How the Nest Learning Thermostat Saves You Money
If you want to save energy, it’s best to start with your thermostat – a device that controls half of your energy bill.
According to Natural Resources Canada, a huge chunk of the average Canadian home’s energy bill goes to space heating (63%) and space cooling (1%). Considering the Nest Learning Thermostat to save energy is a step in the right direction as this device controls your home’s cooling and heating systems.
Two independent studies, one conducted in Oregon by the Energy Trust and another study conducted in Indiana by Vectren Energy, showed that the Nest Learning Thermostat can save up to 12% of heating usage and about 15% of cooling usage in homes with central air conditioning.
In the Oregon study, Energy Trust had a contractor install Nest Learning Thermostats in 185 homes heated by heat pumps. Energy Trust then hired an independent firm to analyze the changes in the energy bills and to also ask participants about their experiences with the Nest Learning Thermostats.
The Oregon study found that the Nest Learning Thermostat users saved an average of 12% in electric heating usage, equivalent to 781 kWh per year for each home. 66% of the Oregon study participants also reported feeling more comfortable after the Nest Learning Thermostat was installed in their home.
In the Indiana study, Vectren Energy had 300 Nest Learning Thermostats installed in homes and then hired an independent group to evaluate the results.
The study showed that the Nest Learning Thermostat users had an average natural gas savings of 69 therms per year, equivalent to 12.5% of savings in heating usage. The same study also found that the Nest Learning Thermostat users had an average electricity savings of 429 kWh per year, equivalent to 13.9% savings of cooling usage.
Nest conducted a study of their own based on energy bills of their actual customers in 41 states in the U.S., before and after they had the Nest Thermostat installed. The study showed that on average the Nest Thermostat saved 10% to 12% on heating and 15% on cooling. The estimated average savings on heating and cooling systems, as a result of using Nest Thermostat, is $131 to $145 a year. Therefore, the Nest Thermostat essentially pays for itself in two years.
Since thermostat use differs based upon personal preference, the characteristics of various homes, the number of occupants in the home, the type of heating and cooling equipment and climate, your energy savings could be higher or lower than the average savings.
In February 2017, the Nest Thermostat became the first thermostat to receive the ENERGY STAR certification from the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Natural Resources Canada promotes products that have an ENERGY STAR certification by the EPA.
“ENERGY STAR certified products meet strict technical specifications for energy performance – tested and certified,” Natural Resources Canada said. “They save energy without compromising performance in any way. Typically, an ENERGY STAR certified product is in the top 15 to 30 percent of its class for energy performance. Saving energy saves you money and reduces your impact on the environment.”
Nest estimated that the Nest Learning Thermostat saved 21,131,543 kWh of energy in homes from 2011 to March 23, 2018. Nest’s calculation is based on the amount of energy their customers would have used if they hadn’t purchased a Nest Thermostat and just left their old programmable thermostats at a constant temperature.
How the Nest Learning Thermostat Works
Prior to the Nest Learning Thermostat launching, programmable thermostats were the norm – a type of thermostat where you have to manually change the temperature in order for it to rise or fall. Most people find these programmable thermostats bothersome and complicated and many don’t even bother to alter the temperature, resulting in wasted energy.
Nest found a revolutionary alternative; rather than requiring people to punch in their desired temperature throughout the day, the Nest Thermostat learns the habits of your household. Nest saves you money through the following:
1. By Learning from Your Preferences
In order for the Nest Thermostat to learn from you, begin by using it as a programmable thermostat – turning it up or down to your desired temperature at any particular time of the day – for one week. Your Nest Thermostat will then create a personalized schedule for you based on your temperature preferences for the whole week.
2. By Analyzing Your Home
Nest Thermostat learns from your home by analyzing how your home heats or cools, as no two homes are the same.
3. By Turning Itself Off
It saves energy by turning itself down when you leave the house.
You can also proactively save energy by doing the following:
- Follow the leaf feature in your Nest Thermostat monitor. This leaf feature of the Nest learns on its own how to save energy.
