Install and Setup Nest Thermostat

The Nest app will guide you through thermostat installation, but here are some more detailed instructions to walk you through everything you need to do to install your Nest thermostat on the wall.

Note: These illustrations use the 3rd gen Nest Learning Thermostat, but the steps are the same for the Nest Thermostat E.

Begin installation with the app

The Nest app’s step-by-step instructions make it easy to install and wire your thermostat, so use it as your main guide. Refer to this article if you need extra help.

  1. It’s essential to have the latest version of the app to complete setup. Download it from the Apple App Store or from Google Play. If you don’t already have an account, the app will ask you to create one.
  2. Tap Settings  on the app home screen.
  3. Scroll down and select Add product to start the setup instructions.
  4. To tell the app which thermostat you’re installing, scan the QR code on the back of the display. Or choose “continue without scanning” and select your thermostat model.
  5. The app will show you how to install your thermostat. It will ask you some questions about your thermostat wires. Answer them as accurately as possible.
    You’ll get a custom wiring diagram for your system after you’ve installed the thermostat base.
1. Switch off power to your system

(You may have already
completed this step.)


nest thermostat gen 3 install

It’s important to protect your thermostat and your system. Turn
off the power to your system and thermostat before exposing
any wiring.

Your HVAC system can have multiple breakers so make sure to
turn them all off before moving on. Check that the power to
your system is off by changing the temperature on your
thermostat by at least 5 degrees.


  • If it’s winter, turn up the temperature to turn on heating.
  • If it’s summer and you have system cooling, turn down the
    temperature to activate your central air conditioning.
  • Wait at least 5 minutes to see if your system turns on (you’ll
    need to wait because many systems have a built-in delay).


You can listen for your system to turn on, or put your hand near
a vent to feel if there’s warm or cool air coming through. For
more detailed instructions, see the article linked below.



2. Remove your thermostat’s cover and take a picture

(You may have already
completed this step.)

nest thermostat gen 3 install image

Once you’re sure the power is off, remove your thermostat’s cover.

Some thermostat covers pop off, while others need to be
unscrewed. If you haven’t already, now’s a good time to take a picture of your current wiring.


3. Get a wiring diagram from the app

(You may have already completed
this step.)

nest thermostat wiring diagram

To get a custom wiring diagram for installation, simply follow Nest app’s thermostat installation instructions.

Important: This illustration is only an example. Each system’s
wiring is different. You must get your own custom wiring
diagram with our Compatibility Checker.


Incompatible wiring

High voltage wires


nest thermostat gen 3 install step 3

If your thermostat is labeled 120V or 240V or has thick wires
with wire nuts, your system is high voltage and isn’t compatible
with the Nest thermostat. Do not connect the Nest thermostat
to high-voltage wires.

 Stranded wires

standard wires

Nest thermostats are not compatible with stranded wires. Do
not connect the Nest Thermostat to stranded wires.



4. Remove jumper wires and save them nest thermostat gen3 install step 4

Jumper wires are short wires between two connectors. The
Nest thermostat doesn’t need them.

Keep your current thermostat, the photo of your wiring, and any
jumper wires your current thermostat uses in a safe place.

thermostat double label

That way if you ever decide to move and you want to take your
Nest thermostat with you, you’ll have everything you need to
reinstall your current thermostat.

5. Label the wires If you see two sets of labels on each connector on your old
thermostat’s backplate refer to the picture of your old thermostat.

nest thermostat wires example

Peel off the labels from the quick start card that came with
your Nest thermostat and attach them to the matching wires
on your thermostat. You can also use the white labels for
additional wires if needed.

Troubleshooting wire labels

If you have labels like W, Y, or R, use the wiring diagram that you
created earlier to choose which labels to attach to these wires.

If you have different wire labels not covered here, read this
article to learn more about thermostat wire labels:

If you removed your old thermostat without labeling your wires
first, check the picture you took in step 2. If you don’t have a
picture you can check your system to try to determine your wires,
or contact a Nest Pro.

6. Disconnect the wires
and remove the base
thermostat install step 6

Important: It’s important that the power to
your system is off to avoid blowing a fuse in your
equipment. If you blow a fuse, your
Nest thermostat won’t turn on, or may display
a power error after installation.

After removing the base, we recommend gently
wrapping the wires around a pen or pencil to
ensure they don’t fall back into the hole in the wall.

Now is a good time to patch and paint over any
holes in your wall. You can also use the included trim
plate to help hide scratches or screw holes on your wall.

7. Mark where screws will
thermostat install step 8

Use the bubble level to make sure the Nest thermostat is level.

8. Attach the Nest base nest base and trim plate

If you’re going to use the optional trim plate, place it on the wall
before installing the Nest base.

Tip: You can paint the Nest trim plate to match the color of your
wall. If you’d like to paint your trim plate, make sure to paint it
before it’s installed. Make sure not to get any paint on your
wiring, the Nest base, or your thermostat’s display.

Pull the wires through the center of the base, then attach it to
the wall with the screws.

Important: Use a screwdriver, not a power drill to drive in
screws for the Nest base. Drills can easily over-tighten the
screws and crack the base and damage its electronics.

Use the bubble level to make sure the Nest thermostat is level.

The Nest screws are self tapping, so there’s no need to drill into
soft materials. If you need to drill into harder things like wood,
use a 3/32 or 2.5mm drill bit.

9. Connect the wires thermostat install step 9

Connect the wires to your Nest thermostat’s base by following
the wiring diagram that you got from the Nest app.

Press down on the connector button and insert the wire as far
as it will go in. Then release the button.

The connector button should stay down. This confirms that the
wire is properly seated.

thermostat connector button down

Terminals with wires should stay pressed down.

If the button doesn’t stay down, take the wire out, straighten it,
and put it back in as far as it will go. You may need to strip the
end of your wire to make sure enough copper is exposed.

Important: Do not put more than one wire in each connector on
the Nest base.

Important: Do not connect any “spare” wires to your Nest
thermostat that were not connected to your old thermostat.
Only use the wires on your Nest wiring diagram.

After all the wires are securely connected, push them down
toward the wall to make sure they’re flush with the base. If your
wires stick out too far they can keep your thermostat display
from connecting properly.

If your wires stick out from the wall press them down



thermostat wires


thermostat wires
10. Attach the Nest display step 10 install

Line up the pin connector on the back of the display and push it onto the base until it clicks into place.

thermostat click

Tip: If you don’t hear the display click, use your thumb to push
the wires further into the wall. This will make sure the wires
aren’t stopping the display from connecting to the base.

11. Switch power back on nest thermostat gen 3 install

After turning the power back on, your Nest thermostat should
power on automatically. If it doesn’t turn on, you might see a
blinking red light to indicate that the battery is charging.

Wait for the battery to charge or check this article for
troubleshooting steps:

12. Set up your Nest thermostat After it’s finished starting up, the Nest thermostat will guide
you through setup.Then you’ll tell your thermostat a few basics about your home
and your heating and cooling system so it can help keep you
comfortable and save energy.You can also connect your thermostat to Wi-Fi so you can
control it with the Nest app, and download important
thermostat software updates.

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