“It doesn’t make a difference what temperature a room is, it’s always room temperature.” ~ Steven Wright
There are certain people who should never touch anything mechanical. My Aunt Effy is like that. She didn’t get her brakes fixed until one of the brake pads actually fell out of her car. She bought a sewing machine and ended up sewing her pants to the wall. And who knew you could do that much property damage with a weed whacker?
So you can imagine our reaction when Aunt Effy decided to buy a programmable thermostat for her home. Heck, we were all afraid she would melt the dog.
Luckily, she got some good advice at the mega-hardware store, and bought a “smart” thermostat called the Nest. Have you seen one of these things? I have, and now I’m a big fan.
Even though the Nest is a programmable thermostat, you don’t really have to program it. Instead, just adjust the temperature the way you like it. Make it warmer, make it cooler, keep yourself comfortable. Turn it down when you leave the house. The Nest will “learn” what you like, and pretty soon, it will adjust itself for you automatically. Nest’s website says this can save you 20% of your energy bill. And since it kind of runs itself, it’s easy enough even for my Aunt Effy.
One of the great things about this thermostat is that it’s compatible with wireless Internet. Once you set up an account online, and load the app on your phone, you can control your HVAC from anywhere. So, for example, if it’s especially cold one night, you can turn the heat up a half-hour before you get home.
Here’s something else that’s pretty neat: Nest has started to partner with other products, and the partnerships make this smart thermostat even more useful. For example, Nest can interface with your Jawbone UP24 band (it’s one of the new motion-sensing fitness bracelets) to know when you’ve gotten up in the morning and provide hot or cold air accordingly – even if you got up much earlier than usual. It can also interface with your car and estimate when you’re going to be home. When they say “smart,” they’re not kidding!
And if all that wasn’t enough, the Nest is one sharp-looking thermostat. Very sleek and modern.
Now, is this something you would want to install in a house you’re renovating to sell? In most cases, no. The Nest isn’t cheap – it costs around $250 – so it’s not a sensible addition to most houses. At the same time, sometimes you can make a house really “pop” by adding one or two small, but visible, luxury items. And if you’ve got a house in a very high-end neighborhood, it might be something to consider.
I’m continually amazed by this kind of sophisticated new technology. Remember seeing those “houses of the future” when you were a kid? You could control everything from one central computer in the den: the stove, the heat, the television. I’ve always wondered when I’ll have a house like that.
Well, it’s not going to be long now, and I can’t wait! But heaven help Aunt Effy.