This story was originally published and last updated .
Many of us (like me) lack a so-called common or "C wire" in our home's HVAC wiring. That's a complicated way of saying there's no way for a smart thermostat to draw continuous power separately from the wires that actually control stuff, and that means you might run into issues, like your heating system flipping on when it shouldn't to top up your thermostat's battery, or a non-rechargeable model like the new Nest Thermostat dying faster than expected.
It's all honestly pretty obnoxious to deal with, but thankfully Google just announced a new Nest Power Connector that you can install yourself to fix the problem.
The Nest Power Connector is a boring-looking plastic dongle with five wires sticking out of it that you wire in between your Nest Thermostat and furnace or AC unit. It works with several HVAC system configurations, including heating only, cooling only, or both, and is compatible with 24 VAC systems only — no millivolt or high-voltage support. That should cover most home solutions, but probably not everyone with C-wire issues.
The setup process is a relatively simple nine-step affair, if you're willing to muck around in your basement a little, flip off your circuit breaker, and move a few wires around. You can also opt for professional installation if you prefer — it's probably still cheaper than running new wiring to each thermostat, and Google recommends it over self-installs.
It might look complicated, but the effect is simple: With the Nest Power Connector, your Nest Thermostat can draw continuous power and stay topped up without an actual common/C wire inside your walls.
Free Nest Power Connectors
If Google spots a power-related problem with your Nest Thermostat, keep your eyes peeled for an email (via 9to5Google) which will let you snag the newly-introduced Power Connector for free. The offer is valid only till July 7 or until supplies last.
- Nest Power Connector