Are Smoke Alarms Getting Smarter

The short answer to that questions is yes; smoke alarms are getting smarter. Now let’s take a look into why that is.

For years smoke, CO and fire alarms were those round white things on the ceilings in your house that woke you up in the middle of the night with beeps when the battery had to be changed. Those beeps were the only indication that something was working, unless you got out the ladder and climbed up to push the test button. How many people actually performed that monthly test?

I am not saying that these alarms are bad, they are most definitely better than nothing. But like all things electronic, the times and these devices are changing.

Smart smoke alarms or detectors offer the following benefits:

  • They can detect smoke and CO2 faster
  • They will tell you in plain English when their batteries need to be changed
  • They can automatically test themselves
  • They can be controlled by an APP from your phone
  • They can provide visual cues that they are working

These are just some of the most important features. Different manufacturers will include other features. A company call NEST is the name that most people will recognize as a provider of these devices.

Another important feature is if you have multiple alarms in your house they all network together. If an alarm goes off, it will force all alarms to sound. Some will then tell you in plain English what alarm is detecting the problem. If the problem turns out to be something like burnt toast, you would be able to turn off that alarm through the APP.

There are many features that the manufacturer can add through software updates sent directly to the alarm. That will keep your alarm updated with features for many years. Most smoke/CO2 alarms and detectors will have an expiration date of between 5 and 10 years. This means that the material inside the alarm which detects smoke or CO2 has exceeded its ability to detect smoke or CO2. These smart alarms will tell you when that time is, so you can replace your units.

Smart alarms can communicate with Alexa, Google Assistant and others This allows them to connect to devices such as thermostats, lights, doors, etc. In future years everything in your home will be connected. That said; always make sure that you control the equipment, not the other way around.