Owners of Nest-branded thermostats will soon see their systems improved with a new feature designed to detect problems in heating and cooling (HVAC) systems. Google today announced that it’s testing algorithms tailored to identify “unusual patterns” related to HVAC systems controlled by Nest, which can then alert users to issues and put them in touch with a maintenance professional.
Based on information like the thermostat’s historical data and current weather, Nest will learn to spot patterns that might indicate something is wrong. (For example, if it’s taking longer than normal to heat a home, there might be a problem with a heating system.) With continuous feedback and thanks to the AI models under the hood, Google says the system will become better at detecting more possible anomalies over time.
Here’s how to opt in:
- Open the Nest app
- Tap Settings
- Tap Notifications
- Nest Home Report
- Slide the slider on
Users will receive notifications via emails that outline what the Nest thermostat detected and which system (heating or cooling) might have been the problem, or they can sign up for a daily report — the Nest Home Report — that will similarly spotlight the HVAC alerts. If necessary, they’ll be able to book an HVAC professional through gig marketplace Handy, initially in over 20 metro areas including Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Las Vegas, and San Diego and later in additional regions throughout the testing period.
Maintenance with Handy will include a general inspection of either the heating or cooling system and the Nest thermostat by a trained HVAC professional. The price of the maintenance visit won’t include any additional work, however; if the technician determines that the system requires more work, they’ll provide a description of the service and a quote with any further costs, which users will be able to approve or decline on the spot.
Nest customers who had their thermostat installed by a Nest Pro can choose to hire the Pro again, if they want, from within the Nest app.
“With this new thermostat feature, you now have more insight into your heating and cooling system,” wrote Nest product manager Jeff Gleeson, who noted that the HVAC alerts aren’t meant to replace the diagnosis of a qualified HVAC professional. “[Our hope is that this will] help you look after your home.”
HVAC anomaly detection is a natural extension of Nest’s predictive capabilities. Every thermostat in the Google division’s product family taps algorithms to learn people’s schedules, the temperatures they’re used to, and when — chiefly by monitoring activity and usage patterns over the first weeks of ownership. Using built-in sensors and phones’ locations, it can shift into energy-saving mode when it realizes nobody is at home.