If you like to cook, you probably know the hassle of flailing around with a towel, trying to quiet a smoke detector that has misinterpreted smoke from fat drippings as a sign of a dangerous fire. One of the big selling points of Nest’s recently released Protect smoke detectors is that they can be silenced with a wave of the hand. However, it’s this very convenient feature that has caused the company to stop selling new Protects pending a fix.
According to this post from Nest CEO Tony Fadell, recent lab testing of the Protect found that through a “unique combination of circumstances,” the “Wave” feature could be unintentionally activated.
“This could delay an alarm going off if there was a real fire,” writes Fadell, who says the company has not heard of this actually happening to any customers.
But rather than wait to see if this problem would happen in the real world, Nest decided to deal with the problem before that happens.
“We feel that the best and safest thing to do is to immediately disable the Nest Wave feature to resolve the issue and remove any safety concerns,” he explains. “While we fix Nest Wave, we have also halted sales of all new Nest Protect alarms to ensure no one buys an alarm that needs an immediate update.”
Those with web-connected Nest Protects will be receiving updates today or tomorrow. The only feature being disabled is the Wave functionality, meaning those whose kitchens tend to get smoky will need to bust out the towel and get back to fanning smoke away from the detector.
Nest, which is in the process of being acquired by Google, is asking that people who have taken their Protects offline reconnect them to the Internet so they can be updated.
Those without access to WiFi are being offered refunds. More info on that program is available here.
It appears that Amazon and some other big retailers have already pulled the product, but since this is not an official recall, it would not be illegal for any businesses with Nest Protect inventory to continue selling them.