Nest Thermostat: Ultimate guide

By Bradly Spicer •  Updated: 04/12/20 •  9 min read

The Ultimate Guide For Nest Thermostats

The Nest Thermostat has a reputation of being one of the best Smart Thermostats on the network. It’s reliable, easy to use and quite possibly the best designed Thermostat out of the box.

What you will learn:

Who This Guide Is for:

You’re a home owner looking to save money – The Smart Thermostat is a great little invention for saving money, more-so now than before as your Thermostat will use data that is commonly shared with Google so it knows your patterns & behaviours.

You’re an office admin – Who’s sick and tired of everyone changing the heating temperature. Find a decent temperature or a schedule that works for everyone!

And More! – There are plenty of other reasons to get a Nest Thermostat, I’ll be covering them in this guide!

Chapter 1: What is a Nest Thermostat?

The Nest Thermostat is a Smart Thermostat which was developed by a company called Nest Labs but now joined with Google.

It’s a self-learning Wi-Fi-based Thermostat which allows you to save money on Electricity & Heating.

It uses Machine learning to monitor how you set your heating and when, this will then automate itself based on the current temperature, time of day, if your phone is in your home (Geolocation) and when no-one is home, it will work on energy-saving mode.

What is a Nest Thermostat?

How do I know if my Home is Nest Compatible?

There is an online compatibility tool which will help you determine if your current heating system is compatible with the Google Nest Thermostat ecosystem.

These Thermostats are expected to work all over USA & Europe and as such, work with many different types of heating & boiler systems.

Do I need to replace all my Thermostats?

You only need to have one Nest Thermostat, whilst you can have as many as you want, it may be worth swapping only the main thermostat you use to save energy.

Your old thermostats will still work, however they won’t be able to automatically make changes like a Google Nest Thermostat.

What does a Nest Thermostat Learn?

Your Nest thermostat will use Machine Learning to build its own schedule to help save energy. It will take note of the temperature changes you make, 

Chapter 2: How do I install my Nest Thermostat?

The Nest Thermostat installation changes depending on if you’re using a 3rd & 2nd Generation Nest Learning Thermostat or a Nest Thermostat E.

Google suggests having a third party Nest Professional install this for you due to the Fil Pilote System Wiring of the 3rd & second Generation. However, you can see full instructions on installation of this here. If you decide to install it yourself, make sure to double check the instructions because incorrectly wiring your Nest can cause it to stop cooling.

If you have the Nest Thermostat E, it actually walks you through how to wire this correctly via the app based on your home configuration (Perfect for newbies).

How to install Nest Thermostat

Simply follow these steps to get instructions on the Nest Thermostat E installation:

  1. Open the Nest app and sign in to your account if prompted.
  2. From the home screen, tap Settings
  3. Tap Add product.
  4. Select Nest thermostat.
  5. Scan the code on the bottom of your thermostat stand

Basic understanding of setting up the Nest Thermostat

If you’re not familiar with changing Electronic wiring, please do not attempt this without guidance and please do turn off your Electrics before trying this!

On your boiler, you should have a Live and Neutral out as well as an Earth Out. The Heatlink itself doesn’t require an earth out as it is plastic.

You may find your central heating and hot water will loop to your “live”, the hotwater wire will need to stay there, however, you will need to take out the heating unit to connect your Nest Heatlink.

This will then go directly from the boiler into the Nest Heatlink (Which works as a hub).

There is a small guide inside the nest Heatlink which shows you where which cables go where, you will see this on the inside case that you are required to unscrew to access.

You can now set up your Nest reciever anywhere in your house (Assuming it has range), so you can control your heating manually via the Nest Thermostat.

I highly suggest checking out the CharlieShooters KnowHow video Guide if you have 16 minutes to spare and a 230v Combi Boiler:

Chapter 3: How to use your Nest Thermostat

Using a Nest Thermostat is extremely easy, as the Thermostat doesn’t have a touchscreen, you simply rotate the outer ring if you want it warmer or colder.

Due to this, you can press the center to open the menu and then use the ring to scroll up and down (Or left and right depending on how you look at it) in the options and then press the center again to select the option.

Your Thermostat will spend the first few weeks learning how you tweak the Thermostat regularly, so if possible, try not to change the temperature too often as it will learn what you like and may then cause issues.

It’s definitely worth having a look at your settings area to tweak it as you need on set up. However, the schedule itself is its own version.

There is an energy feature which essentially works like a Smart Meter but will break down when exactly the heating was and if you’ve manually changed the heating.

