Google Nest begins testing HVAC alerts, partners with Handy for booking service calls

Sarah Perez

Google's Nest is testing a new feature that will alert you to potential HVAC issues and even help you book an HVAC professional to fix it, thanks to a partnership with Handy. The company says the HVAC alerts are only available in select cities during the testing period. If you're in one of the supported markets, the new HVAC alert email will include an additional link to a website where you can make an appointment with a repair professional.

Nest users have already been able to sign up to receive a monthly email, the Nest Home Report, which offers a summary of their home's energy use, safety events, Nest news and information about other Nest products, among other things.

Users who had signed up for this email will be automatically enrolled to receive the new HVAC alert emails starting today, Google says.

Various events could trigger these HVAC alerts, but largely it's based on warning signs that your Nest detects -- like unusual or unexpected heating and cooling patterns.

For example, if the thermostat finds it's taking longer to cool your home than usual, that could signal a problem with your AC system. The alerts aren't meant to replace the need for regular HVAC maintenance or service pro expertise, but instead are meant to serve as a warning about a potential issue.

Nest will also take into account your area's weather before making a determination about a potential problem, as something like an overnight cold snap could work the thermostat more than usual.

In the HVAC alert email, users will be informed as to which system (heating or cooling) experienced the issue. A link to an optional survey about how you resolved the problem, and what it turned out to be, will also be included. This data may be used to help the system get smarter over time, in terms of diagnosing issues.

Not all Nest alerts will mean there's a need for a service repair pro to come out, of course. Sometimes the problem is as simple as a household member having left a door open, which allowed hot air in, for example.

However, if you decide a service call is warranted, Nest will also now be able to connect you to a local pro in your area. Of course, you can reach out to your original Nest installer (Settings --> Home info --> Nest Pro Installer), if you choose.

But in the test markets, Nest owners will receive emails that also include a link to a website where you can book a qualified HVAC pro. This is done via Handy, which Nest has partnered with on this new effort.

At launch, the Handy booking option will be made available to Nest users in 20 metro areas, including Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Las Vegas and San Diego, and others. Over the course of the test, it will expand to more regions. Handy today supports a fairly large number of cities across the U.S., Canada and the U.K.

If you don't want to receive HVAC alerts, you can opt-out using a link in the email.

While Handy is taking on the service calls from Nest users for the time being, Google could eventually choose to connect Nest users with Google My Business profiles in the future, if it chose, or even turn this into a new advertising destination for qualified HVAC pros.

To get started, users will need to first sign up for the Nest Home Report if they haven't already. They'll then receive alerts as necessary going forward.