Smoke detectors – ways to make them “SMART”

My father-in-law lives with family who both work, leaving him alone at home for several hours per day. He is 93, legally blind and practically deaf. We knew we needed some tech to help remote family members comfortable. Getting a smart door lock was a no brainer. Caregiver family can remotely open it for visitors, emergency personnel, etc.

Smoke/carbon monoxide detectors were another concern. The host home does not have landline phones, and father in law can't use a phone due to hearing loss in any case. We wanted to have smoke/CO detectors that could tell someone there's a problem.

Smart smoke detectors can do that, provided internet is available (I believe some also have cell capability). Consumer Reports has lists of recommended detectors. However, research says all the detectors should match, and at $120 each, this gets expensive quickly.

Roost offers a unique solution. Their smart battery can be placed in any 12v battery operated detector. It "listens" for an alarm, not just from the associated detector, but from any detector it can "hear". Homeowner sets it up to link to internet, and who to notify, and it will contact that person when it senses an alarm. This is the solution we've chosen (and I also ordered one for my thirty-something son, so I can see how well it works).

We also learned that we have an installed "listening" device – Alexa! This smart speaker has a "guard" mode, which listens not only for smoke/CO alarms, but also for glass breaking. When it senses that abnormal condition, it contacts the assigned person's cell phone, with a notification and a few seconds of recording of the sound, so the person can decide if the notification is legitimate. DOWNSIDE: you have to "arm" it when you leave by telling Alexa "I'm leaving". We're testing this process at our house. So far, the only time it doesn't work is when I forget to arm it.

Just some learning we wanted to share.

1 thought on “Smoke detectors – ways to make them “SMART””

  1. You coukd create an Alexa

    You coukd create an Alexa Routien to turn on Guard at a specific time… but ther is no way in a Routine to turn it off at a specific time. Here is a reference on Amazon’s website.

    Create a Routine be triggged (When this happens) at a certain time and have the action be “Alexa will set Guard to Away”