I've wanted one of these things for years – and this past month, I finally got one.
The Nest Thermostat E is the latest rendition of the now-famous “learning thermostat” that has changed the way people control the climate in their homes.
Why Is This Such A Big Deal?
This little piece of technology is more than just a programmable thermostat.
This thing learns your behavior and figures out what temperatures you prefer based on the time of day, time of year and whether you're at home or away (which it can tell, based on the location of your phone… which is also what you can use to control the Nest Thermostat from anywhere in the world).
Back when programmable thermostats first became a thing, it was a great step forward in allowing people to save money on their heating and cooling costs – but the Nest Thermostat takes it SEVERAL steps further. It doesn't just adjust the temperature based on the time of day, it changes the indoor climate based on your location, your seasonal preferences, and the way you actually live your life.
As a quick recap from the video above, here's a rundown of why I think this thermostat is so cool.
- It has a learning system that can automate the changes in temperature based on your preferences and location.
- There are built-in eco options that make it very easy to save energy.
- With the Nest App, you can monitor and adjust the temperature remotely, saving significant energy when you're not at home.
- This particular rendition of the Nest Thermostat is designed to blend into the wall (whereas the previous models were designed to stand out, like a piece of electronic art on the wall).
- This thermostat can also tell you what the weather is like outside, in case you're not sure what to wear on any particular day.
- This product does NOT require any additional costs to operate (no monthly subscriptions required – like with the Nest Cam). Once it's bought and paid for, it will do it's job free of charge, for years to come.
- Depending on your local power company, you may potentially have access to some major rebates, which can help offset the cost of the thermostat.
Keep in mind, this is not an all-inclusive list of what this little thing can do… this is simply the list of why I bought it.
Installation: How Easy Is It?
Something that makes Nest products stand out from the pack is their ease of use.
I won't say the installation process was completely idiot-proof, but for someone who has even the slightest notion of how to follow instructions, they've made it VERY easy.
I'm a fairly incompetent handyman, and even I was able to get mine installed in just a few minutes, largely thanks to this SUPER helpful instructional video from the company.
Seriously, I don't know why every company doesn't offer this kind of video guide for the products they sell. It's WAY more informative than some poorly written instruction manual.
Does it make sense with Rental Properties?
As a real estate investor, one of the first things I think about with products like this is:
Can this thing save me any money in the rental properties I own?
If I was paying the heating & cooling costs for any of my properties, then YES. I would probably install this thermostat in each of my rentals without thinking twice about it. The fact that the price is coming down substantially AND there are rebates available, that would make an even more compelling case.
In my situation, though – I'm not paying the electric or gas bill for my properties, my tenants are… so am I rushing out to buy these? Not at the moment – no.
It's definitely a cool thing to have in my own home, but there isn't a huge level of urgency for me to put these in each of my other properties.
I will say though… when the times comes to replace furnaces and make other related upgrades at my properties, I probably will spring for buying these units at that point, because this is a fairly inexpensive cost that will provide years and years of savings – not just for my tenants, but for the world in general.
Given the level of sophistication of this thermostat, I was initially concerned that it might be too complicated for every tenant to understand (given the wifi connection and Nest App, etc.). However, this thermostat does still work without a wifi connection and/or without the integration with the app. While that will eliminate some of the nice features when not paired with these things, it will still bring improvements in energy savings over the long term.
In some areas, you can cover most (if not all) of the cost of a Nest Thermostat E through the rebates offered by local energy companies. You can find out if there are any rebates available in your area on this page of Nest's website.
Keep in mind – even if you can't get any rebates… it still may be worth the full price. Apparently, there have been studies showing that this thermostat will effectively pay for itself through energy savings within 1 – 2 years (depending on the user's habits and eco options are chosen), so that's another thing to weigh into your decision.