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Nest Thermostat

drtom Member Posts: 31
I am looking into maybe buying one of these newfangled thermostats:

Nest Thermostat (<a href="http://www.nest.com/">http://www.nest.com/</a>)

Looks pretty cool. Anyone think it'll save me any money over the long haul?
Tom Morison, D.C.

Rhode Island


  • Rod
    Rod Posts: 2,067
    Nest Thermostat

    Hi- Just took a quick glance over the literature and I didn't see anything about the ability to set the cycles per hour which is a must for a steam system thermostat. It looks interesting and has lots of bells and whistles I just wonder how useful it would really be on a steam system.

    - Rod
  • drtom
    drtom Member Posts: 31

    Set the cycles per hour from the thermostat?

    I have never even heard of a thermostat that can do that and I have lived in homes with steam heat for the past 39 years.
    Tom Morison, D.C.

    Rhode Island
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    edited October 2011
    jewelry on the wall

    it looks nice in the right decor; however i suspect the way to save money with it would be not to hook it up-just look at it. if you look at the advertising video, you will see a house full of "setting fiddlers" which is not conducive to energy savings. for steam systems, a setback of only a few degrees at the most is better. with large setbacks, the boiler has to burn the same amount of fuel to catch up.


    the honeywell visionpro thermostat is the favorite of many steam system owners here. it has provision for a remote sensor so for large buildings, the sensor could be located in a cooler area, far away from the control itself. it has a setting for cycles per hour, of which "1" is right for steam. where the next thermostat may shine is in the ease of setting. the menu of the visionpro is a bit clumsy

    for large buildings, the tekmar 279 will adjust the firing rate to suit the outdoor tempeature.

    true economy will come from having a well-maintained system whose pressure is set at only a few ounces, and whose air leaves the system during firing easily, with negligible back-pressure.

    therefore in order of importance, here are the items essential to economy which should be on you christmas list:

    1. a good low pressure gauge [gaugestore.com, 0-3 psi], mounted on the same pigtail.

    2.a vaporstat [0-16 ounce]

    3.large gorton #2 vents for the dry returns.

    4. a burner setup/cleaning with proper equipment.

    5.a properly setup thermostat, in a good location.

    6.the steamy deal of steam books from the shop here.

    if you have been a good boy, you will see these under the tree, and if you have been exceptional, st. nick will slide down to the boiler, and put them on for you [he visits here frequently under an assumed name]!--nbc
  • Not surprised...

    Nearly every first time call I am out on, I have to reset the thermostat to operate properly with steam.  In N America the thermostats are set up for forced air from the factory and most have to be adjusted to work properly with hot water or steam.  The instructions are in the installation manual.  I have also replaced a number of thermostats that are not compatible with steam heating.   Most contractors do not read the instructions....too much of a hurry.
    The Steam Whisperer (Formerly Boilerpro)

    Chicago's Steam Heating Expert

    Noisy Radiators are a Cry for Help
  • David Nadle
    David Nadle Member Posts: 624

    Honeywell programmable thermostats use a cycles per hour setting instead of a swing/anticipator setting. Different way of doing things but it works well.

    Apparently the Nest setup asks if your heat is electric, forced hot air, or "conventional." Maybe it's smart enough to determine that the connected system is high mass and act accordingly without an explicit steam setting.

    If your system is like mine and never cycles off on pressure and the radiator vents hiss on long cycles then you won't enjoy any setback thermostat.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,278
    I can't recommend it

    There have been several threads dealing with problems with the Nest on pretty much anything except forced air systems.

    The Honeywell VisionPro series is excellent, and will do everything the Nest will do -- as well as being able to run a steam heating system properly, which a Nest won't do.

    Not to mention... do you really truly want Google to know when you are home and when you aren't?  And what temperature you run your house at?
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Joe V_2
    Joe V_2 Member Posts: 234
    i wouldnt buy it because

    a. it is too expensive

    b. yeah, the google wifi thing annoys me. I believe Google IS the NSA.

    but I digress. I do know one steam system that uses a nest. It works as perfectly well as my Honeywell. If you like technology, go for it. But if you want to save money there are other things you can do.
  • Honeywell RTH9580?

    I love the look of Nest. I hate the look of the Honeywell VisionPro. If I had my own diamond mine I would put jewelry on every wall!

    Would the Honeywell RTH9580 work well with steam? Does anyone have experience with it?

  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    Thermostat advantages

    I chose the Honeywell Visionpro for my 55 rad system, mainly because I could use a remote sensor with it. The sensor is in the coolest room, in the house.

    Since I now have 2 remote sensors installed, I would probably try the Ecobee thermostat next as it can handle 2 sensors at once, which the Visionpro cannot.

    It is definitely steam certified, which the nest is not. --NBC
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    Too smart?

