Nest Gen 3 thermostat: What’s new?

2nd November 2016 By Rich
Nest Gen 3 thermostat: What’s new?

Hi all,
Great article from review site Recombu on the latest Nest Gen3 Thermostat. Customer demand for these is certainly growing. The link to the full article is here but I’ve pulled together a summary below.

We now have some Gen 3s in stock (a few of you have already asked) and they are available with no minimum order quantity, priced competitively at £180 inc VAT (RRP £199).

What’s new?

The main difference with the new Nest thermostat is that it’ll now let you control both your heating and hot water, depending on the type of boiler your customer has. This sees Nest catching up with the competition - rival heating systems Tado, Climote and British Gas’s Hive have let users control the water temperature for some time now. Nest might be late to the hot water party, but it's better to be late than never.
Most of the changes are cosmetic; compared to the second-gen thermostat this new model is slimmer and comes with a screen that’s both bigger and sharper.

Installation and Set-Up

Installation typically costs an extra £50 on top of the standard retail price for a 3rd gen Nest thermostat (£199) for a grand total of £249.
As for where you install the new thermostat, there are three options; replace the existing one, hang it up somewhere else or mount it on the Stand (sold separately). The latter two options mean you’ll have to power the ‘stat from the mains as you’ll not be drawing any juice from the home wiring.
Once the supplied 230V Heat Link is up and running and you’ve decided where to house your thermostat, the rest of the set-up process is dunce-proof. Simply connect the Nest to the WiFi network and follow the on-screen instructions….everything took about 40 minutes to get up and running.

How easy is it to use?

Design-wise, the Nest is a gorgeous, beautiful bit of kit. Cycling through the many menus and sub-menus on that circular screen can be a bit of a task… you’re really better off using the apps.
The Schedule feature lets you easily create schedules by plotting desired temperature and start and end times on an XY-axis. These can be easily tweaked on a whim. Your customer can also handily copy and paste heating schedules, making it easy to create a schedule for Monday-Friday while having different schedules for the weekend, or however it is they divide their time up.
Nest’s Auto-Schedule and Auto-Away features attempt to get a handle on their normal routine and switch off the heating when the owner is not at home. Both of these measures are designed to save them money by not heating up an empty house.
There’s a couple of issues to bear in mind here though. Auto-Away relies on the thermostat’s sensors to detect whether anyone’s at home. Unlike other smart home systems that use GPS information to trigger actions, Nest’s motion sensors will perform a sweep of the room to determine whether or not anyone's home. If it thinks that they're away, it’ll eventually shut the heating off. The owner can manually override this or disable Auto-Away from the settings if you don’t want to use it at all.

What is OpenTherm?

OpenTherm claims to allow for smarter communications between the boiler and the Nest thermostat, to the point where if you’ve got an OpenTherm boiler, it will burn the exact amount of gas needed in order to reach their desired temperature.

Can you actually save money with Nest's learning thermostat?

Nest flashes up a little green leaf whenever you’ve turned the temperature down to an energy-saving level. As it learns a little more about the owner's heating habits the green leaf parameters will shift, which will see them challenged to pick temperatures a few degrees lower to those which they’re used to. The rule of thumb is if they see the green leaf, they should be saving money. Nest says that turning the heating down by one degree represents a saving of 5 per cent on heating bills.
Results of a US-based trial from last year also claimed that a Nest learning thermostat will save you around 10-12 per cent on bills versus the savings you’d get with a typical thermostat.

Verdict: You will save sexily with Nest - we just can't say how much

Nest’s third-gen thermostat is a beautifully designed appliance that affords a great degree of convenience. As for how much money it can save, that depends on how fastidious the owner is as much as Nest’s own scheduling algorithms.
The lack of a location-assisted away setting, while surmountable via third party options, is a bit of a drawback. If this is a dealbreaker, you might want to reach for something like Tado or Hive.
That said, if your customer is the type of person who often finds themselves working late and they're living in a house where there’s plenty of people coming and going at all hours of the day, they will no doubt appreciate the freedom Nest offers.