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Nest not calling for heat

jrbloom
Community Member

I have a Nest Thermostat E wired to an electric heater in my workshop. It has been working perfectly for several years. 

This weekend i went out to a cold workshop. Initially assumed my custom control box was failing. However, going into the troubleshooter on the thermostat and forcing it to call for heat fired the heater up immediately. So looks like wiring is ok.

The temp is set well above room temp but it doesnt seem to be calling for heat.

Any ideas what might cause this?

69 REPLIES 69

bugmills
Community Member

I had the same issue today with two Nest thermostats (new version, non-learning).  They would call for heat when I reached the safety temperature, but would not call for heat when I raised the setpoint.  The scary part is that these thermostats are in a second home several hours away, so no ability to physically interact with the them.  I got on the phone with Google support and they confirmed that there is no way to restart the thermostat via the Google Home app.  I was fortunate enough to have a friend drive to the home and perform a manual restart, after which one of them seems to be working properly (still haven't tried the other).  Google tried to tell me this was a wiring issue or a faulty back plate and that I would need to have someone present at the thermostat to allow troubleshooting and/or call a technician.  There is basically a zero percent chance of getting a Nest technician where this is located.  And in any event, I'm convinced this is a software issue and not a wiring or back plate issue.  If you are listening, Google, you really need to (i) fix this software bug; AND (ii) provide the means to restart the thermostat from the Google Home app.  I was lucky this time, but next time there might be major property damage from freezing.  They are supposed to be capable of fully remote control, so please make it so.  Also, for what it's worth, the Google Home app is a major downgrade from the Nest app for interacting with these devices, along with the cameras.  I really hope it improves soon so I don't need to give up on a significant investment into Nest/Google.

dhx227
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

I like you have the same predicament.   See below for how you can work around it remotely until it's fixed.

MTB
Community Member

I’m experiencing the same issue. I use the nest in my detached garage to control an electric heater. It seems to work normally until it reaches the safety temperature at night. After that I can control the thermostat, but it won’t turn the heater on. I have to manually restart the unit to get it to make the heater actually start.  Definitely a bug in the software. It does at least keep turning the heat on to maintain the safety temp, but defeats the purpose of having a WiFi controlled thermostat if you can’t actually control the system. 

Elswann
Community Member

Nailed it. 6.2-22 is the issue. Google needs to send out an update or IMO they are liable for any damage caused.  There is a reason we invested in Nest thermostats, and with the issues created by 6.2-22 your pipes are at risk. 

bugmills
Community Member

For what it's worth, I am experiencing this issue on Nest Thermostats (not the model E or learning versions).  My current software is therefore version 1.1-9 (released in June).  Therefore, the issue seems to either exist in both 6.2-22 and 1.1-9, or in some other manner on Nest's end (perhaps within the mobile app?).

bugmills
Community Member

I can also confirm that, while I got it working after a manual restart, they're now back to doing the same thing again (will turn themselves on only to maintain safety temperature, but will not call for heat when I set a higher temperature).   Makes me pretty nervous.

MTB
Community Member

Mine is not the learning version and yes, each time it hits the safety temperature it has to be manually reset. 

jrbloom
Community Member

Thanks for all the responses.

Reset didn't seem to help me, but i do pretty much hit the safety every night in winter - Yep, i know, i need some more insulation in the shop 🤨

So it does sound like the same issue. Agree that it's a clear bug - it makes no sense to turn the heat on to bring the temp out of the danger zone and then essentially disable the system. And this was working fine over all previous winters, while also hitting safety on a nightly basis.

I'll keep my fingers crossed for an update in the near future.

jrbloom
Community Member

I have been 'working' with the support folks on this. It's hard going. Had to do a full factory reset before they would even do anything.

But, what I have noticed during the debug is that if I LOWER my Safe temp, to ensure it is well below current room temp, the condition is cleared. It seems like a useful workaround until the firmware is fixed.

It sounds counter intuitive, but what I think is happening is that when Safe kicks in, setpoint is ignored and heating is forced on until the setpoint is reached - all good, and expected. But there is some hysteresis in the algorithm, so that once above Safe, but still close to Safe, it is still hovering in Safe mode. Heat turns off, because we're above Safe. But setpoint is ignored because we're still 'just' in Safe mode.

