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Home/Away Assist, returning home always stuck in eco mode

Dawdie
Community Member

So I have 2 nest thermostats which are controlled with Home/Away. Whenever I go out the thermostat goes into eco as expected. Whenever I return home the app shows "Home" and so does the log so it defintatly knows I have returned, but the thermostat however is still stuck in "Eco" mode till I manually turn it off.

 

I have all the "learning" stuff off (Auto Schedule/True Radiant) so I have no idea what I need to do to fix this aside from just turning home/away off and putting the old thermostats back in.

 

Potential fix (using google home not the nest app) https://www.googlenestcommunity.com/t5/Nest-Thermostats/Home-Away-Assist-returning-home-always-stuck...

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

MelbaDT
Community Specialist
Community Specialist

Hey folks,

We understand your frustration about your Nest thermostat not working as it should, and we appreciate your reports here in the Community.

 

If you're experiencing this issue, please give all the steps listed here a shot: https://bit.ly/38qgivs. These steps have worked for others experiencing similar behavior and should help get you back on track.


If the issue persists after trying the steps on the link above, we want to be able to dig into this further. In order for us to differentiate between different countries' thermostats, go ahead and reply to the following threads with the following info:

  • The type of Nest thermostat you have
  • What mobile device you have and the OS version
  • The software version of your thermostat


EU users: https://bit.ly/3LZlrg2
US/CA users: https://bit.ly/3Jxm52R

We thank you for your patience and we look forward to taking a closer look.

Thanks,
Melba 

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islandniles
Community Member

Just want to share my experience of today, as I knew we were both going out for about an hour in the morning and then again in the afternoon.

Morning: The status correctly changed to Away and the thermostat went into Eco shortly after we left home. When we came back, the status changed to Home but the thermostat was stuck in Eco. (Just as an aside, the explanation given by Google that it’s expected behaviour for it to stay in Eco for up to three hours after arriving home is ridiculous. Even if it switched back to normal operation immediately, as it should, the heating would only switch on anyway if the house was below temperature.)

Knowing I had to go out again this afternoon, I decided to experiment by switching all the Home/Away settings over to Google Home. This automatically switches the mobile phone location info off in the Nest app, and the Home/Away status gets mirrored between the two apps. I did this for both phones.

Afternoon: The status changed to Away soon after leaving the house, and the thermostat changed to Eco shortly after. When we came home, the status changed to Home AND the thermostat changed back to Heat.

The only thing is, I have no confidence that this will continue to work (mostly because it doesn’t even switch to Eco consistently in the first place now). It’s so frustrating because it’s clearly a software issue and something that can’t be fixed by us, the users, tweaking settings.

Nontechmike
Community Member

It will be interesting to see what happens if you leave it like this for the next few days.

PS. Are you on Android or Apple?

Yes, should have mentioned, we’re both on iOS (iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 11, and both running the latest software).

I hope this works for you. For me this was not the solution.

Since 3 days I got things up and running again by installing the SmartThings app as suggested by another user on this forum. 
At first I was reluctant to do so, but after my experience with google support I am glad i installed the app. 
I will keep an eye on this forum and on the App Store for updates of nest/google home app. But the routines in SmartThings app are easy to set up and reliable. 

islandniles
Community Member

Well, it turns out I spoke too soon.

We went out again tonight. We left at 6.40pm, got back just now (10pm), and the Google Home and Nest apps never switched from Home to Away, and the thermostat never switched to Eco. Consequently, the empty house was dutifully heated for over three hours.

Unfortunately it seems this just can’t be solved without either a third-party solution or an acknowledgment from Google that their software update has caused an issue.

The most infuriating thing is that, having had the Nest for a few years, I’ve been conditioned not to worry about switching the heating off when leaving home. For me this is absolutely the best feature of the product. It’ll be really hard for me to remember to do it manually every time.

Have you checked the detailed log in the Home app at the bottom right of the Home app main screen?  Go there and select under Recent Events>Go to History.  There you will see a minute-by-minute log of what each Thermostat has done.

