How to Set up a Nest Learning Thermostat

Nest setup is fast and easy; you'll be saving money in no time

The Google Nest Learning Thermostat

Google Nest

Now that your new Nest Learning Thermostat is attached to the wall and powered up, it’s time to put it to work saving you money and keeping your house comfortable. The initial Nest thermostat setup sequence might seem a little overwhelming at first glance. The setup menu is a little long and there are a lot of questions to answer, but the whole setup is actually pretty fast and simple.

Unlike many other smart thermostats, the Nest doesn't have a touchscreen. You move through the settings by turning the dial right or left and to select something, and press the face of the Nest like a giant button.

How to Set up Your Nest Learning Thermostat

The setup process for a Nest thermostat can seem a little overwhelming, but don't be intimidated. You'll answer some questions first, then connect the thermostat to the Nest app on your mobile device. It's all easy and won't take long to complete.

  1. First, select your preferred language from the list, then confirm that choice on the next screen.

    Language
  2. The Nest will show a list of all the Wi-Fi signals it can receive. Pick your network, then move on to the password entry screen, which requires using the dial and face button to enter each character. When the password is entered, dial to and select the checkmark at the very bottom of the screen.

    Network
  3. Once the Nest confirms its connection to your Wi-Fi, press the face button again to continue. The Nest will quickly check for any important updates before allowing you to move on.

  4. Set your location. This setting ensures the Nest can give you up to date time and weather for your area, but it should be able to figure out where it is and ask you to confirm the location.

  5. Next, you have to let the Nest know what kind of dwelling it’s installed in. Select Single-Family, Multi-Family, Apt/Condo, or Business, then press the face button.

    House type
  6. Select which room the Nest is in. 

    Room Location
  7. Confirm your equipment. The Nest will ask you if you’re the homeowner or a professional installer. Unless you’re actually a professional installer, select Homeowner.

  8. It will then show you a wiring diagram and ask you to press the face button to continue. If anything seems off in the wiring diagram, it means at least one of the wires probably isn’t connected properly. In that case, you’ll have to take the Nest off the wiring mount and re-check the wires for issues.

    Wiring Diagram

    If you must check the wiring, remember to turn the power to the Nest thermostat off completely and use all appropriate precautions for dealing with electrical wiring.

  9. The Nest will ask for confirmation about what kind of system you have. If everything looks right, select Continue.

    System Type
  10. Tell the Nest Learning Thermostat what the fuel source of your heating system is. Select Gas, Electric, Oil, Propane, Geothermal, or I Don't Know.

    Fuel Source
  11. Finally, it will ask what type of heat you use. Select Forced Air, In-Floor Radiant, Radiators or More Info

    Heating Type
  12. The Nest will next want to know if it should begin with heating or cooling. Since it’s high heat in August in this example, we choose Cooling

  13. Select past the note on Eco mode and you’ll select the Eco temperature preferences. These are essentially the temperature thresholds the Nest will use when no one is home. In other words, unless the temperature in the house goes above the cooling or below the heating thresholds you set here, it won’t use the HVAC system at all.

    Eco Mode Settings
  14. Back to the main set-up menu, select System Test. The thermostat is all configured and it’s time to make sure everything works together! You can opt to not run the test, but it's recommended you take the few minutes to test each part of the system: heating, cooling, and the fan. When you’re satisfied, select Done.

    System Test

How to Use Nest Smart Thermostat With the Nest App

The final option in the set-up menu. The Nest asks if you’d like to control it with the Nest app. If you don’t, you can skip it and be finished with the set-up, but if you do, select Yes on the thermostat. An entry key code will appear on the Nest, which must be entered into the app to link the two.

Nest assumes you have the app already installed. If you haven’t installed the app and set-up your account, do so now.

  1. From the app, tap the + button to add your home to the app. Give it a name and tap Next.

  2. Enter your address and tell the app if you want to utilize its geofencing abilities. Geofencing means the app uses the phone’s location to know if you’re home or away, and also allows for some neat tricks, like making sure the house will be at just the right temperature by the time you get home.

    For people who live in homes where someone’s always home, this option probably won’t have much value.

  3. Once that’s settled, tap Add.

    Next, OK, and Add buttons in Nest app
  4. The app will ask to scan the QR code on the back of the thermostat. You can remove the Nest from the wall if you really want to, or tap Continue without scanning

  5. The app will ask you what product you’re installing, if it’s already installed, and then the entry key. 

    Scan the code, Nest Thermostat buttons in Nest app
  6. No matter how you opt to confirm the connection, once it’s done, the Nest will inform you it's attached to your account. Tap through a couple of information screens on the thermostat, then tap Finish in the set-up options.

    Start installation, Enter key
  7. Finally, you’ll see the familiar main screen of the Nest. The large number is the temperature the Nest is set to. Adjust the dial to the temperature you prefer and it will tell you how long it should take to reach that.

The Nest is heavily reliant on the user tweaking the temperature to suit them. After a week or so of you letting it know what you prefer the house to be set at, it will intelligently adjust to accommodate your comfort levels and schedule.