Learn about Early-On and how to change settings

When Early-On is enabled, your Nest thermostat automatically calculates when to turn on heating or cooling so your home will reach a scheduled temperature on time. To do this, your thermostat takes into account the weather, what it has learned about how quickly your home warms and cools, and how efficient your system is.

Early-On works a lot like pre-heating the oven when you’re making cookies. You typically start heating 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 you’d be done mixing the dough at 5pm and would automatically turn on early to be 350°F/175°C right at 5pm.

Early-On basics 

Here's what to expect when you enable or disable Early-On.

First, Early-On needs to learn about your home

After installation, your thermostat will take a few days to learn how long it takes for your home to heat and cool. During this period, in order to save energy your thermostat will not pre-heat or pre-cool your home regardless of your Early-On setting. Once your thermostat is done learning, it can start pre-heating and pre-cooling according to your Early-On settings.

Without Early-On

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

  • Your thermostat will start heating or cooling your home at the scheduled time.
  • For example, if your schedule has a target temperature of 72°F/22°C at 6:00pm, your thermostat will start heating or cooling at 6:00pm. So your home may not reach 72°F/22°C until much later than 6:00pm. Time-to-Temperature will show you about how long it will take 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 heating or cooling your home before the scheduled time, using what it has learned about your home to predict how long it will take to reach the target temperature.
  • For example, if your schedule has a target temperature of 72°F/22°C at 6:00pm, your thermostat might start heating or cooling at 5:30pm to get your home to 72°F/22°C at 6:00pm.

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

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How Early-On learns 

Early-On will continually adapt to the weather forecast and how fast your home heats up or cools down so it can improve its Time-to-Temperature estimates and keep you comfortable while helping to saving energy.

For example, on a cold day the Nest thermostat might need to start heating at 5:00am to reach your target temperature by 7:00am. But on a mild day, the thermostat may only need to start heating at 6:50am.

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

As long as someone is home, Early-On can turn on your system early to reach your scheduled temperature on time. But if everyone is away and your thermostat is set to Eco Temperatures, it will wait to start pre-heating or pre-cooling until someone comes home or until someone manually changes the temperature with the app.

If you use Home/Away Assist, your thermostat will try to stay in Eco Temperatures while you’re away.

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 will run your system longer. You can either limit the preheating time or turn Early-On off to help save energy.

On the thermostat

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:

  • Select Start early to enable Early-On, or select On schedule to disable Early-On.
  • Select Max Duration to limit preheating in the middle of the night and early morning. This can be useful if your system is noisy and you don't want it to wake you up too early.

With the Nest app

1. Tap the Settings icon Nest settings icon.
2. Scroll down and tap your thermostat.
3. Tap Early-On.
4. Choose the following options:

  • Tap the switch to enable or disable Early-On.
  • Select Max Duration to limit preheating in the middle of the night and early morning. This 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, you'll choose the Max Duration in the Heat Pump Balance menu.

Early-On may help save energy in your home 

With your old thermostat, if you wanted your home to be warm by 9:00am every day, you might have scheduled heating to start at 8:00am. Early-On can calculate how long it will take to heat your home in the morning, and it may not need the full hour of extra heat to keep you comfortable. On a mild day, it might only need to start heating at 8:50am.

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Early-On is great if you’ve been guessing and setting your own “Early-On” temperature in your schedule. Now you can set your schedule for the temperature you want when you want it, and Early-On will take care of the rest.

Troubleshooting 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 an option like Early-On isn’t compatible with your system, your Nest thermostat will remove it.

So you may have an incompatible system, or there could be a wiring issue that makes your thermostat think you have an incompatible system.

If you don’t see an option for Early-On in the Nest Sense menu of your thermostat or the Nest app, 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. They use True Radiant instead to manage pre-heating.
  2. If your system blows air through vents in your home, you have a forced air system, and you should see Early-On in the Nest Sense menu. If not, your thermostat may not be wired correctly or may think it’s connected to a different type of system.
  3. You can check your thermostat’s wiring by pulling off the 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 by navigating to Settings Nest settings icon  Equipment  Heat Type on your thermostat. Make sure to select the type of heating that you have: Forced AirIn-floor Radiant, or Radiators.
  5. If you still don’t see Early-On in the Nest Sense menu or you think that the wires are configured incorrectly, contact a Nest Pro to help you correct your system wiring and setup.

If you have more than one type of system installed

If you have a heat pump with auxiliary heat, how early your system will start cooling your home is determined by Early-On. How early your system will heat your home is determined by Heat Pump Balance.

If you have a radiator system and a cooling system, True Radiant will control how early your home pre-heats and Early-On will control how early your system pre-cools.

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