Five Nest Thermostat Settings Tweaks That Can Save You Money

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Smart thermostats are not only convenient, but they also come with a handful of settings that can potentially save you money. The Nest Thermostat is one of the most popular options, and it comes with a whole handful of settings that you should take advantage of if you’re looking to dial down your utility bill.

Despite their marketing, smart thermostats won’t save you any more money than a regular programmable thermostat, but they are way easier to set up and program. The Nest Thermostat, in particular, is one of the easiest smart thermostats to use. But if you really want to save money with it, you’ll need to tweak these settings.

Enable Auto-Away & Home/Away Assist

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The Nest Thermostat can automatically adjust the temperature based on whether or not you’re home. So if you consistently leave for work at 8:30am every weekday morning, your Nest will learn this and automatically turn down your thermostat. It can also tell when you aren’t home based on your phone’s location, which is handy.

We’ve gone over the differences between Auto-Away and Home/Away Assist in the past, as it can get a little confusing, and it also shows you how to enable these features so that you’ll rarely have to touch your thermostat. You find this by going into the settings and selecting “Home/Away Assist”.

Know How to Turn the Nest Thermostat Off

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Sometimes you just don’t need to heating or cooling on in your house, especially if the weather outside is nice enough to have windows open. This is why it’s a good idea to know how to turn off your Nest Thermostat when you need to.

On most regular thermostats, there’s usually a physical switch that you control to turn the unit on and off, but on the Nest it’s a bit hidden. You’ll need to open up the app, select your thermostat, and tap on “Heat” or “Cool” (whichever one is displayed) in the bottom-left corner. From there, you can turn off your Nest. Check out the full guide for more information.

Of course, it might be best to keep the thermostat on and simply just set minimum and maximum temperatures, that way if it ever gets too hot or too cold in your house, your thermostat will kick in and keep the indoor temperature at bay. But if you ever need to just straight up turn it all off, you can do so.

Set Air Filter Reminders

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Within the Nest app, you can set reminders to change out your HVAC system’s air filter every few months. And yes, this really can save you money. Just head into the settings within the Nest app, select “Equipment” and then tap on “Air filter reminder”.

A clogged and dirty air filter restricts airflow, making your heating and cooling system work harder in order to keep your house at the specified temperature. This in turn uses more energy, which means a higher utility bill that you have to pay. So by making sure that your air filter is nice and clean at all times, you can be reminded to change it out.

After you have reminders set up, your Nest Thermostat will remind you when it’s time to change the air filter which will vary depending on how often your HVAC system is used.

Set a Schedule

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While the Nest will learn your habits over time, many people prefer to have mostly-full control over the temperature of their living space. For the more old school among you, setting a schedule is a good option.

You can tell your Nest Thermostat exactly when it should turn on and at what temperature it should cool your house to. You access this feature by opening up the app, selecting your thermostat, and tapping on “Schedule” at the bottom. Our full guide has more info on how to set it all up.

Set Up IFTTT Recipes

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While the Nest Thermostat has a bunch of useful feature baked in, there’s even more you can do with it by hooking it up to a service called IFTTT. By creating some recipes for your Nest, you can save even more money on your energy costs.

For example, you can receive a text message or notification whenever your furnace or A/C breaks down. So if you know your thermostat is on, but the indoor temperature goes beyond a certain point, then you’ll know something is wrong with your system, and sometimes that can cost you a lot of money if it goes un-repaired for any significant amount of time.

Or you can have the Nest Thermostat automatically turn off whenever the weather is good enough to have windows open. You can also set up a recipe to remind you to open windows whenever this happens, that way you’re not needlessly cooling your house with A/C when you could just have the windows open.

Title image by Niyazz/Bigstock, Nest

Craig Lloyd writes about smarthome for How-To Geek, and is an aspiring handyman who loves tinkering with anything and everything around the house. He's also a mediocre gamer, aviation geek, baseball fan, motorcyclist, and proud introvert.