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Nerd hack: You can tweak your Nest thermostat to become a motion detector

Who cares about heat!? What I’m excited about is whether I can modify this and set it up on my refrigerator. So if it goes off in the middle of the night, I know my wife is sneaking a slice of pie or something.

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If you thought the only thing your thermostat can do is maintain the hot or cold in your home or apartment then think again! A quick review: Regular thermostats let you adjust the temperature in your home. The thermostat, I think we all know, is just a control panel for your heating and air conditioning system. Furthermore, programmable thermostats let you set the temperature and have the thermostat change it based on the time of day.


Feel the heat

OK, so much for Heating/Cooling 101. HowToGeek teaches us that “What makes most smart thermostats so “smart” is that they learn from your behaviors, allowing you to control the climate in your home remotely and show you energy consumption in real-time.”

For example, explains the Geek squad, you can tell your smart-stat to shut off after you leave the house for work, and then spring back into action in just enough time to make the house nice and toasty (or cool and comfortable, depending on the season) by the time you to get home.

Most smart thermostats show you how long it takes to make the change you’ve requested, so you can see how effective your climate control system really is. From the remote interface, chimes in Lifehacker/a>, “You can always see how much you’re spending on heating or cooling costs, tweak the programming to you save money, and see the results immediately.”

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More bang for your buck

How-to Geek walks you through the process of setting up an IFTTT recipe to connect your Nest thermostat with your phone so you can get a text or call when Nest detects motion.

First, you’ll need to enable the HOME/AWAY ASSIST function from the Nest app so that when you’re home and Nest detects your motion, it will automatically set your status to HOME. From there, just connect your Nest app in IFTTT.

Now set up the IFTTT trigger to text or call your phone when Nest sets to HOME. If you get a text and you’re not home, you might have a break-in on your hands. Or maybe your house is just haunted. Either way, you’ll know when something is up.

This could probably work with other smart devices that use motion detection, too. You can browse IFTTT’s many channels to see if your device is listed, then just follow the rest of the steps for setting up the recipe.

What I’m excited about is whether I can modify this and set it up on my refrigerator. So if it goes off in the middle of the night I know my wife is sneaking a slice of pie or something.

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Be smart

Ultimately, reminds LifeHacker, all smart thermostats really do is “Take the hassle out of adjusting the temperature and climate in your home in a way that walks the line between comfort and energy efficiency.” Common sense aside, this is just another example of how being “smart” can save you time and money.

But most of all money (if used correctly).


Written By

Nearly three decades living and working all over the world as a radio and television broadcast journalist in the United States Air Force, Staff Writer, Gary Picariello is now retired from the military and is focused on his writing career.


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