How to: Install the Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd Generation)

Nest Labs just released the third generation of the popular Nest Learning Thermostat (model T3007EF) which hit stores last week. Today, I’ll be switching out the existing Honeywell digital thermostat we use at home for our heating and air conditioning. It works reasonably well but, like many thermostats out there, is reasonably complex to programme. While the device is low voltage, it is plugged into mains electricity, so if you’re not comfortable working with electrical wiring, be sure to keep safe and get a pro installer in to do the job.


OK, let’s get started!

Step 1: Check Compatibility

The Nest Learning Thermostat should be compatible with 95% of the heating and cooling systems on the market today, the company says. Before you part with your hard-earned cash, be sure to head over to the Nest website where you can check compatibility with your HVAC wiring.



The process is reasonably simple. You need to remove the cover of your existing thermostat to expose its wiring, then tell the Nest compatibility widget how the thermostat is connected. If I take the cover off my thermostat – don’t worry, it’s battery powered so I can easily remove it without losing any settings – you can see that each wire slots into a labelled connector. In fact, there are two sets of labels shown – your thermostat will be wired differently depending on whether its connected to a conventional heating and cooling system (like the individual furnace and air conditioning unit we have) or an integrated heat pump.


Note that if you have a high voltage system, marked 120v or 240v, it won’t be compatible with the Nest Learning Thermostat.

Select the wired connections that you see in the Nest compatibility widget, and it’ll inform you whether your wiring will support the Nest Learning Thermostat. At this point, it’s a great idea to take a photo of your own wiring as I’ve done above – just in case you ever need to re-install your old thermostat. Don’t forget to check if there’s a small jumper cable hiding between two connectors – I had one sitting between the R and RC connectors.



If everything checks out, you’re free to go and spend some money on a Nest Learning Thermostat. Join us again at Step 2.

Step 2: Unbox the Nest Learning Thermostat

Inside the Nest Learning Thermostat’s premium packaging, you’ll find:

  • The Nest Learning Thermostat
  • Welcome Guide
  • Installation Guide
  • Connector Base
  • Nest Screwdriver and Wall Screws
  • Optional Trim Plate
  • Optional Steel Plate
  • Optional Steel Plate Screws


Grab hold of the installation guide – not only is it handy to follow along, it includes some wiring stickers we’ll need shortly.

Leave a Reply