Craig Lloyd is a smarthome expert with nearly ten years of professional writing experience. His work has been published by iFixit, Lifehacker, Digital Trends, Slashgear, and GottaBeMobile. Read more.
The Nest Thermostat is pretty easy to use, but it isn’t so apparent how to turn off the thermostat when you don’t need heating or air conditioning on.
Sure, you could just set the Nest to “Away” to stop it from heating and cooling, but that won’t work very well if you have Home/Away Assist enabled. Luckily, there’s a really easy way to simply turn off the Nest Thermostat. It’s not directly out in the open in the Nest app, but it’s easy to get to, and you can also do it from the Nest unit itself.
From the Nest App
Open up the Nest app on your phone and select your Nest Thermostat on the main screen.
Down in the bottom-left corner, tap on “Heat”. It also might say “Cool”, depending on the weather in your region at the time.
When the pop-up menu appears, select “Off”. This will turn off the Nest Thermostat until you turn it on manually again.
On the Nest Thermostat
Click on your Nest Thermostat unit to bring up the main menu.
Using the silver scroll wheel, navigate to “Thermostat” and select it.
Use the wheel to select “Off” and push on the unit. Your thermostat will now be turned off.
How to Adjust the Nest’s Safety Temperatures
Keep in mind that even though it’s off, the Nest Thermostat still has safety temperatures that it will act upon. So if the temperature in your house reaches a certain level (the default is 40 degrees Fahrenheit), the Nest Thermostat will automatically turn on and begin heating the house to prevent pipes from freezing. This is great if you ever forget to turn the thermostat on while you’re away from home for a significant period of time.
To adjust these safety temperatures, you can do so from within the Nest app. From the main screen, select your Nest Thermostat.
Tap on the settings gear icon in the top-right corner of the screen.
Select “Equipment” from the list.
Tap on “Safety Temperatures”.
From here, you can adjust the safety temperatures a bit.
By default, your house can get down to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and there’s no default maximum temperature that will trigger the AC to kick on. However, by holding and dragging on the dots, you can set these to specific temperatures, but you can only go as high as 45 degrees for the heating and as low as 95 degrees for AC. You can also turn off both if you want, but it’s always a good idea to set these so that you don’t cause any trouble in the future.
May 14, 2019 11:08 am
Amazon has announced a new ‘Alexa Guard’ feature that works to protect your home while you’re away.
Guard is an Alexa feature that helps you keep your home safe. When you set Guard to Away mode, if an Echo device detects the sound of smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, or glass breaking, Alexa can send you Smart Alerts, via notifications to your phone. If you have a Ring, ADT Pulse, or ADT Control security system, Alexa can also arm your system when you set Guard to Away mode, and you can opt to forward Smart Alerts to your security provider. And if you have connected smart lights, Alexa can automatically turn them on and off when Guard is in Away mode to make it look like someone is home.
If an Echo device detects a selected sound, Alexa will send you a Smart Alert to let you know which sound was detected along with a 10-second audio clip sample of that event. You can play the detected sound from your Alexa app, or Drop In on your Echo remotely to investigate what’s happening in your home. You can also choose to forward Smart Alerts you receive to Ring or ADT.
Start by setting up Guard in the Alexa app. Then say, “Alexa, I’m leaving” to set Guard to Away mode.
Get Smart Alerts:
Alexa can send you Smart Alerts, via phone notifications, if your Echo device detects the sound of smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, or glass breaking. Play the detected sound from your Alexa app, or Drop In on your Echo remotely to investigate what’s happening.
Use Away Lighting:
Alexa can automatically turn compatible smart lights on and off to make it look like someone is home.
Integrate with Ring or ADT: Alexa can arm your Ring or ADT security system. You can also choose to forward Smart Alerts you receive to Ring or ADT.
Turn on Away Lighting
With Away Lighting, Alexa can automatically turn compatible smart lights on and off to make it look like someone is home. Away Lighting works with connected smart lights, plugs, and switches that are Works with Alexa-certified.
