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Understanding Early-On

The Nest Learning Thermostat pre-heats a home with Early-On.

The Nest Learning Thermostat’s new Early-On feature is simple: it’s like pre-heating your oven. Nest sees what temperatures are coming up on your schedule, knows how long it’ll take to reach them, and turns the heat or AC on early so you’ll be comfortable right on time. Easy. But things get much more interesting—for me, anyway—when you look at how Early-On does what it does.

Much like everything else about Nest, the secret’s in the algorithms. To do something simple—to turn the AC on before you get home or turn the heat up early so you wake up warm—Nest creates a full thermal profile for your home. It figures out how well sealed your house is, how quickly it loses heat, then checks the weather. It combines that information to accurately predict when Nest should turn on and continually changes and improves its estimate, integrating factors you couldn’t predict on your own.

Not that people haven’t tried. We know a lot of homeowners who guess how long it takes their home to heat up and base their schedules on those guesses. So if they wake up at 9am, their schedules will tell Nest to start heating at 8:15am.

On a day when it’s 40°F outside, that may work fine. But what if it’s 15°F? It’ll take the house much longer to heat up. And if it’s a mild day, it may only take a few minutes. You can’t know exactly when you should turn up the heat, but with Early-On, Nest does. How the Nest thermostat's Early-On feature works

When figuring out how early to set their schedule, most homeowners make conservative guesses. They base their estimates on the coldest weather—assuming it’ll take forever to heat up the house—and for these homeowners, Early-On can actually save energy. But for other people, Early-On is a comfort feature—it’s designed to make your home cozy. It turns your system on earlier than what’s on your schedule, so you may actually end up running the heat or AC longer than if you weren’t using Early-On.

Whether to use Early-On or not is up to you and to your heating and cooling system. Because Early-On is a part of System Match, it’ll only be available to some homes as a stand-alone option. You can check to see whether you have it—and turn it on or off—in Settings > Nest Sense.

For more details about Early-On, take a look at our support article.