If the system detects ‘unusual or unexpected patterns,’ you’ll get an email
When people think about the Nest thermostat, their first thought might be that it is a device purchased and owned by Google. However, something interesting to note is that the company that brought us the Nest device was actually founded by a pair of ex-Apple engineers. You can see Apple’s influence on the interface and design of the device itself.
The thermostat is in the shape of a traditional round-dial device that you might find in older houses. It goes the opposite direction of the boxy, square-shaped programmable thermostats that inundated homes in the late 20th century.
If you’re interested in the Nest thermostat, then you know that it’s commonly referred to as a learning thermostat. While it’s true that programmable thermostats will save you money, you still have to program them and make sure they’re set to specific temperatures at certain times.
Google is testing a feature that can send Nest owners alerts about their furnaces when “unusual or unexpected patterns” are detected. The HVAC alerts will be automatically sent to subscribers of the Nest Home Report email list, notifying homeowners of any small issue in their heating, cooling, or ventilation system before it potentially becomes a serious problem.
For example, based on the historical data your Nest thermostat has collected about your home, if it’s taking longer than usual to cool, that may trigger an HVAC alert. You’ll get an email with details about which system was affected (heating or cooling), and in some areas, a link to make an appointment for a “pro” visit with home services platform Handy.
Google stresses in its blog post that the alerts are not meant to replace regular maintenance on furnaces and other equipment. And as Android Police notes, they won’t warn you if a major component of your HVAC is about to fail. In fact, the alerts are probably not going to pick up every little hiccup your system encounters, according to Google’s blog post. But in any event, if you’re doing regular maintenance (ahem), then you’re not likely to be caught off guard by any really big furnace or AC problems.
When a potential issue arises, Google Nest will send an email alert about whether heating or cooling is affected. “Over time,” Google helps to add more detection capabilities, as it might not catch all problems with the initial set of alerts. As a result, Google warns that “HVAC alerts are not meant to replace the diagnosis of a qualified HVAC professional.”
Google is integrating HVAC alerts with a service component in order to get you help. For example, the app and device can list the Nest Pro that previously installed it. There’s also a partnership with Handy to connect you to qualified professionals.
How does it all work?
You control your home’s HVAC through your thermostat. All you have to do is select your heating and cooling options and to set your desired indoor temperature. The thermostat does the rest, switching systems on and off based on the temperature it detects in the room.
The Nest Learning Thermostat goes beyond this simple temperature detection to make a real impact in your HVAC energy consumption. In this article, we’ll see what Nest can do, how it does what it does, who’s behind it and what challenges it faces in the HVAC industry.
To understand Nest’s value, let’s first look at what other thermostats do. All thermostats let you set a desired temperature and monitor the current temperature. You can also switch between heat and AC.
Many thermostats rely entirely on you to set the temperature. Though in recent years, manufacturers have offered programmable thermostats that can help you save on energy. This lets you program certain temperatures for certain times of the day — letting you automatically lower the temperature when you’ll be out of the house, for example. However, due to the complexity of these thermostats, people don’t always program them correctly, which can negate most, if not all, of their energy-saving potential.
The Nest Learning Thermostat aims to solve this problem. Nest actually programs itself by learning your behavior patterns and desired temperatures for certain days and times during the week, and then building a schedule for your HVAC. It’s not the only smart thermostat on the market, but Google’s purchase of Nest Labs for a reported $3.2 billion in January 2014 has made it the most famous.