10 Reasons Why Your Google Nest Thermostat Is Not Working

Recent times have been all about adding smart devices. The Google Nest thermostat is one such smart device that works with Wi-Fi and can be controlled by a mobile app. But what if the thermostat is not working? Let’s look at the causes. 

If the Google Nest thermostat is not working, the problem might be network or software issues, power problems, incorrect wiring, sensor problems, hardware malfunctioning, or incompatibility. You need to rule out the problems individually and fix them to troubleshoot them.

Sometimes, resetting or restarting the device also solves most of the problems. This article shares some common reasons behind a Nest thermostat not working and how to solve them. If you can’t troubleshoot them yourself, call a professional for help. 

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How does a Google Nest thermostat work?

The Google Nest thermostat is an intelligent thermostat that can optimize your room temperature with limited energy. 

It learns your preferences after some months, according to how to use and in what situations you enable which features. 

You can control the thermostat remotely with the help of phone apps like Google Home and Nest App on both iOS and Android. 

The thermostat contains several sensors that can detect the current room temperature, humidity, the presence of a person in the room, and the amount of sun it receives. 

The Nest Pro installation service and all these sensors can teach you how to program the thermostat, the ideal place to install it and switch to preferences accordingly. 

However, the thermostat will create some issues. 

It will not work for the following issues:

  • Power supply issues
  • Network and software issues
  • Incorrect settings
  • Damaged or loose wires or wrong wire connections
  • Incompatibility between the thermostat and the system
  • Programming or user error codes

Let’s discuss these problems individually and learn how to solve and rule them out one by one. 

1. Power supply issues

The power supply is a significant reason a thermostat does not respond or work. 

Of course, without any power supply, the thermostat will not work. 

So, you have to check:

  • The power switch
  • The breaker, and
  • Power outage in your house

Check whether you have a power outage. 

If there is no power in the house, the device will not work without it. 

Next, if there is power, check whether you have turned on the switch for the thermostat. 

Sometimes, some house members unintentionally or by mistake turn off the switch. 

If the switch is off, where will the thermostat receive the power? So, turn on the switch. 

If there is still no response, check the circuit breaker. 

It may have gotten tripped somehow due to overloading or a power surge. 

Try reducing the load and turning on the breaker.

If the breaker is flipped OFF, flip it ON and hold until you hear a click. 

If the breaker switch is stuck in the middle, turn it OFF, wait for a few seconds, turn it ON, and press it until you hear the clicking sound.

If the breaker has a RESET button, for example, GFCI breakers, click the RESET button. 

If the breaker still trips after some time, turn it off and call a professional.

2. Internet connectivity

An internet connection is an essential factor for digital thermostats like Google Nest. 

Without proper Internet or Wi-Fi connections, it will not work. 

The connection must be strong enough for the thermostat to work and respond well. 

First, check whether the thermostat is within the Wi-Fi range. 

If it isn’t, bring it within the range. 

Now, check for obstructions. 

Too many devices connected to the router may affect the thermostat functionality. 

So, reduce the traffic for the thermostat to work well.

Check for the strength too. 

If the signals are weak, the thermostat will not work as expected. 

Use a 2.4 GHz band, not a 5 GHz band. 

The latter is not compatible with most Nest thermostats.

3. Software updates

These smart devices will have some software, just like mobile phones.

Without updating the software, the thermostat will not work. 

Most of the time, the Nest thermostat updates automatically. 

But sometimes, it may miss.

So, if the thermostat creates issues, check for updates once and download it. 

Check for updates from time to time. 

For updating the software from the thermostat:

  1. Click on the SETTING option in your thermostat. 
  2. Select SOFTWARE. 
  3. You will see your software version and the version you need to update, if any. 
  4. Click on the UPDATE and the thermostat will start checking for updates and download the version. 
  5. Once you finish this, check whether your thermostat is working or not.

To update the software from your mobile phone:

  1. Open the ideal phone app and choose the Nest thermostat. 
  2. Select the NEST SETTINGS icon. 
  3. Click on the VERSION or SOFTWARE to check for updates. 
  4. If there is any update available, it will pop up. 
  5. Click on it and download it. 

When the thermostat updates the software automatically, it will not work and blink a green indicator. 

So, wait for 1-2 minutes. 

But if the thermostat does not return after 15 minutes, it must have frozen while updating. 