. When you set Guard to Away mode, Alexa can arm your Ring Alarm. Additionally, get quick access to the Ring app when you receive a Smart Alert for a selected sound. From the Ring app, you can request dispatch of emergency responders if you have professional monitoring with Ring Protect Plus—just $10/month with no cancellation fees, long-term commitments, or hidden costs.
When you set Guard to Away mode, Alexa can arm your ADT security system. You can also set up automatic forwarding of Smart Alerts for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms so ADT can dispatch first responders in the case of an emergency.
How To get started with Alexa Guard:
- Open the latest version of the Alexa app
- Navigate to the Settings menu
- Select Guard to begin setup
What sounds can Alexa detect?
While Guard is in Away mode, the Echo devices in your home can detect and notify you about the sound of smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, or glass breaking. You can choose which sounds you want Alexa to notify you about during Guard setup.
How do I switch between Home mode and Away mode?
Once you set up Guard, just say “I’m leaving” to switch to Away mode. The light ring on non-screen Echo devices will animate with a rotating white light and screen devices will show a shield icon on the home screen to indicate when Guard is in Away mode. Say “I’m home” to switch Guard to Home mode. You can also toggle between modes in the Guard section of the Alexa app.
How does Alexa detect selected sounds?
In Away mode, Echo devices can detect the sounds of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and glass breaking using the same technology used to detect the wake word (for example, “Alexa”). If an Echo device detects an acoustic pattern that matches the selected sound, Alexa will send you a Smart Alert. Alexa is always getting smarter, and her ability to accurately detect specific sounds will improve the more you use Guard.
What happens when Alexa detects a selected sound?
If an Echo device detects a selected sound, Alexa will send you a Smart Alert to let you know which sound was detected along with a 10-second audio clip sample of that event. Play the detected sound from your Alexa app, or Drop In on your Echo remotely to investigate what’s happening in your home. You can also choose to forward Smart Alerts you receive to Ring or ADT.
How does Guard work with ADT?
When you set Guard to Away mode, Alexa can arm your ADT Pulse or ADT Control security system. Alexa can also forward Smart Alerts for detected sounds to ADT to enhance ADT’s monitoring coverage of your home. Choose whether to automatically forward Smart Alerts to ADT, or manually forward them on a case-by-case basis, during Guard setup.
How does Guard work with Ring Alarm?
When you set Guard to Away mode, Alexa can arm your Ring Alarm security system. Additionally, get quick access to the Ring app when you receive a Smart Alert for a selected sound. From the Ring app, you can request dispatch of emergency responders if you have professional monitoring with Ring Protect Plus.
Is there a monthly fee or additional cost to use Guard?
No, if you already have an Echo device, there is no additional fee or monthly contract to enable Guard. Professional monitoring services provided by ADT or Ring may have additional costs.
How does Away Lighting work?
With Away Lighting, Alexa automatically turns your smart lighting on and off to make it look like you’re home while you’re away. Alexa uses machine learning to determine the right lighting activity for your home based on lighting usage across customers. Just set Guard to Away mode and Alexa will do the rest.
What products work with Away Lighting?
Away Lighting works with connected smart lights and lights connected to smart plugs and switches that are Works with Alexa-certified. You can select which lights to include in Away Lighting within Guard Settings of the Alexa app.
Where can I review my Smart Alerts?
You can review and delete Smart Alerts in the Guard section of the Alexa app. You can also review audio recordings associated with your Guard account and delete those recordings one by one or all at once by visiting Privacy within Settings of the Alexa app or via the Alexa Privacy Settings Page.
The following devices will work with Alexa Guard:
- Echo Dot
- Echo Plus
- Echo Show
- Echo Spot
- Echo Input
Alexa Guard is currently rolling out in the US To enable the feature, update to the latest version of the Alexa app.
About Nelson Régo
Nelson Régo is the owner and founder of the Cool Blind Tech website since November of 2012. Nelson launched the first show on March 14, 2013. He also directs the website as a whole, hiring staff, originating new shows, and approving all content.
Eric Ravenscraft has nearly a decade of writing experience in the technology industry. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, PCMag, The Daily Beast, Popular Science, Medium’s OneZero, Android Police, Geek and Sundry, and The Inventory. Prior to joining How-To Geek, Eric spent three years working at Lifehacker. Read more.
