Smart & Connected Life Smart Home How IFTTT Apps Work With Home Automation Sensors by Jonathan Deesing Writer Jonathan Deesing is a former Lifewire writer who specializes in home automation and gaming news. He got his start in 2010 writing for GamesRadar. our editorial process LinkedIn Jonathan Deesing Updated on March 15, 2019 Smart Home Amazon Smart Home: Alexa & Amazon Echo Your Best Year Ever: College Tech Tips Appliances & Lighting Google Tweet Share Email So you installed a few automation devices around your house, and you’re feeling ahead of the curve. After all, now you can control your thermostat, lights, and entertainment system from the convenience of your smartphone. But did you know there is a super simple way to connect all those systems so they can work effectively with one another? Check out these useful IFTTT tips and unique hacks to help you connect a variety of sensors in your home. What Is IFTTT? If This Then That, or IFTTT, is a free online service that allows people to establish conditions among apps and other devices to connect home automation devices for intuitive actions. IFTTT For example, users set up triggers for certain occurrences (say, ordering a pizza from Domino's) and corresponding actions for each (like automatically turning on the porch light for the delivery driver when the order is placed). These triggers and actions can readily be applied to a selection of home automation devices that offer IFTTT functionality. Incorporating IFTTT into your home automation helps you customize and take serious ownership over your connected devices. If you live your life by a precise schedule (or want to), setting up recurring rules can help fill in for the things you wish your devices did. For instance, you can establish a rule to have your front porch lights turn on whenever your ring smart doorbell detects motion. Alexa, Google Home, or Samsung Smart Things Use IFTTT applets to connect sensors in your home. Does IFTTT work with Alexa, Google Homem, or Samsung Smart Things? Yes, you can easily use IFTTT with Alexa and any devices she works with. This tutorial explains the process of using Alexa applets. Google Home is also easy to use with IFTTT. IFTTT is not just a smart home feature; it works with a variety of smartphones and does not even require a virtual assistant. For example, you can set up an IFTTT to remind yourself to drink water every two hours. Samsung’s smart home lineup, SmartThings, also offers quite a bit in terms of IFTTT, along with allowing you to connect to other companies’ devices. Here are some examples: Turn off a SmartThings device at sunrise;Lock your Z-Wave door lock at a specific time;Log door openings detected by your SmartThings to a Google Drive spreadsheet;Strobe your SmartThings siren if category 1 hurricane winds are nearby. Use Applets to Add Additional Sensors to Your Home Two devices that pair particularly well with IFTTT are window sensors and motion sensors. Window sensors typically operate as two connected magnets on a window (or door) jamb that trigger when the window is opened. These devices sync up to a security system, which in many cases can be connected with IFTTT, opening up a world of possibilities. You can easily attach a window sensor to your mailbox (as long as it’s within WiFi range) that lets you know when you get mail via text message. If you’re counting calories, you can place a sensor on the fridge door and set up an IFTTT that sounds an alarm any time you open the fridge after a predetermined time. This same basic principle can be applied to just about any drawer or cabinet in your house that you would like to monitor or track. Motion sensors present similarly creative use cases. Motion sensors are often connected with lighting as an anti-theft deterrent, but you can easily turn this to your advantage. For example; you often get up in the middle of the night to use the restroom but either fumble around in the dark or need to contend with blindness when the lights come on. With IFTTT, you can set up a rule that if an interior motion sensor is triggered in the wee hours of the night, the lights will only come on at a dimmed setting. Enhance Sensors With Custom Light Colors Indeed, lights are probably one of the coolest devices you can take advantage of. Most smart lighting manifests as either a socket or (more commonly) a lightbulb. One such product, the Philips Hue light bulb, offers a slew of functionality. The Hue can change color, making for endless possibilities for IFTTT rules: Change your lights to red if smoke is detected;Flash your bedroom light when the alarm goes off;Tell Alexa to start the party with a color show. Sensors Can Make Your Home More Comfortable Along with lighting, internet thermostats are one of the most common smart home upgrades. There’s still a good chance you aren’t using your device to its fullest potential. Everyone knows their smart thermostat helps them save money by making more frequent and intentional adjustments to temperature throughout the day. But as with most smart devices, this can be further expanded. Here are a few ways you can use IFTTT to hack your thermostat: Automatically adjust your thermostat down when the temperature outside rises;Set the temperature on your thermostat when you are close to home;When your home senses that no one is home, set your thermostat to economy mode. While most of these hacks will take some time and patience to get working, they’re all relatively easy to establish, especially if you already have connected devices installed in your home.