Week 13: Paul's Smart home diary

Building a Nest for the new family

Here's something that's not blindingly obvious about the Nest Thermostat. It needs to be plugged in. I presumed, foolishly (given the plethora of press images with it sitting on numerous living room walls sans-wires), that it ran on a battery and just needed to be docked to charge every so often.

I don't know why I thought this. Looking back, it seems dumb to think that people would unhook a thermostat from their wall to charge it. The slick pictures threw me. I was sucked in.

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My mistake means that I've cocked up on my 'no wires on show' rule for my smart home. It'll have to be plugged in somewhere. Balls. I'll probably drill a hole through the bannisters and place 'hide' the wires under the stairs but that's not ideal. It's my own fault – I told the builder to just plaster over where the old thermostat used to be. I didn't realise Nest could make use of that old cabling. You do now though, so learn from my mistakes.

On the plus side, installation of the Nest 'stat was a doddle. For the engineer who came round, at least – I wouldn't (and most likely you wouldn't) know how to do it yourself.

Nest smart thermostat
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Essentially, it involves two parts – the thermostat itself and the Heat Link. It's the latter that you'll need a pro to help you with. It wires into your boiler system and talks wirelessly to the thermostat. It took less than half an hour for the engineer to get everything up and running – and that includes giving me a demo of the slick UI and the companion app.

Smart home showdown: Nest versus Hive

I won't go into detail about what a smart thermostat does – you can find plenty of guides on that sort of thing on the site – and you can read why I chose Nest over its many rivals right here in Week 6.

What I will tell you is that, if you choose to walk the Nest path, as I have, there's already a bunch of family tech it can talk to and a wide range of third party connected devices. With the might of Google behind it, there are a tonne of apps and devices donning the 'Works with Nest' certificate. It's an easy first step to make in creating the ultimate smart home.

The fact that it's Google also makes it surprising that you have to set up new Nest ID to operate the system though. You'd have thought Google credentials would have done the trick, right?

I've already had a duo of Nest Protects installed in my house and the Nest Thermostat picked these up in the app. Along with the Nest security camera I'll be installing (more on that next week), I'm already creating somewhat of a Google dominated smart home – despite my desire to stay platform agnostic.

However, with the bulk of the building work done now, and a moving in date just days away, you'll see plenty more hardware and device action in my diary over the next few weeks. So stay tuned to see what other gadgets and platforms contribute to my connected home.

Now read Week 14


Week 1: Planning the ultimate smart home
Week 2: Getting started with home networking
Week 3: Deciphering the matrix
Week 4: Burying Ethernet cables
Week 5: Not much happened
Week 6: Things are heating up
Week 7: What smart home platform to use
Week 8: Do I really need a smart washing machine?
Week 9: Smart nursery made simple
Week 10: Lock all the doors, maybe they'll never find us
Week 11: There's more to connected speakers than music
Week 12: Plugging the gaps in a connected home

What do you think?

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