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Whenever somebody’s home, your Nest thermostat can use Early-On to start heating or cooling early so that your home reaches the scheduled temperature on time. Simple programmable thermostats only start heating or cooling at the time you scheduled. They don’t take into account how long it takes for your home to heat and cool, so your home doesn’t reach the scheduled temperature until later.

Newer Nest thermostats need to be connected to a Wi-Fi network to use Early-On.

When Early-On is enabled, your Nest thermostat automatically calculates how early it should turn on heating or cooling, so your home reaches a scheduled temperature on time.

Early-On works similarly to when you have to preheat the oven when you make cookies. You typically start to heat your oven a few minutes ahead of time so that it’s the right temperature when you’re ready to put your batch of cookies in to bake. Now, imagine that your oven knew that the dough is ready to bake at 5 PM and would automatically turn on early to be 350 °F (175 °C) at about 5 PM.

Early-On basics 

Early-On learns about your home and system

After installation, your thermostat takes a few days to learn how long it takes for your home to heat and cool. During this period, to save energy, your thermostat doesn’t preheat or pre-cool your home regardless of your Early-On setting. Once your thermostat is done learning, it can start to preheat and pre-cool according to your Early-On settings. 

Without Early-On

If your thermostat is still learning about your home or if you disable Early-On, here’s what to expect:

  • Your thermostat will start to heat or cool your home at the scheduled time.
  • For example, if your schedule has a target temperature of 72 °F (22 °C) at 6 PM, your thermostat will start to heat or cool at 6 PM. Your home may not reach 72 °F (22 °C) until much later than 6 PM. Time-to-Temperature shows how long it takes for your home to reach the target temperature.

With Early-On

After your thermostat has learned about your home, here’s what to expect when Early-On is enabled:

  • Your thermostat will start to heat or cool your home before the scheduled time, with what it has learned about your home to estimate how long it takes to reach the target temperature.
  • For example, if your schedule has a target temperature of 72 °F (22 °C) at 6 PM, your thermostat might start to heat or cool at 5:30 PM to get your home to 72 °F (22 °C) by about 6 PM.

When Early-On starts, your system varies based on factors like how long it’s taken to heat or cool your home in the past. If you enable Early-On, your thermostat can begin to heat up to 5 hours before a scheduled temperature.


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How Early-On learns 

Early-On continually adapts to how fast your home heats up or cools down. It adapts to improve its Time-to-Temperature estimates and keep you comfortable while also helping you save energy. 

Early-On won't activate if everyone's away 

If you use Home & Away Routines (Home app) or Home/Away Assist (Nest app), Early-On can turn your system on early to reach your scheduled temperature on time as long as someone is home.

If everyone is away and your thermostat switches to Eco temperatures, it should try to stay in Eco until someone comes home. It waits to start preheating or pre-cooling your home until someone comes home, or until someone manually changes the temperature in the app.

How to change Early-On settings 

You can change Early-On settings on your thermostat or with the Nest app. In some homes, Early-On may use more energy because it runs your system longer. You can either limit the preheating time or turn Early-On off to help save energy.

With the Nest app

  1. Open the Nest app Nest app.
  2. Tap your thermostat.
  3. Select Settings Nest settings icon.
  4. Tap Early-On.
  5. Choose the following options:
  • To enable or disable Early-On, tap the switch.
  • To limit preheating in the middle of the night and early morning, select Max Duration. This setting can be useful if your system is noisy, and you don’t want it to wake you up too early.

With the Home app

  1. Open the Home app Google Home app.
  2. Touch and hold your device's tile.
  3. At the top right, tap Settings  and then Temperature preferences and then Early-On.
  4. You have two options to set:

On the Nest Learning Thermostat or Thermostat E

  1. Press your thermostat ring to open the Quick View menu.
  2. Select Settings Nest settings icon.
  3. Select Nest Sense.
  4. Select Early-On.
  5. Choose the following options:
  • To enable Early-On, select Start early. To disable Early-On, select On schedule.
  • To limit preheating in the middle of the night and early morning, select Max Duration. This setting can be useful if your system is noisy and you don’t want it to wake you up too early.

Note: If you have a radiator and air conditioning, choose Max Duration in the Heat Pump Balance menu.

Early-On can help save energy in your home 

With old thermostats, if you wanted your home to be warm by 9 AM every day, you might have scheduled heating to start at 8 AM. Early-On can calculate how long it takes to heat your home in the morning, and it may not need the full hour of extra heat to keep you comfortable. For example, it might only need to start heating at 8:50 AM.

You can set your schedule for the temperature you want when you want it and Early-On should take care of the rest.

Troubleshoot when Early-On settings are missing 

Nest thermostats detect what wires you have inserted into the connectors and use System Match to tell what kind of heating and cooling system you have. If Early-On isn’t compatible with your system, Early-On settings aren’t available in the app or on your thermostat.

When Early-On settings aren’t available, it may mean:

  • You have an incompatible system.
  • There could be a wiring issue that makes your thermostat think you have an incompatible system.
  • Your thermostat’s software needs to be updated. To update your thermostat’s software, connect your thermostat to Wi-Fi and check if there's an available software update. You can disconnect your thermostat from Wi-Fi once the update is complete.

Check what kind of system you have installed. Then, check your thermostat wiring:

  1. If your system warms the floors or radiators in your home, you have a radiant system. Early-On doesn’t work with radiant systems. Instead, radiant systems use True Radiant to manage preheating.
  2. If your system blows air through vents in your home, you have a forced air system, and there should be Early-On settings. If not, your thermostat may not be wired correctly or may think it’s connected to a different type of system.
  3. Check your thermostat’s wiring. Pull off the thermostat’s display. If there’s no wire in the G connector, your thermostat may assume it’s connected to a different type of system because G wires control the fans that push air through the vents in your home.
  4. Check your heat type. On your thermostat, go to Settings Nest settings icon  Equipment  Heat Type on your thermostat. Make sure to select the type of heating that you have: Forced Air, In-floor radiant or Radiator.
  5. If you think that the wires are configured incorrectly, contact a professional HVAC technician to help you correct your system wiring and setup.

If you have more than one type of system

  • If you have a heat pump with auxiliary heat, how early your system starts to cool your home is determined by Early-On.
  • If you have a radiator system and a cooling system, True Radiant controls how early your home preheats, and Early-On controls how early your system pre-cools.
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