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Most important things to know about installing your Nest Thermostat

Nest Learning Thermostat wiring
(Image credit: Android Central)

One of the first things you will read when checking out Nest Thermostat reviews — something that is also repeated to some degree in professional commentary on the product — is what a pleasure the hardware is to install. Nest worked hard to make its thermostat something that as many people could install as possible. 

Overall, it seems like the company was successful. You'd be hard-pressed to find many people saying anything bad about how this device is installed, which is an impressive accomplishment when you consider this was the very first product Nest Labs had ever made.

That being said, even though these are some of the best smart thermostats on the market, there are some prerequisites to know. Before you bust out your tool belt and rip your existing hardware off the wall, there are a few things you should know about installing the Nest Thermostat.

If you can do some basic wiring, you can hook up a Nest — but there are some important instructions to follow

There are many configurations for heating and air conditioning in houses nowadays. While Nest seems to have worked hard to support as many setups as possible, there's just no way to make a universal Do-It-Yourself kit and have every configuration be simple and straightforward. 

We were happy to see during our review that Nest Labs worked hard to include an incredible amount of support documentation on their website and a helpful little screwdriver in the box. (Seriously, even the screwdriver is nicely designed.) Together, you can quickly assess your current setups to determine how ready you are for Nest.

Nest screwdriver

(Image credit: Android Central)

You'll also need to determine whether you want to install your Nest directly to the wall, or use the optional mounting plate. It really just depends on your setup and what's going to look best. Most of us probably didn't have a round thermostat before, and cosmetic issues may be at play. (Thus, the plate.)

Professional A/C services are much more used to seeing Nest these days.

The first stop for anyone considering Nest should be the compatibility guide on the Nest website, which allows you to note which wires are connected to your existing thermostat. Filling this guide out will tell you whether or not Nest is supported through your existing wiring, but gaining access to these wires means removing the front panel of your current thermostat. If you still have questions, you can go so far as to send Nest a picture of your wiring. They'll check it out and let you know what they think. 

Should your HVAC system be compatible, Nest provides excellent instructions to install its thermostats on the support page to complement the app while it steps through the process.

Nest Thermostat installation

(Image credit: Android Central)

You'll also find several important questions in the Nest documentation that may lead to a recommendation for professional installation. This includes setups that require multiple thermostats, multiple heat sources connected to your home, or one of several wiring setups that just plain need a professional involved. 

Since Nest has been around for a while now, there are many HVAC companies out there that offer Nest installation support. This thermostat is something any HVAC tech can install. Should Nest determine that a professional is necessary for installation, a separate part of the website will list companies near you that are certified to install this tech. Still, Nest-certified professionals can install the hardware, walk you through the Nest Renew energy efficiency parts of the Nest experience, and help you get the most out of the software.

Nest Thermostat and Thermostat E

(Image credit: Android Central)

Once your thermostat is installed, the software setup can be done using the Nest app. You'll be asked to connect the thermostat to the Internet, and your zip code will need to be provided for local weather data. Still, once you've reached this point, the important parts that control your heating and air conditioning are already handled. 

What's vital here is that you follow the Nest guide to ensure your home is safe after the installation, should you decide to install the hardware yourself. If Nest says to have a professional install the thermostat, you should absolutely do exactly that. Pricing for those installations will vary depending on who is available in your area. Still, the end result is you can enjoy Nest without any issues, and get back to building your connected home with more of the best smart home devices.

Russell is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He's a former server admin who has been using Android since the HTC G1, and quite literally wrote the book on Android tablets. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Find him on Facebook and Twitter

With contributions from