How to Install a Nest Thermostat and Start Saving

Nest Thermostat

After purchasing a Nest Learning Thermostat, here is a short and simple installation is required to get it up and running.

I have just installed my another Nest Thermostat for my brother. Installing it was simple enough.  I have enjoyed installing them and believe in the company so much that I have applied to be Certified Nest Pro Installer, which will allow me to install Nest Thermostats, Nest Protects, and Nest Cams.  I have prepared the following information as a guide to install and understand the settings of a Nest Thermostat.


When you are ready to install the Nest Thermostat, the first thing you should do is detach your current thermostat from its wall mount.  Be careful of the attached wires. I suggest taking a picture of the wiring of your old thermostat before disconnecting, as shown here:

Nest Wiring
This is the picture of the current thermostat wiring diagram. Taking a picture ensures that if anything was to go wrong, you could refer back to it and get yourself out of trouble.


Your heating and cooling systems might have more or different wires.  The Nest thermostat will be connected  the same way as your old, but without any jumper wires.  Jumper wires would be the wires that connect two terminals together.  Having a picture will help you if you get yourself into any trouble.

If your old thermostat was programmed well for your lifestyle, take a minute or two to write down the program.  Write down the temperature set point and the time for each weekday and weekend day event you had set for the thermostat.  This will help you later in the process.  If you don’t do this, it is okay.  The Nest thermostat will learn your schedule over time.

Turn the Power off and Label the Wires

Now, you need to go to the circuit breaker and turn off the power to your heating and/or cooling system.  This is to protect your system as you unscrew the wires from the back of the thermostat.  Feel free to bring out a multimeter to see if there is any voltage or across any of the wires.  Once you know it is dead, label the wires using the stickers provided in the Nest Instructional Booklet and detach them from the thermostat.  Remove the old thermostat’s backplate being careful of the now-labeled wires.

Mount the Backplate and Connect the Wires

Now, take your Nest backplate and position on the wall and screw it in.  Use the built in level to make sure your plate and Nest will be installed straight.Nest Wiring Plate
Now take the the labeled wires and insert them into there respective slots by pressing their buttons.  Make sure that the wire is straight and gets inserted as far as possible.  The button should stay down if properly inserted.

Nest Wiring Plate inserted

Attach the Nest

Now, just push the Nest into the backplate.  There should be a little click.  The Nest should immediately start turning on with a blinking green LED or a loading screen being shown.  If you run into any issues, Nest has a troubleshooting guide, that may be helpful.  Another option is to call a certified Nest Pro here or call the Nest support line at 1-855-4MY-NEST (1-855-469-6378).

Setting up the Nest Thermostat

Nest Setup MenuAfter it has a chance to start up, it will present you with several steps to complete:

  • Language
  • Internet Connection
  • Your Location
  • Heating and Cooling
  • Temperature
  • System Test

Language – Select the language you want by rotating to change your selection and tapping to select.

Internet Connection – Select your Wifi network and enter in the password.  Doing so will enable the Nest to get system updates, and be controlled by the App.

Your Location – This is to display the current weather and the temperature outside of your home more accurately.  The Nest uses the expected weather forecast as part of the

Heating and Cooling – Based on what your thermostat is used for, you can confirm that it is controlling what it think it is controlling.  This option also allows you to select what kind of heating and cooling you have so that it can help understand the delay in commands.

Nest WorkingTemperature – This setting is to set your Auto-Away temperatures.  These are the maximum and minimum temperatures that the Nest will allow when no one is home.  If you don’t have pets, temperature extremes of 40F and 85F would save you the most temperature.

System Test – This is to make sure your Nest is going to do its job properly.  For heating, it will turn on your furnace so that in just a couple minutes, you will be able to feel the heat.  Once you can confirm that it does turn on, make sure you hit okay.

From this point, you are all set setting up your new Nest thermostat.  There isn’t much else you need to do except for changing the temperature when you want to.  It will create a schedule itself.  You still have the option of entering a schedule to shorten the learning period as well.  This will get you saving money faster.  A nice starting point would be inserting your old thermostat set points.