The Nest learning thermostat can tell when you leave the house and save energy by turning off the heat or A/C. If you’re leaving home for vacation, however, you can save a lot more by turning your thermostat off entirely.
Normally, when you leave your house, the Nest will turn on Eco Mode. In this mode, the Nest will let the temperature get a little outside your normal comfort range before turning on the heat or air conditioning. So, for example, if you like your house between 69 and 72 degrees, Eco Mode might let your house get down to 65 degrees before turning on the heater. This wastes less energy while still keeping your home a reasonable temperature. Plus, it will take less power to get back to a comfortable temperature when you get home.
If you’re leaving the house for several days, however, you don’t need the Nest to maintain a remotely comfortable temperature. In that situation, Nest recommends turning off your thermostat entirely. When it’s off, the thermostat won’t enter Eco Mode while you’re away. Instead, the heat or air conditioning will only kick on if you fall outside of your safety temperatures. These ensure your house never gets too hot or cold and helps avoid things like freezing pipes or damaging any wood in your home.
We’ll demonstrate how to turn the thermostat off on the web, but the steps are largely the same on the device itself or the phone app. To start, head to Nest’s website and log in.
Next, click on the thermostat you want to turn off.
At the bottom of the screen, click the current thermostat mode button. It should show which mode it’s currently set in.
From the list of modes in the menu that pops up, choose Off.
At this point, your Nest will not adjust your home’s temperature unless it exceeds your safety temperatures.
If you’re going to be gone for a long time, it’s also a good idea to run your fan every once in a while to keep the air circulating. Otherwise, even within your set temperature ranges, you could build up moisture which can warp wood or cause mold to grow. Fortunately, Nest can run your fan every day, even if it’s not heating or cooling your home.
To turn this on, open your thermostat’s page like you did before and click the settings gear icon at the top.
Next, scroll down and click Fan Schedule.
Turn on the toggle under “Every day.” This will make sure that the fan runs for at least part of the day, even if the Nest never needs to turn the heat or air conditioning on. You can also set how long you want the fan to run every hour, in increments of 15 minutes.
While you’re tweaking your settings, you may want to check on your safety temperatures. You would’ve set these when you first installed your Nest, but it couldn’t hurt to check them again before you go on vacation. To find these, once again click on the settings gear icon from the thermostat page, then click Equipment.
At the bottom of the settings list, you’ll see Safety Temperatures. Your chosen temperatures are on the right side. If you’re fine with these, leave them. If you want to edit them, click on Safety Temperatures.
To edit your safety temperatures, drag the handles for each temperature until it’s where you want it. Keep in mind things like pets when choosing a safety temperature. Animals like cats and dogs can usually survive most temperatures that humans can, but pets like birds and lizards have very specific temperature needs. If you’re leaving your animals behind, make sure they—as well as any humans who will drop by to care for them—can be comfortable at the temperatures you choose.
For some shorter vacations, Eco Mode may be a better idea, since it will keep your home comfortable while you’re away. If you’ll be gone longer, though, these precautions should help you save some cash on your energy bill without harming anything in your home.
Craig Lloyd is a smarthome expert with nearly ten years of professional writing experience. His work has been published by iFixit, Lifehacker, Digital Trends, Slashgear, and GottaBeMobile. Read more.
When you leave for work, you likely turn down your thermostat before you head out the door to save energy. But the Nest Thermostat can automatically do that for you, by detecting when you’re away and when you come home.
With a feature called Home/Away Assist, the Nest Thermostat can use its built-in sensor, as well as the GPS location from your phone, to automatically determine whether you’re home or away. From there, it can turn down the temperature if you’re away and turn it back up when it detects that you’re coming home. Here’s how to set it up.
Home/Away Assist vs. Auto-Away
First off, it’s important that we clear up something that might be confusing you. The Nest Thermostat has two features along these lines: one called Home/Away Assist, and one called Auto-Away, both of which seem very similar to one another. Auto-Away has been around for a long time, while Home/Away Assist is a fairly new (and long-awaited) feature.
