Nest tips and tricks: How to get the most from your thermostat, camera and more

Nest's ecosystem is wide, here's how to get the best out of it

Nest tips and tricks

Nest used to be know primarily for making its smart Learning Thermostat, but since then it's expanded the number of devices and services - camera, doorbells, locks and more.

Getting into the world of Nest can be easy, especially if you're already using Google Assistant. But how can you squeeze the maximum worth out of your new ecosystem? It can be hard to know where to start with so many gadgets.

Read this: The best Works with Nest tech

Lucky for you, we've been living in Nest's ecosystem for quite a while now, and we've assembled some of our favourite tips and tricks on how to get the best out of your Nest system. Here are some tips, tricks and secrets we've learned.

Tips and tricks: How to get the best out of the Nest ecosystem

Use Google Assistant

If you're looking to get into the Nest ecosystem, or you're looking for an assistant to use with all your Nest products, there is one choice that's better than the other. That's Google's Assistant.

Google has folded Nest into its hardware group, and the two have worked on integrations that only Google Assistant has with Nest. The best example is with Nest's Hello video doorbell. Google Assistant can be set up to announce who rings your doorbell, so you can know exactly when UPS is coming by with your package.

Do more with Works With Nest

While IFTTT lets you build your own smart home rules, Nest has its own smart home rules for products that come under the Works with Nest umbrella. For example, if you enable the Works with Nest part of Philips Hue (in the Hue app select the Compass icon and tap Friends of Hue), you can turn on some powerful automations.

With Works with Nest, your Hue lights can turn off when you leave your home, and Nest will automatically turn your lights on and off to make it look as though you're home. Or, you can have your lights turn off when the Nest Cam spots that there hasn't been any motion in the room for a while. You can see a full list of devices that Work with Nest here.

Extend your Thermostat

In both the UK and US, you can extend the power of your Nest Learning Thermostat. In the US, you can get the Nest Temperature Sensor, which will allow your Thermostat to read and heat individual rooms better.

Read this: How to control an electric radiator from your Nest Thermostat

In the UK, this isn't available, but you can use a Heat Link relay to control an electric radiator. It's a bit complex though, so be sure to check out the full guide above on how to do it.

Customise Home/Away Assist

Nest products use a feature called Home/Away Assist to automate some functions. For example, when you're away from home your thermostat will turn off. When you get home, it'll turn on. It's simple, but it gets your tech working for you. The best bit is that you can customise how it all works.

In the Nest app, hit that gear up in the top right corner and head to Home/Away Assist. You'll get to customise how each of your devices work when you're in and out of the house. With the Nest Hello, you can set it so the camera turns on when you leave and off when you're away. With your Nest x Yale Lock, you can set it to lock when you get home. These are small conveniences, but they're conveniences nonetheless.

Tips and tricks: How to get the best out of the Nest ecosystem

Organise your home into Spaces

If you've got a lot of Nest products, you're going to need some organisation. The best way to do this is via Spaces. Hit up the settings gear and scroll down to Spaces. Here, you'll get to choose which products are in which rooms. This will give you a nice, organised look at how your Nest ecosystem is working by room whenever you check out the main section of the Nest app.

Nest Protect pushes alerts to other Nest products

Nest Protect is arguably the most important device the company has, as it sounds an alarm if it detects smoke or COg. It also pushes out alerts to every other Nest product you have, and they'll all work in conjunction with each other to make sure you know what's going on and cover your back.

If your Nest Protect detects smoke or CO, your thermostat will shut off the air system to prevent smoke from travelling through vents. Your Nest cams will automatically start recording, and you'll be able to share clips even if you don't have a Nest Aware subscription, which is otherwise required. Your other Nest products will sound an alarm and let you know where the alert was made.

Similarly, if you've got the Nest Secure and its alarm was set off, your cams will automatically start recording even if they were scheduled to be off. You'll get a notification and a clip of whatever your cameras were recording, too.

Pair the Nest x Yale Lock and Nest Secure

A security system and smart lock are like peanut butter and jelly. So it's no surprise that Nest's two security devices work well together. When you unlock your Nest x Yale Lock, your Nest Secure will automatically disarm. This doesn't work the other way though, as there are times you may want to lock your door but not arm your security system.

Nest Secure and Nest x Yale Lock can also share the same settings. So they can use the same passcode, or an entry schedule will apply to both. The security history section of the Nest app also bundles in how many times you unlocked the Nest x Yale Lock, too.

Make sure your family is set up

Smart homes still aren't the easiest things to deal with if you have multiple people living in the same house. Nest is one of the few systems where things are far easier to set up and manage. All you have to do is hit that gear and scroll down to Family & Guests. Here, you'll be able to invite people to log into and control your smart home. You can even rescind their control should they move out.

Don't forget Rebates and Rewards

One of the easiest-to-forget things about the Nest app is the Rebates and Rewards section of settings. You should check it every so often, because if Nest finds some kind of rebate or discount on energy in your area, it'll serve it up here. It's a good, quick way to get some needed monetary relief.

You can get a number of discounts, from savings on your bill to discounts on Nest products. If you're looking to expand your Nest ecosystem, this is a good first place to check before you head elsewhere.

Tips and tricks: How to get the best out of the Nest ecosystem

Nest Aware is worth it if you've got a Nest Hello

Nest Aware is Nest's subscription service, offering up smarter features for its cameras. These are things like face detection, five-day video history, activity zones, clip sharing and even face close-ups. It can be useful for Nest's smart cams, but it's a must-have for those with the Nest Hello.

The reason is very simple: face detection. When you sign up and face detection is turned on, you'll be able to identify people who come to your door often. So you can save people like your family members and best buddies. You can also save the delivery folks. Then you can pair this up with a Google Home to get Google Assistant to announce when someone important comes over. It's never not cool. It's worth the $5 a month if you go for the basic plan.

Nest tips and tricks: How to get the best out of the Nest ecosystem

Turn off your tech with IFTTT

Nest's automatic away mode drops the temperature in your home when you're not in, and it can be used to automatically enable or disable any security cameras that you have. More importantly, you can use the signal from the Nest to automatically control other devices via IFTTT.

Just create a rule that uses the ‘Nest set to Away’ trigger, and you can set an action that happens when you leave your home.

For example, you may want to turn off your Hue lights automatically. In reverse, you can use the ‘Nest Set to Home’ trigger to automatically perform actions when you return home, such as turning on some lights. At the minimum, you can use Nest’s away mode to automatically save energy; at best, with a little more thought, you can automate your home in different ways.

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