If you have a Google Nest Thermostat, you'll know that the smart heating device will send you alerts when there are immediate problems with your HVAC system (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning).
Now, Google is trialling a new feature that will tell you about any potential problems before they arise, potentially saving your heating from breaking down entirely.
Using artificial intelligence, Nest Thermostats, including the Nest Thermostat E and the Nest Learning Thermostat, will learn "how to identify unusual patterns related to your HVAC system," factoring in historical data and the current weather conditions – patterns that you probably wouldn't be aware of until your furnace or AC stops working.
- Read our Nest Thermostat E review
- Or check out the Nest Learning Thermostat
- These are the best smart home devices you can buy in 2020
In a blog post (opens in new tab), Google explains: "Sometimes, your HVAC system shows warning signs that it's having issues. For example, if it takes longer than normal to cool your home, there might be a problem with your cooling system (AC). If your Nest thermostat detects these unusual or unexpected patterns, we may send you an email alert."
This email alert will tell you what your smart thermostat noticed, and which system (heating or cooling) has been affected. Google says you'll also get a link to an optional survey to tell the company more about the issue with your HVAC system and what steps you took to resolve it.
A helpful warning
As Android Police (opens in new tab) points out, these alerts won't be able to tell you if a component of your HVAC system is about to catastrophically fail, but they will give you a warning if parts are degrading over time – and in the long run, that could save you a lot of money.
Google says that it's still important to check for anything else that could be causing the issue, for example, someone leaving the back door open while the heating is on.
The company also stresses that “HVAC alerts are not meant to replace the diagnosis of a qualified HVAC professional".
In some regions, your Nest Thermostat will even help you find a professional to look at your HVAC issues. Customers in Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Las Vegas and San Diego, will find a link at the bottom of their HVAC alert that sends to a website where you can book a qualified professional through Handy.
Google hasn't confirmed when this feature will branch out to other regions, but we'll hopefully see it in more territories if this initial testing phase is successful.
To get these alerts, you'll need to opt in to Nest Home Report, after which you'll be automatically enrolled into HVAC alerts. To sign up to Nest Home Report, open the Nest app on your smartphone or tablet, and head to Settings. Then tap Notifications > Nest Home Report, and slide the slider to 'on'.
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Via 9to5Google (opens in new tab)