Nest Pro – The Smart Trade

By Todd Fratzel on Home Automation, Mechanical

Nest Pro

The Smart Trade

Every day new technology is changing the world of construction and benefiting end users. Smart home technology is forever evolving how we control and interact with our homes resulting in reduced energy consumption and improved living comforts. As a builder and general contractor I know first hand how important it is to keep up with this dynamic technology in order to provide our clients with as many options as possible. Smart home technology has really created the “Smart Trade” in which general contractors are having to coordinate and offer their clients these new connected products.

A 2016 article on houzz showed that 45% of recently renovated homes had smart systems or devices installed. The article also shows that the top smart systems being installed are home security/safety, entertainment, climate control, and lighting. The key component in smart systems is connectivity with a mobile device (smartphone or tablet) allowing users to interface with systems while in or out of the home. The study also shows that a vast majority of home owners rely on professional assistance with installation.

With so much movement towards smart home technology, contractors that adopt and embrace these products can set themselves apart from their competition. This is where the “Smart Trade” term really resonates with me. It’s “smart” to offer these new smart home technologies to your customers and broaden your business offerings.

Nest Thermostats

Nest provides a wide range of smart home products that contractors can offer their clients. By becoming a Nest Pro, contractors can offer customers the latest technology allowing them to control the climate in their homes, security systems, and monitor fire and carbon monoxide all from their smart phone or tablet. Nest PRO’s get exclusive pricing, training, and live VIP support and even referrals.

I recently installed two Nest Thermostats (Nest Learning Thermostat and the Nest Thermostat E) in an effort to see how easy it might be and also to get an idea of how well they perform. The two Nest Thermostats offer two price points and several styles to match most any decor.

  • Nest Learning Thermostat: Priced at $249 this thermostat is available in 4 colors (white, copper, black, stainless steel), offers a high resolution screen, and shows the time, temperature or weather on the screen. When connected to your homes Wifi the device can also be controlled by your smartphone or table.
  • Nest Thermostat E: Priced at $169 this thermostat offers a more cost effective option and is available in white only with a frosted display. When connected to your homes Wifi the device can also be controlled by your smartphone or table.

As a general contractor I can tell you that we’ve tried to install other “wifi” controlled thermostats in renovated homes with little luck because older homes are typically wired with only two thermostat wires. For the two Nest Thermostats that I installed, I was nervous because the home I installed them in was an older home with (2) wire thermostat controls. Much to my delight, both Nest thermostats work off the low voltage control wiring even if the system only has two wires (in my situation a red and white wire, which is very common here in the northeast for homes with heat boilers).

Installation was very straight forward and only took about 30 minutes each including the initial setup of the devices. Connecting to the homes Wifi  and the Nest App was very straight forward. The Nest system really impressed me with it’s ease of installation and setup. While the directions were a bit vague on two wire systems, I was able to figure it out quickly.

The Nest App is very intuitive and provides lots of great information and full control of all your Nest devices. In the first screen shot you can see both of the thermostats I installed (both can be remotely controlled from the App). In the second screen shot, you can see one of the energy use pages that shows the history of energy use for the zones the thermostats are connected with.

Join The Smart Trade

If you’re a general contractor, remodeler, or even a handy man now is the time to jump into the Smart Trade and offer your clients smart home technology that they desire. Teaming up with a reputable supplier like Nest is an easy way to get a line of products you can offer along with the support you need to give great service. I was very impressed with the ease of integration, ease of installation, and the performance of the products I tested.

The real payoff here are the savings that home owners can realize by using products that save energy without sacrificing comfort.* Whether you install these products yourself or team up with your electrical and mechanical sub-contractors, there’s no reason to wait any longer to offer these products to your clients.

* Independent studies showed that Nest saved people an average of 10-12% on heating and 15% on cooling. Based on typical energy costs, we’ve estimated average savings of $131 to 145 a year. Individual savings are not guaranteed.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Nest. The opinions and text are all mine.


About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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  1. Don Cotnoir says:

    Hi Todd,
    I recently installed the Nest thermostat but only works on batteries for a 2 wire system. It needs another feed for the wifi to work, if you don’t have that 3rd wire the wifi drains the batteries in about 2-3 weeks. Did you encounter this problem?

    • Todd Fratzel says:

      Not at all, it will work on some 2 wire systems depending on the type of boiler controller. There is enough voltage in some of the 2 wire systems to keep it charged.

  2. Fernand Samsa says:


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