Your home is the place where you should feel at home and preferably safe. To properly guarantee this security, you can provide your home with burglar protection, use a smart doorbell or install a security camera. However, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are just as important.

You would do well to hang these detectors in various strategic places in the house. You can purchase the home-garden-and-kitchen variant at the hardware store, but nowadays you also have smart ones such as the Nest Protect V2. But does it pay to buy a relatively expensive device?

The importance of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

In the 1970s, it took another half an hour for a room to burn. Now it is often less than five minutes. This is because furniture nowadays contains more foam and chipboard, so that they burn a lot faster. It is therefore important that you are informed as quickly as possible about smoke development in your home.

Carbon monoxide detectors are also a must, even if you use a modern central heating system. Carbon monoxide is produced in incomplete ignition. It is poisonous and you don’t smell, see or taste it, with all the consequences that entails. It is therefore extremely important to hang one or more carbon monoxide detectors, not only at geysers and gas stoves, but also at central heating boilers, according to the fire brigade.

Nest Protect: More than a smoke detector

Those looking for a versatile smoke detector will quickly find the Nest Protect. This is not just any smoke detector, it also contains an electrochemical carbon monoxide sensor and works with the help of an app. This means that you can manage the Protect via an application on your smartphone and view the status of the device. You will also be informed via the app in the event of smoke and carbon monoxide so that you can intervene remotely.

But there is more, much more. For example, the Nest Protect contains an RGB color ring with 6 LED lights, a 2-watt speaker including siren (85 dB at 3 meters), split-spectrum sensor, humidity sensor, presence sensor and finally an ambient light sensor. A lot, but it ensures that the Nest Protect is more than a simple smoke detector from the hardware store. But do these extra sensors and functions actually add anything? We will come back to that later.

Nest Protect installation

To use Nest Protect, you must have the Nest app for smartphone or tablet. After an account has been created, you can use the app to add devices. Connecting a Nest Protect is child’s play. On the back of the detector you will find a QR code that you can scan via the Nest app. The application will then help you install the Protect.

You connect it to the WiFi network, specify the location and the detector will produce a test sound. Once one detector has been installed, you can easily add extra Protects using the already installed detector. This ensures that the new Protect is provided with the correct WiFi settings and that they can communicate with each other.

As soon as the detectors are registered, you can attach them to the ceiling or wall. The ceiling is preferred with a minimum distance of 30 cm from the wall. If you prefer to attach it to the wall, it must be between 15 cm and 60 cm from the ceiling. If you have a sloping ceiling, the Protect should be placed within 90cm below the highest point.

The detector contains a mounting bracket in the form of a ring that you can attach with the four screws supplied. You can then attach the Protect to the ring by turning it. This makes it easy to hang the detector straight and remove it, for example to replace the batteries. Once the installation is complete, you can test the Protect by pressing the button.

A carbon monoxide detector on the ceiling?

On the internet you can read contradictory claims about the fact that you should not attach a carbon monoxide alarm to the ceiling, but just low to the ground. The reason for this is, CO carbon monoxide (not the same as CO2 we exhale) is heavier than air and is falling. That statement is not entirely valid, CO is about the same weight as air and will mix and also be detected by a detector on the ceiling.

Because the CO mixes with the air, it is good to know that it is carried along with the air. That is why it is best to hang a carbon monoxide detector in the air flow and close to a source such as a central heating boiler and fireplace. This will immediately detect the CO and trigger an alarm. This is also the case for the Nest, which has a highly sensitive carbon monoxide sensor. Make sure there is at least one near a source and a second in the air stream. Example: the central heating is in the attic, hang a Nest nearby and then a second one on the floor below from the ceiling near the stairwell.

Smart color ring with 6 LED lights

The Nest Protect contains a color ring with 6 LED lights around the button, which can display the colors green, yellow, red and white. Depending on the color you can deduce what is going on. Such as the smoke level that increases or the carbon monoxide level has been too high for some time. In the manual you will find the different colors and meanings in detail.

Big plus: The light path

A smoke and carbon monoxide alarm is a must at home, but you hope you never have to use it. You will immediately notice that the Nest Protect is more than a traditional detector by the light path function. Normally, the LED lights on the Protect are switched off, but at night the device shows where you are walking. As soon as the Protect detects movement in the dark, the LED ring will light up white so that you can see where you are walking and the room is subtly illuminated. You can adjust the brightness or switch it off via the Nest app, which is useful if you have one hanging in the living room with a moving pet.

Speech is silver, silence is golden

The Nest Protect contains a 2-watt speaker including a siren (85 dB at 3 meters). This enables the reporter to communicate with the residents. This means that the Protect first gives you a friendly spoken warning when there is (no imminent) smoke development. Suppose a sandwich is lit, the Protect gives the voice message: Please note, there is smoke in the kitchen. This message can be heard not only on the detector that detects the smoke, but also on all other Protects in the house. Of course, in the event of an imminent smoke development, an alarm is immediately raised and reported where the smoke originated.

