Minimize Air Conditioning Bills and Maximize Energy Savings with a Nest Learning Thermostat
Are your air conditioning bills high? Here are eight ways of using the Nest Thermostat to maximize energy savings – and minimize your energy bills. When you first install the Nest Thermostat, you’ll be able to start saving straight away. As you continue to use the Nest Thermostat, here are some additional tips to help you save even more. Most people can’t use all of these techniques all the time, but even trying a few of them can have a dramatic impact on how much energy your home consumes.
When you first install the Nest Thermostat:
- If you have a condensing boiler, set the water temperature efficiently.
Condensing boilers are most efficient when the water returning to the boiler is at least 10 °C cooler than when it first came out. Because different homes dissipate heat at different rates, and because each boiler is different, a heating professional can help select a temperature that will keep you warm and save the most energy. When a Nest Pro comes to install your Nest Thermostat, they can also choose the right water temperature.
- Use your radiator valves correctly.
The Nest Thermostat reads the temperature of the room that it’s in. If you’re uncomfortable in a room that doesn’t have a Nest Thermostat, try making gradual adjustments to the radiator valves in each room. Close the valves for a room that heats up too quickly and open up the valves in the rooms that feel too cold.
Using the radiator valves will help you make sure that your home heats and cools more evenly. That way, you’re not overheating one room just to be comfortable in another and using extra energy.
- Set low Away temperatures.
To save energy when you’re away, the Nest Thermostat uses Away temperatures that you can set during setup or at any time in Settings. To save the most energy, set a low MIN temperature – this is the temperature that your house will heat to when you are away during the winter. During the summer, set the MAX temperature higher when you are away so you are not air conditioning an empty house.
- Teach the Nest Thermostat well.
Learning your schedule so that it can vary the temperature is one of the main ways that the Nest Thermostat saves energy. There’s a common myth that keeping your home at a constant, comfortable temperature will use less energy than changing the temperature when you are at home and away. This is rarely true. Most households will save a lot of energy by turning the air conditioning and heating off when the house is empty. You can experiment by setting the Nest Thermostat to keep a constant temperature one day and then varying the temperature the next. On the third day, either check the Nest app or press the Nest ring and select ENERGY. If other factors remain constant – the weather, open doors and windows – you’ll get a good sense of how much energy you used between keeping a constant temperature and varying the temperature when you’re either at home or away.
The Nest Thermostat will adapt to your schedule over time based on the temperature changes that you make and will use Auto-Away to lower the temperature when you’re not at home. By teaching the Nest Thermostat to turn itself down when you’re not at home, you’ll save more energy than by relying on Auto-Away alone. Here’s an example:
It’s the Christmas holidays, and the whole family is at home during the day. On Monday morning at 09:00, you use the Nest Thermostat to turn up the heating from the usual Away temperature of 15 °C to a more comfortable room temperature of 20 °C. Do this a few times and the Nest Thermostat will learn that you like it to be 20 °C at 09:00. The next Monday, it’s back to school and work. The Nest Thermostat will eventually use Auto-Away to save energy when you’re not at home, but you can save even more by changing the 09:00 target temperature back down to 15 °C.
Once your Nest Thermostat has settled in:
- Try changing it by 1 °C and see how much energy you can save.
Turning the temperature down by 1 °C can save as much as 10% of the energy that you use for heating. For many people, there’s only a slight difference between a room set at 20 °C and one set at 19 °C. Try it, and then check your Nest Energy History in the Nest apps and your monthly Energy Report email to see the difference that it will make in your home.
- Remember that turning up the heating doesn’t warm your house up any faster.
A thermostat is an on-off switch, not an accelerator. If it is 18 °C in your home and you’re feeling a bit chilly, your home will warm up just as quickly if you turn it to 20 °C as it would if you turned it all the way up to 30 °C. And if you turn the heating up to 30 °C and forget to turn it down later, it will overheat your house and you’ll have wasted energy.
You can use the Nest Thermostat’s Time to Temperature feature to see how much time it will take for your home to reach the temperature you want and to get a sense of how high or low to set the temperature in order to feel comfortable. You might not really know if you want the house to be 20 °C or 23 °C, but it’s easy to see the difference between running the heating for fifteen minutes or an hour.
- Use the Nest Leaf to choose energy-saving temperatures.
While you are adjusting the temperature on your Nest Thermostat or the Nest apps, the Nest Leaf will appear when you have selected a temperature that will save you energy. For instance, you can see the Leaf when setting the current target temperature, when making an adjustment and when setting Away temperatures.
- If you have more than one thermostat, use them independently.
In most homes with more than one thermostat, each thermostat controls the temperature in one part of the house. For instance, one thermostat is for the living space on the ground floor and one for the bedrooms upstairs. This gives you a unique chance to economize: in winter, turn the heating down when you leave the bedroom in the morning. The Nest Thermostat will learn to keep your bedrooms at a lower temperature during the day, saving you energy. In the meantime, your daytime living rooms can be set at a comfortable temperature.