe a thermostat can be this sexy. Jealous, but not enough to drop 250 on it.

To bad it doesn't support IR so it can't control heat pumps. But then again lowering heat at night and when at work with a air to air heat pump is counter productive as it costs more to hear up the room/house than to keep it warm.

Cyborg_X said,
Installed one of these at the in-laws house over the weekend. Hard to believe a thermostat can be this sexy. Jealous, but not enough to drop 250 on it.
It's worth it just because it's so easy to control. I cannot stand how unimaginably unusable most thermostats are. That and it took me literally 5 minutes to install it.

It is pricey, yes, but it has definitely lowered both my AC and heating costs by at least $10-20 a month, which means it will pay for itself pretty soon.

Not sure, you can go dig it out of the Shreveport garbage dump if you like and find out. I own an IT Consulting company, I'm pretty sure I could figure out my own thermostat considering I host a 40 server Hyper-V Cluster at my office

EDIT: This wasn't the OEM Honeywell, this was a generic $100 one at Lowes. They still sell the same model. I don't know why the previous owner replaced it - I'm sure they tried to figure out the cooling issues.

SECOND EDIT: http://www.lowes.com/ProductDi...;rel=nofollow&cId=PDIO1

That looks like the one I threw away. The honeywell unit I had could have the recovery deal activated but that's not what I was referring to in my post. The nest will actually move your scheduled time points around and change temperatures based on what you modify your self and how you adjust your thermostat.

Edited by Tech Greek, Dec 18 2013, 7:49am :

Mr. Hand said,
I'm not sure what "it" is. The adaptive features have been available at least since the 80s when the previous HVAC system in my house was installed. Anything beyond the dirt cheap ones do it. It doesn't take much of a microprocessor to crunch that kind of data.

When you say adaptive learning, are you referring to something like a PID controller that is autotuning?

Tech Greek said,
Not sure, you can go dig it out of the Shreveport garbage dump if you like and find out. I own an IT Consulting company, I'm pretty sure I could figure out my own thermostat considering I host a 40 server Hyper-V Cluster at my office

EDIT: This wasn't the OEM Honeywell, this was a generic $100 one at Lowes. They still sell the same model. I don't know why the previous owner replaced it - I'm sure they tried to figure out the cooling issues.

SECOND EDIT: http://www.lowes.com/ProductDi...;rel=nofollow&cId=PDIO1

That looks like the one I threw away. The honeywell unit I had could have the recovery deal activated but that's not what I was referring to in my post. The nest will actually move your scheduled time points around and change temperatures based on what you modify your self and how you adjust your thermostat.

I'm sorry, it took me 24 hours to realize that you said adaptive learning. I was talking about something else because my brain saw adaptive, and it went in another direction. Totally my bad, I was about to ask if you were going to provide the shovel to go through the garbage dump.