Can I view Nest Thermostat Energy history?

Yes, you can view your prior 10 days history of Nest Energy usage via the Nest app on your phone, tablet or computer.

On your Nest Device, you can also select a breakdown of your energy consumption by the hour in the “Energy” tab.

How to schedule manually

There are three different routine methods for creating temperature schedules.

You can leave it on Auto-Schedule which is essentially Google Nests “Learning” mode which uses Machine Learning.

There is also Basic Schedule (This only works on the Google Nest Thermostat E) and Manual Schedule.

Basic Schedule

This tool allows you to create a basic schedule which completely bypasses the setup of your Machine Learning setup.

By enabling Basic Schedule you will disable the Automatic-Schedule tool and Google Nests Learning technology. 

By setting up a Basic Schedule, you can essentially keep your Nest thermostat turned off for lengths of time that you decide fit your need.

True Radiant may cause changes whilst you’re setting this up as it starts the system before the point in the schedule to make sure your home is the set temperature before you arrive.

Eco Temperature can cause your thermostat to automatically toggle from your manual schedule to a lower temperature when it notices nobody is home. Definitely one to save money.

No Schedule is perfect if you only want to have your house temperature set manually. This will mean the True Radiant and Eco Temperature will not work.

Chapter 4: What Nest Thermostats are there?

There are two main types of Nest Thermostat, the Nest Learning Thermostat and the Nest Thermostat E. This is a basic breakdown of the two different Thermostats.

Google Nest Learning Thermostat Guide

Nest Learning Thermostat

£169 £219

Which typically more expensive than its counterpart, the Nest Learning Thermostat is often on sale at a great price making it cheaper than the single white colour option which lacks the Farsight option.

This Thermostat is installed onto your wall but also has an additional Nest Stand which is sold separately. It has a High-res colour display and uses a Metal ring.

This device is best installed by a professional as it is more complex to set up.

Nest Thermostat: Ultimate guide

Nest Thermostat E


This generally cheaper version comes in one colour: White. It uses a Polycarbonate, faux-ceramic finish on the ring and comes with a built-in stand. There is no Farsight option with this device.

This can be installed easily by yourself without a professional. But is a battery powered device.

Chapter 5: What if my Nest Thermostat breaks?

Finding Nest Thermostat replacement parts can be a real pain and if you’re not familiar with the hardware or the Nest hardware, it can be near impossible.

Google suggests simply buying a whole new Nest Thermostat unit, however, given this is their advice you may find more luck on eBay with spare parts.

If you’re looking for spare parts for the Nest Learning Thermostat or the Thermostat E, I really do believe sites like eBay and Gumtree are the best route.

Replacement Nest Thermostat Parts

Lastly, it’s always worth checking the Google Device Accessories, but these are going to be a lot more expensive than the other route I suggested. Personally, I don’t feel like this is the best route to go down as you’re still going to pay an extortionate price and need to fix it yourself.

The Google Device Accessories page does however offer a Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation Base, Nest Thermostat E Steel Plate and a Nest Temperature Sensor

Chapter 6: I’ve heard the Ecobee is better vs Google Nest

I’m not going to try and sell you on which is best here with an affiliate link like everyone else. They’re two separate devices which both offer great tools for controlling your heating.

Both of these devices have their pros and cons, both are fairly pricey for small little gadgets and both are great at monitoring your heating, so which is the better of the two?

Nest Thermostat

Nest Learning Thermostat

£169 £219

Dimensions: 3.3″ x 1.06″

Display Size: 2.08″

Display Resolution: 480 x 480px

Sensors: Temperature, Humidity, Proximity, Motion, Light, Magnetic, Ambient

Wireless: 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth low energy

Smart Assistant Compatible: Google Assistant, Alexa, Nest, IFTTT

ecobee3 lite

Nest Thermostat E


Dimensions: 4.05″ x 4.05″ x 0.84″

Sensors: Temperature, Humidity, Occupancy, proximity

Wireless: 802.11 b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0

Smart Assistant Compatible: Google Assistant, Alexa, Samsung SmartThings, IFTTT

Whilst this is a technical breakdown, I do have a post on my personal opinion on which is best. There is no ‘best’ option, but hopefully this helps!

Bradly Spicer

I'm a Smart Home and IT Enthusiast that loves to check out new technology and gadgets! I enjoy reading your experiences and news, so if you want to share anything or chat smart homes, definitely send me an email!