Turning up the heat
You’d have to be living under a rock not to have heard about smart thermostats, which let you switch on your central heating with your smartphone. Especially if you’re a frequent user of London Underground, as there are posters all over the shop advertising the likes of Nest, Hive and Tado.
Our friends at Currys PC World have all of these on sale, so we thought we’d take the opportunity to investigate why you should change your old fashioned dial on the wall to one of these fancy gadgets. In this case…it’s time to put Nest to the test.
How to install Nest
The Nest learning thermostat from Google comes with installation included, so all you need to do is arrange for an engineer to come and install it for you. In America, you can get away with doing it yourself, but in the UK, we have much higher powered systems and a lot more can go wrong. Depending on what kind of boiler you have, installation is fairly quick and efficient, with a more modern combi-boiler taking less than half an hour.
There’s a couple of things to install. Firstly, the dial that goes on the wall, and secondly, a trip switch like mechanism that sits next to your boiler, so you can turn Nest off and return to your boiler’s ordinary timer functions.
What does Nest do?
The key reason for Nest’s existence is to moderate the temperature in your home, which is the same as every other thermostat. It’s just the way it does it that’s revolutionary.
Rather than a complex dial or timer, Nest’s ‘Smart Schedules’ let you easily create a week’s worth of heating events through your computer, an app, or the thermostat itself. Say you work part time, and you’re at home more on Wednesdays and Fridays. You can set up a schedule to suit. And if you’d prefer longer hours of heating on the weekends, then you can tell your Nest schedule to do that too. It’s extraordinarily easy to programme.
But that’s not the best thing. The beauty of Nest is the fact it’s clever enough to monitor if you’re home or if you’ve gone out, turning the heat on or off accordingly. That means Nest will also learn patterns based on when you are home and away so you don’t really have to program it at all. The ultimate joy of Nest is how little you have to interact with it. This smart system looks after everything so you don’t have to.
Don’t be too surprised if you hardly ever find yourself using Nest itself. That’s because there’s a handy app on your phone that lets you control it. Is it an extra cold day so you want to turn your heating on early to warm up the house before you get home? Then the Nest app is going to be your new best friend, because you can turn your heating on and off from anywhere so it’s nice and toasty the moment you walk through the door. It’s also fantastic if you’re still in bed and want to turn the heating on from under your duvet
Nest boasts that by installing it, you’ll save yourself, on average, around £150 a year on your energy bill. It’s easy to see why. Firstly, the fact it knows when you’re home and when you’re not quickly becomes evident, because it adjusts your heating accordingly, so you’re only using exactly what you need. This is the real benefit of a system like this.
Secondly there’s the little green leaf that pops up when you’re using an environmentally friendly temperature. This setting isn’t for everyone, however, as it seems to be set at a temperature that’s a bit below normal heating comfort levels.
Finally, installing a system like this makes you naturally more aware of the amount of heating you’re using. In fact the system records how much you’re using, displaying it in handy graphs. That, combined with the handy app on your smartphone, means you’re completely in control of how to heat your home. And if you ever do forget to turn it off or turn it down, you can control it wherever you are.
Nest is available with installation from our friends at Currys PC World, and the app is available for all iOS and Android devices.
Have you got Nest? We’d love to hear what you think of it. Let us know in the comments section below.