Think back to your high school chemistry class. If you were paying attention to the teacher and not staring at that cute boy or girl in the next row, you probably remember hearing that fire needs fuel and oxygen to burn. You may have even participated in an experiment where you were able to snuff out a flame under a beaker by depriving it of oxygen.
Today, your main fire concerns apply to your outdoor grill and fire pit or indoor gas appliances. But what if a fire that starts from a forgotten candle or a dishtowel left too close to your range top? How can you help stop the rapid spread and excessive smoke damage?
How about a thermostat that can automatically turn off your HVAC system in the event of an alert?
How They Work
Many smart thermostats can be tied into your smoke alarms or home security systems and will turn off your HVAC once smoke or CO2 is detected.
Here’s how Nest, one of the most common smart thermostats, works.
First, you must have compatible smoke and CO2 detectors installed in your home, along with your Nest thermostat. These devices fall under the category of Google Nest Protect. Like the thermostat, they communicate with you through your smartphone in case of a detection, low battery, or malfunction.
If either a smoke or CO2 detector is activated, an alert is sent to your phone and thermostat. CO2 alarms will tell the thermostat to shut off your heating if it uses oil or gas. Smoke alarms will tell the thermostat to shut off your fan-based systems to help prevent the smoke from spreading further and from fueling the fire with more oxygen.
Other smart thermostats, such as Ecobee, use what they call “Abode Cue Automation” and can detect fire (heat) in addition to smoke, and CO2, shutting off the appropriate HVAC system
Time Is Of The Essence
If you read our recent post about the importance of keeping your bedroom door closed at night in case a fire breaks out, you’ll recall that today’s home’s open floor plans and more synthetic composition allow a fire to spread more quickly and produce highly toxic fumes. With an auto-shutoff thermostat, toxic smoke will not be circulated as rapidly, providing you and your family a better chance at escape.
Most alarm systems include a smart thermostat, such as SimpliSafe and Vivint. If you have a wired alarm system, check with your provider about which thermostats are compatible with your system.
One More Advantage
One advantage of the Google Nest Protect system Second Generation, if you are looking to purchase one, is the alarm itself. While loud enough to wake someone several houses away, the alarm is not a jarring screech. Instead, it is a voice that will say, "Heads Up! There is smoke in the living room." So if you have been napping or deep in sleep, you are less confused when awoken. You will have a clear idea of the location and type of issue. Depending on the size of your home, this could give you precious minutes to escape.
Reduced smoke and fire damage with a smart thermostat is a smart choice for Mutual members.