Summer Smart Thermostat Fail
This week our temperatures soared up to the 100s, and at some point, the fan on the outside air conditioner unit failed. As the temperature kept rising outside it got more and more miserable inside. At one point it was 84 degrees downstairs and 93 upstairs. On our cooling system, our inside fan kept trying to cool the house, but with a broken fan outside nothing was happening.
We aren’t exactly sure when it stopped working, the temperature rose gradually so it was hard to tell when it failed. At one point, we looked at the Nest – and the thermostat said that the fan was on, the current temperature was 81, and it would take 2+ hours to cool the house to 77 degrees. We have the upper threshold set to 78 degrees. Obviously, there was something wrong.
We called a local service company and by the next day our air conditioner was fixed and all was well. It turned out that the capacitor for the fan failed. Luckily we caught it in time, because if the unit had kept trying to cool the house without the fan, the compressor would have eventually failed, a much more expensive fix.
But it left us wondering – why didn’t our Nest warn us something was wrong? Isn’t a smart thermostat supposed to learn from our patterns, and know when something is out of the ordinary? If the cooling system has been on continuously for 24 hours and the temperature is getting warmer, that seems to be obvious that there is some kind of issue. It could have been a lot worse – luckily we were at home – but we still expect a pretty hefty power bill this month. An early warning would have really helped us address the issue sooner.
We tweeted our idea to Nest support and they suggested we submit our idea to the community site. As soon as we visited, we noticed that someone had already submitted the idea – in January 2013. It has been upvoted so it is right on the front page. If you are a Nest owner – we encourage you to vote as well.
We have been loyal Nest owners for some time – this is the first time we feel like it has failed us. There are a lot of other smart thermostats out there now – do any of them have this kind of feature? We’d love to hear your comments.