Understanding the Settings and Options

Main Features:

  • Auto-Away – The Nest thermostat can learn when you leave and enacts energy saving strategies such as turning down the temperature during the winter.
  • Auto-Schedule – It learns the customers habits when the temperature is adjusted.  It will automatically adjust your schedule for your maximum comfort.
  • Nest Leaf – When the temperature of the home gets adjusted to save energy, the display will show the green leaf icon.  Over time, it gets more and more challenging.  Also, this gamifies your energy savings and encourages you to save more energy and money.
  • Energy History – This can be seen on the Nest Thermostat or on the computer, or on the mobile app.  A monthly energy summary gets emailed summarizing the energy savings that the Nest provides and tracks.

System Specific Features:

  • Heat Pump Balance – This option becomes available if a heat pump is connected to the system.  The Nest thermostat balances the use of the typically expensive auxiliary heat when a heat pump is just not enough.
  • Dual Fuel – This option become available when there are multiple heat sources.  It manages the delicate balance between the two sources.
  • AirWave – Shuts down the compressor before the fan to allow maximum efficiency of the cooling system.
  • True Radiant – This feature helps avoid large temperature swings.  It can learn to shut down the system before reaching the desired set point to avoid over shooting the set point.  It also learns to turn back on the system before it gets too cold.

Safety Alerts:

Nest App Screen
Using the Nest App, you can control your thermostat from anywhere, allowing you to save energy whenever.
  • Filter Reminder – Receive a notification when it is recommended to change your filters.
  • Furnace Heads Up – Get a notification of when your furnace is acting up.  This can prevent coming home to a broken furnace.
  • Safety Temperature –  This is to set your absolute lowest and highest temperatures.  If the temperature goes beyond this, Nest which should have been trying to keep the temperature between this range will try to notify you.  For example would be your furnace breaking while you are not home.  If the temperature had dropped below that lower limit, it would notify you.  You could help protect your home from frozen pipes or other issues.
  • Emergency Shutoff – This option is available if you have the Nest Protect, the carbon monoxide and smoke alarm.  If the Nest Protect senses something wrong, it can tell the thermostat to shut down the heating and cooling systems to stop the danger from spreading.

Small but great features:

  • Sunblock – The thermostat is able to tell that it is in direct sunlight and will not over cool the home.
  • Cool to Dry – The Nest Thermostat is able to use the A/C to dehumidify your home when necessary.
  • Thermostat Lock – It locks the temperature to a set range of temperatures.  Some examples of how it can be used is for rental properties, places of work, or prevent kids from over adjusting the thermostat.
  • Farsight – The thermostat is able to sense movement from across the room and can show the target temperature it is set to, an analog clock, a digital clock, or do nothing at all.

Saving Energy Tips:

Here are a couple quick things to do to get the most out of your Nest Thermostat:

  1. As you are about to leave the house, hit “Away” on the thermostat.  The Nest can automatically detect when you are away and starts saving energy after about 30 minutes.  However, you can start saving energy immediately if you do it yourself as you head out the door.  You can also use the mobile app.
  2. Take the estimated time into account when adjusting the temperature.  The Nest Thermostat will display the estimated time for your house to reach the desired temperature.  Spinning the dial to an unreasonable amount, will not cool or heat your house any faster.  Your energy savings will be decreased as well.
  3. The Nest Learning Thermostat works with the other Nest products: the Nest Protect and the Nest Cam.  They can all be controlled from the same mobile app, but they all interact to maximize safety, energy, and protection for you and your family.

I have a fairly extensive understanding of Nest Thermostats between my line of work in Engineering and from my multiple installations.  If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment and I will be sure to leave a helpful response.

Please check out my article detailing how you can save at least $100 when purchasing a Nest Learning Thermostat.

If you are interested in purchasing a Nest Thermostat or another, you can click here to be lead to Amazon.




2 thoughts on “How to Install a Nest Thermostat and Start Saving

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *