Does Nest Thermostat Work With Evaporative Cooler? [And How To Connect Them]

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Do you use an evaporative cooler in your home to help beat the heat? Have you wondered whether you can get a Nest or other smart thermostat to handle your heating and cooling needs? If so, you've come to the right place, since we've collected all the relevant information on this topic.

Nest thermostat can generally work with an evaporative cooler. However, the process for setting it up requires some knowledge on how to work with wiring and electrical systems safely. 

Do you want to learn more about how to set up this system for your own home? If so, keep reading! We'll cover how Nest and other smart thermostats work once integrated into your home. We'll take a brief look at Honeywell and Ecobee, as well as touch on any associated costs and how to get these apps up and running to keep you cool.

white google nest device set to twenty degrees on top of a wooden table. Does Nest Thermostat Work With Evaporative Cooler [And How To Connect Them]

What is an evaporative cooler?

An evaporative cooler, also known as a swamp cooler, is a device that cools air by evaporating water into it. It uses much less electricity than a standard air conditioning system, but it's only going to reach optimal performance in arid climates.

Phoenix midtown skyline with a Saguaro Cactus and other desert scenery in the foreground.

There are two kinds of evaporative coolers:

  • A direct evaporative cooler releases humidified and cooled air directly into whatever space you're trying to cool.
  • An indirect evaporative cooler uses humidified air to cool the room air and then dumps the humid air back outside.

If you live in an area that's already humid, an indirect version is much more likely to meet your needs.

Evaporative coolers are much cheaper to purchase and install than air conditioning units. The cost of operating and maintaining them is also much lower.

They're more environmentally friendly, both because they use less power and don't require refrigerant chemicals that can harm the environment.

Does Nest thermostat work with an evaporative cooler?

Click here to see the Nest thermostat on Amazon.

You can set up a Nest thermostat to work with an evaporative cooler, but it requires wiring. You can't just push some buttons and go.

When doing electrical work, always put your safety first! Make sure to switch off the relevant circuit breakers before you start and use non-conductive tools to prevent electrocution. And if you get out of your depth, don't hesitate to contact a professional.

Nest thermostat operates on 24V of electricity whereas most evaporative coolers operate at 115 or 120V. Therefore, the first thing you'll need is a relay to step power up and down between the two systems. For a detailed explanation of how to wire a relay, see this video:

Next, you will need to hook up the Nest thermostat to the relay. You can find a general guide to this process in this video:

If you're replacing a thermostat that was already set up to work with your evaporative cooler, you can simply label and reattach the wires as shown in the above instructional video.

Otherwise, you might have to do some digging to determine the best arrangement to control whatever features your evaporative cooler has.

Does Honeywell smart thermostat work with an evaporative cooler?

Click here to see this Honeywell thermostat on Amazon.

Virtually all modern thermostats have a standardized set of connections. If you can hook a Nest up to your existing system, you should be able to hook up a Honeywell brand thermostat as well.

However, before you invest in a new thermostat, make sure to read reviews and installation guides to ensure that you can do what you want to do with your particular model. Honeywell's website also has a compatibility checking tool you can use.

Can Ecobee control a swamp cooler?

Click here to see this Ecobee thermostat on Amazon.

Ecobee thermostats should also come with the standard set of connections you'd find in other thermostats. If you choose a smart model, the installation process will be very similar to the process for smart thermostats from other brands.

Ecobee has a compatibility checking tool on their website. You can also use their website to find HVAC professionals in your area if you prefer not to deal with all the wiring yourself.

What is the difference between a WiFi thermostat and a smart thermostat?

A WiFi thermostat, as the name suggests, can connect to your home's WiFi network. This allows you to control the thermostat from virtually anywhere using an app on your phone or computer.

Many WiFi thermostats also allow you to program the climate controls to turn on and off at particular times so that, for example, you use less energy when everyone is away at work.

A smart thermostat has all the features of a WiFi thermostat but also has the ability to learn your schedule and automatically adjust the climate controls based on that rather than simply doing what you tell it to do.

The downside of this is that smart thermostats are generally significantly more expensive than simpler WiFi thermostats.

Which option is right for you depends on your particular situation and preferences. Some people might love that a smart thermostat can save them the trouble of making adjustments.

Others might become frustrated if the thermostat, for example, decides that they aren't at home when they actually are. Think about your own particular needs and preferences and read reviews before you invest.

Can smart thermostats work without WiFi?

If you live in an area with unreliable internet access, you might be wondering whether getting a smart thermostat will make your heating and cooling just as unreliable!

Fortunately, smart thermostats will continue to perform their basic function of turning your system on and off as long as they still have a power source.

However, you will not be able to change the thermostat's programming without WiFi. You also won't be able to control the thermostat remotely.

You will still be able to manually change the settings, so you don't need to worry about being trapped in an uncomfortably hot or cold house with a rogue thermostat calling the shots!

If you usually have reliable WiFi access but find that your smart thermostat frequently loses its connection, try rearranging your router setup. It might be too far from your smart thermostat to connect well.

Ironically, it could also be too close—some routers have donut-shaped signal strength, with a zone of weaker connection immediately surrounding the router. There might also be intervening objects disrupting the signal.

Anything that's metal will have some effect on WiFi signal strength, including ducts and pipes in the walls! A bit of trial and error can determine if this is the problem for your system.

How does Nest know you are not home?

google nest device with white background

Nest determines that you're not at home using a combination of a built-in motion sensor and tracking the GPS in your phone. You can adjust these features in your system's settings if, for example, you just want motion sensing without phone tracking.

If you find that the Nest is not learning your activity patterns correctly, there are several steps you can take to troubleshoot.

  • First, make sure your address was entered correctly in the system and that it has enough information to pinpoint your house rather than just your ZIP code.
  • Second, if you have phone tracking turned on, make sure that the correct devices are connected to the system so Nest doesn't rely on an incomplete set of schedules.
  • Lastly, check the placement of your Nest device. Is it in an out-of-the-way corner so it can't tell when people are at home? Alternatively, is it in a location where your pets could be setting off the motion detector when the humans are away?

Does the Nest thermostat require a monthly fee?

There are no ongoing fees to use the Nest thermostat. If you want to use any of the smart features, you will need a Gmail account to log into the app.

Fortunately, getting a Gmail account is free. Purchasing the unit and setting it up can cost a few hundred dollars, but that's a one-time expense. The only ongoing expense is your internet bill, which you were probably already paying.

Meanwhile, the Nest can reportedly save up to 20% on your energy bills every month, so it should pay for itself very quickly.

google nest device with dark screen on top of the wooden table. Does Nest Thermostat Work With Evaporative Cooler [And How To Connect Them]

Final thoughts

Evaporative coolers can have many benefits, including built-in humidifying, lower energy usage, and lower cost. Now you can add another benefit to the list—they can be used with smart thermostats, such as the Nest!

Before you go, check out some related posts:

14 Types Of Evaporative Cooler And Brands To Know

13 Evaporative Cooler Hacks You Should Know

Do I Need A Special Thermostat For Radiant Heat?

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