The biggest difference, though, is that Auto-Away is exclusive to the Nest Thermostat, while Home/Away Assist is available on all of Nest’s products (Nest Cam, Nest Protect, and so on). Furthermore, Auto-Away on the Nest Thermostat only uses the unit’s motion sensor to detect whether or not anyone is home, while Home/Away Assist uses your phone’s GPS, as well as the motion sensor, resulting in more accurate detection, so to speak.
However, in order for Home/Away Assist to use the sensor portion, Auto-Away must be enabled, so you could look at Auto-Away as being a part of the Home/Away Assist feature. Neither has to be enabled for the other to work, but if you want your Nest to use both the GPS and the motion sensor, you’ll want to turn both on.
Now that we have that cleared up, let’s get started setting up Home/Away Assist so that your Nest Thermostat can automatically adjust itself based on your home/away status.
How to Set Up Home/Away Assist
Start by opening up the Nest app on your phone and tapping on the settings gear icon in the top-right corner of the screen.
Select “Home/Away Assist”.
Tap on “What decides if you’re home”.
Tap on “Use phone location”.
Tap on the toggle switch that appears.
A new screen will pop up. Tap on “OK” at the bottom.
When a smaller pop-up appears, tap on “Use phone”.
You might get another pop-up asking permission for the Nest app to access your location. Accept this if you get this message.
On the next screen, enter in your address and tap on “Next”. Don’t worry, though: Nest doesn’t save this address anywhere–it’s simply just used to find your location on the map and make it easier to pinpoint your location.
When the next screen appears, drag the map to move the pin on top of your house. You can tap on the mountain icon in the bottom-right corner to get an overhead satellite view. Tap on “Done” when it’s set.
The next step is to enable Auto-Away, which uses the Nest Thermostat’s built-in motion sensor to determine if you’re home or away. Tap on the toggle switch to the right of “Nest Thermostat” and select “Next”.
Tap on the back arrow in the top-left corner of the screen.
Next, tap on the two temperatures that are displayed with the small orange and blue arrows.
Under “Use Away temperatures”, you can hold and drag on the two dots to set your minimum and maximum comfort temperatures. These are called Away Temperatures, and depending on how you have them set, your Nest Thermostat will automatically turn on your heating or air conditioning to meet these specified temperatures.
For example, if your thermostat is set to Away, but you still want the heat to kick on if the temperature inside your house ever reaches 65 degrees, you can set it so that the heat will kick on automatically whenever it gets that cold in your house. Or if the temperature reaches 80 degrees inside in the summer, but you don’t want it to get any hotter, you can set this as the maximum temperature.
After you set these temperatures, you can hit the back arrow in the top-left corner to go back to the main screen. At that point, you’re set to go!
If you don’t want to use either the GPS or the Nest’s motion sensor, simply skip those specific steps above, but having both enabled will allow your Nest Thermostat to do a better job at automatically determining whether you’re home or away. In fact, if you only have the motion sensor portion enabled, it will take about a week or so for the Nest Thermostat to learn your daily patterns and adjust itself efficiently.
Furthermore, if you have an erratic schedule and don’t leave and come home at the same times every day, it might be best to have GPS enabled so that the motion sensor doesn’t get overly confused.
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Smart homes make you feel like you’re living in the future. You can turn lights on or off with just your voice, and see who’s ringing your doorbell without getting off your couch — but are you using every function your smart home has to offer?
Smart home hubs like Amazon Echo and Google Nest have the ability to run things called “automation routines.” With a single command, or at preset times, your smart home can run a variety of functions on different smart devices all at once.
These automation routines can even simplify how you leave home and keep your family safe. How, you ask? Read on to see some of our favorite automation routines from Amazon Echo and Google Nest. Don’t forget to tap or click here to check out SimpliSafe, Kim’s most trusted total home security system.
1. Who needs a guard dog?
If you have a smart security system and an Amazon Echo device, you should know about Alexa Guard. Guard is a feature you can activate on your Echo that, when set to Away mode, will listen to your home and let you know if there are sounds like glass breaking or alarms going off.
