Nest Recalls Smoke + CO Alarms

Nest Protect Smoke + CO Alarm

Nest Protect Smoke + CO Alarm

Here's some alarming news: Palo Alto, California-based home tech company Nest Labs is recalling 440,000 of its combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarms because a feature designed for convenience could actually prevent the alarm from going off at all.

The Nest Protect Smoke + CO alarms have a motion-detection feature called Nest Wave, wherein waving your arm near the device causes it to temporarily silence its alarm. The problem was, Nest Labs found that Nest Wave wasn't able to tell an intentional arm wave apart from other kinds of movement, so the alarms were silencing themselves without the user realizing they were doing so.

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All Nest Labs alarms are affected, the company said, though there have been no reports of the issue occurring in customers' homes. 

Nest Labs first disclosed the issue last month in a post on its website, announcing it would "halt" sales of its smoke and carbon monoxide alarms until it had developed a solution for the problem. Later, Nest released an update to disable Nest Wave, but only devices connected to the Internet and activated with a Nest account can get it. The company also offered a full refund via its website.

But the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission announced today that Nest Labs is recalling its Nest Protect Smoke + CO Alarms. Though the Commission is calling it a recall, its website does say that consumers have the option to fix the issue via the update instead of seeking a refund.

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Jill Scharr is a creative writer and narrative designer in the videogame industry. She's currently Project Lead Writer at the games studio Harebrained Schemes, and has also worked at Bungie. Prior to that she worked as a Staff Writer for Tom's Guide, covering video games, online security, 3D printing and tech innovation among many subjects.