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A step-by-step guide to setup on the Nest Learning Thermostat

After installing your Nest Learning Thermostat or resetting it to defaults, you’ll be asked a series of questions about your heating and cooling system and your home. We’ll walk you through each part of the process.

After your Nest Learning Thermostat is installed for the first time and the power is turned on, the Nest Thermostat will begin setup. During setup, you'll be able to connect your Nest Thermostat to your Wi-Fi network and answer a series of questions about you and your home. If you want to connect your Nest Thermostat to the Internet, make sure to have your Wi-Fi password handy. You’ll also need to know basic information about your heating and cooling system.

Setup on the Nest Thermostat takes about 10-15 minutes.

Step 1: Language

The first step is to select the language you’d prefer. The Nest Learning Thermostat and the Nest apps can speak English, Spanish and French.

Step 2: Internet connection

The next step is to connect the Nest Thermostat to your home Wi-Fi network. The Nest Thermostat doesn't require A Wi-Fi connection. But when connected, you can control your Nest Thermostat from anywhere using the Nest apps. A Wi-Fi connection also gives your Nest Thermostat access to local weather information (especially important for heat pump and dual fuel systems) and automatic software updates.

Do I need Wi-Fi to use the Nest Learning Thermostat?

If you choose to connect to the Internet, you’ll see a list of nearby Wi-Fi networks. Turn the ring to highlight your home network and press to select. If you don’t immediately see your network listed, wait at least 30 seconds. Your Nest Thermostat will continue to scan for networks in the area.

If your network still doesn’t appear, there may be a problem with your Internet connection.

Help with Wi-Fi troubleshooting

Once you’ve selected your network, the password screen will appear (if your network is secured). Use the onscreen keyboard to type out your password. Your password is case-sensitive and must be entered exactly.

Turn the ring to highlight the letter, number or symbol in your password and press to select it. Use the SHIFT icon to switch between lowercase letters (abc), uppercase letters (ABC), numbers and punctuation (123), and additional symbols (* ` ?).

If you accidentally select a character that isn’t in your network password, use the backspace icon (⌫) to delete the last character entered. If you’ve accidentally selected the wrong network name, you can select the return icon (↵) to go back to the Wi-Fi network selection screen.

Select the check mark (✓) once you’ve entered your password correctly. The Nest Thermostat will securely connect to servers and update to the latest software, if available.

Step 3: Heating and cooling

The Nest Learning Thermostat senses what wires are connected and asks you a few questions so it can offer different features specifically for your heating or cooling system. The wires your Nest Thermostat detects should be the same ones that you installed.

Important note: You’ll be asked if you’re a professional Nest installer. Selecting PRO will show you Pro Setup, an advanced setting to enable installation professionals to set up complex systems, including dual fuel systems, humidifiers and dehumidifiers.

If you have one of these systems, you should get help from a Nest Certified professional. Incorrect settings will cause unexpected HVAC activity or equipment damage.

What is Pro Setup?

If the Nest Thermostat detects any issues with your wiring, you’ll see wiring errors here. You could get an error if a wire wasn’t inserted correctly, is missing, or dead (a dead wire isn’t connected to anything on the other end).

You’ll need to resolve any wiring errors before your Nest Thermostat can control your heating and cooling system.

What should I do if I get a wiring error during setup?

Once your Nest Thermostat has confirmed your wiring, it’ll ask some questions that are tailored to your heating and cooling system.

Conventional heating and cooling systems

If you have a conventional heating and cooling system, you’ll be asked a series of questions about the fuel source for your heat and how that heat is delivered. What questions you’re asked depend on the wires you’ve connected.

The fuel source refers to the fuel used by your heater to generate heat. The Nest Learning Thermostat uses this information to determine when and if it should engage the fan when heating your home. You’ll need to select one of the following:

  • Gas
  • Electric
  • Oil
  • Propane (LP)
  • Geothermal
  • I don’t know

If you select “I don’t know,” the Nest Thermostat will engage the fan as soon as heating starts. You can always go back later to change it in SETTINGS > EQUIPMENT.

You may also be asked whether you have a forced air, in-floor radiant, or radiator system. For more details about these types, see the article below.

What type of heating do I have?

Heat pumps

If your heating and cooling system is a heat pump with an auxiliary heat source, you’ll be asked if your system is dual fuel or single fuel. If you’re not sure, see the article below.

What is dual fuel?

You’ll also be asked about the orientation of your O/B wire. If you don’t know, the Nest Thermostat will assume an O orientation.

Step 4: Your location

Once configured to control your heating and cooling system, your Nest Thermostat will ask you a few questions about your location. Most of these questions help your Nest Thermostat work efficiently. Some help the Nest Thermostat learn. Any time we ask a question about your system that you don’t know the answer to, just select “I don’t know”. You can always go back later to update the information.

The Nest Thermostat will ask you for the following information:

  • Your country
  • Your zip code or postal code
  • The date, time and time zone (date and time will fill out automatically if your Nest Thermostat is connected to Wi-Fi)
  • Description of the location (single-family, multi-family, apartment or condo, or a business)
  • Number of thermostats in the building
  • The year the building it was built

Finally, you’ll have a chance to name your Nest Learning Thermostat. You can select one of the names from the list or use the onscreen keyboard to type out a name.

Step 5: Temperature

Lastly, your Nest Thermostat will ask about your temperature preferences:

  • Should the Nest Thermostat start heating or cooling?
  • What is the lowest temperature you’d like when you’re away? This is the temperature your Nest Thermostat will set itself to in cold weather when you’re not home. We recommend 65°F/18°C or lower to save energy.
  • What is the highest temperature you’d like when you are away? This is the temperature your Nest Thermostat will set itself to in warm weather when you’re not home. We recommend 80°F/27°C or higher to save energy.

You’re done!

After you’ve answered these questions, the temperature screen will appear. Just turn the ring to change the temperature and your Nest Learning Thermostat will start heating or cooling, depending on what you selected during the interview.