What is Nest Airwave? How Nest Airwave helps you save energy and HVAC

Nest Airwave

Last Updated on June 29, 2024 by Team Experts

Nest Airwave is a feature of the Nest thermostat that helps you save energy when using your air conditioner. The air wave feature on the Nest thermostat sends a signal to your AC compressor to stop, but keeps the HVAC fan active to continue circulating air through the cold inner coil and further cooling. Doing this will save you a lot of energy and we will explain it below. But first, let’s give you a quick lesson on how your HVAC system works.

Nest Airwave is a useful tool that can help you save energy and optimize your HVAC system. It’s an ingenious feature indeed that Nest engineers decided to add to the thermostat. I think about saving energy so I’m a huge fan of ways that will help me get benefits without causing discomfort. In fact, you won’t even notice when the Airwave function is working as the cold air will still come out of the vents even when the air conditioning is off.

The Airwave feature is just one of the Nest Thermostat’s many amazing features that can help you save energy and live more comfortably.

 The Nest thermostat is a great investment in your home and saves energy. I have a Nest thermostat installed in my house and cannot imagine living without it after installing it for several years. There’s nothing like checking your bed thermostat at the end of a long day when you want to adjust the temperature by a few degrees just to be more comfortable.

I also connected the Nest thermostat to Alexa so I can control it with voice commands like “Alexa, set the thermostat to 70 degrees”. I’ve noticed that using voice commands with Alexa, I save even more energy because it’s so easy to tell Alexa to set the thermostat to a specific temperature.

My current favorite Alexa device is the Alexa Echo Show 5, as it offers an excellent price-performance ratio with the included touchscreen.

How Nest Airwave helps you save energy and HVAC

A standard HVAC system consists of several key components. Most HVAC systems have an air handling unit that also has a built-in stove burner that burns natural gas that passes through a heat exchanger and the heat is then blown around your house with a fan.

The ventilation fan is the part of your system that handles air and moves it around the house. The furnace part is made up of the natural gas burners that heat the air. However, the ventilation device is used to blow both cold and hot air around the house depending on whether the Nest thermostat is set to heating or cooling mode.

In the summer when you want to cool your home, the air conditioner uses a closed system with refrigerant to take heat from the home and transfer it to the outside condenser and compressor system, which usually looks like a box with grills. as in the picture below.

As the refrigerant flows through the air conditioner, it uses a coil to extract heat from the house. The coil is a small tube bent in rows to transfer heat that is filled with cold refrigerant pushed by the air conditioning compressor. The coil is usually located above the fan and oven in your ventilation unit. Blow into your house, then blow the warm air out of the house over the cold coil and cool your house.

But here are two main mechanical components in cooling your home; the fan motor in the ventilation unit and the air conditioning compressor.

 What might surprise you is that while the blower in your house sounds very loud, all of the air flowing through is very effective. The blower motor uses very little power compared to the air conditioning compressor, which uses a ton of energy to force the refrigerant through the system. The Nest thermostat uses this principle to save energy with the help of air waves.

How Nest Airwave works

The Nest Air Wave function is designed to take advantage of the difference in power consumption between the air conditioning compressor and the blower motor.

When the Nest Air Wave function is activated, it will stop your compressor prematurely, so that your HVAC system uses less power and the fan motor continues to run. This will reduce your energy consumption while maximizing the efficiency of your air conditioner. The fan continues to blow hot air over the cold coil, while the condenser is turned off to get the most out of the already cooled coil, even if the compressor, which uses most of the energy in your air conditioning system, is turned off.

How to configure Nest Airwave

The Nest Airwave function is available for both the Nest Generation E thermostat and the Nest Generation 3 thermostat. Here are the steps for configuring Nest Airwave on the Nest thermostat.

  • Step 1: Download the Nest app, install the Nest thermostat, and configure the Nest thermostat in the Nest app.
  • Step 2: Open the Nest app and click the settings icon, which looks like a gear, in the upper right corner of the screen.
  • Step 3: Scroll down the menu to the bottom of the page and click the Airwave menu item.
  • Step 4: Drag the menu bar to turn Nest Airwave on or off.

