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Installing the Nest Smart Thermostat

As my parents get older, I’m increasingly trying to talk them into turning their house into a SmartHome. Just the ease and convenience it offers them justifies the training time and overall expense. Since I’m a brand whore great son, I decided to spend a little more and buy them a Nest Smart Thermostat for Christmas this year. I’ve heard nothing but great things so I figured it’d be easy for me to install and even easier for them to work.

The setup directions are incredibly specific so installation was going to be a snap… I also grew up in the world with Tim “The Toolman” Taylor so I also realized that there was no chance I needed to actually follow these directions.

The first step in the directions stated for me to shut the power off to the heater. Naturally that’s in the basement and way too far for me to walk so I decided to bypass this and just risk getting electrocuted.

The only smart thing I did in the whole installation process was take a picture of how the wires were initially set up so when I inevitably messed it up, I could look back and see how it was setup. If you have a squirrel brain like mine, I HIGHLY recommend you taking a picture of the current wire setup.

After installing the backplate and matching up the wires to my picture it was time to connect the cover and let this bad boy boot up.

Except it wouldn’t boot up…

I did everything I thought the directions would say. It’s a brand new heater in a new home so it has to be compatible, according to my picture every wire is in the correct spot why am I getting an error that it’s not getting power. Why does everything on Google say how easy this is to install, I’m a good person why is this happening to me.


So I called Google support and got a wonderful man named Jim who I will certainly guarantee his name is not Jim but for this story, his name doesn’t matter. Jim was very apologetic for my struggles, “I am so sorry you’re experiencing these issues with your Google Nest Smart Thermostat Version 3” He gets me, he knows this is isn’t my fault. Jim then said “Let’s walk through the manual together. Did you shut the power off to the heater?” I said of course Jim.

This call lasted about 50 minutes. We troubleshot every possible reason this wasn’t working. Finally, I said I’m done. I’m returning everything and just installing the old thermostat. As we were wrapping up the call the old thermostat was on the wall and I noticed… it wasn’t working. SOOO I said, “Jim, before I let you go here, hypothetically if the power wasn’t shut off what would happen?” He explained that a fuse in the heater could blow when connecting the wires.

Now I’m pot committed, I just spent an hour explaining to this guy that I’ve done everything the directions stated. There’s no chance I can admit now that I was too lazy to shut off the power to the heater. It’s also starting to set in that I possibly just messed up my parents’ brand new heater on Christmas Day when it’s 24 degrees outside. F&$&

I said look Jim, we need to Facetime together and you need to show me what I’m looking for on this heater or this Christmas dinner is going to look like the Red Wedding in Game of Thrones… Luckily, he was cool and knew what we were looking for. He said “if you’re lucky all you did was blow your 3 fuses.” So I sent him the below picture and he walked me through the issue

After replacing the fuse, I SHUT THE POWER OFF, reinstalled the Thermostat, and successfully was able to set everything up. Now I do know a few friends that have had issues installing the Nest Smart Thermostat because it can be pretty finicky with different units. At the end of the day, this issue was 100% my fault.

What can I say…

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