    I almost bought that today, but had the same concern. I didn't notice it had lock-out or I might have sprung for it. Instead, I bought the one just down ... almost all the same features, but not smart, to control my two boilers with the Taco relay. There is one that has a wireless panel in addition to the hard-wired one. I'm pretty sure the one I bought can use two sensor, NB-C. This is a very timely post. There was yet another one with hard-wiring and/or battery. I was wondering if that work work in case of an electrical outage?
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    Too smart to fail?

    What did you choose in the end? In a power outage, of course nothing will work!--NBC
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    edited January 2014
    Will manufacturers listen to the public?

    What I need in a thermostat:

    1.Remote sensor capability, with Wi-Fi connection.

    2.Wi-Fi enabled. The ability to do remote monitoring and control will be more and more important.

    3.Menu system tested out on 80+ year old people.

    4.Tekmar capabilities if needed.

    The price should be two times a Visionpro, plus one iPad/iPhone --NBC
  • Eastman
    Eastman Member Posts: 927
    can't recommend nest

    It doesn't do anything that warrants the device's additional complexity. And I believe the data logging requires a cloud account to view.

    I don't think much will change in the North American thermostat world until some kind of standard like OpenTherm is adopted.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,671

    I tried a Nest for a few hours. I gave up on it mainly because it locked up right after I installed it and I had to "reboot" it.

    That would be wonderful if I was away on vacation for a week during the winter and it decided to lock up.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • rrg
    rrg Member Posts: 37
    edited January 2014
    Don't trust nest, they claim 40,000 sold each month.

    Maybe off topic but I did look into getting a nest for the cool factor a few months back.

    It's strange to me that the product is still not ready for prime time IMO because of the software being updated and constant reboots or lock up issues found on the web.

    Just look at Amazon reviews for experiences/issues with the device.

    It does work, if you are lucky but it's not for everyone, IMHO.

  • drtom
    drtom Member Posts: 31
    I use NEST and it's great.

    I use the NEST thermostat in my office and I love it. In the first year, I had a few software/firmware glitches that were worked out remotely. There were some compatibility issues with my router. But for the past two years, I haven't had any issues at all with it. I really like it. I like the way it looks and I like the ability to modify the setting online or on my phone.

    my 2 cents.
    Tom Morison, D.C.

    Rhode Island
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,671
    Version 1 vs 2

    From what I saw the 1st gen has far less complaints than the 2nd gen.

    For example the 2nd gen you need to wave your hand an inch from it to get it to wake up where the 1st gen wakes up if you walk near it 5 feet away.

    I also suspect even though they claim it works on 2 wire systems that a third wire (common) should be considered necessary especially on a proper hot water setup.  The miniature computer runs off of a battery which it charges from your system when the system is OFF on a 2 wire system.  If the system runs a lot it can kill the battery and this will definitely happen if the system runs constantly.

    They claim 40,000 a month?  This must include all of the ones like mine that get returned.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    NOPEC Member Posts: 1
    Nest Thermostat Experience on Steam Heat

    After hearing a lot about the Nest thermostat from local utilities (now offering a $100 rebate here in MA) I was not sure whether to take the plunge. The reviews on Heating Help and elsewhere have been limited for steam systems, and generally not very positive. I have a 5 year-old Burnham Independence gas boiler (two zones, one steam, one hot water) and have been using a very sturdy and reliable Honeywell that never failed. Nest was easy to install and program, and is working very well. The Nest does a good job of not cycling the boiler too frequently (cycles about once per hour when there is a call for heat) and its runs are long enough to fill most of the radiator sections with steam.

    Wiring is another issue people have noted. So far, no problem. I had a two-wire (W1 + RC) connection to the Honeywell, with no C wire. Even this super basic wiring seems to provide ample power for the Nest to "steal" so that it can recharge the lithium-ion battery and operate normally.

    I was not crazy about the whole "learning" aspect of the Nest. I did not want to babysit a thermostat so it could figure out my schedule, and frankly I never had a problem doing the programming for the Honeywell to work well and save energy. I soon discovered that the Nest can also work as a programmable thermostat (if you want it to) by turning off the learning feature, and entering your schedule and desired set point temps. It will still sense when the house is unoccupied and reduce the temp to your desired level.

    There are tons of great features that I really like. Internet access to monitor and control the Nest is excellent. I have not had any wi-fi connectivity problems. This is the only wi-fi thermostat I found that does not require hard wiring (or a transformer) for its power source. The occupancy sensor is also great. Set-up and programming are really intuitive, and the build quality of the Nest is top notch.

    My only complaint is that the Nest has a slightly wider temp range than the Honeywell. So, at the same set point of 67, the Nest starts the cycle when it is a little colder in the house than the Honeywell did. But the benefit is that the cycle is longer and probably more efficient.

    All in all, I think this is a good addition and I have no regrets. Will submit updates later on the extent of energy savings achieved -- still an open question.