How to test and troubleshoot Nest Secure’s alarm

Google Nest Secure continuously monitors itself and automatically lets you know if anything needs your attention. But you can also run a manual check on each Google Nest Detect, Google Nest Guard and Google Nest Tag you have.

During installation, the Nest app will walk you through testing the Guard’s motion detection, testing Detect’s open/close sensing and motion detection, and checking for cellular availability in your area.

After installation, Nest Secure will automatically monitor its batteries, sensors, wireless connections and more. It will send you a notification and speak to you to let you know when something needs your attention, but you can manually test it whenever you want.

In addition, if you want your system to comply with UL guidelines, you’ll need to test Nest Detects once a week to verify that they are working.

Note: To perform the tests below, all parts of Nest Secure must be powered on and have sufficient battery charge. Your Guard should also be plugged in to AC power and connected to your Wi-Fi network.

How to test that Detect can trigger an alarm

This will only check one Detect at a time, so you’ll need to repeat the steps for each Detect that you want to check.

To check that motion detection will trigger the alarm

  1. Set to Away and Guarding Away and guarding. Wait for the alarm countdown to finish and for your Detects to arm themselves.
  2. Walk past a Detect that’s installed on a wall or door.
  3. Guard will speak a Heads-up alert to let you know it detected motion, and Guard's countdown timer will begin.
  4. After you hear the Heads-up alert, let the timer run out and the alarm will sound. The amount of time you have before the alarm sounds depends on your countdown setting. If you don't want to hear the alarm, you can disarm Nest Secure before the countdown ends.
  • If you want to test Tag, tap it onto Guard to disarm.
  • You can also enter your passcode on Guard or use the Nest app to disarm.

To check open/close detection will trigger the alarm

  1. Set to Home and Guarding Home guard icon. Your system will immediately arm itself.
  2. Open a door or window that has a Detect installed on it.
  3. Guard will speak a Heads-up alert and let you know it detected the door or window opening, and Guard's countdown timer will begin.
  4. After you hear the Heads-up alert, let the timer run out and the alarm will sound. The amount of time you have before the alarm sounds depends on your countdown setting. If you don't want to hear the alarm, you can disarm Nest Secure before the countdown ends.
  • If you want to test Nest Tag, tap it onto Guard to disarm.
  • You can also enter your passcode on Guard or use the Nest app to disarm.

Troubleshooting Guard

If Guard fails to detect your movement there are two separate settings to check in the app:

  1. Tap Nest Secure on the app home screen.
  2. Select Settings Nest settings icon and then Security levels. Check that you have motion detection enabled when your system is set to Away and Guarding Away and guarding.
  3. Go back to Settings Nest settings icon and tap your Nest Guard listed under Security Products. Check that you have motion detection set to On for Guard.
  4. Check that there’s nothing blocking Guard’s sensor (like a coffee mug). The sensor is located behind the Nest logo.
  5. Make sure that you are walking close enough to your Guard and that you’re walking through its detection area.
  6. Then repeat the Guard test.

Troubleshooting Detect

There are several things that can cause Nest Detect to fail a motion test or a manual open/close test. You should make sure it’s been installed correctly, check the alignment of Detect and the open/close magnet, and make sure the sensor is clean.

Troubleshooting motion detection

During a motion test, you should see Detect’s ring light up when motion is detected. If your Detect fails a motion test, first check that you’re following these simple guidelines when testing.

  • Walk in front of Detect. Small movements like waving your hand won’t always be detected.
  • Walk across the front of Detect, not directly toward or away from it.

If Detect still fails a motion test, there are a few other things that could be causing a problem. Try another motion test after checking for each of the following possible causes:

Dirty sensor: Detect might have gotten dirty. Over time, dirt and dust might accumulate and cover the sensor. It’s important to keep Detect clean so that it’s in top condition.

How to clean Detect’s motion sensor

Blocked or obstructed sensor: If there’s something in front of Detect, like a curtain or a support beam, it can have trouble detecting motion. You can move the object out of the way or move Detect to another spot so that it has a clear view of the room.

Incorrect height: If Detect is placed at an incorrect height, it can have trouble detecting motion. Follow the placement guidelines in the Nest app and reposition your Detect.

Mounting Nest Detect on a door

Mounting Nest Detect on a window

Troubleshooting open/close detection

Detect will fail an open/close test when there’s a problem with its placement on a door or window. To fix the problem, make sure that it’s placed according to guidelines in the Nest app and the User’s Guide and reposition your Detect.

Mounting Nest Detect on a door

Mounting Nest Detect on a window

After adjusting Detect’s or the magnet’s placement, run another open/close test. You’ll know that Detect and its magnet are spaced properly if Detect’s ring glows green when the door or window is closed and turns off when the door or window is opened several inches.

Troubleshooting Tag

  1. If you’ve tried to disarm using Tag, but it failed to disarm the alarm, make sure you hold it down flat on Guard until it disarms. Sometimes the contact between Guard and Tag is too light or too quick to disarm.
  2. If the Tag still won’t disarm, check that you’re using a Tag that has been set up and added to an account in the Nest app. You can see this in Settings Nest settings icon and thenFamily and Guests. Tap the person you want to view and you’ll see any Tags assigned to them.
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