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The core of the SmartThings system is a Hub paired with one of its Presence sensors or a smartphone — but its abilities really start to get interesting once you introduce another device. An Open/Closed sensor is the ideal next step for anyone who’s gotten to grips with the functionality offered by the basic package 3 Ways to Protect Your Family and Home With SmartThings Presence 3 Ways to Protect Your Family and Home With SmartThings Presence Want to use tech to keep your nearest and dearest safe? Check out what a SmartThings Presence can do to keep a watchful eye over your home. Read More .

The Open/Closed sensor is intended for use monitoring doors and gates, but with a bit of lateral thinking it can achieve much more than that. Here are a few ideas to help you start using the device to make your home a little smarter (no programming required!)

Keep a Draft Out

open closed table

There’s a door that won’t stay closed in most houses around the world. Whether it’s a construction issue or a forgetful family member, a door left wide open can leave your living areas drafty and cold Make Your Own Temperature Controller with an Arduino Make Your Own Temperature Controller with an Arduino Raise the perfect bread, brew beautiful beer, and rear happy chicks with an Arduino temperature controller. If you live in a less than reliable climate like England, directions that tell you to keep something at... Read More . With an Open/Closed sensor, you can keep an eye on the offending entryway from your smartphone.

The first step is to affix the sensor to the door or window you’re looking to monitor. You’ll find an adhesive patch as well as a screw mount in the package, so depending on the surface and how permanent you want its positioning to be, you can choose between those options for yourself. Make sure to use the template included in the accompanying instructions to position it correctly.

Then it’s time to open up the SmartThings app, and press the plus button on the Dashboard to start setting up something new. Select Open/Closed Sensors and then SmartSense Open/Closed Sensor, and then select Connect Now to prompt it to search for the device.

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choose sensor

Now, head back to the SmartSetup page and scroll across to Alerts. Choose Access & Entryways and the Receive an alert if you have left your door open for longer than a specified time. Give it a sensible name, and make sure it’s being classified as a conventional door rather than a garage door.

In the Connect a sensor field, choose the Open/Closed sensor you set up earlier, and make sure it’s set to send a notification when the door is open. Now, just customize the amount of time to wait before sending either an alert or an SMS to your phone These 5 SMS Services Offer You the Internet Without a Data Plan These 5 SMS Services Offer You the Internet Without a Data Plan Going without a mobile Internet plan seems almost impossible. But there are a class of tools that use the humble SMS to make the web available to people who can't afford a data plan. Read More .

The next time the door’s left open, letting a draft in, you’ll know about it!

Check Whether a Window is Open While You’re Out of the House

window

It’s easy to convince yourself that you’ve left a window wide open when you’re not able to check for yourself. Fortunately, an Open/Closed sensor gives you the ability to know for sure from a glance at your smartphone How to Use Your Smartphone Like a Professional How to Use Your Smartphone Like a Professional Just because everyone uses a smartphone, it doesn't mean they can't remain professional. Read More .

First, attach the sensor to the desired window. In practice, this is no different from affixing it to a door — just make sure the two parts are close enough for the magnets inside to attract when the window is closed, and that they’re firmly in place. Then, pair it with your SmartThings app if you haven’t done so already.

Thanks to the flexibility of the SmartThings system, you don’t have to set up a process for this functionality to be up and running. Tap the speech bubble at the top right-hand corner of the Dashboard, followed by the Activity Feed icon at the top right-hand corner of that page, and you’ll see a full readout of all the actions detected on your SmartThings network.

activity feed

You’ll see a time-stamped log of every time your window has been opened and closed, with the most recent letting you know its current status. With a minimum of fuss, you’ve set up an ongoing report that will continue to collect data until you tell it to stop.

Keep Your House Secure Overnight

outer door

Home security systems can be great for your piece of mind, but they’re also very expensive. Using your SmartThings Open/Closed sensor, you can set up an effective method of surveillance Tomorrow's Surveillance: Four Technologies The NSA Will Use to Spy on You - Soon Tomorrow's Surveillance: Four Technologies The NSA Will Use to Spy on You - Soon Surveillance is always on the cutting edge of technology. Here are four technologies that will be used to violate your privacy over the next few years. Read More at a small fraction of the price.

