Nest Update #11: Resetting Ranges

Quick update about a new bug/issue/feature in the Nest thermostat that I’ve encountered.

Here’s the before image:


I’ve used the new Nest 2.0 software to set ranges for the various floors as you can see above. I captured that image on the 30th of May.

Here’s the image from this morning (4th of June):


The first floor is set to Off as I neglected to take a screen shot before I adjusted the setting (and I’d turned the Basement back On earlier, so ignore that).

However, the First Floor had the same range as the Second Floor in the shot above (68-75F) before I switched it to Off. Yes, automatically, two of the active Nests had reset their range from my choice back to the defaults. That’s an expensive choice during the hot muggy summers of Wisconsin (or any time of the year). This is the second time this has actually happened.

It also happened while were were on vacation recently (but I hadn’t had visual evidence). The house went from a range of 62-84F to 68-75F. While I’m sure our house cat appreciated it, our electrical bill will not (as it was extremely hot while we were away).

And if you’re planning on trolling/flaming this post, don’t bother. I won’t publish it.

Nest Thermostat Review, Update #9


When I woke up this morning, I decided that I’d use the remote features of my Nest Thermostat to increase the temperature of the first floor as the normal schedule hadn’t started yet.

Here’s what I saw on my iPad:


Basement: ?

First Floor: ?

When I tapped the Basement image, this alert was displayed:


“Thermostat Disconnected: The thermostat Basement last connected to more than 7 hours ago.”


I next checked the First Floor. Thankfully, it said that it had only been 17 minutes since it last connected. I’ve seen that issue before and it usually resolves. But, I’ve never seen one go more than about 50 53 minutes without reporting in.

The fact that I was using the iPad and the Nest application meant that WiFi Internet was available in our house.

I went to the Basement thermostat and noticed this glaring issue after clicking through to settings:


What?  Seriously?

As I wasn’t sure what the best option was at 6:45AM for support, I decided to re-add the thermostat to our account. The thermostat had no trouble accessing the Nest cloud and obtaining one of the one time connection keys. (So, I maintain, it’s not general Internet connectivity issues).

After deleting and adding it back, the web site still reported it as MIA. So, I tried a reset:


After resetting, and waiting several minutes after it had completely restarted, it appeared again on the Nest web site.

However, 3 hours later:


It’s again, gone missing.

So, I called support this fine Sunday morning and talked to one of the same support engineers I’ve spoken with in the past (“DK”). I explained the general problem (and emphasized that my biggest concern was that it had lost my account information), my “solution”, and said that it was again not reporting in. In a typical (somewhat ironic) support fashion, as I was explaining the issue and walking to the basement, the thermostat reported in successfully to the Nest cloud.

He had me drop the account, add it to my account, and restart it again. He said that resolves the problem in about 70% of the cases. In the other 30%, he mentioned that they often manually update the firmware and that will help. [ugh]

I’m going to keep an eye on it and will add more details as needed/available.


If you want to talk and discuss more about digital thermostats with others, I’d suggest here: (it’s a web site I created to help provide a better place to have discussions about the Nest thermostat).

Nest Thermostat Review, Update #8


A few new things have occurred since I last posted.

imageJanuary 11, 2012: Nest Labs updated the firmware of the thermostat to version 1.0.6. There isn’t any publically available information about what was updated however other than “bug fixes.” Thanks to GregN for pointing it out. Here’s a link to their current software releases and updates for anyone interested:

This week, one of my thermostats in “learning” mode wiped out some of the set points I had specifically added for the weekend (this has happened before). I have no rational explanation for why it would do this as our weekend schedule on the floor where it happened is routine enough that it shouldn’t have made that choice. Nest Labs support suggests turning off “learning” mode when this has occurred to see if it’s related to learning mode. They apparently don’t have a way to track the causes or triggers unfortunately (a debug log would come in very handy now). I turned it off for the time being and have added the deleted set points to see if the problem occurs again.

UPDATE: 1/25/2012:  One of our thermostats that still has “learning” turned off decided that our morning set points for our first floor weren’t important and deleted them. Apparently, we didn’t want the house to start warming before we got out of bed.

I found an interesting issue with the Away Temperature settings that you’ll want to watch out for until they fix it (as it could affect triggers for “auto away”).

Essentially, there are values that when you put them into the away temperature field, they won’t “stick.” You won’t necessarily notice this right away unless you click around:


In the video (GIF) above, you’ll see how the “58” won’t stay 58F. It switches to 57 (it happens with 60F as well). I’ve sent a support request to Nest about the issue (they responded the following day and said they’d look into it). Since their web API deals with Celsius, I speculate it could be a rounding issue in their JavaScript code.

Update: 1/24/2012 The bug appears appears to have been corrected in the few places I happened to check earlier today (as I’m not their QA team, I didn’t check around much Smile).