With the new update, Guard can also let you know if a faucet is on and if it hears footsteps or people talking in your home. All of these features are great on their own, but Guard has automation routines that push it to the next level.
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All you have to do is say, “Alexa, I’m headed out,” or a similar phrase, and Alexa Guard will take over, locking your smart locks, arming your alarm and security systems, activating any motion sensors or outside lights and setting Guard to “Away” mode. Want to use a timer instead of a voice command? You can do that too.
Tap or click here to learn how to use Alexa Guard on your favorite Echo device and set up your commands ASAP. You got smart security to easily secure your home, so why not use your Echo device to simplify the process?
The Google Nest hub comes with Nest Protect, which can work with your home’s smart security system and activates alarms when you need them. Nest Protect can keep you safe whether you’re home or on the town.
You can set up Nest Protect to activate your smart lights to flash red when it detects smoke as a warning to your family, and if you believe a person is attempting to break into your home, you can set up an automation routine to play sounds and flash lights to scare the would-be burglar off. This can also activate your alarm system so help can arrive quickly.
Nest Protect automation routines are as customizable as the rest of Google Nest, so you can decide what alerts to use and when. Tap or click here to learn more about Google Nest.
3. Get rid of schedule hiccups
It’s great to set a wake-up alarm on your Alexa, then immediately ask her to play a song while you’re getting ready. If you’re up at the same time every day, and always want music to play, you can set up an automation routine. By setting morning and evening routines, your day is on a personalized track — but that’s not all Alexa can do.
If you have smart devices powered by batteries, you can let Alexa keep track of them. The system will let you know when it’s almost time to replace low batteries or can order them for you from Amazon. Alexa can order replacement air filters, paper towels and anything else you set up smart reordering automation routines for.
When Alexa reminds you of your shopping list, or takes care of the list for you, you’re free to focus on more important aspects of your day. By setting routines, you can also avoid potential scheduling hiccups. Learn how to set up automation routines by tapping or clicking here.
4. Leave without a word — or just a quick phrase
Many of us like to set our thermostats a little lower when we leave the house, and make sure all the lights are off, so we don’t waste power (and money). Let your Google Nest do it for you.
Just set up a routine so when you leave the house, you just have to say, “OK, Google, I’m heading out,” or “Google, I’m going to work now.” With the phrase of your choice, Google Nest turns off all your smart lights and smart switches, lowers the temperature and even lock your smart locks.
Would you prefer to have your lights dimmed, instead of turned off? You can customize your settings to make it so. Would you like the heat to cycle when you’re away for a longer period of time? You can set that too. Automation routines exist to make your life more convenient, so they’re customizable to you and your family’s lifestyles.
Set up automation routines to make using your smart home easier and optimize your smart devices. It can make your home safer and more efficient, so activate your smart home hub and start setting up routines today.
Smart light bulbs that you can control from anywhere, save you money and last up to 25 yrs
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Full Control of Your Lights at Your Finger Tips
Easybulb™ is smart bulb, energy-efficient, multicolour lights, which is all controlled by your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android phones and tablets. Here are some of the features you’re sure to love:
- Colour changing light bulb including white light
- iPhone and Android App
- Voice Control
- Control lights away from home and any location around the globe
- Control individual lights or in a Group
- Set timer for each light to turn on and off
- Save energy – 9Watts LED bulb and 25 years Lifespan
- Save-As-You-Dim Technology
- Dim your Smart lights to match your mood
- Sleep Mode
- WPA2 Security, given a user sole authorization to the lights
- Has memory function to resume previous settings
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CONTROL YOUR HOME WHILE YOU’RE AWAY
Amazing Easybulb Plus™, WIFI and 3G/4G technology allow you to control your devices even when you are away on vacation with ease. Turn your lights up or down. All App functions made available at your fingertips even when you are not near the lights at your home or business. Home Automation simplified.
SET WAKE TIME AND NIGHT MODE
With the Easybulb App timer and Sleep mode functions, you can wake up to an automatic bright light synced with your phone alarm. With the Sleep Mode activated with a certain time, the lights will start dimming gradually till it goes off. All functions can be setup even when away from home or business.
