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Products Liability

The Wave of the Future: Nest Disables Smoke Alarms

July 30, 2014 | Michael Barasch

A manufacturer recently issued a warning on its popular smoke alarm after discovering it could be disabled during a fire.

Nest is a home automation company acquired in January by Internet giant Google. Building on the popularity of its programmable thermostat, Nest offers a compatible smoke alarm called Nest Protect.

In addition to interconnecting with the Nest thermostat, Protect sends smartphone alerts if the combination smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector sense danger. Best of all, in a false alarm, you can wave your hand under the appliance instead of finding a step stool and pulling out the batteries. Sound too good to be true?  It is.

In April of 2014, Nest issued an alert about its Protect product, for reasons that include:

  • Independent testing at Nest Labs revealed problems with the Protect alarm.
  • Under “a unique combination of circumstances,” the company discovered the alarm could be disabled during a house fire.

Despite noting no customers have complained of problems with the wave function of the alarm, the company stopped selling the alarm until the problem is resolved. For customers connected to Wi-Fi, the company disabled the wave function within 24 hours of the safety statement. The alert is not a recall, and the company indicates the alarm features of the product remain functional.

The U.S. Fire Agency estimates 29 to 62 percent of residences that suffer large, uncontained fires do not have smoke alarms.

From robotic help to talking appliances, the connected house has long been a dream. While Nest products may be the wave of the future, they are not there yet.

If you are injured in a house or other fire due to a defective product in New York, get good legal advice.

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