I just lowered Safe to allow the heat to come back on, and left it there until the temp came up enough. Reinstating the normal Safe temp then allowed things to work, until the next Safety trigger - which for me, is every night 😞

Still, better than not having remote control.

In the meantime I am working through the treacle that is the first level support 😞

dhx227
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

Thank you!!   I'm having the same problem but in a mountain home that is more than an hour drive away and is in a very power outage prone area!   After I had installed the Nest, we had a few power outages, but typically only for a short period, so the indoor temp never got to safety temp.   In the last two weeks, we've had multi-day power outages where the indoor temp got way below the safety temp.  So, when power was restored, it heated up to safety temp but would not go to any other setting.   After the first prolonged power outage, I drove out there and messed with the thermostat.  It actually took a couple of reboots, but in reality it was probably that the indoor temp had gotten just slightly out of the safety temp range.

FWIW, it also REALLY SUCKS that the safety temp can't be set to higher than 45!   I mean, WTF Google!   You are IDIOTS.   Based on the construction of this mountain home, with outside daily temp ranges the last two weeks of 0F to 20F, 40 years of experience living in this area, and the average power outage length - we've long since determined the proper safety temperature is 53F!   Yet, you're "talented" engineers seem to think that should not be allowed.

Anyway, I currently have the safety temp set to 45F.   So, I just tested your theory/work-around and it WORKED!   I remotely lowered the safety temp back to 40F and viola: CALL FOR HEAT came on!!    Now I will monitor until the indoor temp is above 50 and raise the safety temp back to 45F.    At least I can do those steps remote!!!!!!

bill6
Community Member

if you need a "safety"temp of 53 maybe you could just leave the temp set at 53 to keep house at a minimum but not higher than 53

 

dhx227
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

Well, that is how I have had to set this thermostat thing up.  I have the Eco temp set to 53  - which is basically the "I'm not there", maintain this temp so my pipes don't freeze if we lose power for more than 2 days.

But, the whole point of having a "safety" temp in the thermostat is that as long as the furnace can operate, the thermostat will attempt to maintain that temperature no matter what it's state is - even OFF.   So, it's really just about what the thermostat was designed to do.   Clearly the mighty Google engineers have decided that having such a high "safety" temp is unreasonable.  I just happen to disagree based on their own definition of what the safety temperature is supposed to be for.    Note: I never turn the heat OFF anyway.   I'm mostly just really annoyed that they apparently don't even believe us that there is a BUG with their safety temp programming!

It worked! Thank you!

tmc747
Community Member

Just ran into this yesterday. Lost power in blizzard for 24 hours. When power came on, thermostats wouldn't call for heat but house was staying around 45 degrees despite single digits which had me thinking about the safety temp. Lo and behold, discovered this post, and the work around worked. Very happy about that as this is in a vacation home that takes a 3 hours and two ferries to get to. But really, Google, WTF? You've known about this for a while and still no fix?

This fixed it for me!

jrbloom
Community Member

After several rounds of, please share the wiring details, and your Nest App version. I finally seem to have got this through to the technical team. At least that's the promise. We'll see what they respond with in the nest few days.

dhx227
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

I wonder if there is any value for all of us on this thread to call in and report EXACTLY what happens to add more weight to the bug report.

jrbloom
Community Member

Did your device update?

Shortly after my last post, my device downgraded to 6.1.1-21 and it is currently working perfectly.

I also received a response from Google this morning, saying that the issue is fixed and that I should now be fixed, and that I may need to restart my device again. I haven't triggered the reset - it's working for me already.

bugmills
Community Member

Good to hear.  Unfortunately my Nest Thermostats are still at version 1.1-9 (and still not working correctly).

jrbloom
Community Member

Strange. Mine last updated Dec 24th. While Google's response only came today.

If you can, it might be worth trying a reset to see if it picks up new firmware. That's a pain though as you must then re-configure. And you can't reset remotely ☹️

Otherwise, cross fingers and hope it updates itself soon.

jrbloom
Community Member

Wait - scratch that. I see that my home thermostats (which are not E models) are still on 6.2-22, and hasn't updated since Nov.

