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How to tell what kind of heating system you have

Your Google Nest thermostat needs to know what kind of heating system you have so it can correctly control it. To help you identify what system you have, here’s a breakdown of how each system works.

During setup, your thermostat will ask what type of system you have and the type of fuel it uses. It’s important that you enter the correct system information during thermostat setup.

Note: If your heating type isn’t listed below, then your system probably isn’t compatible with Nest thermostats. To see whether your equipment will work with a Nest thermostat, use the Nest thermostat compatibility checker.

Forced Air

Warm air comes out of vents or registers
throughout your home.

heating type forced air

In-Floor Radiant

Electric coils or hot water pipes under
the floor heat your home.

heating type in floor radiant


Radiators are sealed metal containers filled
with hot water, steam or electric coils.

They’re similar to in-floor systems, since they don’t use vents or fans, but radiators aren’t installed under the floor.

heating type radiators

Electric baseboard

Electric baseboard systems are generally not compatible with Nest thermostats. They are only compatible if they’re currently controlled by a 24 V thermostat.

heating type radiators

How to change your type of heating equipment

It’s important that you enter the correct system information during thermostat setup. If you make a mistake, your Nest thermostat won’t control your system correctly. But you can change your heating type if needed. You’ll need to use your thermostat to do this; you can’t do it with the Nest app.


  1. Press the thermostat ring to bring up the Quick View menu.
  2. Select Settings   Equipment. You’ll see all the wires currently connected to your thermostat.
  3. Continue. You’ll see a list of equipment attached to your thermostat.
  4. Choose Heat type, then select the type of heating you have.
nest thermostat forced air

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