Experiences with Nest and/or "smart locks"

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by sdilley14, Nov 24, 2015.

  1. sdilley14 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2007
    Location:
    Mesa, AZ
    #1
    So I finally got an accepted offer on a house and I will be moving in about a month. I'm already starting to plan some upgrades and personal touches. Two things I am considering - a Nest (or other "smart" thermostat) and some type of "smart lock" for the front door.

    Does anyone here have any experiences with either the Nest (or a similar thermostat) or a smart lock (like the Kwikset by Kevo)? Suggestions/recommendations on either type of device?

    The house already has a security system in place, but I might be interested in upgrading that as well, so suggestions there would be appreciated as well.
     
  2. sdilley14 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Mesa, AZ
    #2
    Nobody here has a Nest or any type of networked thermostat or locking system for their home?
     
  3. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

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    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #3
    It's so rare that our house is empty, I have no use for either.
    I'd be concerned about a smart lock rather than a traditional lock (or locks) reliability.
     
  4. sdilley14 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Location:
    Mesa, AZ
    #4
    That's also my concern with any type of smart lock. I've seen a few that have keypads + manual twist locking mechanism + keyhole (in the event that the keypad isn't working). I'm thinking of going this route. I've read reviews on several locks that have "motorized" locking mechanisms and it sounds like they eat through a ton of batteries. And while it would be cool to have a "networked" door lock, I'm guessing a lock like that would have some hacking vulnerabilities.

    And as far as the Nest (or something similar) like that goes - I'm thinking it would be a great tool to help reduce my cooling costs in the summer (electric bills in AZ in the summer are insanely high).
     
  5. chown33 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    #5
    You should probably spend some time reading the documentation for the units you're interested in. Comparative reviews would be another source, to discover the range of options.

    Learn exactly what each unit can do, and what its limitations are. For example, you might want to turn off the A/C completely during a certain time period, in order to take advantage of special pricing from the electric utility. That would mean precooling to a lower temperature before the start time, so the house doesn't become too hot before the end time.

    The Nest manuals are available online, and they have a bunch of supplementary online articles. The same goes for any smart thermostat I know of. A friend of mine has a solar water heater and time-of-day power billing, so he ended up getting a not-very-smart thermostat, and doing some other things with his computer and some Zigbee or Z-Wave controls.

    A lot is going to depend on exactly what goal you want to accomplish, and whether it might change after you move. Your current MR location shows Wisconsin, not Arizona, so if you're moving from WI to AZ, you might want to wait before committing hundreds of dollars to a particular technology solution.
     
  6. E3BK macrumors 68020

    E3BK

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #6
    My mother's house has one of these. We have a large family so it's helpful and not everyone needs a key anymore. Like me since I only go home a couple times a year. She probably needs an upgrade on it since it's been there for many years, at least 10, but it works fine. It's not networked, you just need the PIN to unlock the door which is connected to the deadbolt. It does sound like old gears grinding but again, it's probably because it's an old unit. I can't remember what kind of batteries it takes but it isn't replaced that often. Once every year and a half maybe? It beeps loudly like a smoke detector when it is time to swap batteries out.

    I'm not sure I'd go with anything networked. Those will likely need to have batteries replaced much more frequently since power is always on, even if it is low power. But I haven't heard of anyone getting hacked and broken into either. Perhaps due to their rarity. I know 1 person who has one. Though, if it has a traditional key as a backup, I don't see how that's any less safe than a networked lock. Those can be picked pretty easily if someone really wants to get in.
     
  7. prostuff1 macrumors 65816

    prostuff1

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    Don't step into the kawoosh...
    #7
    I have both, and they work fine.

    I honestly do not use either of them that much. I go in and out the door in my garage 95% of the time so the the "smart lock" on the front door hardly gets used. It is nice to have though. If a friend of family member shows up in town and needs into the house I just have to give them the code instead of leaving a key out somewhere. There is a key for the door just in case the batteries die on me. I just keep a spare pack of double A's sitting around and have never had a problem with it ever being without power.

    I do have a nest, and quite frankly it was not worth it for me, but i figured as much before I even bought it. I keep it set at 80 in the summer and 60 in the winter. I heat my house with a wood burning stove so I do not want the furnace kicking on at any temp above 60, and I have a whole house fan to pull air through the house at night to cool things off. The best part of the nest is the monthly report I get showing me how many hours i have run the furnace/AC. I also have it set up so that IFTTT notifies me when the temp goes above 80 or below 60 so that I know the furnace/AC has kicked on.

