Are you faced with a power and connectivity issue with your smart smoke detector? Then you should read through this guide. In this guide, we’d deal with the connectivity issues from your smart smoke detectors. By the end of this review, you should be able to solve the connectivity issues you have with your smart smoke detector.
What Are Smart Smoke Detectors?
If there is one smart device for your home worth investing in, it is a smart smoke detector. While the types of sensors used (ionized or photoelectric sensors) are the same for both traditional and smart smoke detectors, that’s where the similarities end.
Smart smoke detectors incorporate self-testing features to monitor battery power and proper sensor function and send a notification to your phone if there is a problem.
Most models of smart smoke detectors also incorporate carbon monoxide detection into their features as well.
If your smart smoke detectors integrate with your home automation system, your connected home can use the capabilities of the smart smoke detectors along with sensors from other devices that detect heat and light to alert you faster should a fire occur.
How Smart Smoke Detectors Work
The primary function of smart Smoke Alarms is, of course, to detect smoke, carbon monoxide, and, in some cases, other hazardous substances. The exact possibilities vary from model to model.
For example, some detectors combine carbon monoxide and smoke, and some detectors combine smoke monitoring with, for example, a motion sensor or a light sensor.
Almost all manufacturers of smart detectors use new chips, sensors, and techniques to detect fire, smoke, carbon monoxide, and other substances much faster than traditional detectors. So they give you an alarm or warning faster.
Most smart Smoke Alarms are self-monitoring and therefore require little maintenance. However, it is wise to perform a manual test every month to make sure the detector is working.
A smart Smoke Alarm will immediately sound a loud alarm as soon as a toxic substance is detected. A message is then immediately sent to your smartphone (whether or not via an app).
Also, most smart smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors give you an overview of the past days or weeks in which you can see whether dangerous substances have been found in the air to a greater or lesser extent and whether the detector has functioned correctly every day.
Smart Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Alarms can often also communicate with other smart home products. For example, the Nest Protect can make the Philips Hue lights flash when there is an alarm, and when there is smoke all the lights are turned on so you can quickly find your way out.
Also, the Nest Thermostat immediately switches off the boiler when there is an alarm. The exact operation with other smart home products depends on the product you buy, the protocols that are supported, and the possibilities offered by the manufacturer of the product.
Many manufacturers bring closed systems to the market, which means that you can buy cameras, smoke detectors, sensors, and other products of the same brand but they can only communicate together.
It is important to find out which other smart home devices the detector is compatible with before purchasing a smart smoke and/or carbon monoxide detector.
Several companies sell smart home devices such as detectors and sensors but communication between these devices is often only possible if the sensor is of the same brand as the other devices. That’s why many companies offer complete packages; with detectors, sensors, thermostats, sockets, and much more. So it is not self-evident that a sensor communicates with your smart lighting.
It is also more convenient with a complete system if you get detectors and sensors from one company because these sensors often appear in one app on your phone.
For example, several companies offer a complete smart alarm system that can be operated with one app. However, this is not a must when you buy detectors and sensors that need to be set up once and then communicate with your lighting, thermostat, alarm, etc.
Smart detectors vs. regular detectors
Bells and whistles aside, smart smoke and CO detectors perform the same core function as traditional alarms. They’re not actually better at detecting threats (despite what the box may suggest).
Newer non-smart detectors use two types of sensors (ionization and photoelectric) to detect both blazing and low-smoldering fires. In other words, they do the same thing as the Nest Protect’s elite sounding “split-spectrum sensor.”
As far as fire safety goes, newer non-smart detectors use two types of sensors (ionization and photoelectric) to detect both blazing and low-smoldering fires. That means they have the same capabilities as the Nest Protect’s “split-spectrum sensor.”
For carbon monoxide, standard and smart detectors work in the same way, using electrochemical sensors that trigger an alarm if they react with CO in the air.
The decision between smart and standard mostly comes down to convenience. If you’re tired of scrambling to silence ultra-sensitive alarms, then a smart detector’s mobile “off” button will be a huge relief.
