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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.

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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 home heating and cooling system. You must have a system with which the Nest thermostat is compatible. Here is a list of heating systems with which the Nest thermostat is compatible:

  • 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.

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 home 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 a 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:

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 to help to make 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 are two options for scheduling in Nest thermostats; Auto-schedule and Manual schedule. The Nest thermostat E also has 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 reactivated 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:

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. It’ll keep doing this until it has reached the maximum safe temperature or to a point where it can maintain the scheduled temperature.


The Cool mode functions 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 you’re now 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 a way 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 its 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 their 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 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 temperatures 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 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 to 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.

Google Nest Thermostat FAQ

How do I control my Nest thermostat?

Control your Nest thermostat by opening the app on your phone. When you open the app you’ll be able to set target temperatures for when you are home and away or even when it’s night and day.

How does a Nest thermostat work manually?

Nest thermostats all have manual controls built-in. So you’ll be able to make quick changes directly on your thermostat manually. The changes are then also applied within the app on your smartphone.

Why does my Nest thermostat say in 2 hours?

When Nest thermostat is saying “in 2 hours” or “delayed” it’s trying to guess how long time it’ll take to heat up or cool down your house. Over time your Nest thermostat will learn how long time it’ll typically take to get to a specific temperature. So in the start, it might take longer or shorter than expected, but it should improve and be more precise over time.

Can you control the Nest thermostat with a phone?

Yes, you can control the thermostat directly from your phone with the app. This means you can control the temperature even when you are not home.

What is the best setting for a Nest thermostat?

In my experience, the Home/Away Assist is the best setting to have enabled. It’ll save you a lot of money over time and even make your home more environmentally friendly.

Does Google Nest thermostat work with Alexa?

Yes, Google Nest thermostats work perfectly with Alexa. When you’ve connected your Nest thermostat to the Alexa App you can control settings on your thermostat with your voice.


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Author: Morten Pradsgaard

As a tech enthusiast and creative individual, my blog Living Smarter offers tips on tech, name ideas, and gaming. I collaborate with companies and individuals to share expertise in various genres and platforms.

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