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What is Early-On?

Early-On is a Nest Learning Thermostat feature that turns heating or cooling on early to get you to the temperature you want at the time it’s on the Nest Thermostat's schedule.

Early-On is a comfort feature that the Nest Thermostat makes available for forced air systems that blow air through vents in the room (including furnaces, air conditioning and heat pumps that don’t use auxiliary heat).

Early-On is a lot like pre-heating the oven when making a recipe. You start heating your oven a few minutes ahead of time so that it’s the perfect temperature when you’re ready to bake your batch of cookies. Early-On takes into account the weather and what it’s learned about your home to calculate when to turn on so you’ll be comfortable right on time.

What does Early-On do?

When you first set up your Nest Learning Thermostat, Early-On will be off. This means that the Nest Thermostat will begin heating or cooling at the time a temperature is on your schedule. For example, if your schedule says 72ºF/22ºC at 6pm, your Nest Thermostat will start heating at 6pm.

With Early-On, the Nest Thermostat will use what it’s learned about your home and will turn the heat on early. In the example above, the Nest Thermostat might start heating at 5:30pm to get you to 72ºF/22ºC at 6:00pm.

Early-On will constantly learn how fast your home heats up or cools down in order to improve its estimates and keep you comfortable. For example, on a cold day the Nest Thermostat might need to start heating at 6am to reach your target temperature by 7am. But on a mild day, the Nest Thermostat may only need to start heating at 6:50am. With Early-On, the Nest Thermostat will calculate how early it should turn on to get to your target temperature on time without wasting energy. See the diagram below to compare the Nest Thermostat's behavior with and without Early-On.

How does Early-On work?

The Nest Learning Thermostat knows how early it needs to turn on because it continually calculates the Time-to-Temperature (the time it takes your home to get from the current temperature to your target temperature). So it knows when to turn on the heat or the AC in order to reach the temperature you want on time.

When Early-On starts your system varies based on factors like the weather, how sunny it is, or how long it’s taken to heat or cool your home in the past.

So, why wouldn't I want Early-On?

There are a couple reasons why Early-On may not make sense for your home:

  • Your heating makes too much noise and wakes you up: In some homes, heating (or air conditioning) is loud enough to wake you up. With Early-On, the heat will come on at a slightly different time each morning. This might be a nuisance and you may want to turn Early-On off.
  • Early-On may use more energy: Turning the heater or AC on at an earlier time will necessarily mean you’re running it longer, but energy use will vary in every home. We suggest trying out Early-On for a few days and looking at Energy History in the Nest apps. Do you see a lot more energy use? Is it due to the weather or another cause?

Note: In order not to waste energy, Early-On won’t pre-heat or pre-cool for more than 60 minutes ahead of time. So if your house is 50ºF/10ºC in the afternoon while you’re at work and you want it to be 72ºF/22ºC when you come home at 7pm, Early-On may start heating at 6pm. It may not be able to get you all the way to 72º/22ºC when you walk in the door, but your house will be much warmer.

Why should I use Early-On instead of simply adjusting my schedule?

You probably tweak your schedule so you’re comfortable on a typical day. So if you usually wake up at 7am, you may set your schedule to start heating at 6:00 each morning. But then the weather gets mild. Without Early-On, the furnace will still start at 6:00. With Early-On, the Nest Thermostat will calculate the Time-to-Temperature each day and start accordingly. On a mild day, it might only need to start heating at 6:50.

Early-On is great if you’ve been guessing and setting your own “Early-On” temperature in your schedule. Now you can set your schedule for the temperature you want when you want it, and Early-On will take care of the rest.

How do I enable Early-On?

Follow these steps:

  • On your Nest Learning Thermostat, go to Settings > Nest Sense > Early-On and choose START EARLY to enable it.

  • On the Nest app, choose your thermostat in landscape mode and go to Settings > Nest Sense > Early-On and choose ON to enable it.

Early-On is only available if you’ve told your Nest Thermostat that your heating system is forced air, if you have an air conditioner or if you have a heat pump that doesn’t use auxiliary heat. Because Early-On is automatically incorporated into Heat Pump Balance and True Radiant, it won’t appear as a stand-alone feature if you have a radiant system or heat pump with auxiliary heat.