Modern homes are filled with all sorts of technology designed to make our lives a little easier. From the toaster to the dishwasher, we’ve accepted that life can, indeed, be better if we let machines do some of the heavy lifting. But, for whatever reason, we’ve been slow to adapt to computerized thermostats. For years and years people have chosen low-tech manual thermostats to control their air conditioners, and in the process, wasted a whole lot of electricity and money on climate control.
Smart thermostats like the Nest are set to revolutionize your home’s energy usage. Instead of forgetting to change the temperature when you leave or remembering to turn the air off when you get out of bed, these thermostats can learn to do that for you. But that’s just the beginning.
What’s Inside a Nest Thermostat?
A basic thermostat isn’t anything really fancy, it’s just a switch that allows your air conditioner to start when the device reaches a particular temperature. It has no idea about anything else going on around it — it simply connects two wires when the temperature is too high or too low. That’s all fine and good, but what if your thermostat could do more?
Besides being able to connect to WiFi to gather the latest weather reports and update itself, the Nest contains a number of sensors to get a better feel for its environment. Inside that little round case, you’ll find:
- Three thermometers to help the Nest get a more precise room temperature.
- A humidity gauge to measure indoor humidity.
- Motion and light sensors that can detect movement up to 150 degrees from center.
It’s a lot of stuff crammed into a little 4-inch cylinder! What’s more important than what’s inside, though, is what it can do for you that a standard thermostat can’t.
How the Nest Saves You Money
The Nest is a new breed of thermostats that can be programmed to change themselves according to a schedule. Unlike traditional programmable thermostats, though, it’s got a lot going on under the hood. Here are just a few ways it can save you money starting today:
Sensing temperature more accurately. The three temperature sensors might not seem like they’d make a huge difference, but they can actually save you a ton of money in unnecessary air conditioning costs. Instead of a single thermostat giving a false report due to temporary heat wave from the front door or a little bit of sunlight falling on the case, all three must be in agreement before the a/c fires off.
Controlling humidity. The humidity in your home can affect your comfort level more than the heat — and the Nest knows it! There’s few things I hate more than mattress humidity and laying on a moist mattress. The built-in humidity sensors can kick the air conditioning on in response to rising humidity, keeping your space cooler for longer.
Knowing when you’re home. When you’re away, the Nest can be taught to let the temperature rise a great deal. Because of the motion and light sensors, it can tell if you’re passing through the room or moving around. If you stop for too long, it will assume you’re away and go into energy conservation mode without you telling it to.
Learning how long it takes to get to temp. Unlike a standard programmable thermostat that starts cooling your home long before it may be necessary, the Nest doesn’t work off of a timer. It literally learns how long it takes to bring your house down from its energy saving setting to your comfort level and wastes no time when it knows you’re coming home.
Reporting on waste. Speaking of waste, the Nest knows all about it. It knows how long your air conditioning is running, as well as the results of that effort. The Nest can suggest ways to further improve your energy efficiency, based on the information it’s gathering. Connecting to these reports via the smartphone app is a snap, too.
Embracing technology like the Nest can greatly reduce your energy consumption and makes keeping your home comfortable easy. The only drawback to the Nest is the $249 price tag, but that’s money well-spent for years of gains in energy savings.