While your Nest Thermostat is obviously designed to regulate the temperature in your home, it can work in two modes, as well as act as a kind of motion detector. Here’s how to do it.
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The Nest thermostat has a built-in motion sensor that is used to detect if someone is home or not, allowing it to turn off the heating or air conditioning, respectively, if it detects that no one is home. It is also used to activate the screen whenever someone passes by, displaying the current set temperature and allowing you to take a quick look.
However, you can use this motion sensor for more than just this, thanks to the IFTTT service (meaning «If this, then this»). IFTTT uses «recipes» to allow users to connect all kinds of products and services that you wouldn’t normally be able to connect, such as every new Facebook photo you’re tagged in is automatically uploaded to your Dropbox. We will use IFTTT with your Nest to send you a notification when your Nest Thermostat detects motion.
Why should I do this?
When you go on vacation or just go to work during the day, your Nest thermostat can automatically go into Out of Home mode with the Home/Travel Assistance feature, and whenever it detects motion, it will automatically switch to home mode (because it thinks you are at home now). However, you can use this feature as a motion detector and get notified whenever it happens, alerting you to a possible intruder inside your home when you are away.
Of course, you don’t want to be notified every time this happens, especially if you’re already at home, so you can easily disable the IFTTT recipe whenever you want, and we’ll show you how to do it all the way. ,
Before we begin, there are a few settings that need to be enabled on your Nest thermostat. First of all, the thermostat needs to be in Out of Home mode for the IFTTT recipe to work, and you need to enable Home/Away Help.
To enable Home/Away Assistance, open the Nest app on your phone and tap the gear icon in the top right corner.
Select «Help at Home/Away».
Click on «What decides if you are at home».
Choose your Nest thermostat.
Click on the switch button. It will switch from gray to blue (if it isn’t already).
This feature will automatically put your Nest thermostat into Home or Away mode, depending on how it senses or doesn’t sense movement. You can also manually switch between modes right from the main screen of the Nest app by pressing the Home button.
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Now that we’ve got that set up, let’s get started creating the IFTTT recipe. If you haven’t used IFTTT before, check out our getting started guide for information on how to create an account and connect apps. Then come back here to craft your Nest recipe.
For your convenience, we’ve also created the entire recipe and implemented it here, so if you’re already familiar with IFTTT, just click the «Add» button below. You will need to connect the Nest and SMS channels if they are not already connected, as well as enter your phone number to send text messages. You also need to select your house from the «Which house?» drop-down box.
If you want to change the recipe, here’s how we created it. Go to the IFTTT homepage and click «My Recipes» in the top right corner of the screen.
Then click «Create Recipe».
Click on «it» highlighted in blue.
Type «Nest Thermostat» in the search box, or search for it in the list of products and services below. Click on it when you find it.
If you haven’t connected your Nest Thermostat to IFTTT yet, click «Connect» and sign in to your account. Follow the instructions until you are done connecting your accounts.
Next, you’ll select a trigger — in our case, whenever the Nest senses movement. Select Nest set to Home.
On the next page, select your home from the drop down list. There will probably only be one option, unless you have several houses that all have a Nested Thermostat. Then click «Create Trigger».
Then click on «this» highlighted in blue to set the action that happens when the trigger fires.
The channel you select here depends on the type of notification you want to receive. For example, you can select the «Email» channel if you want to receive an email whenever the Nest detects motion, or select the «IF Notifications» channel if you want to receive push notifications on your iPhone. You can even receive a text message using the «SMS» channel. For our example, we will use the SMS channel and receive a text message as our notification.
After selecting the SMS channel, click Connect. The SMS channel will send a PIN to your phone which you will enter into IFTTT to pair them. Follow the instructions until this is over.
You will now select an action, so click «Send me an SMS».
Next, you will enter the message that appears when you receive a notification. You can add something as simple as «Motion detected from your Nest thermostat!». Click «Create Action» when you’re done.
On the next page, give your recipe a title at the bottom. It could be anything. Then click «Create Recipe».
Your recipe is now live! Whenever your Nest Thermostat detects motion and automatically switches to «Home», you’ll get a notification about it, making it a great way to find out about a possible burglar in your home when you’re away. Again, your Nest Thermostat must be set to Offline for this to work, but this will happen automatically if you have Home/Away Assist enabled.
Whenever your Nest thermostat detects motion and automatically switches to «Home», you get a message about it, making it a great way to find out about a possible burglar in your home when you’re not at home.
If you’re at home and don’t want to receive these notifications, you’ll need to disable the IFTTT recipe, which can be done by clicking «My Recipes» at the top of the page and then pressing the power button next to the recipe to turn it off.
This won’t remove it, and you can press the power button again to turn it back on whenever you want.
Again, your Nest Thermostat must be set to Offline for this to work, but this will happen automatically if you have Home/Away Assist enabled.
Sure, it’s not the prettiest setup, and the Nest Thermostat isn’t exactly designed to be used as a motion detector (Nest Cam is probably the best solution for this), but that’s the way the product is used. you already have and get even more benefit from it.