What commonly comes to mind when most people think of home automation devices? Light bulbs, switches, power outlets, and maybe thermostats and door locks. There’s another category, however, that many users may have ignored: smart appliances.
A number of major appliance manufacturers — household names such as GE, LG, Samsung, and Whirlpool — have embraced the digital world, not only by creating their own iOS and Android apps, but also by having the vision to create IFTTT services to allow you to more effectively integrate them into your home automation routines.
Since many of these appliance makers haven’t fully embraced the bigger home automation platforms, this is one area in which IFTTT can really add value. While we’ve looked at some examples of how IFTTT can be used to tie into home appliances in prior articles in our IFTTT series, this week we’re going to take a slightly deeper dive into what some of the different vendors offer in terms of IFTTT capabilities.
We’ll start with General Electric, which provides IFTTT services for its stove, dishwasher, washer and dryer, refrigerator, and even its GeoSpring hot water heater.
Much of GE’s IFTTT services are focused on triggers that allow you to initiate other actions, but some limited actions are also supported, such as tuning off your stove.
Turn on your kitchen light when your refrigerator door is opened
GE’s Refrigerator includes four triggers that operate on the basis of your doors either being opened, or left open. This makes it fairly simple to create an IFTTT routine that will turn on the light in your kitchen whenever you open your refrigerator door.
Separate triggers are available for the main refrigerator door or the freezer door. There’s also an IFTTT trigger that fires off if your door has been left open for 18 minutes — an oddly specific number. An IFTTT action is also included to change the temperature setpoints, should you need to do so as part of an automation routine, or to set the refrigerator to “Sabbath mode.”
Sound an alarm if a leak is detected in your dishwasher
GE’s Dishwasher can let IFTTT know when a cycle ends, a filter needs cleaning, or supply levels are low, which can be used to trigger notifications and turn on lights. But there’s also a trigger that can fire off if the dishwasher detects a leak, allowing you to sound a more prominent alert, in this case using D-Link’s Siren accessory.
While the dishwasher naturally provides its own audible alert for leaks, this may not do you a lot of good if you’re in a larger house, so triggering a louder siren may be more useful, and D-Link’s Siren supports several notification sounds so you can use it for multiple alerts from various devices.
Get Hue lighting alert when your oven is ready
GE’s Stove can be used to trigger actions when the oven is turned on or off, timers end, or a preheat temperature is reached. We find the last one particularly useful, as we’ll often turn the oven on to warm it up and then go sit in front of the TV while we wait. A simple IFTTT applet can let us know the oven is ready just by changing the colour of the Hue lights in our living room.
This is not only handy for making sure you get your dinner in on time, but will help you save energy by not forgetting about the oven while you’re in the middle of your favorite show. IFTTT actions are also available here to let you turn the stove off or set it to “Sabbath mode.”
Send out an SMS ten minutes before your wash cycle ends
Using GE’s washing machine, you can easily get a text sent to yourself or another family member ten minutes before the cycle is about to end. This one is great if you’re frequently out of the house or working outside and want to ensure that you get your laundry out right away, as it gives you a few minutes notice to get back to the machine in time.
GE’s Dryer includes the same set of triggers, but also includes an IFTTT action that can be used to extend the tumble time, assuming the dryer is already running.
Set your water heater to standard mode when it’s cooler inside
GE’s GeoSpring hot water heater is designed to save energy using heat pump technology, which draws warm air from around the hot water heater. However, in some cases it may be more useful to change modes on cooler days, and using IFTTT you can use the data from something like an Ecobee thermostat to automate this process.
You can also enable IFTTT actions to change the water temperature setpoint or place the hot water heater into “Vacation Mode” when you’re going away. GeoSpring’s IFTTT service also includes triggers for all of the typical things you might want to be notified about.
This is just a quick look at some of the things that IFTTT can do with GE’s smart appliances, and as with most things IFTTT, there are a lot of other ideas we could come up with, ranging from simple notifications, to tying into Google Sheets, to logging data — such as how often your refrigerator door has been opened. In our next part, we’ll delve into some of the different things that other smart appliance manufacturers have done with their IFTTT services.