My house never hits safety, so I've only reported the issue with the E model in the shop.

Looks like Google only updated the E models initially.

I will reply to Google that they've fixed the issue for me. That might prompt a broader roll out. Seems odd though as the engineers would know this isn't model specific.

If your issue persists it's worth reporting it directly. More complaints can only help.

bugmills
Community Member

I will try a reset.  Unfortunately the thermostats are 4 hours away, and since I can't reset remotely it'll have to wait until I can get there in person.  I did report this directly when it first came up, but it may be worth reporting again with the additional knowledge gleaned from this chat.

dhx227
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

Note: to get them to call for heat, you don't need to reset...  Just wait until the indoor temp is at the safety temp and then move the safety temp down.   Boom - it will call for heat for whatever you have it set to.   Then, once the indoor temp is above the safety temp, just move the safety temp back up.   Since this is in a mountain location like mine, I would highly recommend running your safety temp at the max (45F).

dhx227
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

Oh, and another trick: if you currently have the safety temp set to default (eg, 40F) or below, then first move the safety temp up to 45F.   The thermostat will then call for heat until it gets to 45F.   Then move the safety temp back down to 40F and the thermostat will now be "out of safety" and start functioning normally.

bugmills
Community Member

Thank you.  This is very useful.  This workaround will help me in my main building with plumbing (which I keep warmer), but doesn't help with one of my use cases.  One of the thermostats is in a garage that I keep at 35 degrees.  There is no plumbing in the garage, but I don't want materials stored there to freeze.  So, since you can't set "Eco" mode on the thermostat to anything less than 40 degrees, I need to keep the thermostat in "Off" mode and let it control to a safety temperature of 35.  Thus, it is always at the safety temperature and therefore always in glitch mode with no way to turn up the temperature without a restart. 

You might wonder why I don't just set the temperature at 40 and move on.  The reason is that it gets VERY cold in this locale (e.g., it reached -33 F a couple of days ago) and VERY expensive to heat.  Even at 35 degrees, my energy bills get uncomfortably high.

As an aside, it would also be nice if they would allow the Eco temperature to be set below 40 degrees so I could avoid having to keep it in "Off" mode all the time.

jrbloom
Community Member

The workaround restores remote setpoint control. LOWER the safety temp a few degrees below current temp so that you are no longer in the safety zone. You can then control the setpoint just fine. Once the temp is raised a few degrees you can reinstate your higher safety temp. Its clunky but works remotely for me. Don't forget to raise safety back tho!

Alternatively raise safety a few degrees, wait until temp is out of the zone, and then lower back to desired safety. Once lowered you will be outside the safety window again and should regain normal setpoint control. Probably the safer option as you can't accidentally leave Safety too low.

bugmills
Community Member

Yes.  The reason I thought it would't help is that I can't lower the safety temperature any further (it's as low as it will go).  However, I just tried the alternative (rasing the safety to 40) and that worked to get me out of the jamb.  Let it heat to 40, set the safety back to 35, and then I was free to start heating as normal.  Thanks again for the tip!  It will work for now.

dhx227
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

Note: I have the "Google Nest Thermostat".  Not the -E nor the Learning.   It self reports as "Model: Thermostat-1.4".  It is currently on Software version: 1.1-9

dhx227
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

I also hope to contact Google support either today or tomorrow and explain EXACTLY how to reproduce the problem.   It's almost like they don't even test their fancy features...

dhx227
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

Well, I can report contacting Google support "went nowhere".   After 40 minutes, I got the response of: "please factory reset and then monitor your system", then followed by: "please use the feedback option from the Google Home app to report this".    Wow!

jrbloom
Community Member

That's exactly my experience. I was in a belligerent mood though and stuck at it. I patiently obeyed every instruction until they ran out of pre-defined scenarios to take me through and finally agreed to escalate. It is soul destroying though.

I don't even use Google Home, so that wasn't going to fly!

jrbloom
Community Member

Yes - reset is unlikely to help. Though the msg from google today instructed me to do that. Then again that could just be more BS. The fact that E downgraded is a bit odd too, even if that worked.

