Can You Install a Nest Thermostat in an Apartment?

As a renter, unfortunately, you are almost always at the mercy of your apartment’s amenities, including the thermostat, which is usually outdated or inefficient and could be costing you money. 

So can you install a Nest Thermostat in an apartment?  From the standpoint of whether or not it’s possible, the answer is yes.  It’s actually pretty easy.  The real question is whether or not your landlord will let you.  In most cases, they probably would, but you need to check first.

Outdated or inefficient thermostats can cause you to waste energy because they are not always accurate, which can cause you to crank up the system thus making it work harder to heat or cool your home, which in turn also increases your energy bill.

Furthermore, they can also cause you to run your HVAC system at the same temperature 24 hours a day, even when no one’s home, in order to ensure your apartment remains comfortable, which can also increase your energy bill. Otherwise, you can set the thermostat to a lower setting, only to wake up or return home and have to crank the thermostat way up and then wait hours to realize the desired temperature.

As this cycle continues, it may cause you to wonder about the possibility of installing a Nest thermostat to help manage your apartment’s temperatures, especially while you are away. 

Nest thermostats help you manage your home’s temperatures by learning and then adapting itself to your energy consumption habits in order to decrease wasted energy, while also maintaining your home’s comfort level.

It will even learn your schedule while you are gone and then have your home set to the desired temperature when you arrive home, and it also works with your smartphone, which enables you to both monitor and control your home’s temperatures as well as also receive alerts while you’re away. 

Should I Install a Nest Thermostat in an Apartment?

While there’s nothing about the wiring that will stop it from working in your apartment, the landlord may have a problem with you making alterations; therefore, the answer to this question depends on your landlord.

Furthermore, to place a Nest thermostat in an apartment, you will need to remove the old thermostat and then connect the Nest thermostat to the current wiring, which can be complicated without the proper knowledge of electrical wiring. In fact, even though the wires that connect to the thermostat are typically small, they can still deliver a shock if not handled properly. 

If you are fortunate enough to receive the go-ahead from your landlord to place a Nest thermostat in your apartment, they will also usually require that you remove the new thermostat, and replace it with the old one when you move out.

In other words, the apartment must be returned in the order you found it, even if it’s an upgrade like a Nest thermostat, in order to avoid being charged from your security deposit for reinstalling the old thermostat. 

Also, even if the landlord agrees to the install, they also reserve the right to replace it with the old thermostat if they think the new one is contributing to issues. 

How Is a Nest Thermostat Installed?

Installing a Nest thermostat is fairly quick and can be done using the following 10 steps. However, if your thermostat has thick wires or is labeled 120V or 240V, it means that your thermostat contains a very strong voltage system in which case DO NOT attach these wires to the Nest thermostat. S

  • Step 1: Shut off the circuit breaker to the thermostat
  • Step 2: Label the old wires to match the corresponding wires on the Nest thermostat
  • Step 3: Carefully remove your old thermostat 
  • Step 4: Feed the wires through the middle of the base plate on the Nest thermostat and then mark the position of the screw holes
  • Step 5: Attach the Nest Box trim plate to the base plate
  • Step 6: Attach the Nest base to the wall using the included screws and a screwdriver. 
  • Step 7: Connect the corresponding wires to the Nest thermostat
  • Step 8: Attach the Nest thermostat display
  • Step 9: Turn the circuit breaker back on
  • Step 10: Test the new thermostat

You could also even ask the landlord if you purchase a Nest thermostat if they can have someone install it for an extra charge to help ensure it is installed properly, so it doesn’t present problems later. Again, you may be responsible for removing the new thermostat and replacing it with the old one should you move out. 

Are There any Other Smart Devices I Can Install in My Apartment to Help Manage the Temperature While I’m Away?

If installing a Nest thermostat in your apartment is not an option for you, don’t fret, there are still a few smart devices that also enable you to manage your home’s temperatures according to your schedule to help save money, and they are also accessible via your smartphone for added convenience while you are away. 

Sensibo Smart Air Conditioning Pods

The Sensibo system has small receiver pods that connect to your air conditioning unit, which are then controlled by a hub that connects to and is powered by your router to enable you to control your unit via your smartphone. By using the system, you can turn the unit off or on according to set schedules, using your smartphone. The Sensibo Smart Air Conditioning pods are also compatible with heat pumps. 

The LG Energy Star Smart AC

The LG Energy Star 12,000 BTU 115V Window-Mounted Air Conditioner is a smart window air conditioner that learns from your patterns to cool your home when you need it and not when you are away. Its smart scheduling learns your habits and then adjusts the temperature accordingly all throughout the week. It also shuts off and turns according to your location. It also enables you to track your usage, so you can adjust your settings for even more energy savings. 

Heat Storm 1,500 Watt Infrared Smart Heater

The Heat Storm HS-1500-PHX-WIFI Infrared Heater uses energy-efficient heat to produce warmth, and it also features Wi-Fi connectivity that can be used with your smartphone to control the device from anywhere. It also has overheat protection, and it is clean and allergy safe for added comfort. Additionally, there is a child lock function and a cool exterior for added safety around pets and children, and it operates quietly. 

In Conclusion

In the end, though the Nest thermostat can make a beneficial addition to any home or apartment, if you are a renter, then you must first get your landlord’s permission to install the device in order to avoid issues and charges later.

Furthermore, if you do obtain your landlord’s permission to install a new thermostat, though, in most cases, installing a Nest thermostat is pretty straightforward, it is still best to have a basic understanding of electrical wiring in order to maintain your safety. Otherwise, enlist the service of a professional who is qualified to do the installation and can ensure a safe job.

As stated earlier, there’s nothing about the wiring that will stop it from working in your apartment, you just need to contact your landlord, first, as the landlord may have a problem with you making alterations without his or her permission. And never, ever, connect a Nest thermostat on a strong voltage system! 

In the meantime, there are various other Smart devices on the market that still enable you to manage your apartment’s temperature, even while you are away, and they don’t require any alterations to the property. So in the event your landlord disapproves to installing a Nest thermostat in your rental, it’s good to know you still have other options for controlling your energy bill.

Luke Miller

Luke Miller is a writer, real estate professional, rental property investor, and home renovation enthusiast based in Phoenix, Arizona. He grew up in Iowa in a self-sufficient household where he learned the skills to do everything from plumbing, drywall, to basic handyman repair for everyday problems. He enjoys sharing his vast experience and his continuous learning with fellow DIY enthusiasts.

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