 

I have four Thermostats (1 Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Gen and 3 Nest Thermostast - new model).  Activity for all of them is listed there- even the Nest Learning Thermostat, which I also use under the Nest app.  I had a similar problem a couple weeks ago and in the log I noticed the more expensive Nest Learning Thermostat was detecting "activity" using its sensor while no one was home.  This was causing the Home app to remain in "Home" mode, rather than "Away" mode,  which would have triggered Eco mode.  Once I deactivated that sensor on the thermostat (but still left phone presence activated), the problem went away.  I haven't had a chance to troubleshoot the sensor yet.  May have been sunlight or shadows or dust or even a spider. 

Have just checked the activity log and it just underscores the problem really. The activity log shows:

15:48: Your phone left home.

15:49: Switched to away: inactivity.

16:31: Switched to home: phone location.

16:34: Your phone came home.

This was when it worked correctly yesterday afternoon. All good. However, for yesterday evening, when all settings were exactly the same, this is the activity log:

18:37: Your phone left home

22:07: Your phone came home

These times are completely correct, but it never switched to Away during this period.

I’ve had the activity sensors on the thermostat and Nest Protect disabled for a long time, because of the reasons you say, so it’s not the product sensors causing an issue.

It just doesn’t switch to Away/Eco and Home/Heat consistently, even when the settings are exactly the same.

I have called Nest and voiced my displeasure with what's  going on, they do not seem to either care, or they themselves  do not know how to fix the problem.  With everything I have read, and researched, the problem is the Nest App. itself.

Call them and voice your displeasure with the product. I myself have invested in three thermostats, now what ??

 

Clearly this appears to be an issue with the app (both Home and Nest app apparently), as they are not telling the Thermostats what to do based on location. I'm wondering if it can be narrowed to  an iPhone or Android problem.  I don't think so because I have a Pixel 4 and Pixel 6 and I have seen this happen occasionally where it doesn't trigger, but it's rare.

 

Have you gone nuclear and hard rest the Thermostat?  It's a tremendous chore but may be a last resort, along with uninstalling and reinstalling the Home app.  Personally I hate doing this because it opens up the possibility that your HVAC won't be setup properly on the reinstall, and you lose probably historical data and learning data.

Btw i have hard reset the thermostat and also completely uninstallrd and reinstalled each app. Didn't work. Still ongoing issue since end of Nov for me.

Clearly Google don't care enough to amend it 

I have tried everything except of throwing away the thermostat (yet).
Only way to solve this issue is to install SmartThings.  To me this is the proof it is a bug  in the apps (Nest and GH)

Smart Things only worked once for me then same old same old...

JoyR
Community Member

Smart things didn’t work for me either

Iany1954
Community Member

Unfortunately SmartThings has a problem with locations on iOS! This is known fact and should be fixed with iOS 15.3 (app has to be open to correctly use locations). The ‘advantage’ with SmartThings (if it worked) is the ability to directly control NLT heat/eco without bothering with home/away. So we have to continue waiting……..

But still wrong that we need to use a third party app to use an expensive Google piece of tech cos they don't give a **bleep**. Unbelievable that they can't be held to account for this travesty. Can't believe I've been bleeped, it wasn't an expletive IMHO. 

I've reset or uninstalled everything.

yesterday I hard reset, again then installed Nest app only on my wife's android phone, no Google Home.  Location services  in permissions on etc...

Today when we left it stayed stuck in home mode eventually I had to manually set it to away, at least it had the decency to change to eco then too.

When we got home it didn't change back to home, but why would it LOL.

I did notice that my wifes phone had the yellow exclamation triangle  "not seen for a few days" message....eventually that disappeared I think after I turned GPS off and back on, but not 100% sure that's what did it.  So I guess we'll see what tomorrow brings.

