Nest Update #12: Software at 3.0 with New Features

As the blogosphere exploded yesterday with news of a second generation Nest thermostat and a new major version of the software (for the thermostats and the controllers such as the web site and various SmartPhones), I wondered what impact the new software and hardware would have on average users, like us.

Do check out the blog post though for full details as there are number of new features in the new device that aren’t available to first generation owners (especially as it relates to supporting a variety of HVAC systems).


Before the Nest thermostat was announced and all of the news about lack of support for various HVAC systems, I hadn’t heard of a second-stage cooling, third staging heating, etc. I’d never had them and didn’t know they existed! Smile Now, Nest claims to support up to 95% of HVACs installed in the USA (& Canada?).

I updated my iPhone to 3.0.1 of the Nest App this morning and checked out the new features. Two of my three thermostats had updated to firmware 3.0.1.


I looked through one of the thermostat’s menus and while there are a few changes (new features), nothing major has changed in the interface. The overall usability is still quite good although I wonder about discoverability of features as the number of features grows.

The home screen hasn’t changed much at all. Still, the giant house:


The user interface still requires rotation to horizontal to perform anything but the basic changes (such as temperature).


I don’t know why the Home icon needs to be so prominent as it takes up valuable screen space on a tiny device (and has only a few useful features).

One of the new features is that for a given thermostat, you can actually toggle the fan to ON now if you want. Occasionally we missed that feature (from our old thermostats) when I’ve cooked something that causes an odor to, politely, linger, for a while longer than we’d like. Smile

The feature is buried though under the SETTINGS for a thermostat, and then select AT A GLANCE.


Toggle it to turn the fan on temporarily.

The remaining values are:

  • Outside temperature (50F)
  • Current inside temperature (68F)
  • Current Humidity (46%)
  • Current set point temperature (69F)

Under the menu, NEST SENSE, you’ll find a one big new thing and a few layout/naming changes:




Early-on is a feature that many early adopters had wanted and expected from a modern thermostat. We slapped our heads, cried, complained, hugged…, dismayed that it wasn’t there. And, glory to Nest Labs, they finally added it.

Now, your house can actually be warm/cool when you want. For example, it can be warm when you get out of bed, not just start warming when you get out of bed. This is a HUGE add and I’m very glad Nest has finally added it!

The schedule remains unchanged:


The overlapping circles still look a bit cluttered to my eye, but it gets the job done.

Under the Home Settings, you’ll find what amount to some survey questions:





I’m very pleased with the upgrade to the firmware and smart phone/tablet software. It adds some absolutely needed features.

As an update to my experience with Nest, I’ve definitely had fewer problems lately than I had during the first 6 to 8 months. While I still don’t applaud Nest for their activity in social media and reaching out to their customers proactively (as they never responded to any of the comments here), they have been active behind the scenes.

The wireless connectivity to the thermostats has improved. I haven’t noticed the same problems as before and I THANKFULLY haven’t had to re-add my account or Wifi information in months to any of our thermostats.

I’ve had enough good success recently to change my recommendation on Nest Thermostats. If you’re in the market for a new thermostat, and you’ve got $249US to spend, I’d say it should definitely be a strong contender.

Read through the comments and the issues – but understand a lot of the issues have been resolved.

You can buy the older model while supplies last for $229.

The second generation is available for preorder from Amazon today.

I think it’s ready to be part of your house (after you check your system’s compatibility).

If you have found these posts useful, please consider using the Amazon links above to buy your shiny new Nest thermostat (especially if you have Prime!) as a way of saying thanks!

What do you think of the updates and new hardware?

Nest Update #11: Resetting Ranges

Quick update about a new bug/issue/feature in the Nest thermostat that I’ve encountered.

Here’s the before image:


I’ve used the new Nest 2.0 software to set ranges for the various floors as you can see above. I captured that image on the 30th of May.

Here’s the image from this morning (4th of June):


The first floor is set to Off as I neglected to take a screen shot before I adjusted the setting (and I’d turned the Basement back On earlier, so ignore that).

However, the First Floor had the same range as the Second Floor in the shot above (68-75F) before I switched it to Off. Yes, automatically, two of the active Nests had reset their range from my choice back to the defaults. That’s an expensive choice during the hot muggy summers of Wisconsin (or any time of the year). This is the second time this has actually happened.

It also happened while were were on vacation recently (but I hadn’t had visual evidence). The house went from a range of 62-84F to 68-75F. While I’m sure our house cat appreciated it, our electrical bill will not (as it was extremely hot while we were away).

And if you’re planning on trolling/flaming this post, don’t bother. I won’t publish it.

Nest Thermostat, Software Update 2.0

Nest recently released a new update to the software of the thermostat device (as well as their corresponding web and mobile applications).

Some of the details may be found on their blog.

A few of the new features include an historical view of the heating/cooling usage:


On Friday, April 6th for example, you can see when the heat turned on and what the set points were for the day for my First Floor thermostat. The data isn’t as interesting during our Midwest Spring as the furnace doesn’t run nearly as much.

Here’s from another day:


I doubt I’ll use this feature much. It only has 10 days of information available apparently right now, so I just can’t see this being very useful. I’m skeptical that this will affect my choices as it comes to how we use our HVAC system. I could see potentially how aggregate data of many users (in a similar geographical area) could become more compelling and potentially a source of data that Nest might be able to sell.

