I'm wondering if in "Away" mode, is Nest smart enough to learn about when you come home, and kick on approximately 30-40 minutes BEFORE then? Or does it only kick on when it senses you've come home?

Also, can you control how much it lowers the temperature in Away mode?

Further, if you adjust the temperature manually over the internet (say, just before you leave work), does that count towards teaching it when it should turn on?

I'm basically wondering just how smart its auto functions are, because if they're not smart, then I would rather just spend $30 on a programmable unit rather than $250 for Nest.

  • 2
    Since you can set the first two up with any programmable thermostat, I would assume you can set them up with the Nest.
    – keshlam
    Nov 18 '14 at 22:41

The Nest saves people money simply because most people can't/won't program their thermostats. Where the Nest will mostly auto program itself based on your away/home and manual thermostat changes.

You can set the temp ranges for away as well as another emergency min/max for when the unit is turned 'off' (this can prevent frozen pipes). The unit can also be set to start before the program schedule time to warm/cool.

But if you go out for a night, the unit then goes into a non-scheduled auto away it will wait until it detects movement before it will kick the heat/ac back on.


The Nest thermostat saves you money because of its "intelligence" It learns how long it needs to get from its present temperature to the required temperature, it monitors this continually. The need for WiFi is so it can get weather data for your postcode/zip code which helps with it's decision making.

Due to this knowledge it will be able to either come on early or later due to weather conditions.

As it knows how long to change temperature it can also switch off early because it knows that there is enough heat already in the system to raise the temperature up to the desired setting.

A normal room stat set at 22°C or 70°F will switch off at 22/70 but temperature can rise another 1, 2 or 3 degrees c/8f, that's a fair amount of energy saved.

You can set a minimum temperature for away mode and you can set another minimum temperature for when it's off i.e. 18c in away and 9c when off (frost protection etc)

Nest will learn your routine to some extent by the changes you make to the settings.

I installed one early November and we can see the difference now in comfort and costs. We have turned it down from 24c to 22c at peak times and it settles at 20.5 for most of the evening when my wife is watching TV

Just one other thing, you don't need wifi to use it, wifi is there for remote control and weather data and the wireless connection is just to control the system by the thermostat. You can override if you want by pressing the front of the heat link if you're having problems.


You can set up schedules on the Nest. After that, enable a feature called 'Early-On.' This will make sure the temperature is what you want it to be at the given time. For example, if you set 70 degrees at 6pm, it will be 70s at 6pm when Early-On is enabled. On traditional digital thermostats, 70 degrees at 6pm would mean the thermostat turns to 70 degrees at 6pm but may not reach the temperature for an hour or so. Another great reason to get a Nest.


  • 1
    ...which is not exactly hard to do for $220 savings by compensating for response time yourself, and setting the thermostat to come up to 70 at 5:00PM (or whatever it takes for your heating system to get from point A to point B...)
    – Ecnerwal
    Nov 19 '14 at 14:15
  • 1
    @Ecnerwal - the time needed to get from point A to point B depends on where point A is. The thermostat can do a better job of figuring out the lead time because "knows" where it's starting out. Nov 19 '14 at 16:09
  • @PeteBecker Hey, whatever you need to justify your toys. I know exactly where point A is because I programmed a particular temperature at whatever time. If I get up in the morning and it's not where I set it to yet, it's a simple matter to set it back a bit so it starts earlier before the next day. "Can it do a fancier job?" Sure. But it comes at a fancy price...which you want to spend on a thermostat, and I don't. C'est la vie.
    – Ecnerwal
    Nov 19 '14 at 19:12
  • @Ecnerwal - sorry, I wasn't clear enough. Point A depends on the outside temperature. If it's warmer the inside temperature may not get down to the nighttime set point, so you don't need to start reheating as soon. Nov 20 '14 at 2:49
  • 1
    @Ecnerwal - just wanted to add that I don't have a Nest thermostat, and don't have any plans to get one. So there! Nov 20 '14 at 15:22


It's not as smart as I'd hoped. When I walk in the front door after being gone all summer day, my house is hot. I used Google maps to drive home.e, so why didn't Nest realize I'd be home in about 40 minutes and start cooking it down? I stead, it waited u til I was in the front door and then proudly announced it would be two hours until my house cooled off.

This is dumb.

  • This is a question mis-posted as an answer. Welcome to Home Improvement. Please take the tour at diy.stackexchange/Tour to get the most out of this site.
    – SDsolar
    Jun 4 '17 at 11:20
  • For privacy reasons, Nest does not know your location at any point in time; it merely knows whether you’re home or not home. As far as it’s concerned, you’re home until you’re away and away until home. If you want your home pre-heated/pre-cooled, turn off Eco when you’re on your way, or program the time and temp you’d like and enable Early-On.
    – Brian
    Nov 1 '17 at 1:41
  • Or go in to the app manually before you start driving home and change it from AWAY to HOME. Aug 1 '19 at 11:23

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