Smart detectors also check their own battery, and either self-test their alarm or remind you to do so, meaning you don’t have to keep tabs on maintenance. Plus, if you’re into smart home tech, smart detectors offer some neat opportunities for voice assistance and IFTTT.
On the downside, smart detectors are much more expensive than traditional ones. For the added convenience and peace of mind, you’ll end up paying around $100–$150 more per unit. Of course, if your home still uses battery-powered detectors, installing Roost batteries at $35 apiece can be a good compromise.
Are smart detectors worth it?
Smart smoke and CO detectors can be a big investment. If you choose the Roost smart battery (cheaper, but with fewer features). Keep in mind that most states do require interconnected smoke alarms in the home, and the rest will shortly. So if you’re nearing the 10-year replacement period on your current alarms — and excited about smart tech — switching to smart detectors puts you ahead of the curve. If smart tech isn’t your thing, traditional hardwired alarms fulfill that requirement for a fraction of the cost.
Smart Smoke Detector Power and Connectivity Concerns
Smart smoke detectors have workarounds for when the power or internet is out. Even if your smart smoke detector is hard-wired into your electrical system, the battery back-up system will take over during a power outage.
If there is an internet outage, several smart smoke detector models can also use Bluetooth to communicate with your cell phone (if you are home) or with your smart home system when an alarm is triggered.
As long as your smart home hub or system has cellular connection capabilities, it can use a standard cellular signal to send notifications to you and emergency services when an alarm is triggered.
However, not all smart home automation systems feature cellular connectivity and some options may require an additional device and possibly a monthly fee for this cellular connection. If internet or power outages are common in your area, choosing an option that offers cellular connectivity provides peace of mind that may be worth the extra cost.
Since Nest’s smart smoke detector is one of the most common smart smoke detectors, we’d use it as a case study in this review.
Troubleshooting wired Nest Protect power problems
If you receive power out notification from the Nest app and you see that the green power light on a wired Nest Protect is out, try these two troubleshooting steps in order.
If you had a professional install your Nest Protects, contact them to fix any trouble you’re having. We strongly recommend that you have a professional installer diagnose wiring issues. A trained professional knows how to safely deal with high-voltage equipment and ensure proper connection for all wires. You can always find a local pro installer.
- Check your breaker box
When the power goes out to only part of your house, one or more switches on the breaker box may not be turned on. Sometimes these switches can be tricky because they’re difficult to push. You may think you flipped a switchback on, but it didn’t flip all the way. Try flipping the switches off and on again. If your Nest Protect’s small green light illuminates, after flipping a fuse switch, you’ll know that was the problem.
- Check your wiring
If one wired Nest Protect is the only thing in your house that’s not receiving power, there’s likely a problem with the wiring. While wiring issues usually crop up during or right after installation, wires can sometimes become detached later, especially if the connections weren’t properly terminated with a wire connector or connector block.
Here are steps to take for checking your Nest Protect wiring.
- Turn off the power
Protect yourself and avoid blowing a fuse. Switch off the correct circuit breaker or remove the correct fuse from the fuse box. Double-check that any lights, appliances, or other electronics connected to the same circuit are off.
- Remove your Nest Protect
Remove your Nest Protect by gently twisting it counter-clockwise.
- Check the connector
Make sure the connector is fully inserted into the back of Nest Protect. If it wasn’t, try turning the circuit breaker switch back on. If the small green light still doesn’t illuminate, turn the circuit switch off again and try to step the next step
- Check the wiring
Check that the power wire and neutral wire connections are connected to the right wires on Nest Protect’s connector. Refer to your Nest Protect User’s Guide for more details.
There must be solid contact between the power wires. Make sure that all wire connections are capped with a wire connector or connector block that has been attached securely.
- Turn the power back on
Flip the circuit breaker switch back on and check to see if the Protect’s small green light is on. The status in the Nest app may take a few minutes to change, so it’s best to check the light.
If your Nest Protect still hasn’t turned back on, contact your professional installer.
After going through the above review, any minor power and connectivity issue can be resolved, but if the steps above do not work, do make sure to seek help from your professional installer.