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?