Should You Really Buy a Nest Thermostat for Your Apartment


Should You Really Buy a Nest Thermostat for Your Apartment

It is not news to anyone of us who are accustomed to receiving high energy bills every month, quarter or whatever the timeslots that your energy company follows. I being at the receiving end of the bills and responsible in my household to go about paying for these utilities, I always thought to myself; what in essence is going on that ramps up the bills to such a staggering figure at the end of each quarter. All of this was a mystery, and to some, it could still even be one. In this article I would be sharing the total experience I embarked myself on by substituting my dud dumb old thermostat into a smart Nest Thermostat. Do not forget to read the entire article to find out how this has helped me, and primarily it would help you in cutting those high energy bills.

So the question would be, is the NEST smart thermostat really worth the investment for your tiny apartment? The plain and simple answer to that is, “YES”! It is. Phew, since we got that out of the way. The explanation behind that is since the nest thermostat is designed in such a unique and extravagant way that it gives you great control over how your heating and HVAC system works and operates. The NEST thermostat is a self-learning device that is capable of learning and implementing the changes and mods you and your housemates are accustomed to. It goes through a learning curve and eventually ends up playing its role by controlling the temperatures without you interfering with the device. Most of all, it is a great and one of the best investments you could do if you too are on your journey to make your living space smart living space, or by which our blog smartnutter.com goes, a SMART HOME! The price of a NEST thermostat varies from anywhere between $200 to $290. Depending on which generation of NEST thermostat you opt to go for. But in all honesty, I would recommend you shell out that extra buck; and go for the 3rd generation NEST thermostat as it is equipped with more features and gives you better control over your ecosystem.

Do not be swayed away with the fact that a NEST smart thermostat wouldn’t benefit you if you are living in an apartment and not a house. It is well suited for small environments too. It is always best to check with your landlord or go through your tenancy agreement to assure you are not violating any conditions by installing your very own NEST thermostat. Realistically, it shouldn’t be a problem and on the other hand; almost all the landlords cherish the gesture of you being able to deploy your very own smart thermostat to control the billing. After all, you are being billed by the company and not the landlord for your energy consumptions; so hey! Why would the landlord have any problem; right?

Difference between a Normal Thermostat and the Nest Thermostat

The differences are enormous, to be honest. To begin with, if you have a standard thermostat installed in your apartment; you never know if it’s working in its top condition and whether it is efficient in controlling the environment around your residence or not. Thus resulting in higher energy consumptions that do not reciprocate well in your monthly or quarterly bills. This in result also cranks up the system and therefore not being able to control the environment would ultimately result in higher energy bills. This is a gamble which we all don’t want to play, and quite frankly, this might be happening with your particular thermostat as we speak. You wouldn’t be reading this article of mine if it wasn’t for this very problem!

Not having the control over your thermostat, or let me put it this way! If you do not know how your thermostat is performing; then you can very quickly also assume that the HVAC system that you have in your apartment could very well be running at similar temperature throughout the day even though there is nobody present at home. Since you do not know if your traditional thermostat is performing accurately or not, is a gamble and almost 3 out of 10 people that I had interviewed in my neighbourhood didn’t know if their thermostat is acting in its designed state or not.

This happens due to multiple reasons.

  1. The thermostat installed in your apartment is quite an old one
  2. The thermostat had no maintenance performed on it
  3. The coils in the thermostat need replacement
  4. The battery in the thermostat needs replacement
  5. Many more!

What happens when your thermostat is not performing in its top shape? All of the above. And what do you end up with? Hefty Bills. Not paying them is not an option, and good luck convincing your energy company that you haven’t even used the electricity or gas that equated to such a spike in the bill.

All of these problems are well addressed by the tech-nerds and engineers at the NEST organisation. They very well knew about this problem and developed a marvellous piece of technology which is most commonly known as the NEST THERMOSTAT. This device is capable of addressing all of the issues mentioned above, and not only that; but also limits the use of energy when it detects that no one is present in the apartment. NEST Thermostats are equipped with the state of the art technological components that allow it to function in the most energy-efficient ways and also maintain comfortability throughout your apartment at the same time. Well, hello smart home!

The NEST thermostat learns and adapts to the ways you want your apartment’s temperature to be controlled and maintained. It then automatically ramps up the temperature just about when you are to reach back home and then toggles it to OFF or to the lowest possible setting to maintain the climate in your apartment during your absence. On top of this, the NEST thermostat is capable of push notifications and alerts to your smartphone, thus keeping you updated with what goes on around your apartment climate-wise.

Can You Install a Nest Thermostat in Your Apartment without Any Fuss?

Can You Install a Nest Thermostat in Your Apartment without Any Fuss

The simple and plain answer is “YES”. The only constraint is that you should both morally and legally talk to your landlord and request for their approval before you disassemble that traditional thermostat from your apartment. Most of the landlords have no issues with you installing a smart device in their apartments, so I bet that shouldn’t be a problem. It is always better to be safe than sorry later on, isn’t it?

The installation process of a NEST thermostat is quite a straightforward one. You do not need to be a trained or a certified electrician to install your new smart device in place of the old thermostat. You do not require any additional wirings either to hook up your new thermostat. The old installation would work just fine.

