Becoming a homeowner has unleashed something deep inside. We went from 7+ years of renting across the street, where we barely locked our doors or thought about where we lived much, to wanting to make sure that our investment is well cared for and looked after to the best of our abilities.
I suppose that’s as natural a response as an ironic one?
That said, as soon as I saw what Nest Protect offered I knew I wanted to give it a try. Since our house had been rented for the last 20+ years it had an array of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors that mismatched, were untested, and were oddly placed. You can imagine a tenant just placing them wherever they thought was needed or where they thought might suit their needs. But we had no idea how old any of these detectors were nor how well they may or may not work.
With that in mind, I bought three. One for the hallway near the bedrooms, one for the garage where we store our company’s product, and one for the Tiny Office.
What is Nest Protect?
Here’s the official description:
The Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarm speaks up to tell you what the problem is and where it is. It can even send an alert to your phone if an alarm goes off or the batteries are getting low.
The simple act of beeping has saved thousands of lives. But a beep only lets you know that there’s a problem. Somewhere. In an emergency, you don’t have time to guess what’s wrong. With Nest Protect, you don’t have to. Meet the Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarm.
It’s a $99 smoke/carbon monoxide detector that talks to all the other overpriced Nest stuff in the house. But hey, it talks to you and checks itself, so that’s cool.
There’s a lot to like about Nest Protect. It’s good looking, it’s got a lot more features than your standard smoke detector, and they work in concert with one another. So if there’s a problem in my garage it’ll give a verbal warning to the rest of the house PLUS it’ll alert me on my phone.
Out of the box you turn it on by pulling a little paper tab. From there, you go through a very simple setup process using your mobile phone or tablet. Basically, this pairs it with your Nest account and gets it connected to your home internet. One of the things I really like is that after you setup the first one with your phone you can literally just take the rest of them out of the box, put them next to an existing Nest Protect already in your house, press the big button, and it’ll connect itself to your Nest account and wifi. Doesn’t get much easier than that!
After you’ve got it connected (and you’ve named it) you just install it like any other smoke detector. Nest Protect comes with all the screws and mounting plate you’ll need. If you have the battery operated one it comes with a set of batteries that are supposed to last 2+ years. If you have the wired one, you just wire the mounting plate to the electrical box, then the Nest Protect snaps into the mounting plate. In our house, I wired ours into a ceiling junction box, the mounting plate fit nicely on the electrical box, now the Nest Protect essentially acts as the face plate on that junction box.
Installation took approximately 10 minutes per location. Really, really easy for the do-it-yourself-er.
Features I Like
I really like that all of the smoke/carbon monoxide detectors in our house work in unison. This is normal in a commercial building but a nice luxury for a residence. If I’m in my office and there’s smoke in the house, my office Nest Protect will announce, “Attention, there is smoke in the hallway!”
I love that Nest Protect works with other Nest devices. For instance, let’s say carbon monoxide is detected. Nest will automatically disable your furnace until you clear the warning. Or, let’s say there is steam in the shower, Nest can tell the difference between steam and smoke, so you can set it so that it turns the HVAC fan on to clear the steam. Or, if there’s a little smoke in the kitchen, Nest will ask you if you’d like to turn the HVAC fan on to clear the smoke. Likewise, if you have Nest Cam’s installed in your house, any alarm instance will automatically trigger video to start getting recorded, even if you don’t have it scheduled to record at that time.
I like that there is an activity monitor built in. Basically, Nest Protect is always working and it can detect if someone is home. So let’s say you leave but forget to tell your Nest Thermostat? Protect will detect that you’re not home and set your HVAC system to “away” so that you aren’t heating or cooling when you’re not home. Boom, a penny saved!
Like with all things Nest, I really like how easy the status of everything, and a history of everything it’s capturing is easy to spot, and easy to save. You can do all of this on any smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer. Plus, since you can use a third-party service to export stuff outside of Nest. I’ve got it set-up to export everything to Google Spreadsheets, so I have a full log of every time my HVAC system turns on, smoke alarms are tested, and links to video every time the cameras detect motion. That’s all really, really cool.
One last little feature I really like is that it’ll act as a nightlight. In the middle of the night, with all the lights off, when it detects that I’m walking down the hallway it lights up a white LED glow. That’s a silly feature to like but it’s totally useful! (You can even set the brightness on this feature in the settings.)
Things I Don’t Like
Outside of the price point, I don’t really have any complaints about Nest Protect. It’s easy to install, easy to maintain, and works. That’s about all I’m looking for in something like this.
If I had to make up a complaint it’s that you don’t get to precisely schedule the monthly checkup. You give it a window to do it and it happens without much warning. It’d be nice to get a heads up alert maybe 5 minutes before it happens, because if you’re not paying attention it’s weird when the testing begins. But that’s super, super picky!
The Money Line
If you’re looking for some reassurance that your home is safe while you’re away, the $99 price point of Nest Protect won’t bug you. We have three of them installed in our house right now, I wouldn’t mind getting 2-3 more. So I guess that’s my recommendation!