Nest Thermostat Short Term Rental

16 Replies

I have a Nest thermostat in my short term rental cabin in North Georgia. I have not put any restrictions on it right now but in my house manual, I ask that the guest turn it to the AWAY setting when they leave and also State that at 11:00 am it will automatically switch to the AWAY position should they happen to forget. I also state that should they happen to still be home, they can feel free to switch it back to the HOME setting.

I gave a guest here now that checked in yesterday.  Check in is officially 4:00 pm.  She texted me at 10:20 yesterday morning and requested an early check in. I told her that was fine since the previous guest had checked had the day before. When I checked the thermostat, I saw that she had actually already entered the house before she ever texted me.

They had the air conditioner turned down to 68 and it ran for 12.5 hours yesterday. Ok, seems somewhat excessive to me, but you have to deal with some things. This morning it was switched to the AWAY setting at 11:00 and a few minutes later I noticed that it was turned down to 65.  

To me, it looks like they're being spiteful. All they had to do was turn it back to HOME, which had been set at 70.  

My question is, "Do I just leave it alone from this point and have an exorbitant power bill or put some sort of reasonable temperature control on it and risk a bad review?"

Thanks for any input and experiences that you've had in this situation.

They probably didn't do it out of spite, they just stayed past their checkout time and it was really hot, if they aren't used to humidity it feels even worse, I wouldn't worry about it, you have it set to switch to away as soon as they leave if it changes after that it means they stayed past checkout which is a different problem that could possibly be addressed with a late checkout fee depending on your local laws.

Thanks for the response. They're not checking out today; most people who stay are out doing sight seeing by 11:00 and come back later in the day. I've just asked that it be adjusted to AWAY when they leave for the day. If they happen to be staying in, that's fine too. The thermostat read 70 when it was switched to the AWAY position at 11:00. Instaed of just turning it back to 70, they now turned it down to 64. It will never stop running at that temp. 

It won't but they probably just wanted it back to a similar temperature and didn't know exactly where it was before, you might put limits at say 65 and 80 but I don't think you would accomplish much.  I think the main reason people go to the extremes is to cool something down more quickly.  In the summer I set my car thermostat to 60 to get some AC to relieve the extreme heat and only adjust upwards when the car reaches a more comfortable temperature.

I don’t think they’re doing it maliciously. I have Nest in my Airbnb guest house and have seen it down to 57 degrees for a whole week (what’s up with that?) I think a lot of guests get confused by the Nest. I’ve found that they’ve accidentally scheduled random temperatures at random times.

I was able to go into the Nest app and “lock” the thermostat. You pick a range of temperatures that the guest can set it to (e.g. 65-75) but they cannot set it higher or lower than that range.

Here’s the info from the Nest Help:

Locking your Nest Thermostat in Heat•Cool mode

When you set your Nest Thermostat to Heat•Cool mode you can choose a temperature range, your thermostat will heat or cool to stay within this range. The smallest range you can set on your thermostat is 2º F (for example, 68-70º F).

When you use the Nest Thermostat or the Nest app to set the lock you’ll create a PIN, after you set a PIN your thermostat will be locked to the range you’ve chosen. You will not be able to adjust the temperature by turning the thermostat’s ring, and you won’t be able to change any settings from your thermostat without entering the PIN and unlocking it.

If you need to change your temperature range or settings you can use the Nest app or unlock your thermostat.

Hi Jean. 57 for a week-what's up with that?! I know my housekeeper turns it down like that as well but it's only for a few hours. I realize she works hard and gets hot while she's working. People don't really understand how a thermostat works; it's not going to cool down any quicker by turning it down to an extreme temperature.

I know how to lock the thermostat, but hadn't really wanted to until now. I wanted to give guests the freedom to control the temperature, but if everywhere let it run like this, I'd have to raise my rates.

I went ahead and put a lock on it. I appreciate the input from someone who has experience in this.

Seem's like someone can't stand the hot Georgia weather :). 

I agree with Aaron, I know a lot of people who go to the extreme and turn the temperature way down to cool the room/car quickly. If you are worried about the power bill, I would wait a few hours to let the place cool down a bit then turn it back to your intended temperature. Your guest might not notice the temperature change once the room has cooled down. 

I'd suggest putting a few fans in the place for your guests. Rooms usually cool down (or warm up) faster when the air is circulating. This can save you energy bill in the long run as well.

@Lynette Guy   I've been slowly having to ween myself off checking my Nests all the time in our property.  It used to drive me nuts.  Like earlier comments said, it's usually not malicious.  And while it does drive your electricity bill up, unless they are there for a month, its probably a marginal increase.  

I did have an awful guest who cranked the upstairs one to 55 late at night, presumably woke up freezing, then then pushed it to 75.  They did it two nights in a row.  Luckily they were only there for two nights.  I had more of an issue with the extra cleaning fee they caused (that's another story).

My advice -- just don't check your Nest app so often and you won't have to worry about it ;)

Mark, you are probably correct. I've had the same thing as you where they turned it way down at night and then got cold and cranked it up the opposite direction. Makes no sense, but I usually just shake my head. Honestly, I think it's just been one of those days. Most of my guests are very respectful and adjust the thermostat when they leave the house. 