Time to disassemble the traditional thermostat that you have in your apartment and hook up the shiny new NEST thermostat to its place. Remember, the electrical cables do carry current within them. So if you do not know what you are doing, then my suggestion would be to call a certified electrician to install the new NEST thermostat for you. Let us not get into a situation where we end up getting shocked from the naked wiring that gets exposed when you tasked up to remove the old thermostat from the wall.

One another pro tip is never to throw away the old thermostat. This is just in case

  1. Your NEST thermostat stops functioning or malfunctions. You can then easily connect the old one and keep the temperature-controlled instead of having both the HVAC and the heating system shut down entirely.
  2. In almost all of the cases when your landlord permits you to remove the already provided thermostat in your apartment, you would very well be asked to connect it back once you leave the occupied residence.

All in all, do not throw your old thermostat away in any case. You might end up getting charged a hefty amount that would come straight out from your security deposit if you do not return the apartment in the state in which it was let to you.  Just keep it somewhere safe!

What Are the Benefits of Installing A NEST Thermostat in Your Apartment?

I am not a paid publisher for NEST, but the following is based on real personal experience and has immensely helped me to enjoy the benefits.

Here we go:

Considerable Energy Savings

Like any other smart device, you should let it go through the learning curve. Only then it adapts and adjusts itself accordingly. Knowing which, you would be glad to know that the NEST thermostat not only helps you regulate the climate in your apartment, but it also enables you to reduce your utility bills. How it does that you may ask?

There is a built-in motion detection feature in the NEST thermostat that senses if people are around in the apartment. Once it assures that no one is present in the studio, it dials back on the heating and the air-conditioning, thus giving you better control over your bills since the thermostat would only ramp up the temperature to make it cold or hot when it senses there are people in the household.

Let us now consider an avid example here. Given that you have installed the NEST thermostat in your apartment, and all are working to the “T”. But you are about to reach home, and it starts raining cats and dogs. You know for sure that the heating would not be able to adjust itself automatically since your NEST thermostat is attuned to set the temperature according to your day to day requirements. You wouldn’t want to end up in a freezing cold apartment now would you due to this sudden drop in temperatures due to the rain?

Worry not! You can seamlessly control your NEST thermostat using the app that comes along with it. All you need to do is to install it from the Apple Store or if you are an Android user, from the Google PlayStore. And you can ramp up the heating remotely via the app in your apartment with its help. Once you reach home, you would have a warm environment that you would walk in to.

On top of this, the NEST thermostat integrates seamlessly with the GPS on your smartphone. Once it detects that you close by, the thermostat would fire up the heating or the cooling system; whichever is the season of the year; and adjust the temperature inside your apartment without you needing to worry about.

What if you are not comfortable with allowing the thermostat to access your GPS location? This is a whole lot of a different debate, and I would be drafting a complete article on what information do the smart devices as a whole has got access to and how one should respond to such disclaimers. But that is for another article.

Leaving the GPS access enabled allows a plethora of benefits. The GPS feature of the NEST thermostat is mainly divided into two concepts through which the device operates and knows when you are reaching near your apartment or home.

The two GPS features of the NEST thermostat are below

  1. Auto-Away
  2. Home / Away Assist

Auto-Away

Auto-Away is the feature that came along in the previous NEST thermostats as well. It has been around for a long time. The Auto-Away is designed to operate in such a way that it only uses the units motion sensors to detect whether anyone is home or not. This acts perfectly well if the device can pick up- motion around it.

Home/Away Assist

The Home / Away Assist feature in the NEST thermostat uses complex GPS signalling and identification in collaboration with your smartphone, to identify if you are reaching your apartment and thus have a clear and precise understanding of your location.

To top this all up, I have written a detailed article on how home automation saves you money. I am sure you would enjoy reading it and would eventually benefit from.

Ultimate Comfort

Duh, the most essential feature of the NEST thermostat is to maintain the climate in your apartment. That is the whole point of replacing your old traditional thermostat with the NEST version. The device gives you the peace of mind, and you can rest assured that a smart gadget is doing its job of regulating the temperature throughout your flat.

But now, let us consider if you want one particular room in your apartment always to maintain a steady (certain) temperature. Since the NEST thermostat is incapable of holding one room’s temperature different than the others, the solution here is the NEST ROOM SENSOR. It is a stand-alone device that can be bought off of Amazon or even the NEST’s own website. This device then connects directly to your very own NEST thermostat.

Once the installation is done, you can then set the temperature on the NEST sensor and deploy this gadget in the room of your apartment, which needs to be maintained at a constant temperature. Given which, whatever the scenario is; the NEST device would obey by what the sensor commands it to do.

This is highly effective if you have a newly born in your household and would like to maintain the temperature at the desired state. Kudos to NEST!

Safety

The NEST thermostat is not just a plain thermostat, but also offers a plethora of safety features. Glad that you asked! Let me elaborate.

With the launch of the net software version 4.5 throughout all the generations of the NEST thermostat, the gadget has been upgraded to perform as a one-fine-mean-machine. This update has given the NEST thermostat a built-in safety feature with the following benefits.

