Nest Thermostat Review, Update #9


When I woke up this morning, I decided that I’d use the remote features of my Nest Thermostat to increase the temperature of the first floor as the normal schedule hadn’t started yet.

Here’s what I saw on my iPad:


Basement: ?

First Floor: ?

When I tapped the Basement image, this alert was displayed:


“Thermostat Disconnected: The thermostat Basement last connected to more than 7 hours ago.”


I next checked the First Floor. Thankfully, it said that it had only been 17 minutes since it last connected. I’ve seen that issue before and it usually resolves. But, I’ve never seen one go more than about 50 53 minutes without reporting in.

The fact that I was using the iPad and the Nest application meant that WiFi Internet was available in our house.

I went to the Basement thermostat and noticed this glaring issue after clicking through to settings:


What?  Seriously?

As I wasn’t sure what the best option was at 6:45AM for support, I decided to re-add the thermostat to our account. The thermostat had no trouble accessing the Nest cloud and obtaining one of the one time connection keys. (So, I maintain, it’s not general Internet connectivity issues).

After deleting and adding it back, the web site still reported it as MIA. So, I tried a reset:


After resetting, and waiting several minutes after it had completely restarted, it appeared again on the Nest web site.

However, 3 hours later:


It’s again, gone missing.

So, I called support this fine Sunday morning and talked to one of the same support engineers I’ve spoken with in the past (“DK”). I explained the general problem (and emphasized that my biggest concern was that it had lost my account information), my “solution”, and said that it was again not reporting in. In a typical (somewhat ironic) support fashion, as I was explaining the issue and walking to the basement, the thermostat reported in successfully to the Nest cloud.

He had me drop the account, add it to my account, and restart it again. He said that resolves the problem in about 70% of the cases. In the other 30%, he mentioned that they often manually update the firmware and that will help. [ugh]

I’m going to keep an eye on it and will add more details as needed/available.


If you want to talk and discuss more about digital thermostats with others, I’d suggest here: (it’s a web site I created to help provide a better place to have discussions about the Nest thermostat).


  1. Had the same issue. In our case, 42 minutes. A manual (via iPhone) adjustment worked fine, and Nest “honored” the set points perfectly. A glitch that seemed to happen to everyone?
    All ok now.

  2. I have had the same problem as well. I was at work and wanted to turn the heat on after my wife called me and told me she was heading home. My iPhone said that I had lost connectivity and it had been 3 hours ago. I had to have my wife turn the “away” feature off when she got home. I have had the NEST loose connectivity several times however the wifi was working fine…no loss on my iPhone or iPad or Mackbook Air. I went to the NEST settings, selected my home network went to the password section hit done and it reconnected.

  3. I have two nests. I installed them in December. I have had none of the issues noted on this blog. It is tough for me to think we have the same product. I couldn’t love them more. Really well designed, easy to install, works well, and makes a mockery of other programmable thermostats. Comparing this to a Honeywell is like comparing an ms-dos machine to an iPad.

  4. Hmmm… I just ran into the same problem with mine yesterday. Went to remotely adjust the temperature and both the iOS app and the Nest website say the thermostat is missing.

    Seems odd many of us are experiencing the same issue all of a sudden.

    I tried rebooting the thermostat and it still shows up as a ? on the Nest website even though it shows WiFi connection is just fine if I view the settings on the thermostat itself.

  5. Gah, now my Nest lost its account information as well!

    I’m suspecting something is wrong with the most recent Nest firmware update. Looks like Nest updated it on January 20th:

    “Version 1.1.1 – Released January 20th, 2012
    Improvements and bug fixes for Schedule Learning, Auto Away, energy history, Wi-Fi connection, time zones, lock and more”

    Note how it says they made improvements/bug fixes to the WiFi. I’d be suspicious someone accidentally broke something while making the “improvement”.

    Oddly, my Nest says it is running 1.1.2, so maybe they pushed out another update that is still broken.

