How to Reset a Nest Thermostat

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If you’re wondering how to reset a nest thermostat, you’re in the right place. I get into restart vs  reset options for your smart thermostats. I also get into why you’d want to reset the thermostat to factory settings. 

Why Do You Need to Reset a Nest Thermostat

Nest Thermostats are a great product for adding smart functionality to your existing heating  system. Under normal circumstances they do exactly as they are intended without any user intervention. 

However, like all technology they can occasionally glitch and like all things tech, a reset or restart can fix the software and firmware. 

First, let’s look at the differences between a reset and a restart.  

The Difference Between Reset and Restart

Let’s make sure you don’t reset your thermostat unnecessarily, when a restart could fix problems you’re having.

Very often a restart is all that is needed to clear issues like: –

  • Sluggish to respond to commands
  • Not connected to Wi-Fi network
  • Not available in the app
  • Battery not charging

In these instances a simple restart is maybe all that is required. This is a simple operation which we will cover in the detailed instructions. 

Instances when you may want to reset your thermostat include: –

  • The restart operation didn’t have the desired results
  • You need to clear some or all of the thermostat’s information
  • Want to set it up in a different property e.g. moving to a new house
  • Want to start the whole set up procedure from scratch
  • Want to clear all your data in cases like selling your home and leaving the thermostat installed; or even selling the thermostat

How to Reset Your Nest Thermostat

Resetting a Nest Thermostat isn’t difficult. However, before you do anything, I’d highly recommended that you write down any settings or preferences that you may want to restore.

Items that you may want to record include heating type, schedules, safety temperature, and system wires. 

Once you have done this you are ready to restart or reset your Thermostat. For a reset,

  • The first thing to do is to navigate to the Settings Menu by pressing the thermostat to bring up the Quick View Menu.
  • From the Settings Menu rotate the ring to Reset and press the ring to enter the menu, you now have access to the following options:
  • Restart: Use this option if you simply want to troubleshoot some issues. 
  • Schedule: The schedule option will wipe your entire schedule from the thermostat. In the Nest Learning Thermostat, this also includes any scheduling that it has learned. For other models, it will clear all of your created schedules. Obviously, once you have taken this step you will need to reprogram a new schedule or in the case of the Nest Learning model, it will take time to relearn your habits and preferences. This process will also clear any hot water settings that were programmed. 

    One other difference between the models occurs with the Nest Thermostat E. If you reset the schedule in this model and its Auto-Schedule feature is disabled, you are given the option to either reset to a blank schedule or use a default schedule. 
  • Network: Use this setting to reset the wireless network information. This could be needed because it’s lost connectivity or if you have a new Wi-Fi router. Doing this means it will forget your network password. The password will need to be re-entered by selecting Network from the settings menu and following the instructions. 
  • Away: This clears any “learned behaviors” from the device. Away is a feature where the thermostat learns from your behaviors on which connected devices to automatically use and when to use them. This should be done if you have had home remodeling done or if you have moved the thermostat to a new location. In these cases, the learned behavior may not be appropriate anymore and doing this enables the device to relearn its information. Learning can take a few days and up to a week.
  • Account Connection: Depending on your software version you may see this option. When you select this choice, it will remove the thermostat from your Nest account and/or appear as offline in the Nest app. 
  • WWN Connection (Works With Nest): This also may not appear in all menus. Resetting your  WWN preferences will reset any connections between the thermostat and any connected WWN devices.
  • All Settings This is a complete factory reset which we will cover in some detail next. 

How to Factory Reset Nest Thermostat

Selecting this will completely wipe your thermostat and reset it back to factory default settings.

You select this option from the same menu, but it is important to remove the thermostat from your account in the Nest App before you do this. Performing this will lose all data and settings from the device, so it’s essential to take note of any settings you’ll want to re-enter after your thermostat boots back up.

Data and settings that will be lost include: –

  • All Schedules
  • Account Information
  • Heating System
  • Network Settings

After a complete reset, the thermostat is in the exact same configuration as it was when you first installed it and will need to be set up from scratch. 

Manual Restart

A manual restart is similar to turning a computer off and back on. Also similar to the Nest Battery with low battery and it restarts after you change the battery.

In some instances, the thermostat can become unresponsive. In these cases, you can wait a few minutes to see if the thermostat finishes what it was a processing and becomes responsive again. If it’s still stuck or unresponsive, try a manual restart.

To perform this simply, press the thermostat for about ten seconds, releasing it when the screen goes black and a message appears to say it is restarting.

Be aware that a restart could result also result in lost information, mainly what it was working on when it became stuck.

How to Reset Nest Thermostat Without a PIN or Password

If you’ve forgotten the PIN or password for your Nest Thermostat, don’t worry. There is still a way for you to reset the thermostat. The instructions below detail the steps. 

  1. Remove the thermostat from its base plate on the wall, and using a USB cable, connect it to a computer. The cable varies by model – the basic Nest model uses a Mini-USB cable and the Nest E and Nest Learning models use a Micro-USB cable
  2. Now, you’ll need to contact the Nest Support. They can then access the thermostat remotely and using a “backdoor,” they can reset your thermostat and remove the PIN requirement. They are normally very responsive and there doesn’t seem to be any way around this step. 

Other troubleshooting and tips:

To learn more about Nest thermostats, see this comparison article: ecobee vs. Nest.