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First Alert Z-Wave Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector
Author: Jason Kohrs
Manufacturer: First Alert
Source: Amazon.com
Purchase: Amazon.com
Comment or Question: Post Here
Page: 2 of 3 [ 1 2 3 ]
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November 14, 2017

The Basics:

The image below shows the face of the smoke and Carbon Monoxide detector, where you can see it looks much like any other similar unit. There is a test/silence button near the top, as well as indications for CO, SMOKE, and WIRELESS. The WIRELESS tag seems a bit misleading, as the text and graphics may make some think this is WiFi capable, as I don't think Z-Wave is typically referred to in the same way.

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The batteries ship in the unit, but with the battery tray slid part way out. In this position, the circuit is not completed, and the batteries should stay fresh until you are ready to install. I like that the battery compartment is designed the way it is, as it means you don't have to take the unit off the wall/ceiling in order to access a compartment on the rear when it comes time to replace the batteries.

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The unit has a removable base which twists and latches to the detector. The included screws and anchors will allow you to mount this base just about anywhere in your home, and while you have the two pieces separated you can read the extensive warnings and user info. Of note is the beep pattern descriptions which will tell you when you have smoke / CO, when you need new batteries, or when you need a whole new detector.

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In Use:

The initial setup is very easy, although I have read several reports of people finding it to be far more difficult than I did to pair this device with SmartThings. Basically, with the SmartThings app ready to add a new device, you press down and hold the test button on the smoke detector and then slide in the battery tray with the two included AA batteries in place. Continue to hold the button until the unit beeps, and then let go. With both smoke detectors that i bought, that was all I needed to do. SmartThings found both immediately and set them up properly. The screenshots below show what you are left within in SmartThings, where all I had to do was rename each unit.

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I now have one of these First Alert detectors in my garage and one in my furnace area, as these were the only areas not covered by my legacy, hard-wired smoke detectors. Those units have been connected to a relay, with an output to a Z-Wave door switch in order to be added to SmartThings, so now the whole house is covered with smoke detectors that are connected to SmartThings. The legacy units will all sound if one of them senses smoke, but that is not the case with these new First Alert detectors. The individual smoke detector will sound, I can have the whole house alarm sound, and I can receive messages from SmartThings on my phone, but you can not make the other smoke detectors sound - whether the others are additional First Alert units or any of my hardwired legacy smoke detectors. Going forward I may work more connected Carbon Monoxide detectors in to the mix, as these are the only two I have. The rest are stand alone units placed about the house in the typical locations.

The First Alert Z-Wave smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have been in place for about a month now, and all seems well. The app reports battery levels of 97% now, which is not much of a drop from the initial reading of 100% when new. I have used the test buttons a few times to check in on these devices, and all works well. I have not had any real smoke or CO events, and I hope it stays that way, but I am confident that these detectors will serve me well for years to come.

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