— Around The Home
Nest Labs releases upgraded version of its Learning Thermostat
The second generation of Tony Fadell's Nest Learning Thermostat will be shipping soon
Apple fans with vivid imaginations love to dream up all kinds of fictional Apple products. iCars, iFridges, and iBoats may never see the light of day, but there is one home appliance that requires a bit less imagination. Former Apple exec Tony Fadell, who was instrumental in creating the iPod, brought his Cupertino schooling to the world of thermostats. The resulting original Nest thermostat was a hit, and – much like with an iPhone or iPad – its sequel is here, nearly a year later.
The second-generation Nest is 20 percent thinner than its predecessor, and, according to the company's presser, is "compatible with 95 percent of low-voltage residential heating and cooling systems." It also sports a stainless steel ring, which will (theoretically) reflect your wall's natural color, creating a more seamless aesthetic.
Like the first-generation Nest, the device is internet-enabled and can be controlled remotely via an app. It adjusts your house's temperature based on factors like time of day. Where it diverges from other smart thermostats, though, is with its simpler, slicker interface, and its relatively easy installation. It can also sync with a smartphone app (available for iOS and Android) to adjust the temperature when you leave or return home.
Until Phil Schiller makes a dishwasher, Nest may be the most Apple-esque home appliance
It's easy to joke about an Apple-like thermostat, but Nest has been a force to be reckoned with. A 2011 study by Scientific American (via CNET) concluded that most smart thermostats don't lower customers' energy bills by much due to their complicated controls. Much like with the MP3 player, smartphone, and tablet markets before Apple stepped in, Fadell saw an opportunity for simplification – and pounced.
The original Nest has (according to the company) been a best-seller at Lowe's and Amazon. It was also picked up by Apple as a third-party product sold in its online store. The new Nest is available for pre-order (for US$249) on the company's website, and will ship to North American customers in mid-October.
Have you picked up a Nest thermostat? If so, did your energy bill drop after making the switch? Let us know in those comments!
Source: Nest via Uncrate
About the Author
Will Shanklin is Gizmag's Mobile Tech Editor, and has been part of the team since 2012. Before finding a home at Gizmag, he had stints at a number of other sites, including Android Central, Geek and the Huffington Post.
Will has a Master's degree from U.C. Irvine and a Bachelor's from West Virginia University. He currently lives in New Mexico with his wife, Jessica.
All articles by Will Shanklin
Will, where the Nest diverges from other smart thermostats, though, is not the slick interface nor its simply installation, but it's unmatched ability to program itself. It takes a week or so to learn your preferences, and then anticipates them from then on. It can even determine when you are not home and adjust itself on-the-fly, automatically.
The typical smart thermostat can not "learn". The Nest is, at the moment, in a class of it's own.
My power bill has dropped an average of %30 percent year over year. The ability to change the schedule easily or alter the temp on the go is super helpful. I think the Auto Away feature and AirWave save me the most money. It's more than paid for itself this summer.
One issue that is not addressed by virtually any programmable thermostat - is it heat pump compatible? A serious flaw and misconception about most programmable thermostats ("Consumer Reports" even misses this fact) is that setting back the thermostat temperature more than a degree or two during the heating season will result in the heat pump starting in the "Emergency Heat" phase when the set back period ends. This action uses very high-wattage heating strips until the temperature approaches the set temperature. The power company will love you for this. Your bank account will not.
I got a Nest thermostat about a month ago, just in time for the temps to drop enough to no longer need cooling, but not quite enough to need heat. However, since I live in Indiana, my little Nest will have plenty of time to prove it's worth over the winter.
It learned my schedule very quickly, and is easy to re-program using the iPhone app. I've turned it on and off remotely, and re-adjusted the schedule because my away schedule changed.
All Hal references aside, so far, I'm completely in love with Nest.
SteveJobsSon, I just read on Nest's website that v 2.0 is compatible with heat pumps, here's the text:
"Heat Pump Balance — Nest’s exclusive Heat Pump Balance feature optimizes how often you need to use expensive auxiliary (AUX) heat. Just choose whether you want more comfort or more savings, and Heat Pump Balance will automatically adjust when AUX heat comes on."
So there's an app for it? Is the app smart enough to sync the Nest thermostat with your calendar that is in your smartphone? For an example, if I have a dentist appointment at 3pm-5pm on Saturday, the thermostat would lower the heating temp at 3pm and crank the heat back up in time for my 5pm return?
I acquired 2 for my multi-zone a/c house and had a new love affair with HVAC controller. It with out hesitation has reduced my power bill in Orlando Fla where summertime heat averages 96 degrees. The savings on average was at least a third based on the weather so 2011 June's bill 645.00 June 2012 310.00 the new improved away with a swipe on my iphone will probably get even better results. It appears the ironic issue with the new airport extreme not working with the nest is gone. The monthly reports are very useful issued showing usage on any given day and I expect in January from year to year?
I really don't understand why people are buying this fancy expensive toy which you could live without. If you leave home, why can't you just turn off the AC or heater and turn it on when you come back home? Most thermostat even allow you to schedule the on and off time if you really that lazy to do it. Totally waste of money in my view.
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