Turning Nest into a Dumb ThermostatBy - 04/07/2019
When I purchased a Nest thermostat, I purchased it based on the notion that a thermostat that knows what I want and can take action on that need is a truly smart device. In that sense, I was right, but I underestimated my everchanging needs and a machine’s ability to keep up. My schedule is too erratic for Nest.
To solve for this, I considered swapping over to ecobee. I have hands-on experience with ecobee3 and know that one of the big differentiators between Nest and ecobee is that ecobee allows you to set a temperature and it listens. Nest, on the other hand, works using schedules. Over time, it learns what temperatures you like and builds out a plan to follow. If you set the temperature and that temperature deviates from what is scheduled, it will eventually adjust the temperature whether you like it or not. In the end, I decided not to replace with my thermostat. Instead, I decided to dumb Nest down.
How to Successfully Turn off Nest’s Auto-Schedule
I assumed that removing Nest’s smart features would be simple. I opened up a web browser, logged into my Nest account, turned off Auto-Schedules, and deleted the schedule Nest has created. A week later, Nest was still deciding what temperatures it thought I would want. I logged back into a web browser, logged into my Nest account, and turned off all smart settings including Home/Away, Early-On, Cool to Dry, Sunblock, Airwave, and Fan Schedule. Feeling smug, I was certain that I had finally bested my thermostat, but it wasn’t but a couple of days later when Nest was once again deciding what temperature was best.
Clearly, I had turned off more features than one would think necessary to remove Nest’s Auto-Scheduling and yet, I hadn’t succeeded. Fortunately, Nest has an awesome support team, and they were willing to work with me to get this problem resolved. To save you the time and frustration that I experienced, let me outline the steps needed to turn off Nest’s learning abilities once and for all.
Doing It The Right Way
To turn off Auto-Scheduling, you only need to turn off one feature: Auto Schedule. However, I recommend you also turn off Home/Away as this feature allows the thermostat to control your temperature when you leave and arrive home. You can do this using your mobile or web app. However, as already mentioned, turning the features off is not enough. According to the Nest rep I worked with,
“In order to set the thermostat to only follow the manual set points or schedules you set, it is necessary to deactivate or disable the Auto Schedules feature, so your thermostat won’t continue creating new schedules (different schedules from the ones you set manually) for your home. However, your thermostat will still continue following the schedules remaining in the thermostat.”
To truly turn them off, you will need to reset your thermostat and schedules. This needs to be done using the screen built into the thermostat. To do this, you will need to access the thermostat’s settings menu. If you have a Nest E, which is what I have, you press the Nest button and turn the dial. If you have Nest Learning, you will press the ring on the device to open the settings menu.
Once there, navigate to Settings > Reset > Schedules. Clear the schedule, do NOT choose the option that allows Nest to create a basic schedule (Nest E Only). In total, the process will take a minute or so. Once it’s done, do it again.
Once you’ve reset the schedule twice, once again navigate to the settings menu and restart the thermostat (Settings > Reset > Restart). According to Nest, a Restart is not the same as a Reset. A Restart does not erase information, it’s simply a reboot, much like restarting your computer.
Once you’ve turned off the correct settings, reset your schedule twice, and restarted the thermostat, you should be good to go. I waited a week before writing this article, and I’m happy to report that my thermostat is finally under my control.