Nest learning thermostat learned to be a jerk

We installed a Nest learning thermostat last year when we replaced the heating & air conditioner. It’s nifty, we thought! It will learn our preferences, we thought!

For quite a while (read, summer time) it was wonderful. Sometimes we would adjust the temperature on the fancy iPhone app, but it usually kept the house comfortable.

Now it’s winter time, which in Southern California means we have chilly nights and can get up to 80 degrees during the day. This morning it was 40 and it’s forecasted to be 75, so a 35 degree split. This seems like the perfect challenge for a Nest learning thermostat! Figure out that we like the house to be right around 70-72, so give us a little heat in the morning and maybe a little cool in the afternoon (if at all), then only if it gets cold outside, give us a little heat at night. Not too difficult.

Recently, we found that every afternoon, the heater was coming on and running hell bent for leather because the Nest had set itself to 77 degrees. We turned the temperature down. The next day, the same thing happened, we turned the temperature down again. The next day, repeat…until I finally googled this and it seems Nest will automatically set target temperatures based on what it thinks you like.

I have never set the heat to 77 degrees. Ever. My husband is a walking heater so he certainly hasn’t set it to 77. Where did Nest get this idea?

It's lying to you

You set it here, but psych! it’s 77

As it turns out, other people have been complaining about this very thing. One poor guy’s Nest was kicking up the heat to 90! The Nest is supposed to learn your schedule as you use it, and then it creates scheduled temperature actions, such as heating or cooling, based on your habits. Since we haven’t ever set the heat to 77 I’m not sure why Nest thinks we want that, but I digress. The only way to try to trick the Nest is to delete the preset schedule. Hurray! we thought, we have fixed it! John deleted the full week’s worth of preset temperature spikes to 77 degrees in the afternoon.

Wouldn’t you know it. Nest has added a full preset schedule to send that temperature up to 77 every morning.

I don’t want it to be 77 in the house. Ever. That’s the point I start thinking of turning on the air conditioner. Searching the Nest community forums revealed that you cannot really get rid of this scheduling feature. You can only “teach” your Nest better. Really? 8 months of teaching this thing isn’t enough for it to know that 77 degrees is hot. It’s frustrating.

The concept of a learning thermostat is only as good as the programmers that allow the consumer to actually teach the damn thing their preferences. At this point, resetting the Nest to its original out-of-the-box status and starting over might be the only way to teach it we don’t want to roast. The one thing Nest does have going for it is the convenience of the iPhone app. If I had to interrupt work to walk over and reset the thermostat every time it had a hot flash, I’d be tempted to smash it off the wall instead.

LG Refrigerator

Sometimes it’s the little things that make you happy. Even though this was an unexpected expense, I am thoroughly delighted with our new LG door-in-door refrigerator!

IMG_3825

Front of my shiny new ‘fridge

We ordered the refrigerator from Home Depot after price shopping. Fortunately, we had recently been dreaming about a new fridge and had seen this model in person. The Home Depot online order was simple, click click click, plus we were able to call customer service and speak to someone live at 10:30 p.m. Refrigerators have a way of quitting at the most inconvenient times. Like right before bed.

IMG_3826

Door in door feature

Inside the door, there is a small door giving access to whatever you put on those shelves. We chose to put drinks, since it keeps them out of the way, available to all of us since we have three different preferred drinks, and Melody loves being able to open up and get her own drink. No more digging past the yogurt and leftovers for a water.

IMG_3827

French door style opening

This apparently is called French door opening, because the doors open out like that. You can see there is ample storage in here for tons of food. We don’t have a lot right now because I didn’t have enough space in my beer fridge in the garage to save everything. I had to throw out a lot of food that would have just spoiled. The time between the order being placed and delivery was five days, ouch!

