NESTing the Thermostat

Look at this extremely kewl thing my son gave me for Christmas! It’s called a “Nest.” It’s a thermostat that (allegedly) can learn your wants, desires, and real-world habits, can talk to your computer, can be spoken to through your  mobile devices, and on top of all that is decorative as all get-out.

So white-hot is the mob’s desire for this Objet that M’hijito, having ordered it in what he thought would be plenty of time for Christmas, only just received it from the manufacturer. Yes. A two-and-a-half-month backlog.

It really is very beautiful and very easy to operate. Instead of having to figure out and remember how to set a programmable thermostat using a manual that would make an engineer’s head hurt, you simply set it to the temperatures you would like at the times you ordinarily like to change the temps, spinning an outer ring much as we could do with old-fashioned, easy-to-work, now unavailable, round thermostats. A week or so of this and it will “learn” your preferences and adjust your climate control accordingly. You can set it to “away” to change inside temps to uncomfortable (but cheaper) levels when you’re at work or on vacation, and your manual settings can be “learned.”

And…it is very, very handsome.

If you have to ask, you can’t afford it. So…best not to ask. I could not believe my son spent that much on this thing. But having been gifted with it, I’m thrilled.

Now all we have to do is get it to work.

It looks easier to install than it is, especially in an old house with old wiring, the crumbling drywall hiding the ghosts of past air-conditioning units. M’hijito had no problem hooking it up to something and getting my MacBook and my iPad to talk to it. In the balminess that was Saturday afternoon, setting it at 68 degrees seemed to work just fine. It chugged along happily, and in fact I believe it was working fine.

Then I turned it off, because I prefer having it chilly for sleeping.

Sunday morning after the 4:00 a.m. hot flash wore off and the 62-degree ambience became apparent, I turned it back on and set it back to 68.

Three hours later it was still 62 in the house. The blower had been going nonstop, and what it was blowing was cold air. Apparently the Nest was actually running the house fan, not the heat pump. Or whatever heats in a heat pump.

For an extra $112, you can hire a technician in your area, certified to work on these things. So I got online and found not one, not two, but three of them who also appear in Angie’s List. All three have “A” ratings and rave reviews, which is something. Certainly not what I expected! Called the one with the largest number of customer reviews. Asked the dispatcher if she could tell, before I paid for someone to come traipsing over here, whether the thing was compatible with the new Goodman heat pump the insurance company had installed after the late great hailstorm. She said yes, sure it is. Asked if they had an Angie’s List coupon. She said yes, they sure do. Asked how much the job would be: $80.

So. Not good, but an improvement over a hundred and twelve bucks. And I think it just might be worth it. This thing is really, truly, extremely kewl. It is so kewl it’s Applesque.

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Evan March 6, 2012 at 10:09 am

I heard about these things! Created by the guy who designed the original iPods…Makes you wonder if all everyone really needed was the circular thermostat updated with LCD lol

funny March 9, 2012 at 10:57 am

It is painfully cool. It has a lot of functions, including displays that seem to analyze the system’s operations. And you can access it from your computer and your mobile devices.

The HVAC system, after the adventures described above, seems to be working significantly better. M’hijito’s gift caused me to call a service technician from some other company than the one that installed the unit. I’ve suspected from the git-go that it wasn’t working right, and this guy’s ministrations seem to confirm that. It is working much, much better, and because it doesn’t have to labor so long to bring the heat up to the asked-for temp — nor does it spend long periods blowing icy air at me — I’ll bet the utility bills drop.

You know, last summer after this ultra-efficient unit was installed, my power bills ROSE. Significantly. I put it down to a rate increase. But surely if the system was so wonderfully efficient, it would at least have kept the bills steady rather than pushing them up. It will be interesting to see how this summer’s bills compare with 2011′s.

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