CES 2015

Kidde hub links all your smoke and CO alarms

In an emergency, RemoteLync texts or e-mails you and can dial 911

Published: January 06, 2015 06:00 AM

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Connected household products are everywhere at CES 2015, and smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have been getting attention since the debut of the $130 Nest Protect—and that product’s later recall. But if you’re interested in a smoke or CO alarm that can notify you of a problem while you’re out of the house, you don’t have to spend hundreds on replacing all your alarms with smart ones. Kidde’s RemoteLync lets you keep your existing devices by "listening" for their alarms and telling you, wherever you are, that there’s an emergency.

Expected to cost $95, the Kidde RemoteLync plugs into a centrally located outlet, and voice prompts assist in setup. This includes testing the alarm farthest from the remote, connecting the device to your home’s wireless network, and selecting notification options on the included iOS or Android app. The device recognizes the patterns of all UL-approved smoke and CO alarms made after 1999, and Kidde says it can cover a 2,000-square-foot home. Have a larger home? The app can control more than one RemoteLync unit spaced so together they can hear any alarms. The app lets you choose who gets alerts (you can specify multiple people, along with emergency personnel) and how they’re notified: via the app or by text or email.

When it hears an alarm, Kidde will notify you—and the app will prompt you to call someone in your network (say, a neighbor), dial 911, or ignore the prompt. While it can’t monitor for alarms during a power outage (and there’s no battery backup), the device will resume monitoring as soon as power is restored.

The Kidde RemoteLync will be available next month at HomeDepot.com and in March at retail stores yet to be determined at press time. It comes with a 10-year warranty. A competing technology, the Roost smart battery, replaces your smoke detector's 9-volt battery with a lithium-ion one that can connect to your home's wireless network and notify you of alarms—and warn you weeks in advance that the battery is running low.

In the market for new smoke or CO detectors? Smoke detectors in your home should be replaced every 10 years; CO detectors, after five years of use. Our Ratings of smoke and CO detectors, along with our buying guide, will help you select the most reliable models.

—Ed Perratore (@EdPerratore on Twitter)

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