    1. Ouch.

      While I’m admittedly sorry this has happened to someone else, I’m glad I’m not the only one experiencing these problems (as some on the Internet seem to believe that it’s somehow unique to me).

      The problem of loosing the account information is one of the key fundamentals that it should NEVER get wrong. Image if your phone forgot what your phone number was and how to contact the network.

  6. Same isssue here…mine has only been inaccessible with low battery for over an hour, just installed this past weekend

  7. We are having the same issue except we aren’t in town to check the thermostat. Question for you: when it lost your account info, was the thermostat still keeping the temperature settings? We are nervous that the heat is actually off.

    1. @Erin–yes, it was still keeping the schedule (mind you, if you’ve got it in learning mode, the ‘schedule’ may be adjusted without your knowledge).

    1. Either as one of the comments on my blog or, someone talked about power options when there isn’t a “c” wire.

  8. Accdg to the support knowledge base – it may lose connection while low on battery – which is somewhat troublesome? We should be able to dictate when it connects to wifi if it is that much of a drain?

    We shall see, supposedly that rc wire is the power. Maybe all of the learning and low signal power – reportedly at 40% may have drained since Fri?

  9. Yikes! Based on Nest’s twitter feed, something very bad happened with the recent firmware update. They’re getting swamped with calls today.

    At least it’s comforting to know they are aware of the problem and are working on a fix.

  10. I was one of the first to receive a Nest and had it installed from launch through last week. Like the author of this blog, I gave it a solid trial but found the Nest to be lacking in several areas.

    In the end, before buying this product you really need to ask yourself: Do I really want a “computer” controlling my thermostat in the dead of Winter? With a computer comes “computer problems.” Old time technology does offer some benefits in this case.

    Some areas that need immediate attention:

    1. Temperature Sensitivity
    As mentioned on this blog, the Nest has problems with accurate temperature readings. When compared to my (very accurate) external thermometer or previous thermostat, the Nest is consistently off by 3 or more degrees, in either direction. Usually warmer. (Meaning the Nest think it’s 71 when in fact it’s 68.)

    2. Temperature Accuracy Comes at Cost: Furnace Runs More Frequently
    With our 20-year old Robert Shaw thermostat, the temperature reading was ridiculously accurate. The unit would turn on, run it up about a degree past your set temperature, and then shut off for a good while. With the Nest, because it’s more accurate, your heater is constantly turning on and off. (The Nest was turning the furnace on every 15 or 20 minutes on some nights.) Yes, it keeps it exactly where you want it and not a degree colder or warmer so it’s really, really comfy in the house. While this may save you pennies on energy costs (because it does not run past your set temp), you’re absolutely beating the hell out of the furnace by constantly turning it on and off. That is not good for the starter solenoid if you’re running a natural gas unit like we have.

    3. Learning Sucks
    As mentioned in this blog, we encountered the same problems. The learning just does whatever the hell it wants and doesn’t seem to make much sense. We disabled it after two weeks; it was often letting us wake up to 58 degree temps (?) and bringing it up to 70 degrees without notice. One day it just went to 60 degrees at 7 p.m. for no reason. Very odd system it has.

    4. Needs Quick Fan Control
    In my home, we frequently use the Fan to circulate air, even in the Winter. Having this buried within the Advanced Settings menu is a real pain when you just want to go flip the fan on. It takes about 20 clicks to eventually get there. I get the whole “minimalized controls” concept that they’re trying to carry over from Apple’s design, but in this case, I think the button should be somewhere easier to find. Again, on our 20-year old Robert Shaw unit there is a tiny little switch where you can turn the fan on and off in about a second. (The author mentioned a clock on the faceplate as well and I agree; a clock should be there, or at least as an option, to put on the main screen.)