 

JoyR
Community Member

Today, for the first time in months, it worked perfectly.  Went to Away and Eco after I left home, reverted to Home and set temperature as soon as I got back.  I’m not holding my breath.  We’ll see what happens tomorrow!

Funny how we're all obsessing so much. As I've stated above we're back to one phone, with just Nest, no Google Home to muddy the picture and using my wife's email address as opposed to mine for a "fresh" start.

Todays was better than yesterday, we forgot to check when we had got into town so it was probably half an hour before we checked but like you JoyR it had changed to Away/Eco yay.

Unlike you when we got home it recognised as Home but still Eco, cos it was warm we left it to do its own thing 2 and a half hours later still stuck in Eco, boooo.So manually had to change to Heat mode.

Then we decided to go out for Tea and when we got to the pub Away/Eco, yay, so that's some progress as usually second trips away from home never did anything.

When we got home Away/Eco, booo

But i am looking on this as half win if it keeps this up at least we're not burning fuel when no-ones home, at least if we forget when we're home at least we'll realise when we start getting cold, whereas while we're away, forgetting to check is costing us money.

LifeonMars
Bronze
Bronze

Same thing for me, yesterday and today. I wonder if Google Nest  are working on it ?

We can only hope. I don't wish to count my chickens so to speak but what i haven't previously said, i had contacted a tech journalist who has reviewed the thermostats for 2022. Nest came third on her list so I emailed her to suggest that she bear our problems in mind next time she updates the review. She showed interest and she asked for any correspondence, so i sent her my transcript as found up above. She said she has messaged Google Nests PR team, so it could just be coincidence, but it would be great if it wasn't. Lol. So i continue to watch this space... 

In my opinion. It's even getting worse. Last week it went to ECO mode between 10 to 30 minutes after both apps changed to Away. The last few days it didn't even bother to go to ECO mode at all. I've left my house at 7 and arrived at 4:30 in the afternoon and it was still in heating mode.

I think that bad publicity is the only thing that will get Googles attention on this issue. So if someone knows anybody at a large newspaper, tech review magazine or website to bring this issue to the outside.

Google had enough time to fix this. Because of the high energy prices that are still rising, a lot of people are searching for ways to save energy and will eventually buy a smart thermostat. So a bad review in a big tech magazine will hurt more than us making support claims. We've already spent our money on this... 

I also believe that this is just a stupid programming error in the NLT or Nest app because the home/away detection is working just fine in the Google Home and Nest app.

I've found out that you can force the Nest app to refresh the current status of the thermostat.

So if its in the wrong mode (ECO while home/heating while away) go to the Nest app. Select the gear icon, press Home/Away assist, then "What decides if you are home", then "use mobile phone location".

If you deselect this setting and turn it back on again, the NLT will jump in to the right mode immediately. But it's s not a permanent fix. Just until the next switch between home/away.

Yes, that's probably what happened to me yesterday on day 1 of total reset....

DavidE
Community Member

Well I got up today, a frosty morning, and wondered why the house was cold. I found the Nest was still in "Eco" mode from when I got home the night before, more than eight hours earlier.

So what some people have been told by support agents, that "the system may take 1-3 hours to switch", is clearly rubbish, even if that were acceptable, which it isn't.

Incredibly frustrating when customers are fobbed off with inaccurate information rather than accepting that there's a problem. I don't blame the support agents, I'm sure they are doing their best, but do not have access to the right information, or training, or the ability to escalate this to someone who actually understands the product and is in a position to fix it.

All very true, the whole point is the automation so we don't have to think about it. Really isn't very hi tech at all is it. It's sad 'cos I am the one who convinced my wife that we really needed this in our lives and feel like I've got egg on my face. 🐵

JoyR
Community Member

I spoke too soon.  After working impeccably yesterday afternoon I went out again in the evening.  Half an hour after I went out I was still supposedly at Home with the heating on.  I changed it manually to Away and Eco, and  when I came home, it didn’t come out of Eco.  So it’s totally erratic and you have to check, which is not the idea!

islandniles
Community Member

To be fair, if you manually set it to Eco it will only come out of Eco when you do it manually (I think). It will only switch back automatically if it’s switched to Eco itself after sensing that you’re away. (Well, at the moment it doesn’t switch out of Eco automatically at all, we know that, but it SHOULD.)