- Set time on each bulb in different groups
- Use your lights as a wake up device
- Use Sleep Mode feature to send your child to sleep
- Useful when going on holiday
- Can be set even when you are away from home or business
CONTROL YOUR ENVIRONMENT-AND YOUR MOOD
Use Easybulb™ Smart Bulb to control your entire room and home to match your mood. Using your iPhone or Android device, you can literally “dial your way” to match your mood, or even change your mood with the right colour combinations. Colour changing light bulb with 16 million colours including white light.
A Range of Easybulb Smart Bulbs Available
The Easybulb Wifi light bulbs come in different types and fittings. Available are Easybulb Globes RGBW and White Lights, which come in B22 Bayonet and E27 Edison Screw fittings. Also available are Easybulb GU10, Easybulb Downlights, Easybulb E14 small Edison screw, remotes and others. Head over to our shop to see range of products.
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MUSIC LISTENING MODE
Let your light listen and dance to your music by simply placing your phone close to any music source. The music mode can be used anywhere.
CALLS AND SMS NOTIFICATION
EasyBulb even “knows” when you get SMS or text messages, notifications and more. You can program it to alert you when messages come in! How cool is that? A mood light modern day techno secretary! And it does much more than that! You can control entire lighting groups or individual lights to recognise activity in the house or office, program up to 10 sequence modes, and even create your own app!
DESIGNED TO SAVE ENERGY
EasyBulb Wifi light bulb was designed with conservation in mind so it is energy-efficient and earth-friendly while it also serves as Home Automation lights. They range between 4 to 9 watt LED lights. LEDs have a lifespan of around 50,000 hours, which is equivalent to 25 years of average use. EasyBulb also also comes free of any harmful chemicals such as mercury and other substances so you know the light that is emanating is not harming you, your family, or the earth. It is environment-friendly and features an efficient “dimming” feature which allows you to increase your savings the more you use it – So You Save as you dim. When compared to standard 60-100W bulbs, the Easybulb outshines and outlasts them with much less power output.
So head over to the Easybulb Plus Shop to find the right smart bulb for your home or business.
Use your Wall Switch – Still works like your regular light
EasyBulb smart bulbs, despite its high-tech features, also works with standard light switch, if you prefer that, giving you the easy option of flipping the switch on and off when you leave or enter a room. save money on low energy light bulbs and colour changing lights by using this product.
6 ways to prep your smart home before you go on vacation (Photo: Reviewed.com)
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It’s almost summertime, and for many people that means fun family vacations or cozy couples’ getaways. Before you head off on a week-long vacation though, it’s important to prep your smart home devices for your time away.
By setting up your gadgets the right way, you can increase the security of your home, save energy, and minimize the chances of something going awry while you’re enjoying some rest and relaxation. Here are several key tips on preparing your smart home devices for vacation.
1. Turn off your smart thermostat
Turn your Nest thermostat off if you’re going away. (Photo: Nest)
If you’re only going to be gone for a few days, you can simply put your smart thermostat on “Away” mode. However, if you’re going on vacation for a week or more, your best option is to turn off the thermostat completely. Nest explains that you’ll save the most energy by turning your smart thermostat off, as this will prevent it from kicking on every time the pet sitter enters the house, for example.
Don’t worry about your home overheating when the device is off. Even when the Nest Thermostat is in “Off” mode, its “Safety Temperatures” still work, meaning if your house gets extremely hot or cold, the system will turn back on to bring the temperature back to a safe level. With Nest, you choose Safety Temperatures when you initially set up the system, but you can check or adjust them through the settings in the Nest app.
2. Set up smart lock access for housesitters
Show any visitors how to use the smart lock. (Photo: August)
Is a neighbor stopping by to water your plants while you’re away? Will the petsitter pop by twice a day? You can give housesitters easy access to your home with a smart lock, just make sure to set up guest accounts before you leave. It’s probably best to have any visitors test out their access in advance, as smart locks can be confusing if you’ve never used one before.
3. Set schedules for lights
Thanks to smart plugs, it’s easier than ever to make it look like someone’s home when you’re on vacation. Products like the TP-Link Smart Plug allow you to set schedules for your lights, so you can turn them on for a few hours at night to deter criminals.