    5. Internet Connectivity
    I understand that the Nest offers remote control of your house, but throughout the first few months of using it, we encountered several days where the Nest was “updating” and unresponsive to our controls for 30 minutes or more. This really sucks if it happens to update right when you come home from work, or right when you decide you want to bump the heat up or down. It’s just inconvenient to constantly have my thermostat tell me that I cannot adjust my own home because it’s “busy.” This happened frequently enough to be a problem. (This confirmed my concept of never again buying a thermostat that connects to the Internet.)

    6. The Big One: Needs an Emergency Override
    Although I’ve encountered a number of bugs (more like irritating quirks) since installing it, I never felt unsafe with it until two weeks ago. Well that changed on one of the coldest nights of the year—it hit 8 degrees here—and the Nest encountered some type of random error at around 10 p.m. that night. When we noticed it felt really cold inside, we checked and the unit completely stopped working and we could not adjust the temperature or get the heat to turn on. After trying a support call, they had us disconnect everything and reconnect all the wires… no dice. After a few more calls with support, they had us try several factory resets only to come to the same error screen every time. By this time it was approaching 50 degrees in the house and falling fast. We asked if there was a way to just bypass all the programming bullshit and get the heater to turn on, as this was quickly turning into an emergency. It turns out there is no such method (the guy on the phone acted like this was no big deal), and you have to keep cycling through all the programming and setup screens to eventually get to the adjustments. To top it all off, after messing with the Nest for several hours and trying to get access to turn our furnace on, the faceplate needed to be recharged so it automatically went into “charging mode.” Now it was absolutely and totally bricked. We could not do anything with it and it was well below 50 degrees in the house. Luckily we kept our 20-year old Robert Shaw thermostat and ended up reinstalling it at this point. 20 minutes later our heat was on, working perfectly and we never went back.

    In the end, I guess I prefer a “dumb” thermostat that just does what I tell it to do, has accurate temperature readings, has quick access to a Fan control, doesn’t connect to the Internet or download “updates,” and certainly works under emergency situations.

    To Nest’s credit: after complaining about the whole experience (I think they finally got sick of us calling and writing), they offered a full refund. We sent it back and are awaiting a full credit. Hopefully everything goes well.

    I had high hopes but I absolutely cannot recommend this product to anyone. The Nest is no where near ready for primetime.

    1. Thanks for the detailed and thoughtful comment M.Jackson. I’m sure that it will be helpful to others. I definitely have not gotten rid of our old thermostats in case something bad goes wrong. Sad that we should need to worry about it.

  11. I have three just-arrived unopened Nests that I will be returning. The fact is that a thermostat is a piece of process control equipment. It needs to have way more consistency and reliability than Nest currently has. I truly wish the guys at Nest the best of luck in improving the product, but I don’t have the intestinal fortitude to worry about whether my pipes are freezing because I can’t reboot three devices that are more than 100 miles away. I guess the final straw for me was reading about the server disconnects of last weekend, followed by what looks to me like a major hardware layout flaw: apparent inter-heating between a charging battery and the thermal sensor, causing the Nest’s accuracy to be seriously compromised.

