A few months ago, I signed up for the Nest Thermostat waiting list. I received it recently. The Nest is the current darling of the tech blogs. It was invented when the guy who created the first few generations of iPod and iPhone was looking for a thermostat. After spending a lot of money on a fancy house with fancy eco-friendly heating and cooling, he simply could not find a thermostat he liked. So he started a company to create one.
If you’re interested, you can find more information about it on their website. The main highlight is the slick interface. Like the old mercury thermostats, it’s a housing with a ring. Like an iPod, the ring is really a click-wheel. Like an iPhone, it has a full color display, lots of sensors, and connects to WiFi.
I know that countless blogs have gone over the unboxing. I find unboxings, in general, incredibly dull, so will skip that part. The most difficult part of installation happened before I even started doing anything with the Nest. The previous thermostat was wedged in a corner, next to a bookshelf. I felt the Nest would work better a little more centrally located, so I had to reroute the wire. Fortunately, that section of wall is fairly hollow, containing a heating duct. A little clever work with a coathanger and wire snake helped move the underlying cable from that bit of lathe-and-plaster wall to the other bit of drywall.
The install itself was incredibly easy. I love how they added a bubble level to the base. I’m sure it raised the unit cost by a few pennies, but I really appreciate that little detail. The wires just go into friction-fit terminal blocks and the base screws into the wall.
My one complaint is that the drywall anchors that came with the kit felt a bit cheap. One of them got stripped before I got it all the way in. I had to wedge a flathead screwdriver into it to finish it up.
The other simply cracked before going in all the way.
Fortunately, I keep a few spare odds and ends.
Once the base is attached to the wall, the unit itself snaps in. It steps you through the setup process. When entering a secure WiFi password, the rotary dial acts like an old Dymo labeler. It’s lovely and novel, but a bit awkward to enter long, secure passwords.
I have only had it for a couple of days, but so far, I like it.
There is an iPhone and Web app for monitor and controlling.
(That display actually mimics the current time of day and weather. The Nest checks in on these things because they affect how it might optimize the inside temperature.)