Thanks to the split spectrum sensor, the Protect uses two beams of light with different wavelengths to detect smoke from both fast-burning and slow-smoldering fires. This makes it possible for the smart device to distinguish between urgent or minor smoke development .

Nest Protect runs on batteries, and like all smoke detectors, they can eventually run out. A traditional detector will then beep to let you know that the batteries are low. The Protect not only announces this via the app, but will also report this via the detector itself, but not at night.

When you turn off the light at night, the LED color ring will briefly light up green. That’s Nightly Promise mode and means all your Nest Protects have enough power to get through the night and there won’t be any beeps. When it glows yellow, the batteries may be low, the WiFi connection is lost or a sensor is not working properly. Press the nest button to hear what’s going on.

Our Nest Protect detectors have been suspended from the ceiling for about 2 years now and the batteries have still not been replaced and the battery status is still excellent.

Steam is not smoke

Nothing is more annoying when you open the bathroom door and the smoke detector thinks that the steam has caused smoke. This will not happen to the Protect quickly because thanks to adapted algorithms and a humidity sensor, the device can distinguish between smoke and steam. This way the alarm will not go off when you are taking a nice shower.

Test yourself several times a day

Did you know that you should test a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm once a month ? Most people probably won’t do this because they simply forget. That’s why Nest Protect checks its batteries and sensors more than 400 times a day. In addition, the detector automatically performs a sound check every month to test its speaker and siren without making too much noise. You will be informed of this via the app and reporters and you can indicate at what time of the day this test should take place.

Nice design, long life

Most smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are bulky and unpleasant. This is a reason for many people not to place such a detector prominently in sight. Dangerous, because this often causes them to hang incorrectly! The Nest Protect has a beautifully streamlined design, so it is not disturbing to hang it in the middle of the room. The dimensions of the device are 13.5 cm by 13.5 cm and 3.85 cm thick.

It is recommended to replace all smoke alarms every ten years, not just Nest Protect, but also those from the hardware store. Traditional carbon monoxide detectors last less long, but the Protect uses an electrochemical carbon monoxide sensor with a lifespan of ten years, so you only have to replace the protects after ten years.

Nest Protect runs on six long-life AA Energizer® Ultimate Lithium batteries. How long the Nest lasts on these batteries depends on how it is used. Think of the brightness of the light path and the stable WiFi connection. Nest does not make any statements about the battery life, but according to several owners, these will last for several years. Good to know, the Nest Protect is also available in a wired version with a 230 V connection.

The Nest app

The Protect alarms can be accessed via the Nest app for smartphone and tablet. Many settings cannot be consulted, but that is not necessary either. You can, however, adjust or disable the extra functions. Think of the light path, night watch and steam control. If you prefer the alarm to sound the alarm immediately instead of first giving a notice, you can switch this off via the Nest app.

Via the app you can consult the history of the tests and check whether the sensors, battery, WiFi and alarm are working properly. In addition, the application will also give you notifications when there is danger or the detectors are tested. Finally, you can consult the technical data of the Protects via the application, such as the serial number and perform software updates.

Conclusion: Nest Protect

Is it a necessary thing to buy a Nest Protect instead of the home-garden-and-kitchen smoke and carbon monoxide detector from the hardware store? It’s a tricky question to answer. With a suggested retail price of € 125, the Protect is on the expensive side, but a good traditional smoke detector costs an average of € 20 and a carbon monoxide detector € 25. Is it worth his € 80 extra? Yes!

Nest Protect is more than a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm. The speaker in the device is a plus, so you immediately know where the danger is developing in the house and you can easily test the detector. In addition, the color ring is a nice addition, the light path at night illuminates the room / hallway excellently without bothering other housemates.

The self-monitoring of the Protects is sublime so that you do not have to worry about it yourself and false reports of steam are a thing of the past. In addition, you can easily hang the Nest Protect near the kitchen (3 meters from a hob or appliance), so that this space is also well protected. Nest recommends installing a detector on every floor and in every room with a combustion device. Garages and unfinished attics are not recommended.

If you have multiple Nest devices, they will be linked to the Protect. If carbon monoxide is detected and you have a Nest Thermostat, the Protect can turn it off automatically. The quality-function-price ratio is therefore excellent and those who are handy can link the Nest Protect to HomeKit thanks to a Raspberry Pi and HomeBridge.

Nest Protect Pros:

  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detector in one
  • Elegant design that fits into any interior
  • Checks its status daily and extensively monthly
  • Long battery life
  • Path light is a useful addition

Nest Protect Cons:

  • Pricey to buy, but worth the money
  • No HomeKit support

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