Adopting Into the Nest Ecosystem
A few months ago, my Ecobee3 decided to stop working. Instead of buying another Ecobee, I decided to try out a new Smart Thermostat. I had previously considered the Nest Thermostat and decided that now would be the time to try it out – along with some other additions.
The original reason I had chosen the Ecobee over Nest was the ability to have multiple sensors. That has since been fixed, with the Nest now allowing you to add additional sensors for other rooms in your house.
The difference between these sensors and the sensors that the Ecobee has are how the thermostat uses each sensor. With the Ecobee thermostat, each sensor is used along with the main thermostat to come up with an average house temperature. That temperature is what the thermostat uses to determine whether or not it needs to adjust the household temperature.
With the Nest thermostat, you actually tell it which sensor it should use. Instead of coming up with an average for the house, you determine which sensor is primary using the app.
I thought this would be annoying at first, but after using it I’ve found that I actually prefer it. The house average isn’t as helpful because one of my rooms is consistently cooler than all the others. That regularly throws off the temperature of the rest of the house. That also happens to be a room that we rarely use. The main room we care about, at night, is our Master bedroom. The rest of the day, the living room is where most of us stay so that’s more important than the bedrooms.
Scheduling with the Nest is also very different than the Ecobee. You can still set schedules yourself using the app, but Nest has some built in Machine Learning that allows us to adjust the schedule based off your inputs at the thermostat. If it sees that you are constantly turning the temperature down during the evening, it will start to do that automatically.
Overall, I’ve really enjoying the Nest and I feel it’s a good upgrade from the Ecobee3.
The downside of the Nest Thermostat is that it doesn’t interface with my Samsung SmartThings setup. My SmartThings hub is the central control center for all my smart home devices. Not being able to control my house temperature hasn’t been ideal, but I’m hoping that support can be added soon.
We recently installed a new front door. After my daughter was born, we disabled the doorbell so people wouldn’t wake her. When friends came over, they knew to call or text when they were at the door. Since we were getting a new door and my daughter decided to start sleeping like a sane human being, we thought we’d re-enable the doorbell. That’s when I started researching smart doorbells.
I knew I wanted a camera and something to alert my phone. Since I already had a Nest thermostat, I figured adding another Nest device would make having to use a completely separate app a bit more worth it.
Wiring the doorbell was pretty easy. I did have to upgrade my transformer, since I had the original one that came with the house and that wasn’t providing enough power. Fortunately that was plug-and-play. I just had to make sure the power was off at the circuit breaker before anything was connected.
The app itself is pretty straight forward. I can access the doorbell view at any time. If someone rings the doorbell, I get an alert on my phone and on all the Google Home devices I select. The other neat feature is that I can say “Ok Google, show me the Front Door” and I’ll get a video stream on my Google Home Hub or my TV that has a Chromecast plugged into it.
Paying for the Nest Aware also adds additional features, such as being able to set Activity Zones and giving me 5 days worth of archived video. At $50/year, it seems well worth it
A few weeks ago, there were some crime reports in my neighborhood that upset us. We decided that we wanted a little more coverage for our house, so I added my next Nest product – the Nest Outdoor Camera.
I wanted something with good quality at a reasonable price. Honestly, the quality put out by this camera, both day and night, is unbelievable. I can hear audio from across the street. The video quality isn’t great at night, but that’s expected from any camera. The daytime video is very good though
Paying for Nest Aware also allows me to share clips with my neighbors when something interesting or suspicious comes up.
Most of all, this gives me a little more peace of mind when I’m out on the road. For a more practical use, it also let’s me stream the video to my Google Home Hub when I’m waiting for someone to arrive. While I as writing this article, I was waiting for my sprinkler guy to come out and fix some issues I’ve been having. By streaming the video to my Google Home Hub that’s next to my laptop, I was able to see right when he arrived and meet him outside.
Now I did have an issue when I installed my Nest Camera – I didn’t have a good WiFi signal where I wanted the camera. Due to this, the video was initially very choppy. Since I already have a Google WiFi system set up in my house, I did end up buying another puck and putting it in my garage. That gave the camera great WiFi signal and the video is clear now.
It’s not ideal that none of these Nest devices work with my SmartThings setup. I now have to use 2 different apps to control my smart home. While this is a first world problem, it’s something I’ve been trying to avoid for a long time.
Besides that, I really have nothing bad to report about any of the Nest devices. The app is excellent. The hardware not only does exactly what they advertise, but it’s also built well and looks excellent. While some of these devices are pricey, I feel that they are well worth the money and are a good buy for any smart home.
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