How To Use A Nest Thermostat

How To Use A Nest Thermostat

If you are looking for a beginner’s guide to the Nest thermostat you’ve come to the right place. I’ll take you through basic usage, what you’ll need to set it up, configuration features like schedules and more.

Basic Usage Of Your Nest Thermostat

How do I control my Nest Thermostat?

Right off the bat, it should be fairly simple to control your Thermostats.
You can use the app by just opening the app, selecting the thermostat you want to adjust and then use the interface to adjust it accordingly. If you don’t find the thermostat you wish to adjust, it is because you haven’t added it yet.

To add a new thermostat to your App, just simply press “add” from the home screen. If your thermostat is correctly and connected to the Wifi, it should show up on the screen after a few seconds.

How do I use my Nest thermostat manually?

Alternatively, to control your thermostat through the app you can also use the Nest Thermostat like a normal thermostat. There should be a temperature control on the home screen of the thermostat.

How does Nest thermostat work?

The Nest thermostat works by tapping directly into your homes heating and cooling system. It’s important that you have a system which the Nest thermostat is compatible with. Here is a list of heating systems which the Nest thermostat is compatible with:

  • Combi boilers
  • System and heat-only boilers
  • Domestic hot water tanks
  • Hydronic underfloor systems
  • Air-source and ground-source heat pumps (heating only)
  • Zoned systems (one Nest Thermostat per zone)
  • Heating systems with OpenTherm technology


Once the Nest thermostat is connected it works intelligently to provide you with the most comfortable temperature throughout the day. It has multiple modes, scheduling functions and settings to fit all your needs.

The machine learning will gradually learn your day to day and improve the experience you are getting with the thermostat.

How do I use my Nest thermostat without WiFi?

Nest thermostat is wired directly to your homes heating and/or cooling system, this means that you don’t need Wifi to make the thermostat work.

You’ll lose the capabilities within the Nest App and you will not be able to change temperatures while you are away.

But you’ll still be able to operate it manually, so nothing is really lost by installing a Nest thermostat, there is only stuff to gain.

Is there a monthly fee for Nest thermostat?

No, there is no monthly fee for having a Nest thermostat. In fact you’ll even get money the other way every month for having a Nest thermostat. This is because it’ll actually save you a significant amount of money.

Within the first couple of months you should even be able to start seeing an impact on your energy bill.

What You’ll Need To Setup Your Nest Thermostat

The Nest app will provide all instructions for the installation of your product and in general, you should follow these instructions as first priority.

But frankly, it’s going to take a little technical expertise to set up and if you are not comfortable messing with electrical wiring you should get someone with the right expertise to help you.

It’s not by any means impossible to install the Nest thermostat yourself, there are really good guides for it both through the app and in the manual which you can find below.

Nest Thermostat E:

3rd generation Nest Thermostat:

2nd generation Nest Thermostat:

1st generation Nest Thermostat:

If you have a Nest Thermostat E or a Nest Learning Thermostat you can also follow the instructions in the video below:

Google Nest Learning Thermostat Installation
Google Nest Thermostat E Installation

How To Configure Your Nest Thermostat

Once you’ve installed your Nest Thermostat you’ll need to configure it and go through the process of setting it up.

The Nest Thermostat app will ask and take you through a few basic questions about your home and environment.

The questions will be setting the default for your thermostat and temperature for your home and it’ll need it to help making a comfortable living space while saving energy.

Once you’ve completed answering the questions you’ve actually completed the installation and setup process, and the Nest Thermostat should be working as intended.

How To Use Scheduler In Nest Thermostat

Basically there is two options for scheduling in Nest thermostats; Auto-schedule and Manual schedule. The Nest thermostat E also have a Basic schedule functionality.

Nest Thermostat Auto-schedule

The Auto-schedule function in the Nest thermostats is the most intelligent part of the system and I will strongly recommend you to be using this as a default. It’ll be preactivated when you’ve completed the setup process.

