June 12, 2017

The Day NEST Protect Saved My Apartment

Couple of months ago, I begin to play around with more "internet of things" for our home.  Essentially piece-mailing various smart-home tech to give me more control and/or insight to my home while I am away.  I have covered a few stories here or there.  Shortly after I posted the story about NEST Cams, I actually installed a NEST Protect Smoke Alarm.  I didn't know how I really felt about this product but I just thought I'd give it chance since I realized I have a pre-wired Smoke Detector already in place and the powerline is already available so why not?

Ironically, as of yesterday, I was even thinking to myself while staring at the NEST Protect, that this thing is cool but is it all that necessary?  I mean, unlike a NEST cam where I can login to engage with it, this just feels like a superfluous piece of technology (reminded me of this clip about Smart Fridge from this season's Silicon Valley)

This morning, I took the family out for a stroll and to enjoy a nice relaxing breakfast about half a mile away when all of a sudden, my wife picked up her phone and said to me "Did you see this Nest Alert about detecting smoke?".  Immediately, I was simultaneously in panic and realization that I had left a pot of soup heating on the stove top.  You see, with the recent summer temperature spike reaching the 90s, I meant to heat up some leftover soup to boil before leaving the apartment to prevent it from going spoiled.  When I rushed everyone out of the house this morning, I completely forgot the stove was still on.

From that moment, I immediately sprinted across town to race home.  Afterwards, I mapped out the route, and realized it was only a 0.6 mile stretch, but it involved NYC traffic, busy sidewalks, going underground, climbing back on surface streets, etc.  I was out of breath from running as fast as I could.  In the screenshot above, you can see that from the time of the first alert to when I silenced the alarm, it took only 7 minutes.  Upon entering the apartment, I can see the livingroom filled with smoke and smelt like a pit-master has been busying using my kitchen as a BBQ smoker.

Once I cleaned/cleared up the mess and calmed down a bit, its when I realized the true benefit of having a smart thermostat.  There is no doubt having a smoke and CO detector is very important for every home but having a smart detector extends that monitoring ability remotely and its very VERY valuable.  For people that are farther away, should an alarm goes off, they can phone their doorman or neighbor/family to check in for them.

As for me, I learned my lesson the hard way.  From this point on, I will use my smartphone as count-down timer so that if I ever make this bone-headed move again, at least my phone will remind me to check on the fire wherever I might be. 

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