  12. New software was pushed out today 1.1.3. Did anyone have any problems with it? Shortly after the update, my unit completely wiped out all accumulated data from over a month. Schedule, away temp, zip code, heat type, all gone. I had to do setup all again like right out of the new and unused box.
    I too had problems after 1.1.2 was pushed out. I lost WiFi connectivity for 5+ hours, came home and my Nest said it is going to shut down due to drained battery. It shut the entire heating system for ~0.5 hr. Then the heat started to work but battery would take 4+ hours to charge enough to support WiFi.
    I’ve been following this blog for a while but I did not have any issues described here until 1.1.2 was pushed out. Temperature accuracy is good, the unit learned my schedule in 2 weeks and arrived at the same schedule that my old stat had. I was impressed. Then I tweaked the schedule a little so it can start heating 15 min before I wake up in the morning. After two days, all morning setpoints were deleted and I was waking up to cold house, then some of my evening setpoints disappeared too. Then I paused the learning feature. I found myself babysitting this thing for a month+. Although a nice experiment, I do not have time for this. Do yourself a favor, disable the learning feature, program it in 5 minutes, and be done.
    But recent software update troubles left me seriously concerned. I’m just after the 1 month return period and for the most part I was satisfied up until 1.1.2 was pushed out. What would happen if I was traveling thousand of miles from home? My pipes would be frozen solid (radiant heat, forced hot water). In fact, I bought it for the very reason so I can monitor my house temperature via WiFi while I’m away on ski trips many days at a time across the country. This kind of reliability is just not acceptable. Thermostat is a simple control unit and should be dead reliable and the last thing on you mind. It completely defeats the purpose for remote control if the unit cannot be trusted.
    I called a tech support and described all above. Tech support guy was apologetic and concerned and escalated the call. They will be reviewing my data logs and are supposed to call me back with some info on my unit. I also asked them to document my request for software enhancement that a user should be physically present for software update to take place to avoid problems and potentially disastrous expensive consequences if the automatic update disables your unit in your absence. This could be done by requiring an OK on the unit itself, or via motion sensor. I will write back with the resolution. If this keeps up like this, I will insist on returning it.
    Welcome to early adopter’s pains….

    1. @Vlad — thanks for the heads up and I (we all) look forward to hearing what Nest has to say. Feel free to post your pains on as well. I too see that at least one of my thermostats has display version 1.1.3. I haven’t noticed any problems other than the “Away” mode telling me it had saved us money even though we were home. :-(

  13. Update 1.1.3 put my Nest into a continuous cycling mode. I called support, they sent me to a link to the file and I manually updated it through my computer, to no avail. After it completes it’s start up cycle I have a screen with rotating dots at the bottom indicating that it’s trying to update the software or something…hung in an endless loop. Regarding M.Jackson’s post, there is a way to start the furnace in my home by touching the RH and W1 wires together (using an insulated needle nose pliers), so thankfully I have heat now after spending a cool night in Nevada. Prior to the 1.1.3 update I had absolutely no problems with this device other than logging off the internet once in awhile. Nest is overnighting me a new thermostat.

  14. Many thanks to M. Jackson and Vlad for their informative posts. My only problems with software ver. 1.1.3 have been that it stalled in the middle of the “push” and I had to manually enter the data it needed (network name, account email address, etc.) to complete the update. Then of course I had to re-enter my schedule, which it had completely deleted. Since it re-installed with the default LEARN mode enabled, I decided to leave it there to see whether Nest had gotten any smarter. Alas, it hasn’t. It still randomly deletes scheduled set points. But now that I’m back in my preferred mode (LEARN paused, AUTO-AWAY disabled) it seems ok. It hasn’t dropped the network connection or lost my internet account the way it used to. Given the really serious problems others have reported (no heat, no battery, etc.) I guess I shouldn’t complain that my only problem is a learning thermostat that is too stupid to learn anything. With LEARN disabled, it’s a decent programmable thermostat.

  15. I’ve been wondering why some units reported here have issues and others do not. I’ve had my unit for about 3 weeks and it’s still learning but has settled into a predictable schedule – one that makes sense based on our adjustments so far.

    Could there be different hardware versions that are the issue? Mine, for example, is listed as “diamond-1.10”. It did get the latest pushed update 1.1.3 and so problems so far.

    I would like to see however those two noted features: easier way to turn on the fan (or even work it into a schedule?) and permission to apply update rather than just doing it. We use the fan to force the air through the filter for allergy reasons, but doesn’t need to be on at certain times or conditions such as it should not be on on cold nights but always should be on in the morning. And the software update breaking possibility is just obvious. Moreover, why not have a way of restoring schedule from a “cloud” backup? That seems like a no brainer perhaps? Just in case there is a problem. Or is there a way to do this already?

