Nest system test procedure begins (C) Daniel FriedmanHow to Set Up or Program a Nest Thermostat

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Nest Heating & Cooling Thermostat Setup:

After a Nest learning thermostat has been mounted to the wall and its wiring connections made, menus on the Nest thermostat will guide you through a sequence of Nest thermostat set-up steps in which you provide basic information that will allow the device to work properly. Using photographs and text we expand on the Nest learning thermostat installation guide to show you what the various Nest displays look-like and to explain on more detail what you need to do at each step in the Nest initialization pocess.

This article series provides detailed photographs and text describing how to how to install, make wiring connections, and then set-up a Nest Learning Thermostat, beginning with removing the old wall thermostat, labeling its wires, preparing the wall for the new thermostat, then installing the Nest Thermostat and getting it working nicely.

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How to Set Up or Program & Initialize a Nest Thermostat

What Happens when the Nest Thermostat Power is First Turned On: Nest Software Update & Re-Start

When first powered-on after mounting and wiring, the Nest thermostat will then pass through a number of self-intializing steps. The Nest, now happily connected to the Internet, will check for and download any updates to its programming software. After the software has been updated the Nest will turn itself OFF, then back ON to reinitialize its programming.

Nest thermostat downloading a software update (C) Daniel Friedman Nest thermostat re-starting after a software update (C) Daniel Friedman

[Click to enlarge any image]

Depending on the model and software level of your Nest thermostat, you may see displays such as those just above, or other Nest update displays such as the two shown below.

Nest softtware update progress display (C) Daniel Friedman Nest softtware update progress display (C) Daniel Friedman

After the Nest has enjoyed visiting it's birth-home website to check for updates to its instructions it will re-start. You may see the display go black, then it will be illuminated again.

Nest thermostat home display (C) Daniel Friedman

When the Nest programming is complete, rotating the outer bezel selects among major features and functions such as checking or setting time, main display or thermostat, setback or energy savings settings, etc, OR when you are in the process of setting a Nest parameter rotating the outer bezel chooses a function or setting that you then activate by pressing the display face inwards.

Programming Steps to Set Up & Initialize a Nest Thermostat

You will see a series of Nest thermostat setup choices and stages.

  1. Select your language.

Choose the language for your Nest Thermostat during set-up (C) Daniel Friedman How to select a setup  option on the Nest thermostat by pressing the display (C) Daniel Friedman

In case it's not immediately obvious, you choose a menu choice by rotating the outer bezel of the Nest thermostat to highlight your selection, then as we illustrate below, to confirm your choice, press the center of the display to select your choice. For exapmle, below I've dialed the nest outer ring to select the letter "A" and I'm pressing the display face to select that choice - this step was in the course of entering the Internet router passcode for this thermostat - as you'll see in more detail just below.

Selecting a character to enter data into a Nest learning thermostat (C) Daniel Friedman

  1. Connect to the internet: you'll select a wireless internet server (presumably your own), and then enter the router's password by rotating the bezel of the display and pressing its center to select numbers or letters

Select the wireless router to which your Nest thermostat should connect (C) Daniel Friedman Enter the password for the wireless router to which your Nest thermostat should connect (C) Daniel Friedman

  1. Set your location - the Nest will suggest a City or you may need to enter it manually by setting a zip code or postal code. Setting the location allows Nest to consider the local weather forecast and to set the proper clock time. The Nest will suggest a city. If you say "No" then you'll enter a country and postal code.

Select the thermostast location  city or country, city, postal code (C) Daniel Friedman

Since this thermostat was not located in Middletown NY (Nest's guess was close but not correct), we rotate the outer ring of the thermostat to select the "No" option then press the center of the display to activate that choice. When you select "No" Nest will allow you to select your continent, then your country [illustrated below]

Selecting the continent where the Nest thermostat is located  (C) Daniel Friedman Select the country where the Nest thermostat is being installed (C) Daniel Friedman

then postal code [in process, with three digits entered, illustrated below].

Entering the postal code for your Nest Thermostat location (C) Daniel Friedman

Don't worry if you make a data entry error. At the end of any step you'll see a CHANGE option that will let you back up to correct a mistake.

  1. Describe the type of building in which the Nest thermostat is being installed: single family home, multi-family home, apartment/condo, or business.

Select the type of building in which the Nest thermostat will be used (C) Daniel Friedman

  1. Select the type of "Heating" or "Cooling" system that the Nest thermostat is going to control. Here we're setting up a heating control and choosing among Forced Air, In-Floor Radiant heat, Radiators or "More Info". The home where this thermostat will be used is heated by a hydronic heating system: forced hot water sent through wall-mounted convectors. We chose RADIATORS as the closest option.

Select type of heating or cooling system the Nest thermostat will be controlling (C) Daniel Friedman

As you progress through the Nest thermostat programming steps you'll see that the display will let you know your progress among the steps.

Status of progress through setting up or programming a Nest room thermostat (C) Daniel Friedman

Above: the check-marks tell us that we've successfully told the Nest thermostat our language, we've set up and successfully connected the thermostat to the internet via a local router and router password, we've told the Nest where the building is located, and we've described the type of heating system that's to be controlled by the thermostat. Next will be to tell the Nest some temperature preferences.

  1. Set temperature minimum or "away" level. You'll see that we want the lowest temperature in this building to be set at 50 deg. F.

Set the nest "Away" temperature level (C) Daniel Friedman

To understand thermostat set-back settings see THERMOSTAT SETBACK ADVICE.

More about setting back a thermostat and about freezeproofing a building can be read at WINTERIZE - HEAT ON PROCEDURE


  1. Allow the system to proceed through a system test to confirm that the thermostat can turn heating or cooling "on" or "off"

Nest system test procedure begins (C) Daniel Friedman

Below the Nest is letting us know how the test of its connection to the heating system is going.

[Click any image to see a larger, detailed version] The Nest informs us that it's testing the W1 wire that should turn on heat, and it asks us to confirm that the radiators are in fact getting warm. Below you can see the Nest thermostat's report of the results of its test that it could control the heating system.

[Click to enlarge any image] to see a larger, sharp-resolution image of the Nest self-test display. The two images below are taken from a Nest 2 learning thermostat installation.

Nest 2 System Test to confirm it's working (C) Daniel Friedman Nest 2 System Test to confirm it's working (C) Daniel Friedman

Below: this is what you'll see when the Nest 3 Thermostat installation and programming are complete. The display shows the present temperature (71 deg F) and the set temperature - the temperature that you're asking-for (60 deg F).

Nest thermostat set to 60 degF (C) Daniel Friedman

Below: I have set the Nest thermostat to call for 69 degrees F in the room by rotating the silver outer ring of the Nest. And just below the thermostat itself, I'm using an Exergen infrared temperature scanner to compare the approximate temperature of the wall below the Nest thermostat to the Nest's own indication of the room temperature. They both agree that the room - in the area of the thermostat - was at 71 deg F

Comparing wall temperature to Nest report of room temperature (C) Daniel Friedman\

"The Nest Learning Thermostat" is an electronic device that can control room temperatures and possibly other components connected to or installed as part of a home automation system. We have installed three of these in our test building and will report further on ease of installation, programming, and use as well as using and adjusting the Nest thermostat remotely from your cellphone, computer, or tablet.

Separately at NEST CAM INSTALLATION & USE we describe installing and using Nest cams (security cameras) or drop cams for both home security monitoring and for remote monitoring of a building for leaks, loss of heat, water or ice damage, or for intrusion or security issues.

More about how to protect a building from freeze-damage is at WINTERIZE - HEAT ON PROCEDURE

Article Series Contents:


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