To fix this:

  1. Remove and reconnect the thermostat display. Pulling it off the base, ensure the pin connector is appropriately lined up. Push it back to the base. If you hear a click sound, you have successfully put back the display. 
  2. If this doesn’t help, manually reset the thermostat.

4. Incorrect wiring 

The different wires in the thermostat have different functions. 

Without them, the thermostat cannot work or control the HVAC of your house and give you comfortable temperatures. 

For example, the Y-wire is for cooling, and the W-wire is for heating. 

Without these wires, you won’t receive any hot or cool air. 

So, when your thermostat does not work, check the wire connections. 

You have damaged wires, the connections are loose, or you have misconfigured them. 

To inspect the wires:

  1. Turn off the power at the breaker. 
  2. Remove the device display and check whether all the connectors have the correct wires. 
  3. Also, check for tightness. If the wires feel loose, disconnect and reconnect them tightly. 
  4. Ensure the wires are connected to the proper terminals, for example, the R wire to the R terminal or the Y wire to the Y terminal. There will be 5-6 wires, and each should be connected to their respective terminals. 
  5. Pay special attention to the C wire or Common wire. This wire provides power to the Wi-Fi thermostats. Without this, the device will not work. 
  6. Sometimes, the wire stays hidden. If you have such issues, take it out and connect it to the C-terminal.
  7. If there are any damaged wires, call a professional to get them replaced. 
  8. Once you have examined everything correctly, install the display and start the thermostat for checking. 

Also read: Google Nest Thermostat Not Detecting Wires? (8 Causes+Fix)

5. Incorrect thermostat settings 

Several wrong settings can make the thermostat not work correctly. 

For example, if you have set the temperature in the thermostat to too low or too high, the heating and cooling system won’t turn on. 

If your set temperature is outside the thermostat’s capacity, it will not respond.

Also, the mode setting is another important factor. You must set the correct temperature mode in your thermostat. 

For example, you should set COOL during the summers and HEAT during the winters. 

Keeping it to AUTO will automatically change the setting by detecting the surrounding temperature.

An incorrect mode that doesn’t match the surrounding temperature will not let your thermostat respond well or start the HVAC systems. 

6. Thermostat sensor problems 

The sensor in the thermostat is what detects the surrounding temperature and gives you the correct readings.

If the sensor is dirty or faulty, it cannot detect the temperature. 

As a result, the device cannot signal the HVAC systems for enough warmth or cool air. 

If the system fails to provide enough cool or hot air, the thermostat will shut off out of safety and won’t work. So, the sensor needs to be fixed. 

If the sensor is dirty, open the display and clean the sensor. 

But, if the sensor is faulty, you must call an electrician to replace the sensor. 

7. Incompatibility Issues 

Regarding the Nest thermostat, compatibility becomes essential for a smooth operation. 

For example, the wires of the Nest thermostat. 

The wires used in the Nest thermostats are slightly different from the others. 

These thermostats use low-voltage wires. 

So, the wires need to be compatible with the thermostat. 

Otherwise, the device won’t work.

Another compatibility check should be with the HVAC system. 

The Google Nest and Nest E thermostats are compatible with 85% of the HVAC systems, and Google Nest Learning thermostats are compatible with 95% of the HVAC systems. 

The Nest Learning thermostats are compatible with the 24V and older systems that run on natural oil, oil, and electricity. 

The systems need to be compatible with your Google Nest thermostat.

The thermostat will not work well if the systems are incompatible with the device. 

If your thermostat is not working, you may have an incompatible HVAC. 

Replace the thermostat with the one compatible with the system. 

8. Dirty filters 

When the air filters of your heating or cooling system are dirty, they trap the air inside the system. 

As a result, the system overheats and fails to provide a comfortable temperature throughout the room. 

Out of safety, the thermostat will shut off immediately and stop working.

So, you must change or clean the filters every 3 to 4 months for the smooth functioning of both the thermostat and the HVAC systems. 

9. Environmental factors 

Several environmental factors can keep your Nest thermostat from working:

  1. If the thermostat is exposed to extremely high temperatures, it will overheat, shut down, and won’t work again. If exposed to too low temperatures, the thermostat will not turn on. So, know the ideal temperature for the thermostat, or set it to ECO.
  2. Air pollution can damage the thermostat’s components and make them unable to operate. Over time, the device will stop working. So, keep your thermostat in a place where pollution is less and regularly clean your thermostat to keep them going in the long run.
  3. Make sure your thermostat does not get wet. That will damage the components and stop them from working.
  4. Sometimes insects can enter your thermostat when you are repairing something earlier. If you suspect this, unplug the device and take it to an electrician.