  16. Wow, really worried about all I’ve been reading here!

    Just ordered the thing, and it’s due to arrive on the 21st. I considered just sending it back, but I’m willing to try out the thing.

    It would seem to me that the learning algorithm for a thermostat shouldn’t be all that difficult, but apparently it is.

    Let’s just hope they are determined and dedicated to make this thing work as advertised and to justify the high cost.

  17. I had a similar problem to Dave In Nevada’s problem, only it was on the initial install. Apparently the Nest was not getting an install to 1.13 cleanly. It kept down loading rebooting over and over. Tech support seems to be aware of this specific problem and stopped the down loading loop within 15 minutes of my call. They then pushed out 1.13 overnight. We are on day 4 of operation and all is going well. The Nest built a preliminary schedule which seems to be close to ideal for us. It is still in learning mode at this time. Auto-away triggered for the first time yesterday while we were out of the house. Once we got home, its sensed us and cranked the heat back on. The app on my iTouch and iPad works well as well as the web browser interface. So far it is operating as advertised and from my standpoint I have no misgivings.

  18. Just bought my Nest on EBay and hoping for the best! Sounds like there are still some issues to work out. I’ll report back here on my experience installing it, and after a week or two of use.

  19. Received my Nest and installed it. Of course, the day I installed it is the start of very warm weather here in the SF Bay Area, so the thing hasn’t even turned on, and the set temp has been the same at 67.

  20. Ok, it’s been a week, and the Nest says it’s completed the learning as of yesterday. Now, I’m already starting to see two problems you’ve noted:

    – Schedule has been completely reset and doesn’t have my initial settings any longer. I guess “learning” means doing what it wants to do instead of what you set it to. Now, it’s set for 68, all day, every day.

    – Woke up this morning and it’s in Auto Away mode. Just after a night’s sleep. Is that how it’s supposed to work?

  21. Continuing to have the issue where it is just not keeping the set points I programmed thru web access. I dutifully enter in all the temps in “Schedule”…and, the next day they’re all gone and I’m back to a single set point of 68 degrees, all day, every day.

    I wrote support and all I got was “reboot it, if that doesn’t work, reset it to defaults”…

  22. Ok, have some more info on the “disappearing set points created from the Web” issue. Turns out that adding set points – while in LEARNING mode – is NOT the same as standing at the Nest and turning the dial.

    In other words, sitting at your computer and entering an an orange ball setpoint “65 degrees for 10pm Wed.” is NOT equivalent to standing at the Nest at 10pm on Wed. and turning the dial to 65. During Learning, the Nest can apparently delete these set points in favor of what you set on the actual unit, along with its learning algorithm.

    To me, this makes little sense. Why can’t it take your set points as the input and learn off that, combined with any dial changes? If I have to go to the unit to make these changes and have them input to the learning algorithm, what’s the point of being able to do it from the comfort of your computer/iPad/iPhone/Android if they’re just going to be discarded?

    I would think that if it’s going to throw away all my hard work in entering set points then they should not allow modification of the set points remotely (ie. make it “read-only”) in learning mode.

    As expected, the tech said I could turn off the learning, and then it won’t delete my set points, in which case (as was stated by someone before) we just have a plain old programmable thermostat, albeit one you can do remotely.

    For something that’s supposed to be so easy to use, it sure is confusing…

    1. You pose great questions that really haven’t been answered well by Nest Labs. I wonder if they’re trying to understand it as well some days. :)

  23. Well, the last Nest guy I spoke with on the phone who told me that set points entered remotely do not have the same effect as setting on the Nest directly seemed to know what he was talking about.

    When I told him that they are confusing people in having these differing effects, he was understanding and apologetic but couldn’t really explain all the “whys”.

    I suspect the Nest software developers are working to try to make this thing more consistent and predictable, and I certainly hope they are going to modify the software so it’s more intuitive and less apt to just blow away my set points willy-nilly.

