How Nest Protect Failed in our home

One by one, the smoke detectors in my home have started to show their age and require replacement. So, I do some research and as a nerd, I started my product hunt with Nest Protect.

As I just installed a Nest learning thermostat last December, the Nest Protect would work well in my existing set up, or so I thought.

I bought just two Nest Protects (my house has a total of 7 smoke detectors) because of the $100 per unit cost. I justified the expense by telling myself they’re good as CO and smoke detectors.

A few days passed and the Nest Protects came to my door. I installed them and was happy to have more ‘things’ in my connected home that were ‘smart’. You see, the Nest Protect units can talk to one another and alert you with a voice. Instead of just beeping loudly, Nest Protect units can say “There’s smoke in the upstairs hallway”, so you know exactly where the problem lies. Pretty cool, eh?

False alarm(s)

Earlier this week at about 8:30 PM on a weeknight, the upstairs Next Protect goes off saying there was smoke. The loud alarm was followed by the voice alert an a push notification on my Moto X phone. I go upstairs. There’s no smoke, no cause for alarm of any reason.

I tried to silence the alarm and ‘reset’ it by pushing the button, but this only hushes the alarm momentarily. Then the problem reoccured the next night.

I start Googling the issue and find that sometimes dust can cause false alarms. Considering I just installed the units a week prior, dust can’t be an issue. Then, the more I search, I find Nest support forum posts where unanswered queries point to others having this same issue.

You may remember Nest Protects were recalled last year. I figured major problems with the devices were history since the company put the product back on the market. Apparently not.

I found the video below that illustrates the problem perfectly, released by a Google employee who wanted to show why he’s ashamed that the Google brand is associated with Nest.

This product is not smart and it hasn’t become any smarter since its release.

More than alarming

When you have small children, false alarms are more than an annoyance, they’re terrifying. My entire family woke up because of the alarms on Tuesday night and apparently Nest can’t explain why false alarms happen. My 7 year old was terrified.

What if I was away on business and my wife had to handle the issue by herself? What if we were on an overnight trip someewhere and my phone alert had me thinking my house was burning down? Not a fun thought.

So, it was off to Home Depot the next day as I bought 7 replacement old-school Kidde Firex smoke detectors. I bought two that are CO/smoke detectors and 5 regular ones, all for the price of two Nest Protect units.

Have you had issues with Nest Protect or is it smooth sailing?

  • MrCurtisOlson

    Smooth sailing for 3 months. Just had my 2nd night panic.

    I replaced all seven of my alarms. My wife loved the Nest thermostat, so it was an easy sell to her. Expensive, but, as you mentioned, I was happy to add to my connected home.

    The alarm that failed is in my master bedroom, which has vaulted ceilings . To silence that alarm, I have to get a step ladder, climb onto my dresser, then holding the door jam, reach out and disconnect the alarm. I was pretty upset when I called support, but I eventually agreed to just replace that one alarm.

    Just a month later and I’m having the same problem. No way it is dust. My grandson was sleepting and started wailing when the alarm was going off. I’m waiting on hold to customer support. While I waited, I also found a lawyer’s site that is signup up angry Protect customers for a class action lawsuit. Unless they replace all my alarms, I’m signing up with the lawyer when they get in touch with me.

    • MrCurtisOlson

      Just got off the phone with support and they are going to replace all 7 of mine. I’m planning to buy Gen 2 of the Protect. I’m still hoping they will get it right this time.

  • sleepless

    We bought 1 Nest protect to replace one of the hardwired Kidde units in our home that had gone buggy. (With the Kidde units one goes off they all go into alarm that brings down the house.) The “heads up” feature and beep free low battery alert were major selling points. After several months with the Nest Protect and zero issues, we decided to replace all the devices with new Nest Protect units in June 2015. In July, we were rudely awakened by a false alarm in the master bedroom. There was no “heads up” and the alarm could not be silenced. We disconnected the unit and called Nest. They sent us a new unit promptly and we installed it with no issues. Or so we thought. Last night, the replacement unit went into alarm just as we were going to bed. Again, no “heads up” and no smoke, steam or any reason for the alarm. Again, we had to completely uninstall the alarm to silence it. This time, we called Nest and no one picked up. After nearly an hour on hold, I gave up and sent an email. No reply from Nest yet today, when I contact them again it will be for a refund.

  • Andreas Jacobsen

    Is this the 1st or 2nd generation of Nest protect?