How much energy can Nest Airwave save you?

Nest Airwave can help you save energy in the summer. This is when the electricity grid is most likely to be congested and many electricity companies charge electricity premiums.

Air conditioners cause problems on the electricity grid in summer, when thousands of people use their air conditioners at the same time. The load added to the electricity grid in summer requires utilities to produce more electricity during peak hours, which can lead to higher fossil fuel emissions and higher electricity costs.

So, using Nest Airwave, not only can you reduce your power consumption, but you can also reduce your total network power consumption during maximum power demand.

Studies have shown that a smart thermostat like the Nest thermostat can reduce your energy consumption by 10-15% annually. In my experience, this has proved to be correct. If you want to save energy, you can usually save even more by using the Home and Away functions of the Nest thermostat and setting the thermostat to more environmentally friendly temperatures.

However, the total energy savings are based on the energy savings in both the heating and cooling seasons. In summer, it’s hard to say exactly how much energy you save with features like Nest Airwave with the air conditioner, because you’ll also save money with the Home / Away function and eco mode settings. Using the Airwave function in combination with the other smart functions of the Nest thermostat may increase your energy savings by a few percentage points.

3 ways a Nest Airwave thermostat can optimize your electricity usage

To get really nerdy with this wonderful smart home technology and further optimize your home, we’ve put together a list of three of the somewhat hidden favorite Nest features that will help you get the most out of your device.

Here they are in no particular order.

1. Use IFTTT to adjust the nest to the outside temperature

IFTTT.com2 (literally “If This Then That That”) is a convenient web application that uses simple argument-based formulas – called “recipes” – to help you use web applications and smart devices at home intelligently.

And as luck would have it, some of the most useful on the IFTTT were made specifically for the Nest Smart Thermostat. These two recipes come straight from the official Nest IFTTT3 account so they’ll likely be well reviewed.

The Nest Smart Thermostat is programmed to find and maintain the optimal temperature inside your home. However, if you live in a place that can be exposed to extreme unexpected temperatures, these two recipes might just be for you.

How to automatically cool your home when it heats up outside: This simple integration connects to Weather.com temperature data and forwards that information straight to Nest if you give permission. When you’re done, simply set the temperature limit to the upper limit of the outside temperature, whatever the comfort level you prefer.

To automatically heat your home when it’s cold outside: this IFTTT recipe uses the same integrations as the one described above, only it does exactly the opposite function. With Weather.com outside temperature reports and simple custom settings, you can automate your home’s internal temperature levels when the outside temperature drops below your preferred comfort zone.

Manual Adjustment Temperature Alerts: If you want to know exactly how Nest will warn you when the temperature changes, you can set up these two recipes to notify you through multiple channels (email, text, etc.) when one temperature exceeds one4 and another to let you know when a certain temperature drops below 5.

2. Save energy and money with Nest Auto-Tune programs

As a pioneer in the smart home sector, Nest is aware of the need to save energy by using well-timed energy.

This is why they have introduced their “Automatic Adjustment Technology” programs in the form of Seasonal Savings and Rush Hour Rewards.

The Seasonal Savings Program6 takes all of the information Nest knows about you and your home temperature habits, and then adjusts the temperature during the day when you don’t really notice (when you’re asleep, early in the morning, etc.).

How much can you save?

Nest claims registered under the Seasonal Savings Program can help you save up to 10% of your HVAC bill over time, which is a bold claim. However, when you combine seasonal savings with peak hour reward opportunities, you can look at a decent amount of money based on how expensive your energy can get.

The Rush Hour7 reward program is designed to provide benefits to the brave few who are willing to turn off the air conditioning or heating during peak power consumption (think of mid-July in Philadelphia, mid-January in Boston, or practically anytime) month in Fort Lauderdale)

Signing up for the program is easy: just go to the Nest website, see if your energy partner is part of the Peak Rewards Program, and sign up.

Once registered, your device will communicate automatically during peak hours, and your Nest will adjust accordingly. You can cancel the temperature change at any time, but the downside is that you will not receive credit for using less energy.

How much can you save?