- Control your thermostat from anywhere via your smartphone or tablet using the Nest app.
- View how much energy you use every day through your smartphone or tablet using the Nest app. Based on your energy history, you can review which days more energy is used and determine how to use less energy.
In addition to saving you money, the Nest Thermostat also makes your family and home safe. Your Nest Learning Thermostat connects with your other smart home devices. For instance, your Nest Thermostat connects with your Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm, assuring you that whenever Nest Protect senses carbon monoxide, your Nest Thermostat will automatically turn off your cooling and heating systems since these are known sources of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Your Nest Thermostat can also prevent excessive cold and excessive heat in your home as it turns on cooling or heating when set limits are reached. You’ll also be notified via your smartphone or tablet whenever these safety precautions are done by your Nest Thermostat.
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Why it’s Time to Ditch Your Old Smoke Alarm for Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm
Have you ever stared at your old smoke alarm and wonder if it’s still working? With the Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarm, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your family and home are protected.
Here are the top reasons why it’s time to ditch your old smoke alarm for the Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarm:
1. Nest Protect Tests Itself
It’s important to regularly check that your smoke alarms are functioning. Data from the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services showed that 15% of fires that occurred between 2011 and 2015, in residential properties where a loss occurred, had smoke alarms that weren’t operational. 4% of these cases were due to the smoke alarms not having power or battery.
The Fire Code of Ontario, Canada requires every home to have a working smoke alarm on every story and outside all sleeping areas. Failure to comply with the smoke alarm requirements could result in a ticket for $360 or a fine of up to $100,000 for corporations or $50,000 for individuals.
Conventional smoke alarms require you to manually test that the alarm’s batteries and sensors are still working. To test the battery level, a battery tester has to be used. To test the sensors, the device has to be detached, brought outdoors and exposed to a small amount of smoke.
Nest Protect eliminates the need to manually test the sensors and batteries; the device actually tests them for you. When you turn off the lights at night before bed, the Nest Protect will show a quick green glow to assure you that its batteries and sensors are working. The quick green glow also signals that the device’s Wi-Fi connection is working.
Another way to check whether your Nest Protect’s batteries, sensors and Wi-Fi connection are working, is by checking your Nest app, which you can download onto your smartphone or tablet.
2. Nest Protect Functions Both as a Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Alarm
While traditional or conventional smoke alarms only detect smoke, Nest Protect detects both smoke and carbon monoxide.
You can see smoke. When your senses come across smoke, they react automatically. For instance, your eyes water or it’s difficult to breathe through your nose. Carbon monoxide on the other hand is a silent killer. Unlike smoke, you can’t see or smell carbon monoxide. Whenever a fossil fuel is burned, carbon monoxide is produced. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), carbon monoxide can cause sudden illness or death.
3. Nest Protect Tells You Where the Danger Is and the Alert Level
When your conventional smoke alarm goes off, your mind starts to panic and ask questions; where is the smoke coming from? Is it a full-blown fire or just burned food?
With Nest Protect, you’ll be notified in different ways whether the smoke or carbon monoxide level is at an early stage or at an emergency level. It also tells you which part of the house the danger was detected.
In case it’s an early warning due to a hint of smoke or carbon monoxide, Nest Protect will notify you in three ways:
Through the Device’s Speaker
You’ll hear, “Heads-Up. There’s smoke in the (specific room name). The alarm may sound.”
Through Device’s Light
In case of an early warning, the device’s yellow light is turned on.
Through Smartphone or Tablet Alert
An early warning alert will also be sent to your smartphone or tablet, provided you have installed Nest app on your mobile device.
In the case of an emergency situation, you’ll be notified in the following manner:
Through Device’s Speaker
You’ll hear, “Emergency. There’s carbon monoxide in the (specific room name).” The alarm sound will also go off.
Through Device’s Light
In case of an emergency, the device’s red light is turned on.