    So in conclusion:
    1. Smart lock worth it for convenience
    2. Nest, only worth it if it can learn from your patterns and you don't override its "brains"
     
  8. sdilley14 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Location:
    Mesa, AZ
    #8
    Wonderful feedback - thanks everybody!

    I'm going to look hard at the Nest, but I might go with a cheaper alternative - we'll see. I really like the idea of being able to control the temperate in the house from my phone. And I like the idea of getting reports on usage so I can adjust accordingly. But I imagine there are other (more affordable) thermostats that do this same thing.
     
  9. sdilley14 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Feb 8, 2007
    Location:
    Mesa, AZ
    #9
    I actually moved from WI to AZ about 8 months ago. I just bought a house in Mesa, AZ. So really my primary concern is managing the cooling situation in the house during the summer months. The electric company does offer pricing where they have "peak" hours from 3-6PM, so I need to figure out how to optimally work around those hours (I'm usually at work during that time anyways).
     
  10. Zenithal macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    #10
    I've been considering a few Nest products, the smart lock is not one of them. I've got high grade security locks installed, discreet copper line for the power system and a large hidden and locked away natural gas generator that's fairly quiet if the lid isn't open. It kicks in within seconds of a power failure and provides enough energy to run the whole house. I had that installed after I realized I took poor care of my Honda generator because I rarely had to use it. So far the new generator came into power thrice in 2015. Once in January, once in June and just again on Saturday or Sunday morning, when the city experienced a power failure due to a downed line. You still want to invest in a UPS for critical stuff.

    http://www.generac.com/

    Even the very cheap models are highly effective and I suggest anyone who has questionable power service, like SoCal Edison, to invest in one of these. Thankfully I'm not with Edison but we still have issues a few times a year.
     
  11. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #11
    I have a Nest and love it. I live alone and travel for work a lot, so my house is empty quite often. It's great being able to turn everything off, and before my flight home leaves, turn on the heat or A/C from my phone and come home to a comfortable house.
     
  12. caligurl macrumors 68030

    caligurl

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Location:
    socal
    #12
    We have a nest and really like it. What I don't like is their refusal to add apple watch function to their app. A lot of people like the ecobee. If we didn't already have the nest, I'd buy the ecobee. I like that you can add sensors so it heats/cools based on the room(s) occupied. And they have apple watch support in their own, free app.

    I did finally give in and buy a third party app so that I could control the Nest from my watch (and it has geofencing.) I had a knee-jerk reaction to buy an ecobee to "show Nest"... but then my brain kicked in and I realized that the only "showing" I'd be doing was what an idiot I was to spend $300+ to get a new thermostat when a $2.99 app took care of my issues! haha!

    once the nest learns your routine (if you have one), it's pretty much hands off... comes on, goes off, goes to away, etc. it's nice to be able to control it pre-cool the house in the summer if it's not a routine function that Nest has learned.

    Now when/if the Nest goes bad.... i'll seriously consider ecobee. it doesn't "learn" but you can set up programs.

    we don't have a smart lock. we do in and out the garage door... so it's not necessary. I do plan to add the thingy to our garage door so that I can use the app to open/close it and it also monitors if it's open or not!
     
  13. Caromsoft macrumors regular

    Caromsoft

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2012
    #13
    At our old house I had Schlage keyless locks, the kind with a keypad and a twisty knob. They worked very well. Had the house for 5 years and never replaced the batteries. It was great not having to carry keys for the doors. We had one on the front door and one between the garage and the house, which was used the most.

    At our current house I put in "smart locks" from Monoprice controlled by a Vera Lite system. I have three of them. They were much more difficult to program and implement, but of course they do a lot more. I can lock and unlock the doors with an app, I have them programmed to automatically lock after 10 minutes, and I can add or delete new codes using the web interface. They go through batteries fairly quickly, needing replacement maybe once every couple of months or so. One of the locks the keypad portion has gone bad. It is on a shed door so I am in no hurry to replace it.

    The Vera system is supposed to be one of the best, yet without the Vera user forum I never would have gotten the system to work the way I wanted. The programming and user interface on the Vera is terrible, and it is my understanding the others aren't even as good as it is.

    If you are looking just for keyless entry, I would highly recommend the Schlage locks. They are top notch. If you want your locks to do other things as part of a system, i.e. turn on a light when unlocked, notify you when activated, etc. go with a smart lock system. Just be prepared to do a LOT of homework and fiddling around to get them to work.
     