4. Enable motion alarms for smart cameras
Turn on motion detection alerts from your smart camera. (Photo: Blink)
If you have a smart security camera, like Nest or Blink, you might not use the motion detection alert feature on an everyday basis. However, this option can come in handy if your house will be empty for a long period of time.
Point the camera at the front door before you leave, and when motion alerts are enabled, you’ll get a notification sent to your phone if anyone enters the house.
5. Turn off unnecessary appliances
(Photo: Reviewed.com / Ben Keough)
Smart outlets can also help you save energy while you’re out of the house. Many appliances sap electricity even when they’re not in use, but you can keep them from running up your bill by plugging them into smart outlets. Top offenders include entertainment systems, home offices, bathroom accessories, and kitchen appliances, so put your smart plugs to work in these areas while you’re away.
6. Double-check scheduled devices
Decide whether you want your smart gadgets to run while you’re away. (Photo: iRobot)
Some of your smart products, like a robot vacuum or smart irrigation system, might run on an automatic schedule, so consider whether to turn these products off before you leave.
For instance, if you’re going to be away in the middle of summer, you may want to leave the sprinkler system hooked up to keep your lawn watered. On the other hand, if your Roomba tends to get tangled in wires, turn it off before vacation so it doesn’t accidentally damage anything.
Once you’ve completed these easy steps, you can head off on vacation knowing your smart home is safe and secure. Bon voyage!
Did you get a smart plug as a gift and don’t have a clue what do with it? Here’s what you need to know.
Smart plugs are a small and easy way to make your home smarter. Since they’re gaining popularity, there’s a chance you got one this holiday season, likely bundled with another smart device.
They’re far more useful than they may appear. You can use them to automate any appliance, light or device in just a few minutes. For example, say you’re going to leave your Christmas lights up a little longer. You can plug them into a smart plug ($15 at Best Buy) to schedule when the lights go on and when they turn off.
Here’s how to get your plug up and running and some nifty tips you need to know to get the most out of your smart plug, whether it’s a Belkin WeMo Mini Wi-Fi Smart Plug ($30 at Walmart) , iDevices Switch or a Z-Wave Plus.
How to set up a smart plug
If you’re not tech savvy, don’t worry. There’s no smart device that’s easier to set up than a smart plug. Essentially, you plug it into the wall, and then plug a device — like your coffee maker, lights or television — into the plug.
Your first step is to decide on what appliance or device you want to automate and plug it in (I’ve got some ideas, below). Then, you need to download the plug’s app to your phone and use it to pair the app with your plug using the on-screen instructions.
Next, connect your plug to Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri using their dedicated apps. This will allow you to control the plug with voice commands.
From there, you can use the plug’s app and voice commands to turn your appliance on and off or put it on a schedule that will activate your device automatically.
Features you’ll want to use
There are two features that you’ll want to take advantage of when setting up your smart plug: Scheduling and away mode.
With scheduling, you can time when your device goes on and off. For example, you could use the feature to make your coffee maker start brewing every day at 7 a.m., or turn on your living room lamp at 6 p.m. when you come home from work.
When you’re on vacation, away mode randomly turns your device on and off, mimicking human behavior. For example, you could set up your television with a smart plug so that it turns on and off to make potential thieves think there’s someone at home.
How to turn your lights on automatically when you get home with IFTTT
Creative ways to use smart plugs
We’ve touched on a few ideas to make your smart plugs useful, but there are so many more.
My favorite idea is plugging your curling iron, straightener, stove, iron, or whatever your appliance nemesis may be, into your smart plug so you can turn the item off no matter where you are.
You’ll never need to worry if you left the iron on — you can check anywhere you have an Internet connection, and turn off the switch too. On the flip side, you can also preheat these items with your smart plug so they’re ready when you need them.
Here are some more ideas to consider:
- Use them as energy meters to track the energy usage of an appliance. Note that some plugs, including the BelkinWeMo, don’t have this feature, so be sure to check the app for more info.
- Schedule the TV to turn off when it’s homework time.
- If you’re worried about standby power usage , plug it into a device that is hard to unplug, like a TV or gaming system.