Ive since looked at the thermostats in the house and there is no fw update for these. 6.2-22 is the latest. So It sounds like you will need to go through the support nightmare to get this fixed on the non-E's.

By the way, there are 2 sw partitions: One for the Base (1.5.38 / 3.1) and one for the display (6.2-22). It is the Display sw that downgraded on my E.

Why do they have to make it so hard!

jrbloom
Community Member

I feel like i am spamming with all of these replies. My appologies ...

I have reopened my ticket to explain that the downgrade fixed 'E' but not my non-E thermostats. I have spelled out that it affects more than just the Thermostat E.

I will do my best to keep nagging until i see a fw change on the house devices. It is likely easier than you guys wading through the same first level support treacle that i faced (it took several hours of stupid pointless box ticking, to get an escalation, and the detailed description was too much - these guys are just following a script of predefined issue resolvers).

Cant promise it will make any difference. But i will do my best. Additional complaints wont hurt tho if you are feeling very patient 🙂

Jon

dhx227
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

I don't mind.  I'm just happy you found the problem!!    Note: I tried adding the tag "Nest Thermostat" to one of my replies to get the thread to appear more broadly, but it didn't seem to take.   Maybe you can edit the original post to add that broader label.

jrbloom
Community Member

I've edited the original post to fix the tag to Nest Thermostat.

freezing-in-nd
Community Member

Just wanted to +1 this exact same issue and thank you for the efforts @jrbloom.  I have radiant floor heat in my garage and a small shop that two different gen3 thermostats control.  It's not uncommon for the safety temp to get triggered if I open the garage door or shop door when it's -20F outside for pretty much any amount of time (i.e. to bring in the groceries or move something in/out of the building).  So far, I've usually had to end up manually restarting the thermostat to get it to trigger a heat call, but as others mention, it's a total pain since you have to physically be there in person.

Spoke to three different techs from nest today, spending almost 2 hours with them.  First tech said it was my HVAC setup and that I should call a nest pro installer (was very rude and didn't even relay back the question), second tech was nice but couldn't understand the issue so they supposedly escalated to a senior engineer.  Senior engineer spent less than 2 minutes with me and was unwilling to do anything without a factory reset (which I couldn't do on the call at the time).  Brutal customer experience to say the least.

Ah. Yes - the factory reset (ctrl-alt-del?) cop-out. I just said I did it already - twice. And I said others on the Forum also had the issue. The 'tech' was dismissive and said there had been no reports. Eventually I also got handed to a senior 'tech' who simply tried to take me back through all the same steps the previous assistant did. It wasn't fun.

They aren't techs though. Just low paid staff following a script. They are following orders. I THINK they really did escalate in the end since soon after my thermostat downgraded. But I'm still sceptical.

This is the worst support experience I have ever faced that's for sure.

dhx227
Silver Product Expert
Silver Product Expert

I actually am an certified HVAC tech...  I just do that part-time, as I normally am a software dev...  So, you might say my work experience is in both of these areas.   And yes, I totally agree with the whole worst customer experience ever!!!   It all started for me with not even being able to install the stupid thing because my email is a G-suite account.  Apparently, Google Home will not work with a G-suite email address.   D'oh!!  That took me a couple of hours to figure out and then get around (and of course, all while I had already ripped out my existing thermostat and wired in the Nest while it was 5F outside).   I am really regretting not just sticking with a tried and true Honeywell thermostat, of which I know them pretty well and they work great!!   But, I figured I should get some experience with these devices, so you know, when I have to help some customer...   Well, any future customer asks me about them, my advice is definitely going to be avoid it like the plague!

jrbloom
Community Member

I'm also a sw engineer, with electronic design experience. So like you, not so easily fobbed off with pointless box ticking exercises.

I was certain this is a fw issue by the time I called support. It was so frustrating having to patiently explain over and over why it MUST be a software issue only to be asked to describe my wiring setup again. At one point, they asked me which Android device and Nest App version I was using. I lost it a bit at that point and the poor support lady had to patiently explain that it was a box she needed to fill in to raise the escalation. Like I say - not their fault Google's system is useless. They just get the flack because they're customer facing.