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Nest Thermostat Problem is an epic fail.


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A lot of reports of Nest fails in the field:

For three weeks I loved it. There were no problems whatsoever. 

But then, a twist. 

The thermostat started to go nuts. The temperature would race over 70 degrees, even though I had the thermostat set for 60 or lower. 

The Nest's problems became most pronounced on Christmas Day. My wife and I were away visiting family on Christmas eve and during Christmas Day. When we were heading home, we turned on the Nest to have the house pre-heated. When we got home, the house was more than pre-heated. It was like a sauna. 

Not good.

Amazon's reviews of the Nest warn of this happening to other people:

For instance, this person had the same problem

As did this person, who explains the problem, "The method they use to get power is a huge problem. Most wifi thermostats require a C wire so they can power themselves. The issue is, many homes don't have an extra wire to use for this purpose. So in attempt to remain DIY friendly, they implemented a technology referred to in our industry as 'power stealing' which tries to get power from the HVAC control wires and is notorious for many problems. Might as well just be straightforward about it and require a C wire in the first place. There are kits such as Venstar's 'add a wire' which make it easier to solve the problem without having to pull wire."

As one reviewer noted, this is a serious problem. The house can crank up to dangerous temperatures when you're not at home, and the consequences could be deadly. 

This is 100% on Nest. It was a bad design decision that cannot be fixed with software.

Jay Yarow published Nest's response:

A spokesperson provided the following statement: "We see this with a small percentage of customers and typically handle it the way that your case was handled, by covering the cost to have one installed. (I understand that we requested your receipt and planned to cover the entire cost, not just the $99.) While we find that in the vast majority of homes the Nest Learning Thermostat can charge its built-in battery using the heating and cooling wires, there are a small number of heating and cooling systems and situations where the Nest Thermostat may require a common wire to bring power to the thermostat."

Nest is reportedly about to raise $150 million at a $2 billion valuation. A big part of the funding is based on the idea that it makes a product that just works. It oohs and ahhs people with its gorgeous design, and a lovely app. But if it's causing problems for even adept users like myself, this could be a big problem in the long run for the company.

So Nest believes it's not a huge problem, and will not recall all of its devices.

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