On the cleaning, I've thought it's probably a good thing that I never see the house when someone leaves. The housekeeper fills me in and I haven't had any issues ao far, although I might be a little more concerned about things than she is.

I've been doing REI for several years, but this is my first vacation rental. I know you have to just let some things go.

Thanks.

Thanks Eric. I actually have ceiling fans in all the bedrooms and the den, as well as small oscillating fans that can be moved from room to room. 

It was already what I consider to be pretty cool at 70, although I know people have different preferences on what is comfortable. Like someone else said, I should probably not check as often as I do. Thanks for your input.

Mark, you are probably correct. I've had the same thing as you where they turned it way down at night and then got cold and cranked it up the opposite direction. Makes no sense, but I usually just shake my head. Honestly, I think it's just been one of those days. Most of my guests are very respectful and adjust the thermostat when they leave the house. 

On the cleaning, I've thought it's probably a good thing that I never see the house when someone leaves. The housekeeper fills me in and I haven't had any issues ao far, although I might be a little more concerned about things than she is.

I've been doing REI for several years, but this is my first vacation rental. I know you have to just let some things go.

Thanks.

Consider doing the math on what it costs you per hour to run the AC. Then compare that to the extra rent you are collecting by having a short-term rental. You’ll see that you are tripping over dollars to pick up pennies. 

If a hotel ever said anything to you about how to set the thermostat, what would you say? What type of star rating would a hotel have that constantly monitors the temperature or how long the AC has run? It’s seens to me temperature monitoring is not a good use of time and perhaps you are wasting a lot of time on this and other insignificant matters. Consider acquiring enough rentals that you don’t have time worry about such trivial things. 

People rent your property to enjoy it. Let go of the stress. If it doesn’t matter if they are there hours early or late then let it go. You and the renters will be a lot happier. 

Brian Gainous Im interested to know how many sort term rentals you own. 

I'm sure I shouldn't stress about it. Maybe I just have 1 too many things going on right now. My mistake and I admit it.

I'm a great host, have awesome reviews, and go above and beyond for each and every guest. That being said, this is my house. I could tell the door was being left open for the unit to be running as much as it was. I'm considerate when I stay in other people's home and I treat it as well as I treat my own home.

I enjoy being a host and my guests enjoy the cabin. As far as doing the math, if the a/c ran 24/7, I'm sure I would have to raise the rates. Fortunately all guests don't run it that way.

I posted this to get feedback from others who have short term rentals and I appreciate the feedback I received from people in the same situation. Unfortunatley, I posted at the wrong time. I should have waited and given it some more thought. 

I had this same basic thing happen to me last week.  I have an Ecobee thermostat which i have set to only allow a range from 70-85 (in Hawaii- if you want cooler than 70 you shouldn't go to hawaii for vacation).  They literally changed my range settings and dropped it to 64.  I switched it back and they switched it back a few hours later.  I was so irritated I put a password lock on the range and sent a 'friendly' email saying my A/C guys were alerted blah blah.  The sad part is, to adjust that range limit its like 5 menu settings deep.  They either worked with A/Cs or spent a LOT of time playing with it to figure that out.  A/C cost in Hawaii is much more expensive than the rest of the country. (3x higher than national average) and i'm not eating the extra cost when I see them leaving the windows and doors open while its running.  Luckly they didn't complain and I still got a 5* review from them lol

@Lynette Guy

Host here as well. 

Luckily for us, we had already realized people that don't stay in our property aren't as...well, as nice as people that actually stay in our own residence (we STR our extra rooms).

When we decided to get the nest (after having to call out an AC guy), I already knew I wanted to lock the thermostat for the point pointed above. My wife and I agreed a reasonable temperature to lock it was 69-80 degrees. It allows the guest to still be chilled it if they want it cold, but not enough were it will hurt our AC for running hours on end. We also have it automatically set to AWAY when it does not detect movement. We haven't had any complaints. 

Mike Verna and Travis Rasmussen appreciate both of your replies as they related directly to my question. I'm sure it was quite an insignificant question to some people but it does affect your bottom line.

I completely agree and I know my door had to left open as well.

Thanks for your input on the settings you utilize. It was helpful hearing from both of you and your experiences. 

I stayed in a house last year in Utah and while the owner didn't have a Nest or the equivalent, she requested that the a/c be turned up when leaving the house. Every morning I left to go hiking and was gone all day. It made perfect sense to me turn the temp up while I was gone.

Thanks again guys. I know we all want to be profitable and be a good host as well.

I'll keep you both in mind if I'm able to vacation in your area!

As a techie, I suggest you use more of the automated intelligence of the thermostat you paid for.

1. Remotely schedule the Nest thermostat for the appropriate season within the app (Schedule). 

2. Set the schedule to reset to the desired temp every 3hrs.

3. Turn ON Home/Away Assist (Settings).

Hopefully this does two things, a) allows your guests to feel in control, b) removes you from worrying about the tendency of humans to be humans :)

ps. Using Nest products in multiple units

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