Safety Temperature Alerts

Irrespective of what the generation of your NEST thermostat is, there is a SAFETY TEMPERATURE that is built-in into the gadget. You configure the device’s safety temperature, which serves as a guideline for your thermostat to shut down the system in case the temperature is reached. This is to avoid freezing the pipes. Similarly, if a specific heat temperature is reached which is equivalent to the SAFETY TEMPERATURE set in your NEST thermostat, the device would then turn off.

In both cases, the thermostat is factory configured to send alerts to your smartphone in case the above happens.

NEST Protect Emergency Alerts

You can combine your NEST thermostat with the Nest Protect Smart CO/Smoke Detector. This greatly helps in case a fire breaks out in your apartment. Or if there is a Carbon Monoxide leak from your furnace. In both the scenarios, having this additional CO detector integrated with your NEST thermostat would send you alerts directly to your phone and raise alarms. Thus allowing you to attend to the problem or even escape from the premises.

NEST Protect Emergency Shutoff

The leading causes of CO leaks in your household are due to the furnace. It is the hub of problems and can eventually cause a fire in your apartment. Once the NEST PROTECT detects a CO leak, it immediately sends the alert to your NEST thermostat commanding it to shut down the heating in your residence.

With the latest 4.5 updates on the NEST thermostat, it is now possible to pick up FIRE and SMOKE signals by your NEST Protect device. Since the ventilation system can significantly enhance the spreading of FIRE and SMOKE, the NEST Protect signals the thermostat to cut off on both HEATING and COOLING mechanism to which it has full control over; until the issue has been resolved at the owner’s disposal. This significantly mitigates the problem in case a fire breaks out, thus preventing its spread.

Is The NEST Thermostat Expensive?

If cost is of concern to you, then I would recommend you pick up the NEST THERMOSTAT E. Although it would not be as shiny as the 3rd generation NEST Thermostat that is packed with aluminium chassis and a glass finish to complement its structure. The NEST thermostat E would provide you with almost the same features as compared to its standard edition.

The price table is as of follows:

1st Generation 2nd Generation 3rd Generation “E” edition
$170 – $180 $260 – $287 $220 – $240 169$

Remember, these are approximate prices. I would suggest you hop onto Amazon and find out the updated prices before you plan to buy one.

Which Generation NEST Thermostat Should You Get

Shiny, isn’t it!

The answer is plain and simple. The 3rd which is the latest one during the time I am writing this article. It serves you much better as compared to the older generations. At least that is what I believe!

Being a technologist, I always prefer to pick up the latest edition. Unless there are reported bugs that cause the device to malfunction; I would either than hold back on the purchase or take a leap of faith and just buy it. Well, if you are interested to know what I ended up with, then please get in touch with me, and I would be more than happy to share the scolding’s that I had received from my wife after each unsuccessful purchase. *wink

Difference between 1st Generation, 2nd Generation and 3rd Generation NEST Thermostats

For this, we would not be considering the 1st generation as the 2nd generation was somewhat similar to the 1st one and possibly provided the same features what the 2nd generation has to offer. So here we go:

Attributes 2nd Generation 3rd Generation
Size 3.2” diameter, 1.26” from wall 3.3” diameter, 1.21” from wall
Screen Resolution 24 Colors, 320×320 24 colors, 480×480
Farsight No Yes
Airwave and NEST Leaf Yes Yes
WiFi Support 801.1 b/g/n – 2.4 Ghz 801.1 b/g/n – 2.4 Ghz & 5 Ghz
Amazon Alexa Yes Yes
Smart Home Integration Yes Yes
Furnace Heads Up No Yes
Heat Link & Cool to Dry Yes Yes
Remote Control Smartphone App Smartphone App
AutoAdjust No Yes
Sunblock No Yes
Time-to-Temp No Yes
Safety Alerts No Yes

How Much Can You Save After Installing the NEST THERMOSTAT?

Based on studies conducted by the energy companies, have come up with reports that an average customer saves up to 10-15% on heating and approximately 15% on cooling after having a Nest thermostat installed.

Based on typical costs that a standard American household receives, this means a saving of $130 – $145 a year.

Hey, that is indeed a lot! At least for me.

Conclusion

The topic concludes that you should really pick yourself the latest 3rd Generation NEST thermostat. It is not a bank breaker and would immensely help you boost the performance of both your HVAC and heating systems in your apartment. Your sole target is to cut back on the energy consumption and thus in result see lesser billed charges to your use; therefore I believe given my whole experience with the NEST thermostat generations and product lineup; they definitely live up to the mark.

There are some cheaper options available in the market that could easily beat the price-tag on the NEST thermostat, but in all real honesty; you can’t outweigh the benefits NEST brings onto the table. It is a standardised and a regulated product, and you just can’t go wrong with Google. If this was a news breaker; then let me tell you that NEST is owned by Google. Heck, I am willing to bet my last dollar on this that you ended up on this article of SmartNutter.com via Google. Yay, google!

Seriously, do not wait if you are planning on buying the NEST products. Good luck!

Sign

Zohaib S.

A technology enthusiast who has converted his home into a "JETSONS" edition.

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