Randal pointed out that there was someone who’d done some analysis of the temperature readings of a working Nest thermostat (compared to another thermostat). I’d concur that the readings do seem to be far more consistently accurate on the Nest thermostat on average and that our house is more comfortable. However, I’m certainly aware that this comfort will come at a cost. The house is more consistently warmer (now in the heating season). So, depending on your old thermostats and how you handled the temperature in the house, you may find your heating costs rise a bit. Simple way to compensate: you may be able to turn down the thermostat a few degrees! Smile The temperature may read lower, but the actual temperature may be closer to what you had grown accustomed to. We may do that.

I’m still trying to understand why “Auto Away” is sometimes triggered when I wouldn’t expect it. I believe that once it was because the “away” temperatures were one degree LESS than the typical set point. So, the house would not “see us” around, and compared the day time (at work for example) set point (60F) to the “away” temperature (59F) and activate the “away” mode. I found the issue with the away temperature above when I was trying to make everything match one evening this week.  The problem with Auto-away activating is that your scheduled set points won’t be used until it is overridden via the remote interface or locally.

Update: 1/25/2012: Apparently, auto-away unfortunately can trigger even when the temperature settings match exactly. (Even when there’s nothing to do). I don’t understand what it’s “auto-awaying” from.

Here’s a few relevant tweets from @Nest:


Although I admit to not understanding the topmost tweet. My tweet had been:


I honestly didn’t feel like trying to clarify again in 140 characters.

Nest Thermostat Review, Update #7

Update #6, Update #5, Update #4, Update #3, Update #2, Update #1, Install

I received a replacement thermostat earlier this week as promised by Nest Labs. I had time this afternoon to do a swap and reinstall. Nest had asked me to swap the thermostats between two floors experimentally to determine whether a temperature reading issue was related to the location or the thermostat. It was the thermostat.

As part of the swap, I had to reprogram the two thermostats.

I’d swapped the defective thermostat with one from the basement. Apparently, the base has the S/N on it of the thermostat and they’re intended to be “paired” so I decided to return the thermostat to the basement and install the new thermostat on the first floor (replacing the original defective unit).

I removed the old unit and replaced the wires. Depending on the type of wires you’re using, you may find that it’s far more difficult to do than you would expect. I ‘d forgotten how much I hated trying to stick the very stiff HVAC wires into the thermostat’s base!

I replaced everything and activated the unit. You can look at the installation experience post for more information about the general setup.

Past the wifi connection, rebooting, waiting, waiting, waiting, then “ERROR.” “No Rc or Rh” connection.


Crud. So, I popped the thermostat off the base and looked at the wires. They all appeared to be fine. So, I reseated the Rc connection and replaced the thermostat. Success! I find that a tiny tug on the wire after you believe it has been seated does the trick. The rest of the install went without issue.

The thermostat switched to the normal temperature display after a few more alerts. The only thing was – the temperature read 76F. Whaaaa? Given the reboot cycles, etc., I really hadn’t handled it much, not enough to cause the temperature to be that high. I waited about 5 minutes for it to start dropping and when it did not, I called Nest to speak with the person who’d handled the replacement, Mark. He was out apparently, so I ended up speaking with someone who went by “DK” for about 30 minutes about a few topics.

We decided the best course of action was to wait and see.

Thankfully, the new thermostat is now reading a temperature that I would expect, so for some reason, this new thermostat took quite a while to acclimate to the room temperature (much longer than the original three thermostats – around 45 minutes).

Nest Thermostat Review, Update #6

Update #5, Update #4, Update #3, Update #2, Update #1, Install

I didn’t expect to have another post so soon. But, the Nest experience continues to frustrate and baffle.

On the 3rd of January, I took the following screen shot of our basement schedule for heating:


Tonight (one day later on the 4th), we headed down to the basement to watch a recorded episode of AMCs Hell on Wheels and it was cold. Frak! What the…

The thermostat reported the temperature in the room was 62F. Seriously? It should have been about 66F at the time I looked.

I brought up the schedule and was disappointed (yet, not shocked given the other problems) to see:


All of the evening settings (except Monday?) had disappeared completely. I had not made the change. I don’t understand. I’m no artificial intelligence expert (my wife though has a CS Master’s degree with a specialty in it Smile), but I’m confident any learning algorithm I would write wouldn’t be this stupid and this broken.

If I were a competitor reading this, I’d be laughing just a little. Understand though – Nest still can make this work – don’t rest or expect them to just disappear so easily.

As Nest continues to be silent on these matters, I strongly recommend you not buy a Nest thermostat. It’s an undone expensive piece of hardware, that while shiny and new, isn’t ready for the duties it claims to have mastered.

Update: Janurary 13, 2012 – This happened again. The schedule for Saturday and Sunday was modified to entirely remove the evening set points.  Nest support recommended that I turn off the “learning” feature of the thermostat yesterday and I hadn’t done that yet. But now I will and see if it happens regardless.