It’s not often a product dramatically exceeds my expectations, but one recent acquisition did just that.
I installed a high-tech Nest thermostat, and I have been pleasantly surprised at how it is designed and does what it is supposed to do.
Perhaps it’s sad that I should be so surprised by this, but I’ve been mislead by product claims in the past.
Critics may think I should get out more if I am this excited by a thermostat, but it is dramatically different.
I had a programmable thermostat before I got my new Nest, but it was not adequate.
It was in place when I bought the house, and even though I had the manuals that went with it, I never completely understood how to program it for maximum effectiveness.
I don’t think one should need a degree in engineering or advanced mathematics to program a simple consumer device, but as far as I could tell, that is what would have been required for the old thermostat.
There were pages of instructions and tiny diagrams. I was also hampered by the fact the abstract display on the device itself was difficult to read and understand.
My eyes aren’t as young as they were, and I spent a lot of time standing in the hallway peering at the device trying to decipher the small print and figure out what the flashing symbols meant.
Even if I had been able to maximize the old thermostat, it would not have fit my situation.
Editors are not burdened by the kind of boring schedule that results in them coming and going at the same times every day.
I come and go at odd hours, and there’s no regular pattern to my schedule.
My new Nest learning thermostat was able to solve the problem.
The objective for me was to operate my heating and cooling system in the most efficient manner while keeping the house comfortable during the rare times I am there.
Nest thermostats are not inexpensive, but to me, they are worth every penny. I purchased mine through my utility company, but even if purchased through another retailer, rebates may be available for these energy-saving devices.
My appreciation for my new Nest began when I took it out of the box.
Instead of a book of complicated instructions, there are a few simple guidelines, and for those who prefer, there are videos on the company’s website to walk consumers through the process.
Installation was simple. I turned off the power, disconnected the wires from the old thermostat, and connected them to my Nest.
There is a bracket that is attached to the wall, and the thermostat snaps into place.
Setup is accomplished by walking through a few simple menu-driven steps.
One of these is connecting the device to wi-fi. We’ll get to the reason for that in a minute.
The display is elegantly simple. It consists of a large numerical representation of the current temperature. When the heat is on, the background glows a cozy orange color. When the air conditioning is on, it glows a chilly blue. That’s it. I can read the sharp black numerals from across the room.
Adjusting the temperature is as simple as turning the dial, but that isn’t often necessary. Remember, this is called a learning thermostat. From the moment I finished the setup, it began learning my habits and remembering them.
It knows, for example, that on the days I’m lucky enough to take a lunch break, I arrive home at about noon, and it adjusts the temperature accordingly.
It also senses when I am at home. If I walk into the hall, it turns the display on. If it senses I’m gone, it will automatically go into energy-saving mode after a short time.
The most important benefit for me, however, may be the fact I can control the system from an app on my phone.
I can check the current temperature (and humidity) at the bachelor estate from wherever I am.
If I am heading home from a city council meeting at 9 p.m., I can turn up the heat from my phone, and have the house nice and cozy by the time I get there.
Meanwhile, the system is in energy-saving mode when I’m not actually in the house.
The beauty is, I can save money and be more comfortable without having to think much about it. To me, that’s the mark of an outstanding product that works for me, instead of forcing me to jump through a bunch of irritating hoops, and at my time of life, I’d rather not do any hoop jumping.