In 2011, I first heard of this neat gadget that would help my family save money on our heat and cooling bills. It promised to save my family about 30% on our monthly energy usage through auto-scheduling, auto-away and through learning your family's tendencies. As soon as I saw the 30% savings, I immediately started running the numbers! :)
My current electric and gas bills are $135 and $64 per month respectively (both on an even payment plan), which provides all of my heat and cooling needs for my home. That is $199/month total, and a savings of $39.80/month. Not chump change if you ask me!
Now, the big pill to swallow in buying the Nest thermostat is the initial $249 price tag. For myself, I'm always looking for a deal, and before black Friday last year Nest, Home Depot, and Lowes were all selling the thermostat for $199. I went onto Lowes and Home Depot, and both were charging $199 + taxes, and so I decided to buy it directly from Nest.com, which saved me about $14 in taxes. Again, helped to keep the overall initial costs down.
So based on my $199 monthly utilities bills, a 20% saving would save me $39.80/month, and my $199 initial Nest thermostat costs would take me about 5.0 months to recoop my costs in. Everything beyond month 4 would be a net savings. This point of recooping costs is important in knowing any return on investment. You have to know at what point your big investment will start saving your family money! Any good thrifty guy will know this! :)
4 months later
Now that I've owned the Nest thermostat for about four months, I've begun to see in my monthly bills a significant drop in my utilities usage. On average I've been saving about 5-10 kWh per month and about 15-30 therms per month, which you can see below.
As you compare 2014 vs 2015, you'll notice in Jan – April a noticeable drop in the year to year comparison. I personally haven't noticed a 30% yet, but more in the 15-25% range in the four months that I've owned the device. One other key note that you need to make note of is that your percent savings won't be on your overall bill, but on the kWh or Therms used. If you notice on most of your bills that your electric or gas company charge you a base service for having the utility into your home. For my bills, this base service equiates to about 7.5% of my electric base service and 30% of my gas base service. So regardless of the Nest's utility savings, these base service costs will always be there. So don't forget that when you are estimating your family's monthly savings!
Weather's affect on utilities savings with Nest
So I'm fully aware of how weather affects utilities usage. Here is a summary of what the weather has been in Omaha from Jan-April 2014 vs 2015:
Jan 2014 – avg high 34°
Jan 2015 – avg high 39°
Feb 2014 – avg high 32°
Feb 2015 – avg high 31°
Mar 2014 – avg high 49°
Mar 2015 – avg high 58°
Apr 2014 – avg high 64°
Apr 2015 – avg high 64°
As you can see the weather has been slightly higher, but not 15-25% more than the previous year. So with taking weather out of the equation, then we are able to show about a 20% savings in the usage of the Nest.
Overall, the Nest Thermostat does what it says: It can save you money! That is what I'm all about. However, it does take some effort on your part. I HIGHLY recommend taking the time to setup the “Auto-Schedule” function on Nest.com or through the Nest app. By inputting when you want your air/heat to kick on or off, then it will save you a lot of money. Primarily it will save you the majority of money while you sleep, while you are at work, or when you are “typically” away (with the usage of the Auto-away feature). I would give the Nest Thermostat a solid A grade and recommend it to any friends and family.
I would be interested in hearing from some of our readers on what their experience has been in using the Nest thermostat. What did you think of it? Is it saving you money like it promised?
Check with your utility company to see if you can get a rebate offer with Nest. Xcel Energy in MN is offering $50 back.