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We were enthusiastic early adopters of the Nest thermostat; it was probably one of the very first Smart Home products we purchased, outside of setting up our home entertainment system. We haven’t tracked exactly how much money we have been able to save since we installed our two thermostats, but with hot summers here we know that we definitely have lower power bills every month since the thermostat turns off the air conditioner automatically while we are away.

Like our old, dumb thermostat, our smoke detectors in our house were standard issue that came with our home. They were not particularly bad, but were not really that interesting either. They were hooked up to the power lines with a battery back up, and when the battery died they made annoying beeps that were hard to pinpoint. We also had just two plug­in carbon monoxide detectors in the house, which had a limited effective life, without any way to know if they were still good. Because we have personal experience with carbon monoxide poisoning, it was very important to us to have a more effective way to monitor it and protect ourselves and our family. So naturally we also became enthusiastic early adopters of the Nest Protect.

The Nest Protect started on a rocky road. We ordered ours early and waited for a long time to receive them while they got all their regulatory certifications. We originally paid $129 each for ours ­ later, after a much publicized recall, they dropped the price to $99, and generously offered original owners a rebate. However, we liked the ones we bought so much, we eventually bought them to replace all our smoke detectors ­ eight of them ­ in our moderate­ size home.

With all of our Nest Protects installed, we can now see all our smoke and carbon monoxide detectors from our Nest app, and they have all become additional motion sensors on our network. Since both of us often work at home, we may sit in our offices for a few hours without going by the thermostats, and our thermostats used to go to auto­away mode very often. Now with the Protects in both of our offices our thermostat stays within a comfortable range all day.

Another great little feature is the night light. When you walk under the Nest Protect in the dark, it senses you and lights a little path for you. It is just perfect for late night trips to the bathroom.

There has been plenty of negative reports in the media about false alarms. We did have one around a year ago when the Nest told us that there was smoke in one of our rooms. Luckily we were home and could check out the situation and turn off the alarm. It has never happened again. If you include cameras in your home automation set­up, you could probably use them as a backup to verify Nest alarms when you are not home. Personally I’d rather be irritated by a false alarm than come home to a house that has burned down.

We installed our Nest Protects ourselves but depending on your home, how many smoke detectors you have, and how tall your ceilings are ­ it is probably worth having them installed. Getting up on a ladder and connecting to live power wires are often best left to professionals.


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