IMG_3829

Three tiers of freezer storage

I have always loved the freezer on the bottom, because I don’t get into the freezer as much as the fridge. I’d rather bend over occasionally instead of stooping all the time. I also despise side by side because there is just skinny deep shelves. I was amazed as I was digging out all sorts of frozen stuff I had forgotten about! Also, the ice maker is inside the door of the refrigerator, which gives you lots of space inside the freezer. The three tiers will be great for organizing popsicles in the summer away from the meats and frozen dinners, things like that.

All in all, I am such a married mom, but completely delighted and overjoyed with this wonderful refrigerator!

 

Appliances I love – my KitchenAid Stand Mixer Pro 450

Quite some time ago, my friend Mary Beth from Because I Said So asked me about my KitchenAid stand mixer because I had been blubbering with delight over this appliance. I can’t say that I am a whiz in the kitchen, but I am proficient. Most of all, I love appliances. I am a gadget girl who loves new toys. So, there I was going on and on about this mixer and Mary Beth wanted to know just what was it about a mixer that could get me worked up enough to post that I “love it with all my heart.”

Yes, wow, I really did say that, didn’t I? I answered her at the time, but it gave me an idea for some posts in an ongoing fashion. Today will kick off a new series of not-so-regular posts about APPLIANCES I LOVE, and will review the product, include pros and cons, and where possible pricing and shopping information.  Where not possible, get off your lazy butt and google for it, you can probably find it on Amazon.com.

Okay, so today, I refer back to the previously venerated KitchenAid Stand Mixer, of which I have the Pro 450 series with the 4.5 quart bowl.

This version is discernable by its matte finish (not glossy like the smaller pink and red retro ones). The bowl is a nice high-sided bowl that does not allow any spatter from batter or dough during mixing.  It comes with the whisk shown, a dough hook and a flat beater that is great for cookie dough! How convenient for me, heh. It has 10 speeds, lifts the bowl easily up and down with a lever on the right hand side, and is nice and heavy so it won’t slip and slide while you are using it. It is just about 17″ high, 13″ from front to back and about 10″ wide. Small enough to slide into a corner of the counter, but not a wimpy little product by any stretch (and it makes you look like a kitchen goddess, btw). The mixer creams butter and sugar nicely without over whipping which can break down the butter, and it also manages egg whites nicely. It is strong enough to plough through a double batch of oatmeal raisin cookie dough, which can be rather rough on smaller machines. I hear it makes great mashed potatos, pizza dough and other goods, yet I haven’t ventured into that territory yet. I’m sticking with cookies for now.

Here is my only complaint about this mixer, and it’s one I have learned to work around (thank you Edith!). Not shown in the picture is a somewhat flimsy plastic cover for the bowl that sort of helps prevent stuff from flying out while mixing. It is not a complete round top though; it has an opening about 4″ wide in the back that makes it “easier” to place the cover over the bowl, plus it has a spout on the front for adding ingredients without stopping the mixer. This cover does not fit precisely and you have to jiggle it into place. Second, if, like me, you use this mixer to make delicious and tasty food items called cookies (or any baked good really) you will be using flour. Ever notice that when flour is agitated it puts up a fine cloud of dust all over the place and into your face? Well, the two openings on this plastic cover do not prevent this from happening, as one would be led to believe! You wind up with flour everywhere and that extends clean up! Not good. Thanks to my friend Edith who has an earlier model of the Pro series (and I envy her full round cover) I now know to place a tea towel over the mixer before turning it on and that will catch any flour dust that wants to escape. Once the flour is blended in with your wet ingredients, you can dispense with the towel and use the front spout to add additional ingredients.

The KitchenAid Pro 450 Stand Mixer is available at retailers such as Target and Macy’s, but be sure to get the 450 Pro if you are a serious mixer as it is comparable to the professional models you will find at bakeries. This from my mother in law who used a professional KitchenAid in her bakery for 20-something years. They run around $250, but if you get a good sale you might find one for $150 or less.

I hope you have enjoyed today’s review! Come back soon to hear me rave about my new indoor grill!