Nest Protect

Update #

After calling Nest support, they replaced my unit for me, no charge. The new unit arrived and has been sitting in it’s place, behaving properly for a week now. We’ll see how long it lasts. Fingers crossed.

After about six months of faithful service, the Nest Protect ended up with all the other less intelligent smoke detectors: On the table with the batteries out.

Let me back up. About six months ago, I purchased a Nest Protect. I like gadgets, and a smart smoke detector seemed like a pretty cool gadget. Setup was a breeze, and before long it was mounted to the ceiling in my hallway. Aside from one incident involving over cooked bacon, I proceeded to forget the thing was even there.

About a week ago, I was at work, doing what I do (writing code and breaking things) when suddenly my phone beeped and a pleasant notification told me there was smoke in my apartment. I thought it odd, and got a quick shot of adrenaline as I pictured the tea pot on the stove and started replaying the morning in my head. Had I turned it off before leaving the house? A flurry of text messages later, I determined that my girlfriend and child were not at home, so I called up my neighbour. I let him know the situation and asked if he would mind heading up to my apartment to make sure everything was ok.

After a tense five minutes, I got the call back. Everything was fine, and as soon as he opened the door to the apartment the alarm said “Smoke is clearing” and stopped blaring. There was no smoke though, he informed me, no burning smells either. I relaxed, and went back to breaking things. Not five minutes later however, my phone alerted me again to smoke in my apartment. WTF? I thought to myself, and then I got a text from my neighbour saying he could hear the alarm again, and did I want him to go investigate?

I said yes, he went up, and reported back. “Everything OK, but alarm still blaring.” At this point, I figured something was either wrong with the detector, or there was a tiny fire burning in my apartment that no one could see or smell. I told him to just leave it, and I’d deal with it when I got home. Eventually I got the “Smoke is clearing” alert again followed by yet another “Smoke in the apartment” alert. This repeated itself several times throughout the day, until my girlfriend was able to take the alarm down off the ceiling.

“As soon as I took it down, it said ‘Smoke is Clearing’ and stopped blaring” she told me as I got home from work. “I put it on your desk” she said. By this time, I’d already done the requisite googling, and learned that it’s possible that dust was causing the sensor to misbehave. Since I didn’t have any compressed air however, I just left the device on my desk. Maybe something is going on up near the ceiling I thought to myself. The Protect behaved itself until right around 2am when it started going off again “Smoke in the apartment — BEEP, BEEP, BEEP — Smoke in the apartment.”

I got up, found the Protect, pulled out the batteries and went back to sleep.

Addendum #

I haven’t been able to find many people who’ve had this same problem, and I still haven’t had a chance to follow the ‘de-dusting’ procedure outlined on Nest’s website. I did attempt to call their customer support line. Maybe they should rename it their sales line, because I was unable to find an option that would allow me to ask for help with my actual device.

I also have a birdi smoke detector with my name on it, so once they start shipping to their indiegogo backers, I’ll be able to see if it fares any better than the Nest.


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