First, you’ll need to place sensors on the external entrances of your house — ideally any that could be accessible to someone trying to break in, but at the very least the front and back doors. Depending on your home, it might make sense to tweak your set-up for the various different sensors.

Once the devices are in place, head to the SmartSetup screen in the app, and choose Access & Entryways. Select Notify me when a door is opened and/or closed while I am away from home and name the doorway on the next page. Then, choose the correct device in the Connect a sensor field and select the option to be notified when the door is Open. Afterwards, choose your alert preferences.

when door is open

Press More options to see some settings for the times this process is going to be operational. If you’re looking to set up a flexible system that you can turn on and off as well, select Only when mode is and choose the most appropriate option. Otherwise, set it up using the other inputs to control the days of the week and times it will be active — this method will ensure that the system runs automatically.

time and days

With all that in place, you’re good to go; your smartphone will receive a notification or an SMS if the door opens unexpectedly. While this isn’t a replacement for a conventional security system, it’s a very cost-effective way of getting an early warning should an intruder target your home.

Monitor Temperature

temp readout

As you may have guessed from its name, this kind of sensor is built to keep track of whether things are open or closed, but that’s not all it can do. Alongside its main duties, the device will also keep track of the temperature around it PC Operating Temperatures: How Hot Is Too Hot? PC Operating Temperatures: How Hot Is Too Hot? Excessive heat can affect your computer's performance and your hard drive's lifespan. But how can you tell if it's overheating or just hot? Read More — which can be rather useful when you’re dealing with drafty doors and windows.

Readings will be posted regularly to your activity feed, but you can also access them directly by navigating to Things from the Dashboard, where the temperature reading will be shown overlaid onto the appropriate tile.

Having easy access to this information is great, but sometimes you might want to set up an automatic notification — for instance, if your sensor is placed on a window and you want to be alerted when the room is cool enough to close that window. To do so, head to the SmartSetup screen and navigate to Alerts.

smartsetup

Choose Extreme Temperatures and then Monitor for extreme cold temperatures. Enter a name, and then choose the Open/Closed sensor and set your desired temperature in the appropriate field. Everything’s now set up, but if you’re wanting to get more complex you could try linking the process to a SmartThings-compatible heater system. Of course, this will require additional equipment, like a Nest thermostat 13 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do With a Nest Thermostat 13 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do With a Nest Thermostat You may be surprised just how many little tricks you can accomplish with your new Nest thermostat! Read More .

Do you have a novel use for the SmartThings Open/Closed sensor? Why not share it with other readers in the comments section below?

  1. judy
    July 11, 2016 at 2:00 am

    sorry to hear they are expensive because they would have worked great for my problem.

    My Husband has Alzheimer's and keeps opening the doors wide in the house with the air conditioning going full blast. I am a senior too and what with getting 4 or 5 hours sleep a night and the rest of alzheimers I must keep checking the doors to see if they are open with the bugs flying in and the Air flying out.

  2. RobertLawrence
    May 4, 2016 at 10:50 am

    Sensors works for safety at any place we apply.

  3. fcd76218
    June 25, 2015 at 11:48 am

    "Keep a Draft Out"
    The vast majority of drafts in a house are due to the doors and windows not being properly caulked or weatherstripped. Once you seal, caulk, weatherstrip all the openings in the house, draft sensors become just expensive toys.

    "Check Whether a Window is Open While You’re Out of the House"
    Will the sensor close the window that was inadvertently left open? Of course not. It will just remind you how forgetful you are and it will just make you nervous. It can even ruin a perfectly good vacation.

    "Keep Your House Secure Overnight"
    To do a proper job you would have to put sensors on all the openings (doors/windows) and that would not be cheap. And the job would be done by an amateur. When it comes to the security of my house, paying for a professionally installed security system is worth the cost. The cost of a security system isl less than having to replace the contents that have been stolen because of inadequate security.

    These Open/Close sensors are good for people who drift through life, totally oblivious to what is happening around them and/or for those who like to play with their smartphones.

  4. Christopher HasARightToPrivacy
    June 25, 2015 at 11:06 am

    The sensors for this system are insanely expensive. I'd love to know what hardware they've put inside them.

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