Monday, December 24, 2018

Installing The Nest Gen 3 Learning Thermostat

With my successful installation of the Nest Gen 3 learning thermostat, Phase 1 of my smart home plan is complete. Wal-Mart was running a deal where you could buy a Nest 3 and a Google Home Hub for $300. Since the Nest Gen 3 usually runs about $250 and the Google Home Hub usually runs about $150, I felt that this was too good a deal to pass up. Plus, my electric company will give me a $125 rebate on the Nest Gen 3.

Before you even buy a Nest, you need to check your existing thermostat wiring in order to make sure that your system is compatible. In order to do that, you just have to pull your thermostat off of the wall. Once that's done, take note of the letters pogs that your wires are going into. You will also want to note if you're using a cross over cable to connect two pogs together. As you can see in the picture of my own wiring, I've got a crossover between RC and RH. Otherwise, I've got wires going in to G, W, and Y (and instead of my Y wire being yellow, it's orange). Once you've got your wiring properly documented, head on over to the Nest website and check out the Nest Compatibility Checker.

So, assuming you have a compatible system, installation is a snap. It took me less than 10 minutes. First and foremost, TURN OFF YOUR FURNACE before you begin the installation. You should have a service switch somewhere near your furnace, but, if you don't you can still turn it off at the breaker box. Once the furnace is off, get the wires out of your existing thermostat. You'll want to make sure you document which color wire goes in to which letter pog. Nest provides you with a bunch of stickers that you can wrap around the wires, but, it may be less of a hassle to just take a picture and refer back to it.

My own system seems to have had at least one other thermostat attached to it at some point, so the area around the thermostat has some screw scarring. If this is the case for you too, you can make use of the included mounting bracket that will cover up various nicks and wounds around the thermostat. Then, you partially mount the Nest backing and place the wires into their corresponding places. There's no need for a screwdriver here. You just hold the pin down and push the wire in until it clicks. Once you get all of the wires in their proper places, you place the Nest control panel onto the backing and turn the power back to the furnace. Nest will then take you through the initial configuration which includes creating an account on which will help you control the thermostat from the Internet and will also integrate it into Google Home.

It hasn't even been 24 hours since my install, but I'm already loving this thing. At the very least, the ambient temperature sensor seems to be more accurate than the one that was in my old thermostat. And I like that I can set the thermostat over the Internet. It also has an option to use my phone's location to determine when I'm away and lower the home temperature accordingly. In order to use this feature properly, I'll need to get everyone's phone connected, but I haven't gotten buy-in from everyone in the house yet. I'm told it feels a bit too much like "Big Brother" watching. I say, if Big Brother wants to know when I'm driving to work and when I'm driving back, more power to him, so long as the house is at a comfortable temperature when I walk in.

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