10. Malfunctioning hardware

When your nest thermostat does not work even after ruling after the above problems, you might have some hardware issues, for example:

  • Broken display
  • Damaged or corroded wires
  • Defective thermostat
  • Dead batteries

In these cases, you must hire an HVAC professional for Google Nest. 

As for the batteries, you don’t have to call for help. Buy two standard and compatible 1.5V AAA alkaline batteries and replace them with the old ones.

When the thermostat blinks a red light, it indicates the battery charge is too low. 

So, before your thermostat stops working, change the battery.

The Nest Thermostat E and Nest Learning thermostat have an in-built rechargeable battery. They need to be charged.

The batteries of the Nest E and Nest Learning thermostats can last for a couple of hours to a couple of days. 

It will take 30 minutes to charge. But if all the battery is fully drained, charge it for 2-3 hours.

What to do if nothing works?

When the solutions to the individual problems do not work for your Nest thermostat, you can restart or reset your thermostat.

To restart your Nest thermostat:

  1. Find the thermostat ring, press it, and select the QUICK VIEW menu. 
  2. Find the THERMOSTAT RING on the Nest device.
  3. Go to SETTINGS.
  4. Go to RESET, and press SELECT. 

If the screen freezes, press the ring and hold it for 10 seconds. Press it again and return to the Nest thermostat. 

For a soft reset:

  1. Push the ring for 10 seconds and wait until the ring stops illuminating.
  2. Wait for 10 seconds. 
  3. Push the ring again for 10 seconds and power up the device. 

For a hard reset:

  1. Open the QUICK VIEW menu and press the Nest ring.
  2. Select SETTINGS when the ring turns.
  3. Click on the ring and click on PRESET.
  4. Choose the ideal reset function – AWAY, SCHEDULE, NETWORK, ALL SETTINGS, etc. 
  5. Click on the ring to activate. 

Remember, when you reset, all the enabled features will be removed. 

You must connect it to the phone app and Wi-Fi and enable all the old setup features. 

Safety tips to keep your Nest thermostat safe in the long run

To keep your Nest thermostat from facing the above issues, here are some safety tips for the thermostat that can keep the device safe in the long run:

  • Use the correct settings for your thermostat, depending on the surrounding temperature. 
  • Make sure to connect the wires to the proper terminals. If you are replacing wires, choose a compatible one because Nest uses a different kind of wire.
  • Replace the batteries regularly. The batteries do not go bad quickly. Once every 1-2 years will be enough.
  • Keep your thermostat clean inside and out.
  • While buying a thermostat, choose one compatible with your house’s central heating and cooling systems.
  • The Wi-Fi connection for Nest should be 2.4 GHz. The device should be within the Wi-Fi range, and the router must not have too many devices connected.
  • Check for the power supply. Otherwise, your thermostat will not turn on.
  • Maintain your thermostat and the HVAC systems regularly once a year.

Final thoughts

When a Nest thermostat does not work, possible reasons are power issues, sensor problems, incompatibility between the thermostat and the systems, dirty filters, internet connections, software updates, and many more.

You need to check and rule out the problem individually to identify the correct reason behind the problem. If nothing works, try restarting or resetting the thermostat. This should solve the problem and clear all the errors. 

If the problem persists or returns after some time, you need an expert’s opinion to help troubleshoot. Try to maintain and care for your thermostat with the safety tips mentioned to keep it safe from such issues and increase its lifespan in the long run.

Why does the thermostat not turn on the heat?

Some of the reasons from this article are responsible for it, for example, power issues, wire issues, incompatibility, network issues, or software updates. Try checking these problems one by one to find the real problem.

What temperature should I put in my Nest thermostat?

There is no exact temperature. You can put it in based on your preference. However, the best option is to keep it on ECO, which will maintain an ideal temperature between 40-70°F.

Reference: Google Nest Thermostat Wikipedia

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Arthur Smith

Howdy! I am Arthur Smith, an electrical engineer who is extremely passionate about electronics. I have lived in different parts of the US and currently reside in Wisconsin. I am one of those rare children who knew what he wanted to study and do in life right from the start. I was a curious child who wanted to know how switches work and how the AC works, and I would always observe my dad whenever he would handle the wires and fix things around the house. I currently work as an electrical engineer at a reputed company and write for this blog. And I read loads of books or play video games in my free time.

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