Through Mobile Device Notification
You’ll also receive an emergency notification on your smartphone or tablet via the Nest app.
3. Easily Hush the Alarm
If the smoke is a result of burned food and there is no immediate threat, you won’t have to run to the alarm to fan it or turn it off; the alarm can easily be hushed via the Nest app.
4. Connectivity with Other Smart Home Devices
Conventional smoke alarms can’t be connected to other smart home devices, however the Nest Protect can be connected with compatible smart home devices. It can be connected with other Nest products, including the Nest Thermostat – a smart home device that remotely controls temperature.
For instance, the Nest Thermostat can be connected with a Jenn-Air oven, so if the Nest Protect detects smoke from burned food cooked inside the oven, the Nest Protect will communicate with the Nest Thermostat to turn off the oven.
The Nest Thermostat is also compatible with nearly 95% of low-voltage residential heating and cooling systems. If the Nest Protect were to detect smoke or carbon monoxide, it will communicate this information with the Nest Thermostat and the Thermostat will turn off your home’s heating and cooling systems – known to be the usual sources of smoke and carbon monoxide.
With the Nest Protect’s great features, such as the ability to test itself, to detect not just smoke and carbon monoxide, its ability to notify you the danger level and location via speaker, light and mobile device, the ability to silence the alarm via mobile device and the ability to connect with other smart home devices, you’ll have peace of mind while you sleep and even when you’re away from home. And did we mention smart camera?
5 Ways Nest Indoor Camera Helps You Keep an Eye on Your Home Even When You’re Away
The Nest Indoor Camera can help you look after your home and family even if you’re away from the property.
Here are 5 key features of the Nest Indoor Camera that will help you keep an eye on your home even when you’re away:
1. Super Clear 1080p HD Video Quality
The Nest Indoor Camera has come a long way from the early days of surveillance cameras. Remember the days when surveillance cameras only produced grainy, blurry footage? These grainy and blurry images proved to be useless to police, private investigators and others using video surveillance for identification purposes.
The Nest Indoor Camera has a super clear 1080p HD video, which allows you clearly identify the people captured on the footage. Many video images captured by the Nest Indoor Cameras have helped police to capture home intruders.
In February 2016, police were able to positively identify the intruders in the home of a Massachusetts resident because of the clear footage that the Nest Indoor Camera was able to capture.
In April 2016, two men broke into the home of a Texas resident. The homeowner took a screenshot of the Nest Indoor Camera footage featuring the clear faces of the two intruders. They then made a flyer out of it and warned the neighbors. One of the burglars saw the flyer and turned himself in.
2. Built-in Speaker and Microphone
The Nest Indoor Camera is equipped with a microphone and built-in speaker, allowing you to not only hear what’s going on in your home, but also speak to whoever is there.
Using the Nest app, which you can download to your smartphone or tablet, you can watch, listen and speak to whoever is at your home.
In April 2016, a New Jersey resident saw intruders at her home through the Nest app. She drove the intruders away by yelling through the Nest app “Get out of my house!” Using the Nest Indoor Camera footage provided by the homeowner, police were able to find and arrest the perpetrators.
These amazing features of the Nest Indoor Camera also allow you to watch, listen and talk to your pets at home. For instance, if you see your dog sitting on the couch, you can speak to him through the built-in speaker and tell him to get off the couch!
3. 24/7 Live Streaming
Your Nest Indoor Camera doesn’t sleep on the job – it plugs into power so you never have to worry about a drained battery.
If you subscribe to Nest Aware, you won’t miss a thing. Nest Aware continuously records everything that’s going on, 24/7 for up to 30 days. You can review the full footage within the last 30 days – not just clips – just in case you haven’t had time to monitor your home.
If you don’t have time to review the entire footage, the Sightline feature of Nest Aware allows you to find what you’re looking for within seconds to avoid scouring through hours of footage.
Nest Aware pinpoints critical moments – actions that are worth watching – so that you aren’t watching random events.
