Google Nest Thermostat Compatibility
749 views | July 7, 2022

Google Nest Thermostat Compatibility

Read how to determine Nest Thermostat compatibility with your current HVAC system to the extent possible before purchasing one.

By now you’ve probably seen a Google Nest Thermostat at a friend’s house, in a store or in an ad. They’re unmistakable: They look futuristic, modern – and help save you energy (and money) thanks to advances in smart technology and resulting efficiencies.

There are several notable features of Nest Learning Thermostats. These smart thermostats learn your schedule and automatically adapt the temperature in your home. Also, you can control this thermostat remotely with a free app from anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection via phone, laptop or tablet.

Nest Learning Thermostats are known for their wide compatibility with other smart products. Typically, they work with Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant and other home devices that allow you to control the temperature in your home with voice commands.

Note that it’s important to check for Nest Thermostat compatibility with your HVAC system. The good news is a typical installation is a do-it-yourself (DIY) project that can usually be completed in less than half an hour.

Get to Know the Nest Thermostat
  • What’s so attractive about the Nest Thermostat?

Consumers have been drawn to the minimalist design of Nest Thermostats – with large, bright displays and an array of finishes that can fit with almost any décor. What’s so attractive about the Nest Thermostat is not just its sleek look and energy-saving technology, but it’s also designed for easy installation.

The Nest Thermostat turns itself down when you leave, so you don’t waste energy heating or cooling an empty home. It’s also programmable, so it lets you create an energy-efficient schedule in the Google Home app on your Android or iPhone®. With the Nest app on your phone or tablet, you can operate your Nest Thermostat from anywhere. Alerts can also make you aware of issues with your HVAC system.

Independent studies have demonstrated that homes with Nest thermostats have, on average, 15% lower cooling costs and up to 12% lower heating costs.1 That’s nearly $150 a year.* Your amount of energy savings will also depend on weather, the condition of your home, your temperature preferences and other factors.

Available models include the Nest Thermostat, Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Learning Thermostat E. Each is equipped with proven energy-saving features, such as turning itself down while you’re away.

  • Pricing

The Google Nest Thermostat is priced at $99 by most retailers. For the Google Nest Learning Thermostat (third generation), expect to pay from $225 to $250. Given the estimated annual reductions in energy use associated with these devices, a Nest Thermostat could potentially pay for itself with savings within a couple of years.

Also check out the Google Nest Mini bundle for an affordable addition to your systems.

  • Advantages

With third-generation Nests, there is little programming to do. A feature known as Auto-Schedule™ – operated through the Google Home app – learns from your habits to program efficiently. Also, the “Home/Away Assist” feature helps makes sure you’re not cooling or heating your house when no one’s home.

Knowledge is power – and each Nest Thermostat now shares your energy usage history, via the Nest app, which can help you make better-informed decisions when controlling the temperature in your home. A leaf appears (known as the Nest Leaf) when you opt for a temperature that helps you save energy (and money).

According to Google, Nest Learning Thermostats have saved billions of kWh of energy in millions of homes worldwide since 2011, and independent studies have shown that these thermostats have saved people an average of 10% to 12% on heating bills and 15% on cooling bills.2

Nest Compatibility with HVAC Systems

It’s easy to determine if the Nest Thermostat is compatible with your HVAC system.

You’ll want to consult a special tool Google has set up called Compatibility Checker before buying a Nest Thermostat. This free online tool will provide clarity and guidance on whether your HVAC and Nest Thermostat are compatible – and if so, what steps you’ll need to take to get up and running. It’s simple: You’ll only need to know the system type in your residence, not even the particular model or brand.

Google Nest Thermostats are designed to work with most common fuel types, including electricity, oil and natural gas, and with most 24-volt systems. During setup, the Google Home or Nest app will guide you through steps to tell you if your system is compatible with your Nest Thermostat before you install it. The Nest app will also give you a custom wiring guide for your Nest Thermostat.

Still, some systems may require what’s known as a “C wire” – short for “common wire” – or an accessory like the Google Nest Power Connector. It’s possible that you may have incompatible thermostat wires, such as high-voltage or stranded wires. Trained HVAC professionals can likely make alterations to make your system compatible.

A stranded wire will be apparent with a quick eyeball test. If there is more than one large strand at the end of your thermostat wires, it’s probably not compatible with Nest Thermostats. A professional will likely be needed to make the necessary alteration.

