April 30, 2013
Nest Thermostat Updated To Adjust Itself When In Sunlight
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
The Nest Learning Thermostat, created by the “Father of the iPod,” heats and cools homes by studying a family´s behaviors and movements. If a person bumps the thermostat down before work in the morning and cranks it back up when they get home, the Nest will soon mimic this behavior and adjust itself automatically. The Nest also works with a companion iPhone and web app which allows users to adjust their thermostats while they´re away.
This week, Nest is rolling out an update to first and second generation Nest thermostats which can detect when the unit is in direct sunlight and adjust itself accordingly. The new update can also detect humidity levels in the home to help keep mold at bay. In an official blog post, co-founder Matt Rogers writes these changes are coming right in time as Nest users prepare for the high-cooling costs associated with summer.
“Today we´re launching new Nest thermostat features to keep you cool, help with your AC bills, and satisfy some of our most requested product suggestions,” writes Rogers, noting the company does respond to product suggestions from their customers.
Users of the first and second generation Nest thermostats will begin receiving these updates in the next few days, so long as these devices are connected to a Wi-Fi network.
“In 60 percent of homes, the thermostat is in direct sunlight at some point during the year, heating up and reading temperatures up to 25ºF (14°C) higher than reality. In the summer, that means the AC runs overtime. In the winter, the furnace may not turn on at all. It´s frustrating for customers and one of the big issues we hear about in customer support and our online community,” says Rogers before explaining the first new feature called “sunblock.”
The Nest Learning Thermostat is packed with sensors which allow it to work automatically and limit human interaction.
For example, the Nest has a built-in light sensor to detect light and dark patterns in the house. This new update uses the light sensor to detect if it´s receiving a full dose of sunlight. If so, the Nest automatically adjusts itself to get a more accurate reading of the ambient temperature. This feature is turned on automatically with the new update and will only begin working if the thermostat is bathed in direct sunlight for one day. The Nest will also adjust Sunblock depending on the sunrise and sunset times of the area. Users can turn off Sunblock if they decide they don´t want to use the feature.
The new Nest update is also taking advantage of the built-in humidity sensor to ensure the house not only stays cool, but healthy as well.
Those living in humid climates (Rogers specifically calls out Florida) know the importance of keeping a dry house. With Cool to Dry, the Nest Learning Thermostat can detect when humidity levels rise to unhealthy levels and kicks on the air conditioner to lower these levels. Once the Nest believes things are back to normal again, it will shut itself off. Cool to Dry will even cool a house past the five degree variance set by the user if it feels it needs to continue drying out the house. The Nest aims to get humidity down to 55 percent, however if it can´t do this it will only cool to 75 percent or five degrees below the user set limit, whichever is higher.
Nest claims families who are in their houses the majority of the day may never have a use for Cool to Dry. Those who keep vacation homes, however, or spend a week or so away from home may rely on this feature to keep the air quality in their home safe whilst they´re gone.
Nest is also pushing out a new update to their mobile app which makes adjusting the thermostat on iPhone or Android more like adjusting it at home. This new update also brings messages to the app, allowing the thermostat to send a notification to your phone whenever the air filter needs to be replaced.