You can also turn any footage that is captured by the Nest Indoor Camera into a clip and share it with friends, family members or the police – in the event that someone breaks into your home.
4. Person and Activity Zone Alerts
When you subscribe to Nest Aware and download the Nest app to your smartphone or your tablet, you can receive person and activity zone alerts.
The Nest Indoor Camera can differentiate between a person and a thing. For instance, if someone enters the room or if a person’s head appears in the frame, you’ll automatically receive a person alert via your mobile phone or tablet.
You can also identify important areas inside your home, like window, crib or the safe. If something happens in these identified areas, you’ll automatically receive an activity zone alert. By default, you’ll automatically receive an activity zone notification if there’s activity near your door.
5. Connectivity with Other Smart Home Products
The Nest Indoor Camera connects with other smart home devices that work with Nest products, such as the Nest Protect, the Nest Learning Thermostat or the Lutron Caseta Smart Lighting. It doesn’t take much effort to get these seemingly different smart home devices to work together.
With your smartphone or tablet, you have control over these smart home devices. These smart devices use sensors and algorithms to communicate with each other. For instance, when the Nest Protect senses carbon monoxide, your Nest Learning Thermostat can automatically turn off your furnace which could be causing the carbon monoxide.
In another instance, if no one’s at home and the Nest Indoor Camera senses a person, the Lutron Caseta Smart Lighting can turn on your lights to make it appear as if someone is home. Even if no one intrudes your home, this smart lighting system can randomly control lights to make it look like someone is home.
To connect other smart home devices with Nest, look for smart devices with the logo that says “Works with Nest”. To connect Nest products with the Lutron Caseta Smart Lighting, sign into your Lutron Caseta app and tell it to connect to Nest and then verify your Nest Account. Once you connect another smart home device to Nest, these connected smart devices will begin to do things for you, without you needing to program anything.
The Nest Indoor Cameras’ key features, including 1080p HD video quality, built-in speaker and mic, 24/7 live streaming, person and activity zones alerts, and connectivity with other smart home products, will give you peace of mind even when you’re away from home.
Storage Tank vs. Navien Tankless Water Heater: What’s the Ideal Water Heater for Your Home
Whether you’re remodeling your home or you’re building your first home, your choice of water heater greatly impacts you and your family. Since 19% of the energy used in the average Canadian home goes to water heaters, your decision on what type of water heater to buy will have a lasting impact on your family’s finances, as well as the quality of life for your family.
What Is a Storage Water Heater & How Does It Work
A storage water heater is a big, cylindrical tank with pipes attached to it. It has 2 functions: it heats water and stores water until its needed.
A storage water heater that is meant for a single family offers a standby supply of 75 to 302 liters of hot water. When you turn on the hot water tap, hot water is released from the top of the storage tank. To replenish the hot water, cold water enters at the bottom of the storage tank.
In order for the water inside of the storage tank to remain warm, the water is constantly being heated even though there isn’t a hot water tap turned on. This constant heating of the water in the storage tank, called “standby heat loss”, wastes energy.
In order to extend the life of the storage tank and to lessen the loss of efficiency of this type of water heater, the following periodic water heater upkeeps are required:
- Flush a quart of water from the storage tank every 3 months.
- Check the pressure valve and temperature every 6 months.
As a safety measure, all storage water heaters are fitted with temperature-and-pressure relief valve. In the even that either the pressure or temperature goes beyond a safe limit, this valve opens.
- Inspect the anode rod every 3 to 4 years.
All storage water heaters have an anode rod. The purpose of this rod is to control corrosion – the primary reason to storage tank fails. The rod is specifically designed to corrode. As such, it’s important to inspect the anode rod every 3 to 4 years and replace it when necessary.
What Is a Navien Tankless Water Heater & How It Works
A Navien tankless water heater is a specific type of tankless water heater that offers a continuous flow of hot water, without the large, cylindrical tank.