The Auto-schedule will use machine learning to learn about your patterns and automatically create a personalized schedule for you within a few days after completing the setup.

When you use the app or thermostat it’ll register all changes you make and remember these. The more you actively set your temperatures to your liking the better and quicker it’ll learn what your optimal temperatures are for specific times.

If you want to know how you turn the Auto-schedule on or off you can follow these instructions:

  • Using the app: Open Nest app and select your thermostat. Go to settings and press Auto-schedule.
  • Using the thermostat: Go to settings then Nest Sense and Auto-schedule.

The different modes

The Nest thermostat has up to 5 different modes:
Heat, Cool, Heat-Cool, Off and Eco.


When Heat mode is selected it’ll only try and heat your room up. It’ll keep doing this until it has reached the maximum safety temperature or to a point where it can maintain the scheduled temperature.


The Cool mode function the same as Heat mode, but the other way around. It’ll keep cooling your home to any scheduled temperature.


The Heat-Cool mode will either heat up or cool down your how depending on the range of temperature either manually selected or selected by Auto-schedule.

The Heat-Cool mode is especially useful in environments with a large temperature difference. For example if you live in the nordic scandinavian countries where nights can get much below freezing temperatures and days can get warm.


When Off mode is enabled it’ll only try and maintain temperatures so they are within the safety range. It’ll ignore all schedules both manual and auto.


The Eco mode is especially useful when you are away on holiday or just away for a longer period of time. The Eco mode will maintain the temperature within the Eco temperature range which you defined in the installation process.

The Auto-schedule learns from these different modes and will gradually increase it’s performance and will get better and better at both saving money and delivering the optimal temperature.

How To Save Money With Nest Thermostat

Nest Thermostats will save money by saving energy throughout its use. When you are home it’ll make you comfortable and keep everything within the optimal range of temperature. When you are away it’ll adjust the temperature to save money while keeping your home in good a condition.

Teaching the Nest Thermostat to save energy

Saving energy is equal to saving money. And the thermostat is programmed to learn everything by you configure and tell it to do.

So if you always turn down the heat by a few degrees in the evening, it’ll start doing this by itself within a few days.

If you always turn up the temperature when you arrive home from work it’ll also start doing this by itself.

Once it knows your schedule it’ll set its own auto-schedule accordingly and make sure temperature are optimal for comfort and savings.

To prove how much a Nest Thermostat is actually saving and how good is it at learning your routines, Nest conducted a research themselves.

You can read the paper (research study) from Nest here:

Energy Savings from the Nest Learning Thermostat:
Energy Bill Analysis Results

Nest Thermostat saved between 10% and 12% on heating and up to 15% on cooling. Calculated with typical energy costs for a normal family household in the USA, the savings would range from $131 to $145 per year.

This would indicate that the Nest Thermostat could earn its own cost back in under 2 years.

If you would like enjoy the same savings there are two things you must ensure are enabled in your Nest Thermostat App:

  • Nest Thermostat Home/Away Assist
  • Nest Thermostat Auto-Schedule

One thing to note. The more actively you use your thermostat from the start, the quicker it’ll learn and the faster it’ll start saving you money. So make sure to use the different modes and set your optimal temperature accordingly.

How do I know if my Nest thermostat is working?

Both in the Nest Thermostat and the App, you’ll find a “System Test”. This test will make it perform a complete systems health check. It’ll check all the wiring, all the features and software.

I think you should always do the Nest Thermostats test before testing anything manually yourself. This is because it’ll also notify you if any wiring is done wrong so by performing this test you’ll ensure that you don’t break anything before you’ve even started.

After you’ve done the “System Test”, you should go through all devices manually and make sure that the temperature settings and mode are working properly.


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Morten Pradsgaard

Morten has been working with technology, IoT and electronics for over a decade. His passion for technology is reflected into this blog to give you relevant and correct information.