High-voltage wires typically have two thick wires capped with nuts. Electric baseboard heaters, for instance, are usually high-voltage systems and are not compatible with Nest Thermostats. In some cases, a professional can install a transformer to step down voltage to 20V or 30V.

Professionals are also recommended for other advanced and complicated wiring situations, which include dual fuel systems (such as a single-stage heat pump with separate single-stage furnace heating) and dual transformer systems (including systems with the presence of more than one R wire).

The DIY Installation Process

First, download the Google Home app on your phone or tablet. It’s available for free from the Apple App Store®, Google Play or the Amazon Appstore. You will be prompted to sign into your Google account or create one.

The Google Home app will walk you through installation scenarios related to the wires you have. It will also provide a personalized wiring guide for installation. Everything you need for installation is in the Nest Thermostat box, including a screwdriver, trim kit and screws.

The project includes removing your old thermostat, installing the Nest Thermostat base, connecting the wires to the Nest Thermostat, and attaching the Nest Thermostat display. Then, with the Google Home app, you will get started programming your new smart Nest Thermostat.

It’s important to make sure that your current thermostat and HVAC system are operational and working properly before attempting to install the Nest Thermostat. If so, proceed.

Turn off power for your thermostat and HVAC system at your circuit breaker. Take off the cover of your current thermostat and, for reference, take a picture of the wiring.

Note: If your thermostat is built into the wall, connected with thick wires or labeled a 110-, 120- or 240-volt system (indicated on the back of most thermostats), then a Nest Thermostat will not work with your current system.

Stickers in the installation kit allow you to label each wire with its corresponding letter-labeled port before disconnecting them.

The wire ends should be straight and not frayed. You may need to trim and straighten these before inserting into the holes in the Nest Thermostat.

Insert each wire into its corresponding slot as each corresponding button is pressed down (which will remain pressed when the wire is inserted).

The clear battery tab will need to be pulled out on the back of the Nest Thermostat display. Note: The display may turn on at this point. You’re almost there. Now, the display will need to be clicked into place in the Nest Thermostat base. At this point, go back to your circuit breaker and turn the power back on.

The Nest Thermostat will turn on and ask you your language, and a prompt will appear to connect to Wi-Fi. It will guide you through the next steps about your energy system and patterns. By answering a few questions, the Google Home app will work with the Nest Thermostat to calibrate the temperature sensor and your cooling and/or heating system.


It’s important to determine Nest Thermostat compatibility with your current HVAC system to the extent possible before purchasing one. Installation is generally a straightforward and fast step toward helping you see significant savings on your heating and cooling.

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How will I know if the wires are inserted fully in the Nest Thermostat?

Once the Nest Thermostat is up and running, it will show you which wires are successfully connected, which may prompt you to make adjustments.

Can Nest Thermostats work without a C wire?

In most instances, yes. Unlike other wires connected to your thermostat, a C wire doesn’t control heating or cooling functions. It only provides constant power to your thermostat.

Still, for systems such as cooling only, heating only, or zone-controlled or heat pump systems, a C wire (or a compatible power accessory) is required. A Nest Thermostat is unlikely to work with these systems.

What if the Nest Thermostat does not fit over the hole left by my old thermostat?

Some installations will require a Nest Thermostat Trim Kit. A standard-sized kit is included with each Nest Thermostat. The included trim plate can cover over old screw holes or unpainted areas. However, if you’re covering an electrical box, use a steel plate and then cover with the plastic trim plate. The included screws will go into drywall without a power drill.

1,2 Energy Savings from the Nest Learning Thermostat: Energy Bill Analysis Results

“FirstEnergy Home” is a trademark of FirstEnergy Corp.
“Google Nest Thermostat, Nest Learning Thermostat, Nest Learning Thermostat E, Nest Mini, Google Assistant, Google Home, Android, Nest Power Connector and Auto Schedule” are trademarks of Google LLC.
“Amazon and Amazon Appstore” and all related Marks are trademarks of, Inc.
“App Store and iPhone” are registered trademarks of Apple, Inc.
*Individual savings are not guaranteed.

© 2022 FirstEnergy

FirstEnergy Home and any FirstEnergy affiliates are not affiliated with the manufacturers of the products, nor is there any endorsement or sponsorship between the product manufacturers of the products and FirstEnergy Home or any of its affiliates.