Navien tankless water heaters, specifically the Navien NPE tankless water heater series, can be mounted on the wall and occupy 80% less space in comparison to the 302 liter storage-type water heater. The biggest model of the Navien NPE tankless water heater series is only 17.3”W x 27.4”H x 13.2”D.
The Navien tankless water heater don’t waste energy as the storage-type water heaters do. Tankless water heaters only heat water when it is in use; therefore, there’s no cost for maintaining heat.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), for a household that uses 155 liters or less of hot water every day, a tankless water heater can be 24% to 34% more energy efficient than a storage-type water heater tank. The U.S. DOE added that a tankless water heater can be 8% to 14% more energy efficient for a household that uses a lot of hot water – approximately 325 liters each day.
According to Natural Resources Canada, a typical Canadian household uses an average of 75 liters of hot water every day for showering, cleaning, washing dishes and clothing.
ENERGY STAR estimates that the average family can save up to $100 or more each year with an ENERGY STAR qualified tankless water heater; the Navien tankless water heater is an ENERGY STAR tankless water heater.
The purchase price of the Navien tankless water heater can be higher than the storage-type water heater; however the long life span, low operating costs and low energy costs can offset the initial rate.
The Navien tankless water heater has parts that ensure years of trouble-free service. The heat exchanger in the Navien is made of stainless steel, not copper, extending the life of the heater by resisting corrosion. It also has the industry’s longest warranty, including 15 years on the heat exchanger.
The operating cost of a 189 gallon storage-type water heater (based on the annual estimated residential use per U.S. DOE test criteria) is $293 and other tankless water heater brands are $228, while the Navien tankless water heater’s annual operating cost is only $191. Depending on your location, you can also avail for a variety of energy efficiency credits and rebates.
“It’s important to remember the cost of energy to operate a product over its lifetime is just as important as its purchase price. For water heaters, the operating costs are calculated by factoring in the size and type of unit, the energy source, and the equipment’s energy efficiency,” Natural Resources Canada said.
Save the Environment
Since the Navien tankless water heater only uses energy when hot water is needed, it not only saves you money, but it also lowers the impact on the environment. This particular water heater doesn’t waste energy to heat a large storage tank. A Navien tankless water heater makes the most of your money by using up to 99¢ of every $1 that it costs to actually heat your water.
The Navien tankless heater reduces the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by 1,216.8 lbs. per year when compared to conventional storage-type water heaters – equivalent to 62 gallons of gasoline in your car.
Smart Home Device
With NaviLink, the Navien tankless water heater’s optional Wi-Fi remote control system, you can check your heater’s status from anywhere once you have an internet connection.
You can connect to your Navien unit by downloading the free NaviLink app on your tablet or smartphone. With the NaviLink app, you can do the following:
- Activate your recirculation pump while on your way home or wirelessly from any room in your house
- Turn your unit on and off
- Set your Domestic Hot Water (DHW) temperature remotely
- Monitor 3 channels of 8 units cascaded together
- Get statistics on total operating hours, current gas usage, DHW set temperature, DHW flow rate, inlet water temperature and percentage of heating capacity
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How to Protect Your Home from Water Damage via Flowie & Floodie Sensors
Water damage is the number one reason why homeowners make insurance claims. This household disaster can be prevented through the use of the Flowie water sensor and Floodie companion sensor.
According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), water damage trumps fire damage as today’s primary reason behind homeowner insurance claims.
Insurance companies typically don’t cover flooding in areas where flooding is a regular occurrence (since insurance isn’t designed to cover regular occurrences), but rather to protect against random, unpredictable risks. Damage to a home caused by the sudden and accidental bursting of plumbing pipes and appliances, according to IBC, is usually covered by all home insurance policies.
According to Northbridge Insurance, many of these water damage insurance claims are preventable through the use of the Flowie water sensor and Floodie companion sensor. The insurance company offers homeowners annual savings of up to $150 on home insurance when they purchase an Alert Labs Home Solution package, consisting of a Flowie water sensor and a Floodie companion sensor.
