Cool Tool & Product Review: First Alert Onelink
Onelink Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Alarm Brings Common Sense to the Smart Home
In our more than 30 years as home improvement journalists, we’ve been asked almost every question that one can think of as regards a home. One of the most asked questions has to do with the best place to sink money into one’s home and get the best return on investment. People invariably expect our reply to be a kitchen upgrade, new bathroom or exterior improvements. While all three are top cost vs. value improvements, the first item on any home improvement wish list should be safety.
Safety encompasses a multitude of areas including faulty electrical wiring, rot that compromises the integrity of floors, walls or roofs, hazardous materials such as asbestos or lead, gas leaks and the list goes on.
One of the most obvious – and least expensive – ways of improving safety is with a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide (CO) alarm. Nothing is worse than having a false sense of security thinking that your old smoke alarms are protecting you, your family and your home. Does your home have more than one smoke and CO alarm? Do you test your smoke and CO alarms on a regular basis? Do you change batteries at least twice annually? If you answered no to at least one of the questions, then it’s time to take action.
Fire and CO are two leading causes of accidental deaths in the home with nearly 3,000 Americans dying from home fires each year and CO poisoning causing 450 deaths annually. It doesn’t have to be that way. For optimal prevention, install alarms and replace them when they’ve reached the end of their useful life (10 years for smoke alarms, and up to 10 years for CO alarms). One of the reasons that people may not test alarms regularly is because alarms are often mounted on high ceilings or walls that requires dragging out and climbing a ladder.
What if we told you that your days of battery changes could be behind you and that your level of safety could be elevated to new heights? We thought that would get your attention. First Alert, a major manufacturer of home safety products, recently introduced its Onelink Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm. If you like the idea of keeping your home and family safe from fire and CO poisoning and, like us, you love technology; you’re going to be blown away by Onelink.
Onelink is hardwired with a ten year sealed lithium battery backup – the longest time permitted by the National Fire Code. No more battery changes! It gets better. The alarm is smart. It is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled, which allows you to test it as often as you like using your smart phone or tablet from the comfort of your easy chair – with your feet firmly on the ground and without the need for a ladder. How great is that?
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends — and building code requires — a smoke alarm be placed in every sleeping area (bedroom), in common halls outside sleeping areas, and on every level of a multi-story home – including the basement. CO detectors are required to be located in common halls outside of sleeping areas and on every level.
Purchasing, installing and testing all of these devices can be overwhelming. So, the idea of combining smoke and CO really simplifies matters and the ten year battery with remote testing using your smart phone or tablet is, well, brilliant! Plus, unlike other smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in the connected home industry, the Onelink alarm has the ability to work with existing, traditional hardwired smoke alarms that are already installed in the home. So you don’t have to replace all your alarms at once – making it easier and more affordable to create a smart home.
It gets better. Onelink talks. In addition to an alarm sound, it announces that there is a threat of fire or CO and the location of the threat. And thanks to Onelink’s interconnect feature, it will activate other interconnected traditional hard-wired alarms throughout your home so that everyone is aware of a potential risk and can vacate using a preplanned escape route.
Onelink setup was easy. We downloaded the free Onelink Home App and followed the step-by-step instructions for installation and setup. And, yes, a ladder was needed to mount the alarm. The mounting bracket easily attaches to the electrical junction box with two screws and the electrical connection is equally simple. Mount the smoke detector and then follow the steps on your smart phone or tablet and you’re good to go. Testing the alarm is as simple as touching the screen of your smart device. The Onelink Home App allows homeowners to monitor their homes even when they are away, with notifications alerting them via their connected device and enabling them to call 911 directly from the app.
The alarm is stealth and attractive. A multi-color ring provides visual indication of various alarm states and even doubles as a night-light, with an on-screen dimmer. Onelink is so smart that it will interface with Apple’s Siri and Amazon Echo’s Alexa. Compatibility with Google home is just around the corner. How cool is that?
How “smart” is your home? We’ve decided that unless it has Onelink, it gets an F. At $119.95, it’s a modest investment in protecting your home and family. Go to www.brkelectronics.com to learn more.