What is IFTTT Anyways?
IFTTT (If This Then That) is a web application that lets a trigger on one web service or “channel” fire an action on another. This simple conditional statement is called a “recipe”. An example recipe might be having IFTTT monitor the RSS feed from your blog and share your new blog posts to Facebook automatically when they’re published.
There are 266 total channels and counting available from IFTTT. Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, Nest Thermostat, Philips hue and Alexa are just a few of the channels available.
Home Automation IFTTT Recipes
I recently discovered IFTTT and was amazed by the sheer number of triggers and actions available for each channel. You can make the Wi-Fi on your Android phone turn off or on when you leave your house or your are returning to it. Or you can have it automatically send a Facebook status update at the beginning of each year wishing your friends a “Happy New Year!”.
There are thousands of recipes already made public by the massive IFTTT community. Add existing recipes to your account or create your own. Set them up once and sit back while they repeatedly save you time and possibly money.
One small portion of what IFTTT can help with is home automation. And the amount of devices you can control is rapidly growing. IFTTT already has triggers and actions available for WeMo, Wink, SmartThings, Nest, Philips hue and many other home automation products. Below are some of the best recipes I’ve found to help you out.
A quick note about the recipes listed. There might be a few that look like they do the same thing. That’s because IFTTT has separate channels for retrieving the location from Android, iOS and Automatic. So each task needs a separate recipe depending on the device you’re using.
1. When you leave home your lights will automatically turn off
Leaving for work and want to make sure you’re not wasting any electricity? Turn off all Philips hue lights when your iPhone’s GPS detects that you have left your home.
2. Automatically turn your lights on when you arrive home
Perfect addition to the recipe above. Have all of your Philips hue lights turn on when your iPhone detects that you have come back home. This beats the socks off an outdoor motion sensor controlled light any day of the week. You won’t be wasting valuable power every time someone walks by the house. Instead, IFTTT will know exactly when you arrive home and turn on that light just for you.
3. At sunrise turn off all Philips hue lights
There is no need to waste your electricity and money lighting your home when it’s nice and sunny outside. Use this recipe to turn off all Philips hue lights when the sun comes up.
4. Set to Away and turn your Philips hue bulbs off
Your Nest Learning Thermostat will set itself to Away if it hasn’t detected motion in a while. Use the motion detection feature of your Nest Thermostat to turn off your Philips hue bulbs when you are away from home.
5. Turn on your lights when you’re near home
What about Android? No worries. Here is a recipe that uses the location of your Android device to turn on your lights when you’re near home. How nice would it be to light up your driveway after getting off the night shift?
6. Turn the lights on when I get up
Your Fitbit claims it can track your sleep. So it knows when you have woken up. Make your Philips hue bulbs light up when your Fitbit knows you’re up for the day.
7. Set to Home and turn your WeMo Switch on
If your Nest Thermostat detects that you are home, have it turn on any device connected to a WeMo Switch like a lamp or a space heater.
8. At sunset set your Nest Thermostat to ___°
Use data provided by Yahoo! Weather to set your Nest Thermostat to a specific temperature at sunset.
9. If the temperature outside drops below ___° then set your Nest Thermostat to ___°
The outside temperature can have a drastic effect on the temperature indoors. Use this recipe to start the furnace if the outdoor temperature drop below a specific number.
10. Turn on the lights when your Echo Alarm goes off
Getting out of bed on a Monday morning can be rough. If the alarm isn’t enough to jar you awake, have your Philips hue lights turn on when your Echo alarm goes off.
11. Alexa Dim All lights
Amazon Echo’s Alexa is loyal and she wants to help you. Tell her to dim all the Philips hue lights in the house and she will without thinking twice.
12. If your Nest Protect detects a smoke alarm emergency then turn your Philips hue lights on
This recipe could be a life saver. If Nest Protect detects smoke, turn on all of your Philips hue lights so you can safely leave the house.
13. Receive an emergency call if smoke is detected
If you are away from home and smoke is detected by Nest Protect, get a phone call letting you know. Of course it could be a false alarm. But do you really want to take that chance?
14. Turn your lights on when you arrive home
The Automatic car adapter plugs into the standard diagnostics port hidden under the dash of your car. You can pair the adapter with the Automatic app and see useful information about your car and driving habits. This recipe will turn the lights on in your home when Automatic knows you have arrived.
15. Turn off your house lights when you leave home
This recipe makes a great addition to the one above. Use information from Automatic to know when you leave your home and turn off your lights.
16. If the temperature outside rises above ___° then set your Nest to ___°
Nest supports IFTTT so much so that Nest has their own IFTTT account and publish recipes regularly. This recipe by them uses the current outdoor temperature provided by the Weather channel to set the temperature on your Nest Thermostat when it’s too hot out. The Nest Thermostat already has a min and max temperature setting that will cool down or heat up your home if it passes over the threshold. But I would choose this recipe over that because it will cool down to a temperature of your choosing instead of just enough to be within the range of acceptable temperatures.
17. At sunset, turn on your lights
We turn on our lights every night after the sun goes down. This recipe that turns the lights on after the sun goes down would be useful. Especially during those winter months when the sun goes down at 5:00 pm.
18. Current temperature to nimbus dial
Quirky, the makers of Wink, have a product called the Nimbus alarm clock. Reviews on Amazon say it’s horrible, but a five-star review I saw said that if you use IFTTT instead of their app, it works great! Aside from being an alarm clock, it has three other dials that you can customize. You can set it to track your Facebook likes or display the number of emails you received since you last checked your inbox. This recipe sets the dial and screen to the current temperature.
19. When the UV index rises above 10, turn off the lights to let the sunshine in.
This clever recipe will turn off your lights inside when it knows the UV index is high. Partly cloudy skies can sometime raise the UV index. This recipe won’t know the cloud conditions outside so don’t expect perfection.
I have already started saving myself time and money by automating little tasks with IFTTT. What would you like to do with IFTTT? I would love to hear your ideas in the comments below!