    Now, if I was a developer, I’d do two things first:

    – Make the set point entries in the mobile app/Web have the exact same effect as if you twiddled the knob on the Nest.

    – Be able to optionally set any entered set point on the mobile app/Web as a “hard” constraint; that is, Nest may NOT remove or modify that set point in its learning.

    What I heard is that Nest refuses to take any enhancement requests like true arrogant Silicon Valley hot-shot programmers. Well, they are supposed to know what we need in their infinite “user experience” expertise, right?

  24. So here’s my latest Nest gripe: Daylight Savings Time. The time change occurred at 2 am today, and I awoke very pleased to see that Nest had automatically reset its clock to display DST. Then I looked at the schedule I had programmed and had to laugh: Nest had gratuitously changed all the settings to be one hour later than what I had programmed them to be. Instead of turning the heat up at 7 am and down at 11 pm, Nest decided it would turn the heat up at 8 am and down at midnight. It’s as if Nest thought that I was really interested in making sure the temperature changes occurred at their usual GMT! Hint to Nest: when I say that I go to bed at 11 pm, I mean 11 pm in the current time zone. The engineers at Nest don’t seem to realize that when DST comes along, we change our behavior (e.g., we go to bed earlier), not just our nomenclature.

    1. Odd, mine didn’t have the issue with the Daylight saving time switch (or they had already fixed the problem somehow at their end before I looked?). Did you fix all of the set points manually then?

  25. It gets even odder, Aaron. When I discovered that Nest had reprogrammed my thermostat to turn on at 8 am and off at midnight, I manually changed the program back to the way I wanted it: on at 7 am and off at 11 pm. The next morning, the heat went on at 6 am! Sure enough, Nest had decided (belatedly) to make my settings an hour earlier (correcting its previous mistake?). The result was that Nest had double-corrected, and my schedule now read: on at 6 am and off at 10 pm. So I once again fixed the set points manually, and it has functioned correctly since. My guess is that when Nest resets its clock to display the new Daylight time (i.e., changes it from 2 am to 3 am), it also changes all the set points in the schedule to read an hour later. (But why does it do this?) Then later (hours later!) it gets around to moving all the set points an hour earlier (i.e., changes them back to what they originally were). If I had just left things alone, Nest would have eventually fixed the schedule on its own. Maybe that’s what happened in your case.

    1. I feel bad, as I actually laughed out loud when I read what happened to your schedule. It’s so crazy that they have these issues. You’re right that I may have not seen the problem because they had already rolled out a fix. It’s been crazy warm here in Wisconsin, so I wouldn’t have probably noticed if the schedule was off by an hour.

  26. Nest customer support informs me that on the same day DST began they coincidentally rolled out a software upgrade (to ver. 1.2). They first thought that might have been related to my problem (which they have never heard of before), but would have expected it to simply delete my set points rather than change them. (I did have all my set points deleted by the previous software upgrade.) So they are stumped too, and they are “working on it.” They say they will get back to me — we’ll see.

  27. I’m having a lot of connection problem with Nest (firmware 2.1.3). I read through their knowledge base where it blames router/firewall problem. My internet router is not one on their list of problem equipment. I also have 3 different wifi routers (Apple Airport, Cisco 4410, Linksys WAP54G). Nest has problems with all 3 wifi routers. I know it’s not a firewall problem because I can’t even ping the Nest device from my laptop on my local network.

    I have no idea why Nest is dropping ping like crazy, but I know it doesn’t have anything to do with my firewall or one of 3 wifi routers.

    The device is great, but based on wireless connection problem, I can’t seriously recommend this product.

  28. Correction on the above: Nest does NOT have problems with Apple Airport Extreme, Cisco 4410 or Linksys WAP54G. All 3 of my wifi routers are NOT on their list. I’m still losing connection and ping from within my home network. I’m disabling Learning to see if that helps.

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