- Automate an window or mobile air conditioner or space heater to come on during the warmest or coldest times of the day. Check the safety warnings on your heater or air conditioner first.
- Schedule your phone charger to stop charging once your phone is topped off while you sleep.
- Use your smart plug to turn your slow cooker on or off while you’re at work.
- Schedule when your electric blanket should turn off at night.
- Remotely turn off an appliance that has a constant, annoying beeping alarm like your oven, dryer or microwave.
- PThompson509 on Reddit uses smart plugs to automate heater controls, vent controls and misting controls in his wife’s greenhouse.
Google Home works with the Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Thermostat E to provide convenient temperature control in your home with the sound of your voice.
Connect Google Home with a Nest thermostat to adjust the temperature in your home with simple voice commands.
Get comfortable without having to get up
Imagine this: it’s the middle of the summer, you’re baking a birthday cake in your kitchen, and it’s getting uncomfortably hot. With Google Home—or other Google Assistant enabled devices—you can just say, “Hey Google, make it cooler!” And voila. Your Nest thermostat will adjust to a cooler temperature without you having to leave the room to manually adjust it.
Google Assistant is a voice-controlled assistant that powers the actions Google Home can perform for you. Whenever you say “Hey, Google,” Google Assistant comes to life, ready to listen and respond to your voice command.
Nest Thermostat voice commands
Nest thermostats can be controlled by a number of voice commands, each starting with the phrase, “Hey Google.”
Learn the current temperature in the home.
“Hey Google, what’s the temperature inside?”
“Hey Google, what’s the temperature set to?”
Does it seem too hot or cold in your house? Just ask Google Assistant what the temperature is inside, and adjust it accordingly.
Make it warmer or cooler.
“Hey Google, make it cooler.”
“Hey Google, make it warmer.”
You don’t have to keep track of the specific temperature to get comfortable. Simply tell Google Assistant to make it warmer or cooler.
Raise or lower the temperature.
“Hey Google, raise the temperature two degrees.”
“Hey Google, lower the temperature three degrees.”
If you know your temperature sweet spot, you can ask Google Assistant to adjust Nest by a certain number of degrees.
Set the exact temperature.
“Hey Google, set the temperature to 72 degrees.”
You can ask Google Assistant to set your thermostat to specific temperatures.
Adjust the temperature in a specific room.
“Hey Google, set the family room thermostat to 68 degrees.”
If you have multiple thermostats in your home, you can use the thermostat’s room name to control the specific temperature in that room.
Turn the thermostat off.
“Hey Google, turn off the thermostat.”
When the days get cooler and you’d rather enjoy a nice breeze from your open windows, ask Google Assistant to turn off your Nest completely.
Let’s be neighbors.
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Make a Nest thermostat and Google Home part of a smart home
The ability to control the temperature and comfort level in your home is just the tip of the iceberg to the greater convenience and control you get when Google Home and Nest thermostat are included in a comprehensive smart home. This integration allows you to speak and your home listens.
Occupancy based changes
When integrated into a Vivint system, a Nest thermostat gives you greater comfort and energy savings by adjusting the temperature based on your location and activity.
If you run out the door and forget to adjust your thermostat, your in-home sensors will sense no one is at home and adjust the temperature to conserve energy while you’re away.
Download your free smart home guide.
Learn everything you need to know about the value and security of a smart home in one quick, easy read.
Protecting your home from fire
But the integration goes beyond energy management. In the event of a fire, the Vivint system limits the spread of flames by shutting off the thermostat and flow of air in your home’s HVAC system. And our 24/7 professional home security monitoring specialists will contact you and send assistance if needed.
When you’re away from home, you can still control your temperature—and all features of your smart home—using the Vivint app.
Use Google Assistant to control other smart home devices
Google Assistant also works with Vivint to provide voice control of other parts of your smart home:
- Arm your security system.
- Lock the smart lock on your front door.
- Turn smart lights on or off.
Voice control makes home automation more convenient and powerful than ever.
Discover how easy it is to turn your house into a smart home. Give us a call at 844.481.8630 for a free smart home consultation.
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