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Google’s Nest Thermostat offers many conveniences for users while remaining energy friendly, including detecting and learning about a home’s temperature to accurately cool or heat it as efficiently as possible.

However, the Nest Thermostat is known to display its status as “pre-cooling”, which confuses many users. Below are details about what this pre-cooling status is, reasons as to why the Nest Thermostat displays this status, and potential fixes.

AdobeStock_286210206 Hand adjusting temperature on electric thermostat

What Is “Pre-Cooling”?

Pre-cooling is a setting in thermostats that cool down a home before a scheduled time. It also can happen before a time where cooling is in high demand in the area. Pre-cooling can help keep a home cooler for longer and also improves the performance of an air conditioning unit.

Potential Reasons Why Your Nest Thermostat Says “Pre-Cooling”

1. The Nest Thermostat “Home” Mode Is Turned On

Nest Thermostat has a “Home” mode that turns on the air conditioning shortly before you arrive home. The purpose is to get the home cooled to the desired temperature by the time you return.

If this mode is turned on, the Nest Thermostat may display the pre-cooling status because the machine is trying to anticipate your needs and arrival time. It is essentially getting ready to get the house cooler before you return.

However, on a day when you do not leave the house, you may see the Nest Thermostat say “pre-cooling” as it is still scheduled to anticipate your return home.

That can be confusing for those that do not know about the “Home” mode and how it functions but all it means is that the Nest Thermostat is trying to get the house cooler as soon as possible.

2. The Nest Thermostat Has A Cooling Schedule Enabled

The cooling schedule lets users tell the Nest Thermostat when the air conditioning should be turned on.

This is useful for conserving energy so the air conditioning is not running all day or when it is not necessary, such as when you are out of the house for things like work or a vacation.

The Nest Thermostat may say “pre-cooling” if it has a cooling schedule set.

This is because the Nest Thermostat is designed to start cooling before the scheduled time so that the house’s temperature reaches the imputed level at the scheduled time instead of starting to cool the house down once the scheduled time is reached.

Essentially, this means that the Nest Thermostat’s pre-cooling status indicates that the Nest Thermostat is working on getting the temperature lowered to the specified level preemptively.

This makes the house’s temperature more accurate to your desired inputs.

3. The Nest Thermostat Has A Fan Schedule Running

Similar to the cooling schedule, the Nest Thermostat allows users to set the fan to turn on at certain times to cool down the house. It can be used to schedule the fan to turn on before you get home or to turn the fan off during certain times.

If your Nest Thermostat has a fan schedule, then it may display the pre-cooling status as it prepares to run the fan schedule.

However, if someone else in your home has set this schedule without your knowledge, that could explain why you see the pre-cooling status on display at unexpected times.

4. The Nest Thermostat’s Energy History Mode Is Turned On

The Nest Thermostat has a “Energy History” feature, which shows how much energy your air conditioning machine uses. It also shows how often the air conditioning is turned on.

This is a useful indicator for those interested in how efficient their air conditioning usage is.

Although this mode may not be the direct cause of the pre-cooling status, it can help determine what the actual cause is.

Pre-cooling aims to get the house cooler at a faster speed while being as energy efficient as possible.

Essentially, checking your energy history could indicate if there is unusual usage of your air conditioning machine that could be causing the pre-cooling status to pop up.

The cause could be someone in your house manually overriding inputs or schedules, causing the Nest Thermostat to start cooling the house at unexpected times.

5. The Nest Thermostat’s Early-On Feature Is Enabled

The Early-On feature functions as the opposite of the “Home” mode. While the “Home” mode turns on the air conditioning while people are out of the house to get the cooler before they get home, the Early-On feature keeps the cooler while people are at home.

The Early-On feature aims to get the house to the desired temperature by the scheduled time rather than starting to cool the house at the imputed time, thus getting the house cooler faster while people are home.

The Early-On feature also learns how the temperature in your house fluctuates and adjusts itself to better estimate when to start the air conditioning.

If this feature is enabled without your knowledge, then the Nest Thermostat will start saying it is “pre-cooling” when you do not expect it because it is trying to compensate for what time your home tends to reach certain temperatures.

6. The House Temperature Is Currently Too High Or Warm

If your home’s temperature is unusually warm, the Nest Thermostat may try to compensate by bringing the temperature down to the settings you entered.

Since pre-cooling happens as the Nest Thermostat prepares to bring the temperature to a specific level, it may display this setting at an unusual time if it encounters a sudden rise in temperature.

Potential Fixes For Your Nest Thermostat Reading “Pre-Cooling”

The first step is to check the Nest Thermostat settings. The settings will indicate if any schedules are set that may be causing the Nest Thermostat to go into pre-cooling.

Looking at the settings will also show you if any modes are enabled, like “Home” mode or “Early-On” mode. Having these modes enabled could be causing the pre-cooling status to appear on your Nest Thermostat.

It is also a good idea to check for any manual overrides. If someone manually adjusted the Nest Thermostat’s temperature, it may cause pre-cooling to occur at an unscheduled or undesired time.

If checking these settings does not resolve the issue, you can restart the Nest Thermostat. Sometimes the Nest Thermostat will fix itself after being restarted. Just go to the settings menu and select the option labeled “Restart”.

If all else fails, contact the Nest Thermostat Support Team. Nest Support can provide further assistance, troubleshoot the issue, and give additional solutions that may solve the problem.


Pre-cooling is a useful process used by the Nest Thermostat to keep a home cooler for longer and improve air conditioning performance. However, it may display this status at a time that may not be desired and require fixing.

This can be adjusted by examining any features or schedules that may be enabled or even just restarting the Nest Thermostat.