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If you have ever had a fire in your home or witnessed the aftermath of a fire, you know how important smoke alarms are. Yet, if you are anything like me, you know very little about them. In reviewing the Kidde RemoteLync remote smoke detector, I not only found a way to add an additional layer of protection to my home, but I also got an education about smart smoke alarms.
The Kidde RemoteLync is a remote notification device that listens for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in your home and sends an alert to your smartphone when there’s a potential issue. It is a small white boxy-looking device about 2” square. It plugs into a standard 120V wall outlet and connects to your home’s WiFi network. Set up is easy. Install the Kidde RemoteLync app on your iPhone or Android phone and follow the simple instructions to set up the device. The device actually talks to you indicating when it is ready, etc. You can also use the app on a PC or tablet.
My first attempt at set up, however, completely failed. A quick call to Kidde pinpointed my problem. My home smoke detectors were too old to work with this device. The website says that RemoteLync communicates with most UL-listed smoke and CO alarms manufactured after 1999. The two smoke detectors in my home were probably manufactured well before then. That is when my education about smoke alarms began. To my amazement, I found that smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years. It makes sense that since they monitor the home every minute of every day, they have a limited life span. The consumer Product Safety Commission states that the risk of dying in homes without smoke alarms is twice as high as it is in homes that have working smoke alarms. To make sure that the smoke alarm will work properly when needed, old smoke alarms should be replaced.
Kidde was nice enough to provide me with two of their ten-year life battery backup smoke alarms with sealed lithium batteries, model i12010S, which retail for $34.99 each.
I was apprehensive about installing these since they are hardwired-units and working with electricity is not my forte. Yet following a Kidde YouTube installation video made it easy enough to accomplish in spite of the myriad wires.
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Once the new smoke alarms were installed, the installation of the RemoteLync worked perfectly. The device itself has one light and two buttons on the top. Voice and visual light prompts make set up easy. You can easily test the unit to make sure it is working properly.
The Remote Lync is an alarm monitor and not an alarm. The concept is simple. It waits constantly listening for the tone generated by the fire and CO alarms. It then uses your existing wireless Internet to notify you on your smart phone when an alarm is detected. You will need a wireless router setup, a smart phone, and an alarm that is compatible with the device.
The RemoteLync adds additional level of protection making your smoke alarms useful even when you are not at home. If you are at home, you will rely on your smoke and/or CO alarms to alert you. If you, however, are outside of the home when the alarm goes off, the RemoteLync will alert you of the problem. If you have precious pets in the home, a device like this could save their lives.
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You can set it up the RemoteLync to call 911. You can have email and/or text alerts sent to your own phone. And you can have the alerts sent to friends and/or neighbors as well. The mobile interface shown below, is easy to maneuver.
The RemoteLync retails for $99. The app is free and there are no subscription fees. In testing I received notification as quickly as 30-45 seconds from the sound of the alarm. Of course, this can vary. Kidde states that one RemoteLync will cover the entire house. The RemoteLync can be placed anywhere in the home where the alarm is heard. In my one-floor residence, it covered the entire house without a problem.
The RemoteLync itself has no battery backup. If a fire does occur, they rely on the smoke alarm to go off before the fire reaches the RemoteLync itself or your electric or Internet connection. In reality, most of the time the smoke will provide adequate alerts and the RemoteLync will provide the necessary alerts. Yet it will only be useful if both the electricity and wireless Internet services are working.
As long as your smoke and CO alarms are fairly new, the RemoteLync offers an extra layer of protection. You want your home, pets, and possessions protected even when you are not home and the RemoteLync provides that. It works with your existing alarms with very little set up and no extra costs.
This is one piece of technology that you hope you will never use, but like an insurance policy, it will be available if you need it. Kidde has recently added a motion-activated Remote Lync wireless Smart Home Security Camera that works with the same RemoteLync app giving you even more control over the happenings in your home when you are not there. The RemoteLync Smart Home camera retails for $199.
These monitors are far from being necessities, but they can provide a little added piece of mind which is a priceless commodity.