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How to set up and install the Nest Temperature Sensor

Connecting your Google Nest Temperature Sensor to the Nest app and your thermostat is simple. So is installing it, but there are some important things to know about where exactly to place your sensor.

Follow these steps to set up and install your temperature sensor:

This article applies to the following Google Nest thermostat models in the US and Canada:

Nest Thermostat E

Nest thermostat e cooling

Nest Learning Thermostat

Nest thermostat gen 3 cooling

How to tell which thermostat you have

Note: The Nest Temperature Sensor is only compatible with the Google Nest Thermostat E and Google Nest Learning Thermostat. Use the Nest app to connect your sensor to your thermostat and change its settings.

1. Add the sensor to your account
  1. Tap the Settings Nest settings icon icon on the Nest app home screen.
  2. Tap Add Product .
  3. Scan the QR code located on the Nest Temperature Sensor’s battery pull tab. Your app will add the sensor to your account. 

    Tip: If you’ve already removed the battery pull tab, insert a coin in the slot on the back of your sensor and turn to unscrew the backplate. You’ll find the QR code inside. If you need help, tap Show me how in the Nest app when trying to scan the QR code.

  4. Remove the battery pull tab.
  5. Pick a spot for your sensor and choose a thermostat to associate it with. The Nest app will test the connection to make sure you’ve chosen a spot that will work.
  6. Choose a room name for your sensor. 

Troubleshooting adding your sensor to your account 

2. Where to place or mount your sensor

Before you install your sensor, there are some important things you should know about exactly where to place it, and where not to.

Depending on where you place your sensor, your system might have to work longer and use more energy to keep you comfortable. 

Learn about the Nest Temperature Sensor and how to change settings >

It’s best to put your temperature sensor:

  • In a room where you spend a lot of time, such as your bedroom or living room. Your sensor will then be able to tell your thermostat to change the temperature based on the room where you are.
  • About chest high. Air is generally warmer near the ceiling and cooler near the floor. If you install the sensor too high or too low, your system may overheat or overcool the room because it’s responding to the wrong temperature.
  • Within a maximum of 50 feet (15 m) of your thermostat, so the sensor and thermostat can communicate wirelessly. You may need to place them closer together because the wireless range can be reduced by walls, floors, appliances, furniture and other electronics.

Tip: Keep in mind that even in the same room, the temperature will be different on a high shelf versus a low table, so choose a location that makes sense in your home. Also, different rooms can be warmer or colder based on the number of windows, the orientation, or ceiling height.

Do not place your temperature sensor:

  • Near heat sources such as vents, stoves, or hot water pipes.
  • Outside.
  • On or near a window or other uninsulated surface (such as a brick wall) that can get much warmer or cooler than the room.
  • In direct sunlight.
  • In a partly or completely enclosed location where the air may not circulate enough. For example, avoid placing your sensor behind a painting, in a closet, inside a vase, or behind books on a bookshelf.
  • In rooms that are much colder or hotter than the rest of your home, such as the basement or attic. The temperature difference can cause your thermostat to heat or cool the rest of your home to an uncomfortable temperature. 
  • Too high or too low in a room. Place it about chest high. 
  • Outside of the zone the thermostat is controlling, if you have a system with 2 or more thermostats: you can use the app to reassign the thermostat your sensor is connected to.
  • The Nest Temperature sensor is not designed for use inside or around any appliances in your home, such as refrigerators, stoves, microwaves or televisions.

Important: Do not paint or cover your Nest Temperature Sensor.

Other rooms where a sensor can help

  • Baby’s room: A sensor in the baby’s room can help make sure the room is at an ideal temperature.
  • Bedrooms: A sensor in your bedroom can help keep your room comfortable while you sleep.
  • Extra large rooms: Very large rooms may not heat or cool as quickly as the rest of the house. A sensor in an extra large room can help keep you more comfortable.

How to place temperature sensors in zoned systems

Zoned systems use multiple thermostats to control heating and cooling in different areas or floors in the home.

  • If you have a zoned system, make sure you place your temperature sensors in the same zone as the thermostat they’re connected to. For example, if your thermostat controls the first floor of your home, make sure to place your sensor on the first floor.
  • If you place a sensor outside of the thermostat zone, the zones in your home will probably be too hot or cold. Your system may use more energy than you expect, and it will also probably not start or stop when you expect it to.

Note: You can connect a sensor to more than one thermostat. However, we only recommend this setup if you have one Nest thermostat that only controls heating and one that only controls cooling.

3. How to install your sensor

The Nest Temperature Sensor is wireless and easy to install. You have two options:

Option 1: Place it on a flat surface

The sensor has a rubber foot on the bottom so it will sit on a flat surface, like a shelf, without sliding around.

Option 2: Mount it on a wall

Install the screw where you want and hang your sensor using the screw hole on the back. Nest screws are specially designed so you shouldn’t need to drill a pilot hole for most installations. You may need to drill a pilot if you’re mounting your sensor on a hard surface.

Tip: Before mounting your sensor, you may want to use it for a week or two to make sure it’s working well in its location. This way, you won’t leave a screw hole in the wall if you need to move it.

4. Sensor options

After you’ve installed all your sensors you can choose to:

  • Set a schedule to use different sensors at different times of the day
  • Manually select one sensor to use all the time
  • Just use your sensor to monitor the temperature, but not to control your thermostat

How to set a schedule for your sensors >

How to manually select the active temperature sensor >

How to use your sensor to only monitor the temperature

In order for your sensor to control your thermostat, you need to set a schedule or manually select a sensor for your thermostat to use. If you don’t, your sensor will still report a temperature to your thermostat, but it won’t control when your thermostat turns on or off.

You’ll still be able to monitor the temperature of your sensor by selecting your thermostat from the Nest app home screen. You can see all the sensors that report to your thermostat and what temperature they’re reporting. The sensor with the filled-in dot is the active sensor.

You might want to monitor the temperature without using it to control the thermostat in a room that’s not used often, like an office or guest bedroom.

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