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:

1. Make sure you have a compatible Nest thermostat

You’ll need to have a compatible Nest thermostat installed and connected to the Nest app before you can use a Nest Temperature Sensor. It will only work with the following thermostats:

  • Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Gen
  • Nest Thermostat E

If you need help determining which thermostat you have, read this article:

How to tell which thermostat you have

If you need help adding your thermostat to the Nest app, read this article:

How to add your thermostat to the Nest app

2. Add the sensor to your account

  1. Tap Settings Nest settings icon icon on the Nest app home screen.

  2. Tap Add Product Nest add product icon. .

  3. Scan the QR code located on the Nest Temperature Sensor’s battery pull tab.

    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. Your app will add the sensor to your account, then you’ll 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. You’ll see this name in the Nest app, so pick something that makes sense.

That’s it. If you need some tips for installing your sensor in a good spot you can read more about where to place your sensor below.

Troubleshooting adding your sensor to your account 

3. Install 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 to keep you comfortable. This can increase the amount of energy your system uses.

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

Where to place or mount your sensor

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.
  • About chest high: If you install the sensor too high or too low, your system may overheat or overcool the room. This is because the air is generally warmer near the ceiling and cooler near the floor.
  • Within 50 feet (15 m) of your thermostat, so they can communicate. The wireless range can be reduced by walls, floors, appliances, furniture and other electronics. So you may need to place them closer together.

Tip: Keep in mind that even in the same room, the temperature will be different on a high shelf verses 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 “hidden” location where the air may not circulate enough (behind a painting, in a closet, inside a vase, behind books on a bookshelf, etc.).
  • In rooms that are much colder or hotter than the rest of your home, such as the basement or attic. This can cause the rest of your home to be uncomfortable. You may also see a message that suggests you move your sensor if your thermostat notices that your system is working much harder.
  • Too high or too low in a room (it should be placed 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, televisions, etc.

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

Other rooms where a sensor can help

  • Baby’s room: Placing a sensor in the baby’s room can help make sure the room is at an ideal temperature.
  • Bedrooms: Putting 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. Adding a sensor to an extra large room can help keep you more comfortable.

Placing temperature sensors in zoned systems

Zoned systems use multiple thermostats to control heating and/or cooling in different areas or floors on 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 a sensor is placed outside of the thermostat zone, the zones in your home will probably be too hot or cold and your system may use more energy than you expect. Your system 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 doing this if you have two Nest thermostats: one that only controls heating and one that only controls cooling.

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.

Note: 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. Choosing 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 only monitor the temperature if you have a room that’s not used often, like an office or guest bedroom, but you still want to be able to check in on the temperature.

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