  14. MAH11 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2010
    #14
    We have 4 nest thermostats distributed over 2 houses. They were easy to install and have performed flawlessly in both locations. One house is programmed via the web interface; the other used the learning mode. We have had no problems with either approach. As others have mentioned, frequent travelers will appreciate the ability to easily put the house into "hibernation" mode and to wake it back up before your return.
     
  15. sdilley14 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2007
    Location:
    Mesa, AZ
    #15
    Thank you for the input. I have been leaning towards the Schlage lock with the keypad + twisty knob. I've seen such mixed reviews for the different types of locks that are Bluetooth/WIFI enabled and/or have an automatic locking mechanism. The way I see it, the less technology/automation in a lock the less likely it will be prone to failure.
     
  16. Klaatu63 macrumors regular

    Klaatu63

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2010
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #16
    I have two Nest thermostats -one first generation and another second generation. The units have been functioning without any problems. Please note that I purchased both units before the Google takeover. I expect my Nest units will eventually be popping up adds or some other annoying feature.

    So I plan to keep my units until I seee the first add???????????
     
  17. toddsimon macrumors member

    toddsimon

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2014
    #17
    I am about to move into a new townhouse and was thinking of getting a nest. Target has them for 15% off today with a $50 GC but I don't know what type of hvac my house will have it's being built and not going to be finished for 1-2 months.

    Will the nest work with any new hvac?
     
  18. Zenithal macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    #18
    ADT's highest package works well with new gen HVACs. It's what I have in addition to my own installed 25 camera and sensor system. I'm considering NEST as a secondary backup or figuring it how to make it work for independent HVAC control. When I remodeled my house several years back, I had my HVAC redone with a new system that uses zoned temperature control or whatever the fancy wording is. ADT only controls the entire household temperature as a whole. Which is silly because I enjoy a warm living room and cold kitchen. Even ADT recommended something like NEST.

    I was going to grab a unit from Target.com on Monday with the sitewide 15% off but their site crashed and I never finalized my order. I should check whether I can keep my control system and add NEST to specific rooms of the house that utilize independent zone temperature.
     
  19. Vashed macrumors newbie

    Vashed

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2015
    #19
    If you get a smart lock than I would advise to also get a stronger door.
     
  20. Tech198 macrumors G4

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    Mar 21, 2011
    Location:
    Australia, Perth
    #20
    hehe...

    this is a surprise... everyone using the latest from Apple, and gets all sorts of tech gadets when they come out, but no one uses/needs a smart nest ?

    The only closest to this we can even get to is an electronic door, u press the FOB and it locks/unlocks our front door... but i never use it.... my parents always do.

    i tend to always use my key anyway.....
     
  21. Zenithal macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    #21
    One of the best things anyone can do is get a very heavy door with industrial hinges to boot. Also making sure weaker areas of the door are reinforced with steel plates from within. These doors can cost quite a lot of money. Also, putting in frame plates on the hinge side and locking side means even a battering ram will have trouble breaking the door. The wall will suffer from damage before the door comes unhinged.

    Never installed a kickplate though. I think they ruin the beauty of doors. Nice ones at least.
     
  22. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #22
    Which app did you buy? I've tried the few free Nest Apple Watch apps and wasn't too impressed.
     
  23. sdilley14 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2007
    Location:
    Mesa, AZ
    #23
    Were you able to get the Nest on that Target discount? I tried and tried but it kept telling me that they were not able to ship that particular product and it wasn't available for pick up in any of my local stores. :(
     
  24. toddsimon macrumors member

    toddsimon

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2014
    #24
    I never ordered one still unsure if it'll work with my hvac in my new house and since I don't close til mid Jan I'm afraid the return period will be over. Amazon has them with a $50 amazon GC right now for 249. Not too bad.
     
  25. noisycats macrumors 6502a

    noisycats

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2010
    Location:
    The 'ham. Alabama.
    #25
    I have the nest and love it. It learned my patterns fairly quickly, and fine-tuning the days and times are much easier on the app then on a conventional thermostat. I also purchased the Skylark app which provides a type of Geo fencing. The nest now automatically turns on or off whenever I leave or enter a defined radius of my home.

    I also enjoy the monthly emails regarding usage.

    And it just looks fricking cool. I'm a sucker for style.
     

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