What is Flowie? What is Floodie?
The Flowie is a water sensor that can be installed in less than 2 minutes without the need of tools or technical expertise; it just straps onto the municipal water meter.
The Floodie is a sensor that can be installed in flood-prone areas of the house such as toilets, sinks, under or near hot water heaters, laundry areas, window wells, dishwashers and garages.
The Flowie gives you real-time notifications regarding leaks, water consumption, pipe freezing warnings, weather, temperature, power outages and humidity. The Floodie gives you real-time notifications whenever your toilet, sink, nearby water heater, laundry area, window well, dishwasher or garage is flooded.
Both the Flowie and Floodie – made by Alert Labs, an IoT technology company based in Kitchener, Ontario – send notifications to your computer or mobile device in real-time whenever the above-mentioned incidents take place. Both sensors are fitted with a back-up battery and can work without a Wi-Fi connection. Each sensor uses a cellular connection which guarantees continuous operation even during a power outage.
“Our technology tracks and analyses water consumption and customers are notified of incidents that could point to a leak, such as continuously running water,” said Alert Labs CEO George Tsintzouras. “This makes us different from a lot of other solutions that focus on alerting customers after a flood has taken place. Our goal is to help homeowners avoid the expense and hassle of water damage in the first place with technology that’s easy to use.”
Facts on Leaks
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a leaky faucet, dripping at the rate of one drip per second, can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water per year – this is the amount of water needed to take more than 180 showers.
EPA added that more than 500 gallons per year can be wasted by a shower leaking at 10 drips per minute – this is the amount of water it takes to wash 60 loads of dishes in your dishwasher.
According to EPA, the most common types of leaks found in the home, such as worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets and other leaking valves, can be easily corrected.
Here are some of the traditional ways to detect water leaks:
- Observe water usage during colder months, including January or February.
- If your household only consists of 4 family members, yet your water usage exceeds 12,000 gallons per month, this is a sign that your home has serious leaks.
- Check water meter prior to and after a 2 hour period when water isn’t being used. If there’s a meter change, most likely your home has a water leak.
- Put a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank. If any color shows up in the bowl after 10 minutes, then you have a leak. After this test, flush immediately to prevent staining the toilet tank.
- Check pipe fittings and faucet gaskets for any sign of water leakage.
How Flowie Water Sensor Works
When the Flowie water sensor is strapped onto your existing municipal water meter, it measures how much water your home is using – it basically reads what your meter is reading.
The Flowie uses its own antenna and internal cellular device (similar to a smartphone) to communicate the information that it senses to Alert Labs’ servers.
If the sensor observes something out of the ordinary (perhaps a leak or water left running), a text message, email and in-app notification alerts will be sent to you right away. You can also set up “delegates”, such as a property manager or neighbor, to be notified of events.
You can monitor your home through the use of the Alert Labs app. Using your computer, tablet or smartphone, you can view data analytics that capture various statistics for your property, such as daily or monthly average water consumption and basement temperature vs. outdoor temperature.
This sensor also provides you with the following analytics and insights:
Relating to Water:
- Usage, flow rates, costs, trends
- Leaky toilets, running taps, water left on, burst pipes, etc.
- Abnormalities identified and flagged for investigation
- Flood alarms (start and stop)
Relating to Power:
- Property power status
- Power outage notifications
- Power restored notifications
Relating to the Environment:
- Outdoor/indoor temperature
- Outdoor/indoor humidity
- Storm warnings
- Drop in temperature warnings
- Freezing pipe alerts
Here is How to Save Money with Flowie
According to EPA, homeowners can save up to 10% on their water bills by fixing easily corrected household water leaks.
With the Flowie water sensor and Floodie companion sensor, $600 can be saved annually from a single leaking toilet; $42,000 can be saved from a flooded basement (average repair cost); $150 per year can be saved for insurance coverage that offers up to $150 or a 10% discount for installing Alert Labs’ Flowie and Floodie sensors.