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Nest Thermostat: Away Handling Wishlist

December 31, 2012

I just posted a summary of my experience after having lived with the Nest Thermostat for a month. In short, it’s aesthetically pleasing and it does have some nice features, but in my case at least there are still some glitches that need worked out.

But what about features you might expect but are completely lacking?  Here are a few things on my Nest wishlist, all pertaining to its handling of (manual) Away:

  • Scheduling “Away”:  I’d like to be able to tell Nest that I expect to be gone , rather than the fact that I am currently “away”.  For example, my family and I were out of town for a couple of days for Christmas.  I would have liked to have been able to tell Nest that I was going to be gone — say, the night before when I was sitting on my couch doing nothing — instead of having to remember to tell it I was “away” as I walked out the door (which I did remember).
  • Scheduling “Return”: More importantly, I’d like to tell Nest when I expect to be home — and at what temperature I want my house to be when I get home.  One of the nice features about Nest is that when you make a manual adjustment on the physical device, it gives you feedback indicating when it expects the house to reach that temperature, and if scheduling your Nest, you can tell it to reach a temp by a certain time, rather than to start heating/cooling at a specific time — both pretty cool.  Wouldn’t it be nice to tell Nest “I’m away now, but I expect to be home at this day/time and I would like my house to be at its regularly scheduled temperature”?  As it stands, you have to remember to tell Nest that you are home ahead of being home if you care about the temperature when you get there.  (And with a winter-time “Away” setting of 50 degrees, you might care).  This is actually pretty important: because as things are now, you not only have to remember to tell Nest you’re home ahead of time, you have to time it right so as to not waste a bunch of energy or to come home to an uncomfortable house.
  • Overriding Away: I’d like Nest to tell me (estimate) when it expects to have my house “back to normal” if/when I manually disable “Away”.   True story: I was at my in-laws for Christmas.  We decided to head home (a 2.5-hour drive) Christmas night because of a bad storm expected the next morning.  Thankfully my wife reminded me to tell the Nest we were home before we left, which I did and happily reported, but I had no answer to her query: “What’s the temperature going to be when we get home?”  You see,  I had let the Nest keep the house at 50 degrees while we were away — a fact I shared with my extended family-in-law.  The whole drive home my loving wife suggested the Nest might be the worst she ever bestowed on anyone, and threatened me with unpleasant things should the house be unacceptable to her when we got home.  (Thankfully I have a new furnace and it was able to heat my house almost 30 degrees in three hours).  Point being, I would have preferred to have some idea from Nest what expectations I should have — it should know!

These are all perhaps a bit nitpicky, but I bought the Nest because I heard it was the “Apple” of thermostats, and these feel like basic usability things to me that I frankly expected they would have anticipated and worked out by now (this is a second generation device, after all).

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From → HVAC

One Comment
  1. davis permalink

    I’ve had one for 6 months now and after about the second month it started to know how long it would take to warm the house. If my wife gets home early and she turns the dial, it says 72 in 2.5 hrs. If she is leaving again in 1/2 hr, she puts it back down to 65.

    Sounds like your wife is fairly temperature sensitive (like mine).
    I solved the wife issue with 3 things, 1. Putting a little space heater under her desk. She’s mostly cold when she’s not moving like when she is front of the PC.

    2. Sending her to buy a super snuggly blanket for in front of the tv.

    3. Saying if she is cold, I could warm her up. wink wink. She never mentioned shes cold again!@

    I do like the nest very much and will be putting them in my work.

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