No this is not my house on fire, but it is why we put in Smart Phone and App-Friendly Smoke Detectors recently. But, this is a recent Waupaca House fire. After putting in these “smart” smoke alarms, I received a notification that our WiFi connected Nest home smoke alarms were going off, while I was at the office. The notification was the result of a contractor working at our home and not a real fire but, we live 15 minutes from the fire department so, receiving a notification of smoke at our residence as quickly as possible is the main reason we installed this “smart home” device.
App-Friendly Smoke Detectors
The second installment of our Smart Home Series showcases what I feel is the most important device I’ve researched and installed throughout my home; Nest Protect smoke detectors. There are a few comparable brands of “smart” smoke detectors, but the Nest brand seemed to be the most reliable and thorough for my needs, so I will keep our attention to just this one option. The other brands all work in very similar ways, and if you use Alexa or Apple Home, I suggest considering the First Alert Onelink Safe & Sound smoke detector.
The Nest Protect smoke detector system, which also tests for carbon monoxide, connects to your home’s wi-fi system and will alert your smartphone, wherever you may be, when it detects harmful smoke or gas. The device’s super-sensitive dual photoelectric and ionization sensors can detect heat, humidity, occupancy and light, yet produces significantly less false alarms than an old-fashioned smoke detector (but if it does produce a false alarm, you can quickly silence it from your phone). The Nest Protect system can be either hard-wired or used with an included ten-year battery, and does not need to connect to Wi-Fi to communicate with itself throughout your home, but it does need wi-fi for the app feature on your phone to work.
The first Nest smoke detector that records gas or smoke will sound an alert, and send a signal to the next smoke detector in your home, which will also sound an alarm and signal the next detector in the chain, and so on. Each detector is labeled upon installation with the room it is mounted in, thus the alert will state what room is reading the smoke by its’ name, and will also show on your phone as such. For example, the alarm clearly states “smoke detected in the garage.” The Nest system also has a gentle “Heads up” feature that warns you that smoke has been detected and the alarm will be going off, so you aren’t startled with a sudden shrill alarm. There is an LED light with motion sensor to light your way when you walk underneath it, and it glows different colors to indicate whether the battery is low, the system is testing itself, or to indicate something is wrong, such as a fire.
Each detector also runs a check on itself daily. These smart devices initially cost over $100 each unit, but the peace of mind is worth the extra expense, in my opinion. Not only do we love that our phone will alert us if carbon monoxide is detected in our home while we’re on vacation, but the chain reaction within the home is unbeatable. Just in case I’m not conveniently in the room when a fire starts, I’ll be alerted immediately as if I was.
And already my wife and I had an experience with our Nest smoke detectors that tested this out.
I was recently at the office when I received a push notification on my smartphone indicating my garage smoke detector was going off. After a momentary panic attack, I remembered that we had a plumber doing work in our garage, near one of our Nest wifi smoke detectors. I quickly called my wife who was home at the time. She said, yeah, the plumber was using a torch to work on some pipes which set off the Nest smoke detector in the garage.
I asked if she got it shut off and reset, and she said, “Yes, I just told our Google Home speaker to reset the alarm.” It was fast and easy, and a huge relief for me being miles away to know that everything was fine at home. Installing the “smart” Nest Protect smoke detectors in our home has definitely given both my wife and I an increased sense of safety and security in, and out of, our home.