04/04/2014 09:30 am ET Updated Apr 04, 2014

Your Nest Smoke Detector Could Have A Dangerous Glitch


Nest has identified a glitch in its smoke detectors and has temporarily stopped sales of the Nest Protect smoke alarm, CEO Tony Fadell said in a note on the company's website on Thursday.

One of the Nest smoke detector's signature features, Nest Wave, lets you disable an alarm by waving your arm in front of the detector. Here's how that works:

Nest discovered that the Nest Wave could be activated accidentally and therefore turn the smoke detector off when it should be on. Here's an excerpt from Fadell's note to customers:

At Nest, we conduct regular, rigorous tests to ensure that our products are the highest quality. During recent laboratory testing of the Nest Protect smoke alarm, we observed a unique combination of circumstances that caused us to question whether the Nest Wave (a feature that enables you to turn off your alarm with a wave of the hand) could be unintentionally activated. This could delay an alarm going off if there was a real fire. We identified this problem ourselves and are not aware of any customers who have experienced this, but the fact that it could even potentially happen is extremely important to me and I want to address it immediately.

If you have a Nest smoke detector that's connected to a Nest account via WiFi, Nest will automatically disable Nest Wave for you. If you have one that's not connected to a Nest account, you need to connect it as soon as possible so that the company can disable the feature for you.

Priced at $129, Nest's smoke detector is significantly more expensive than most. When the company released it in 2013, it was praised for its sleek and intuitive design. The device connects to your smartphone to give you updates on your home's smoke and carbon monoxide levels in real time, something that a regular smoke detector can't do.

Google acquired Nest for $3.2 billion in January, and Fadell has been outspoken about his support of Google's privacy policies. "The reality of the situation is inside of Google they take privacy so incredibly seriously you have no idea," Fadell said.

[h/t NYTimes]