How to tell what kind of heating system you have

Your 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. If you’re not sure what type of heating system you have after reading this article, contact a Nest Pro in your area to help with installation.

Hydronic Radiators

System type: Hot water

Fuel type: Most boilers are fueled by gas or
oil, but are sometimes also fueled using
electricity or ground source heat pumps.

Sometimes, radiators receive hot water
piped directly into the home using district or
collective heating. In district or collective
heating, hot water for multiple homes is
heated by a municipal plant (district) or a
central boiler system that serves several
homes (collective). This type of heating is
more common in the Netherlands.

Learn more about district and collective
heating >

How heat is distributed: Water-based
radiators contain hot water or steam,
admitted through a valve.

The boiler heats water that enters the
radiators, "radiating" heat outwards into the
room. The radiator valves can tune each
radiator to heat more or less when the boiler
is on.

Does the Nest thermostat replace my
programmer, thermostat or frostat? >

Water based radiator in home

 

 

 

 

Multiple homes being heated as an example of district heating

Electric radiators                      

System type: Radiators

Fuel type: Electric

How heat is distributed: Electric radiators
use high current mains voltage to heat coils
or other heating elements.

  • Fil pilote electric radiator systems, which
    are common in France, are Nest
    compatible.
  • Other electric radiator systems are not
    compatible with the Nest thermostat.
Electric radiator in home

In-Floor Hydronic Radiant

System type: Hot water

Fuel type: Most boilers are fueled by gas or
oil, but are sometimes also fueled using
electricity or ground source heat pumps.

Sometimes collective or district heating
provides hot water for in-floor radiant
heating, too.

How heat is distributed: Water-based in-
floor radiant systems use hot water from
the boiler to heat pipes under the floor.
These systems will often have a thermostat
for each room or zone of the house.

Learn more about zoned systems >

Example of water based  radiant heating in home

In-Floor Electric Radiant

System type: Under floor

Fuel type: Electric

How heat is distributed: Electric in-floor
radiant systems use electric coils under the
floor to heat your home.

Because these systems use high current,
they aren't compatible with the Nest
thermostat
.

Example of electric in-floor heating in home

Wood or biofuel stove

System type: Stove

Fuel type: Wood or biofuel

How heat is distributed: Wood, biofuel, and
other solid-fuel stoves burn fuel directly to
heat the home.

These systems rarely have thermostats, so
they typically aren't compatible with the
Nest thermostat
.

Example of electric in-floor heating in home

Electric baseboard

System type: Baseboard radiator

Fuel type: Electric

How heat is distributed: High current mains
voltage heats coils or other heating
elements.

These systems rarely have thermostats, so
they typically aren't compatible with the
Nest thermostat
.

Example of electric based heating in home
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