It all depends on how many “peak hours” there are in a given year and how much energy you save as part of the program. According to the Nest website, “Peak hours usually happen on very hot summer days or very cold winter days – usually about 6 to 12 times a season.” This is a beautiful way of saying, “I don’t know, it could be something, it could be nothing. “

But through the intelligent use of mathematics, we can address these savings.

The average price per kilowatt hour in the US is 12 cents per hour, according to EIA8. This means that the energy savings of 1 kWh in an air conditioning system that uses 3,500 kilowatts of energy 12 times a year equates to a total of about $ 5. Keep in mind, however, that peak hour rewards are only valid during maximum power consumption. This means that energy is in high demand and can be more expensive per kWh.

3. Use Airwave integration to save energy when using air conditioning

If you have central air conditioning, this feature is only available to you.

Airwave cleverly uses the cooling time that occurs after the compressor is turned off to squeeze a few extra spells of cold out of your air conditioning system while keeping the fan on. Let’s explain. Airwave is Nest’s way of using the physical makeup of a standard central air conditioning system to your advantage.

Your standard air conditioner consists of dozens of “doohickeys” and “trinkets” that come together to cool the air in your home when it needs to be cold. However, for the purpose of this explanation, we will focus on only two of the Doohickeys mentioned: the fan and the compressor.

Fan: When the fan moves air over the cooled coils of the compressor, the second law of thermodynamics comes into force. The air is cooled as it passes over the compressor coils and the air temperature in a room is cooled as the air circulates. Very important to remember: the fan uses less energy than the compressor.

Compressor: The air conditioning compressor is the heart of your air conditioning system. The compressor contains the refrigerant which – again according to the second law of thermodynamics – is used to cool the metal coils of the compressor during operation. It should be noted that after the compressor has cooled down, the coils remain cooled for a few minutes after the compressor has been switched off.

Here’s the interesting part: Traditional air conditioners turn off both the fan and the compressor at the same time when they turn off. Airwave uses a special software algorithm to intelligently turn off the air conditioning compressor while the fan stays on and blows air over the still cold compressor coils.

It’s amazing how do you start with this? Surprise! It is already activated9! It comes standard with all Nest units and lights up when a house reaches optimal airwave conditions, that is, when the humidity in your home is low enough for the airwave to be effective.

Ah, the Nest Smart Thermostat. If you have one, you will love it. If you don’t have one, you still love her and want one.

To understand Airwave, you need to understand AC.

The air conditioning system consists of two energy-consuming parts: the compressor and the fan. The compressor uses a lot of electricity, while the fan uses very little.

Other thermostats keep the air conditioning on until the target temperature is reached and then turn them off. They ignore the fact that the compressor coils can generate cold air for 5-10 minutes after the compressor is turned off.

Nest’s exclusive Airwave technology takes advantage of this.

How Airwave works.

Airwave switches off the compressor a few minutes before the target temperature is reached. Then let the fan run on its own until it reaches the desired temperature.

What makes Airwave an exclusive nest is its ability to figure out exactly how much cooling can be done with the compressor off. Only Nest will automatically turn off the compressor at the right time to maximize savings.

Will Airwave work in my home?

While Airwave requires low humidity in your home, it works across the United States – even in high-humidity areas outdoors. This is especially true if your home is relatively new and well insulated.

The reason Airwave won’t activate when the humidity inside is high is because you are comfortable. If it’s very humid, Nest will run the compressor for the entire cooling cycle to reduce humidity and prevent mold.

When is Airwave activated?

Nest automatically activates Airwave when the indoor humidity drops below a certain level. This level is calculated by Nest as optimal for your home.

When Airwave is turned on, you’ll see it on the Nest screen.

Also read about: What is a Smart Home, and why should you want one?


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Passionate content writer with 4 years of experience specializing in entertainment, gadgets, gaming, and technology. I thrive on crafting engaging narratives that captivate audiences and drive results. With a keen eye for trends and a knack for storytelling, I bring fresh perspectives to every project. From reviews and features to SEO-optimized articles, I deliver high-quality content that resonates with diverse audiences. Connect with her on LinkedIn

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