Rock star STATus

It was a lazy Saturday afternoon. I was laying on my couch with the TV remote in hand, while the other was in what was once a full bag of chips. My thumb was going a mile a minute as I surfed through the stations, becoming aggravated at the garbage I was seeing on the television. 

“No. Definitely not. College football? No. More college football? No. Adult woman screaming, jumping, high fiving and hugging?” 

I stopped. 

I glanced down at the bottom left of the screen.

“Ellen?” I asked. 

I should have known! 

“Hmm, she must have some major celebrity on. Or maybe she’s giving away cars to everyone in the audience, like Oprah,” I said. 

I continued to watch. Next, the camera pans back to Ellen’s smiling, laughing and clapping. 

“What did she just give away?” I asked. “Was it a trip to Bermuda? A day with a celebrity?” 

None of the above. It was a NEST thermostat! 

“Seriously?” I asked. 

Wow! I couldn’t believe my eyes. 

“Did I just see that right? Grown woman jumping around, high fiving, hugging strangers, and yes there was one lady standing up on her chair with her arms wailing, as if she was rocking out at a concert?” I asked. “And all for a thermostat?” 

I never thought I’d EVER see grown adults celebrate like that, especially for a thermostat. I mean maybe I could see the woman acting that way if they won a million dollars or even a new car. But a home control device! 

I shot a look at the old thermostat on the wall and then looked back at the audience on the TV. I shot another look back to the thermostat on the wall and then back to the TV, again. 

“Wow, I MUST get my hands on this rockin’ thermostat!” I said.

I arrived home after a long day of work that following week and there it was! My package was delivered. I couldn’t wait to open the box and find out what the big hype was about the device. I opened up the packaging and there it was, sitting in the box surrounded by packing paper. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this thermostat. I peeled away the plastic wrap around the box and slowly opened it up. The box in which the thermostat sat in even felt like top-quality material. Everything about the packaging of this device was immaculate. I knew right away I was handling a top-notch thermostat. I was so used to holding the flimsy cardboard boxes with a plastic, light-weight, run-of-the-mill thermostat stuffed inside with a set of screws and anchors. 

The NEST even provided a nice screwdriver to go along with the thermostat, some well-explained, colorful directions, and heavy duty screws. I quickly went over to the ancient slide bar thermostat and removed it from the wall. I had my standard red and white wires coming out from the wall and also the remains of an unpainted rectangle. I then took the back piece of the NEST and began to mount it to the wall, and connected my wires. They even supplied a cover plate piece, which covered the outline of the old thermostat. Pretty clever. 

“Wow, OK. So far, so good. There must be some kind of curve ball with this thermostat, it can’t be this easy,” I said.

Well, I kid you not. I’ll be honest with you, it was one of the easiest thermostat installs I’ve ever done. No joke. They had a built in level on the back mounting piece and the setup was a breeze. I connected to my Wi-Fi in the house and it was up and running. Then, I downloaded the app and it was all set! 

The thermostat is truly incredible. It programs itself and learns your everyday routine, so when you’re away from home it will adjust the temperature as needed. No hiccups. No problems. Two thumbs up! 

A few weeks after installing the NEST thermostat I, my wife and our son, Mason, were out at dinner. We sat down at our table, ordered our drinks, and began to browse the menu. I knew exactly what I was getting, so I decided to goof around with my phone. 

“What are you doing?” my wife asked. 

I looked up and smirked. 

“Nothing, just turning the thermostat up at home,” I said , while laughing. “It’s amazing to me that I can simply turn my thermostat up right from my smartphone! It’s incredible how technology has changed.” 

Just as the words were coming out of my mouth the waiter returned and placed an etch-a-sketch pad on the table for our son Mason to play with. I took a double take and couldn’t believe my eyes! I haven’t seen one of those in so many years. I shot my wife a look and began to chuckle, as did she. I looked down at Mason and he had the etch-a-sketch in his hands. He began to swipe at the screen. 

“Da-da, why is this not working?” he asked me. 

I laughed out loud! He then began to poke at the etch-a-sketch with his fingers, trying to get the screen to activate. It was amazing to me that his first reaction was to treat this device like a tablet. Here I was sitting in the restaurant turning up my thermostat at home on my smartphone, and I have my son treating an etch-a-sketch like a tablet. It made me realize how things have changed so much with technology. 

When I first saw Mason trying to operate the device like a tablet, my first thought was to laugh and think how sad it was that he thought it was an electronic device. But, then I realized that this is not only my future with technology but his as well. This is the world we live in today and I love every minute of it! 

I feel it is so important for us plumbers to embrace the new technology of today’s world. Devices are constantly evolving in our industry, whether it be new and improved boilers, valves, software or thermostats. I encourage you to learn and adopt these changes in our field, because it’s the way of the future. 

Although I was happier than a kid in a candy store when my NEST thermostat arrived, in the back of my mind I was somewhat reluctant to change my old slide bar thermostat. There is always fear when you have to change and step outside of your comfort zone. However, I knew it was something I needed to do to help grow my knowledge and experience with these new devices. I encourage you guys to do the same. Well done, NEST. I applaud you in creating a well-functioning Rock Star thermostat! 

Sean McCormack is co-owner of BMC Plumbing and Heating Inc. He can be reached at, or (845) 596-7770. Visit Sean’s website,

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