I think that would make sense therefore if you go on holiday, manually setting to Eco would keep heating off unless temp plummets below eco value.

Exactly. If you manually set Eco it stays in Eco until you switch it back. That’s expected behaviour. However, if you manually set your status to Away and then it switches automatically to Eco (which of course, it’s not guaranteed to do at the moment) it should switch back to Heat automatically when you return home.

steve99uk
Community Member

Having recently found this thread after a few weeks of erratic behaviour from my NLT it had saved me  a lot of time and fruitless messing about with phone / NLT. 

I enrolled on the Apple Beta program for IOS and downloaded IOS 15.3. I then installed SmartThings and set up a routine when away from home to switch NLT to ECO and another to switch it to HEAT when home. Did this a couple of days ago and it’s worked every time. 
So all good for me now - perhaps I will just stick with SmartThings and not bother with the NLT app detection. 

Have you been able to force close the SmartThings app and the location sensing work correctly in the background in iOS 15.3? There seems to be some debate online as to whether 15.3 fixes the iOS bug where you’d need apps to still be open in the background for them to be able to access location data.

Hi. I have set it up on my iPhone and my wife’s iPhone. Both on iOS 15.3. Routines to switch NLT to ECO when we are both away and to switch to HEAT as soon as either of us return home. Force closed the SmartThings app on both phones and no problem with location detection and routines running successfully. 

Thank goodness! The bug where it would need apps to be open to detect location was so annoying, looking forward to the release next week.  It's not great to have to use SmartThings but at least it brings back the functionality so you can set it and forget it.

@steve99uk  do you just have Smart things app or do you also use the Google Home App or Nest app to set times for heat to go off and on. ?

I'm curious too from the Android perspective. When i tried smart things it only worked once. From my point of view the nest app always works for detecting home and away status the problem is the thermostat? or app? ignores this fact and doesn't switch appropriately between Heat and Eco, so I don't understand how smart things can influence that behaviour, surely smart things only detects home away status anyway but where the user can adjust the radius around the set location.

coffeym
Community Member

The difference is that SmartThings can send a signal to the NLT to change mode (heat or eco) rather than just home or away. The issue seems to be the NLT doesn’t change to eco when it goes to away, but SmartThings tells it to go to eco directly, without needing to start the away routine.

I have both the Google Home app and Nest app. I have a Nest doorbell. I used to have the Nest app home/away assist set on (only for the NLT) but set the option to use mobile phone location to off when I downloaded SmartThings. My NLT does show in the Google Home app. 

SmartThings also let’s you set the temperature to whatever you want when it sets the NLT to HEAT. I’m not sure that the NEST app let me do that?

Thats where the schedules in the NLT and Nest app allow you to set the temp so setting a different one in Smartthings might cause trouble unless  you don't have a schedule setup and just rely on a schedule in Smartthings which might not be a bad thing.

I've just reinstalled smartthings to try your suggestion of turning Home/Away assist off in the app and rely on the If/Then options in Smartthings.  Won't know until tomorrow now....

JamesM25
Community Member

Just adding my voice as another affected user

App correctly detects that I'm home/away, but only some of the time flips the thermostat from eco to heat and vice versa. No obvious pattern to it. 

 

Learning is on. Motion detection is off. I've tried cycling all possibly related settings. I have not reset the thermostat. 

JoyR
Community Member

I have the same.  Sometimes it works, other times not, but I do think it’s been a bit better the last few days.  Today I went out, and when I checked the app it had set to Away and Eco.  As I wanted the house to be heated by the time I got home, I set it manually to Home, and immediately it switched out of Eco.  Of course this is what it should do!