Nest Thermostats Knocked Offline During Dead of Winter Due to Software Bug

Winter is upon us and with it comes snow, ice, and chilly temperatures, depending on where you live. There's probably no worse time of the year for a home thermostat to give up the ghost, but unfortunately for Nest owners, that's exactly what happened, causing in-home temperatures to plummet overnight.

For some, it was a cold inconvenience, and the worst of it was waking up to a cold home because Nest had stopped working sometime in the night. For others, it was a potentially costly scenario, such as one user who complained on Nest's forums that the pipes froze overnight in a home they recently sold.

Nest Thermostat

"Our home has been sold and is closing next week. We moved out a few weeks ago and left our Nest thermostat set at 60. We saw the NY Times article and had our realtor rush over to the house. Sure enough, the Nest had gone wacko and ALL of the pipes and toilets in our house are frozen solid," the user stated. "Called support. They were absolutely no help, told me I had to prove it was the Nest before they could help... oh and they couldn't even help me find a qualified technician other then to send me a generic list."

So what happened? A recent software update is to blame. According to Nest, which Google acquired two years ago for $3.2 billion, Nest thermostats that have been updated to version 5.1.3 or later "may become unresponsive or may not charge the battery efficiently, causing it to shut down."

Nest claims the issue is fixed for all but 0.5 percent of its customers and the remaining should be address soon. Nevertheless, it's a reminder that all these smart technologies being introduced can have their dumb moments, and in cases like this, it can be both costly and dangerous (chilled temps in a home with a sick baby or elderly patient isn't exactly a good thing).