The settings for a thermostat have been tweaked visually. The same basic data is available as before:


The learning tab has been cleaned up as well:


For some reason, our thermostat that we’ve had for four months is apparently still in training (Time to Temp). That seems like an issue that maybe I’ll look into. Although I don’t really care much about the “time to temp” feature normally as I don’t manually adjust the affected thermostat much.

The “Away” tab changed:


Not a big improvement for usability. Probably more touch friendly (and it’s logically correct as it heats when less than 58 degrees for example), but it feels wrong. Thermostats aren’t normally left to right oriented (temp goes up and down), so this breaks a typical UX model.

On the Equipment tab, they’ve tweaked the UI as well:


I clicked on the Safety Temp word (? it’s not a button, nor a link, so I don’t know what to call it) and the above UI displayed. The same temperature range UX is displayed, but here I like it even less. I suppose we don’t have a maximum temperature in the house during cooling season, but this is clunky. (And given that it’s safety related, I wish it were more clear). I can hear some of you say, “but it’s clear to me.” I do understand it, but I’m confident there is a better way of displaying and adjusting these temperatures that would be more obvious.

(And Nest Labs, go ahead and spell out “TEMP” please? Thanks!)

The technical info tab is the same basically.

There’s now a lock feature (which I have no need for, and am not going to experiment with right now):


One of the big new TM’ed features is called Airwave™. Apparently, when it’s hot and the humidity is low (not typical for Wisconsin, as our summers are usually hot and humid), the thermostat apparently will try to do more cooling by turning off the air conditioning system early and using the fan more. (I always thought our air conditioner already did that as the compressor turns off before the fans). If it helps lower our electricity bill, awesome. I’ll report back if I can tell that it is working and helping (without historical data though, it will be difficult for us, especially as we added solar panels to our house last fall).

The scheduling tab looks basically unchanged. The support tab has more content, so you don’t have to go to their web site to read the information. That’s a nice improvement.

OK, this was very strange. As I was writing this post (and in the middle of using the application), I saw the following:




Now, the thermostats are all disconnected in some odd way:


A few minutes later, things improved (but not perfect):


Twenty minutes later, the BASEMENT thermostat is still disconnected. I reset the thermostat and it’s back now.

Nest Thermostat Review, Update #10: Wifi Settings Missing

One more brief update about our Nest thermostats. After a few weeks of limited use of our HVAC system due to a very unusually warm late winter and early spring, I’d set the whole house to AWAY mode last evening. However, a bit later, I heard the furnace running. Odd. I walked to the thermostat that I’d set to away and confirmed it was still “AWAY.”

imageI grabbed the iPad and used the Nest app. The thermostat that I had set AWAY to was reporting the same error that I’d seen back in January: the giant question mark. Tapping the image resulted in the message:

Thermostat Disconnected – The thermostat First Floor last connected to the more than 3 days ago.

Three days?


So, I went to the thermostat and checked it’s settings. Great, no wifi and no account information. It had apparently forgotten it’s wifi connection information completely and also my account information.

Seriously, I’d want to fire myself if I wrote code that was this bad. Why would it EVER dump that information? It’s literally its key to being a smart thermostat.

Thankfully, as we still have 2 other thermostats in the house, it was simple to add the account back to the thermostat after entering the wifi password again, as the thermostat recognized that there were other Nests nearby.

Without the wifi connection, you still have a thermostat (thankfully!). However, you loose all remote scheduling capabilities via their web site or apps.

I still can’t recommend these thermostats. While the “BETA” label has been finally removed from their remote access web application, the device itself still has numerous unresolved issues.

Nest Thermostat Review, Update #9


When I woke up this morning, I decided that I’d use the remote features of my Nest Thermostat to increase the temperature of the first floor as the normal schedule hadn’t started yet.

Here’s what I saw on my iPad:


Basement: ?

First Floor: ?

When I tapped the Basement image, this alert was displayed:


“Thermostat Disconnected: The thermostat Basement last connected to more than 7 hours ago.”


I next checked the First Floor. Thankfully, it said that it had only been 17 minutes since it last connected. I’ve seen that issue before and it usually resolves. But, I’ve never seen one go more than about 50 53 minutes without reporting in.

The fact that I was using the iPad and the Nest application meant that WiFi Internet was available in our house.

I went to the Basement thermostat and noticed this glaring issue after clicking through to settings:


What?  Seriously?

As I wasn’t sure what the best option was at 6:45AM for support, I decided to re-add the thermostat to our account. The thermostat had no trouble accessing the Nest cloud and obtaining one of the one time connection keys. (So, I maintain, it’s not general Internet connectivity issues).

After deleting and adding it back, the web site still reported it as MIA. So, I tried a reset:


After resetting, and waiting several minutes after it had completely restarted, it appeared again on the Nest web site.

However, 3 hours later:


It’s again, gone missing.

So, I called support this fine Sunday morning and talked to one of the same support engineers I’ve spoken with in the past (“DK”). I explained the general problem (and emphasized that my biggest concern was that it had lost my account information), my “solution”, and said that it was again not reporting in. In a typical (somewhat ironic) support fashion, as I was explaining the issue and walking to the basement, the thermostat reported in successfully to the Nest cloud.

He had me drop the account, add it to my account, and restart it again. He said that resolves the problem in about 70% of the cases. In the other 30%, he mentioned that they often manually update the firmware and that will help. [ugh]

I’m going to keep an eye on it and will add more details as needed/available.


If you want to talk and discuss more about digital thermostats with others, I’d suggest here: (it’s a web site I created to help provide a better place to have discussions about the Nest thermostat).