SimpliSafe Smoke, Carbon Monoxide and Siren Components

Note: SimpliSafe now offers self-monitoring. 

The operation and installation of the two detectors offered by SimpliSafe, smoke and carbon monoxide, and the sirens operate and/or install differently than the other components of the system. Like the rest of the SimpliSafe sensors and detectors, the company has them manufactured abroad. The quality and standards meet federal guidelines.  For more information on the entire security system read our SimpliSafe review.

SimpliSafe Fire DetectorSmoke Detector Overview

The wireless SimpliSafe Smoke Detector runs standard CR123 lithium batteries. The average lifespan of the battery is one year. The unit is about five inches in diameter and two inches thick. While the control unit has a siren that will sound if the smoke detector or any other component activates, smoke detectors also have a separate, built-in siren, rated at 85dB. Operating temperature ranges from 40° to 100° F. The Underwriters Lab (UL) rating of 268, which confirms that the unit has been independently tested and meets all North American safety standards.

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The SimpliSafe Smoke Detector is photoelectric. It does not have a thermal or temperature sensor in it, and it will not detect flame or heat. The detector traps the smoke inside a small internal chamber which activates sends an alarm signal and activates the siren. Users must be careful where they install it to not only to ensure proper coverage but also to avoid false alarms.

Suggested Installation Locations

The average two-story, four-bedroom house has at least one smoke detector on each floor. Experts recommend one outside each occupied bedroom area, near but not necessarily in the kitchen, living room, and basement. Consider placing them in utility rooms, attics and furnace locations.

Government pamphlets suggest installing them in the center of the ceiling. They should be a minimum of four inches away from the walls or corners. Wall mounting can be done, but some State or local code regulations may prohibit you from doing so.

Locations to Avoid

Since the photoelectric smoke detectors work by sensing the particulate matter in smoke, placement in some areas of the home may cause false alarms. These areas include:

  • Kitchens with inadequate ventilation
  • Fireplaces
  • Garages (due to vehicular fumes)
  • Furnaces
  • Space Heaters
  • Bathrooms (moisture, such as steam, may set them off)

To ensure that the smoke detector will detect smoke that may originate from any of the rooms or areas listed above, place the detectors about 20 feet away. This should allow any smoke or particulate matter not associated with a fire to disapate prior to reaching the detector.

For bathrooms, installing the units about ten feet away should avoid false alarms caused by water vapor.

Other general things to consider with smoke detectors include how dusty or dirty the room or area may be. Drafty areas too or heating and air-conditioning vents can drive smoke away from the detectors and cause a delay in alarming.

Insects will cause false alarms too by getting trapped in the detection chambers.

Operating outside the temperature range will cause the detector to malfunction.

Finally, fluorescent lights may interfere with the sensors. Keep all detectors at least five feet away from fluorescents.

Smoke Detector Installation

After installing the mounting bracket on the ceiling (or wall), insert the SimpliSafe smoke detector by rotating it clockwise until you hear it click in place.

If you have not done so, open the battery compartment, align the positive (+) and negative (-) terminals and insert the lithium battery. Ensure that the compartment door fully closes. If it will not close, the battery likely is not installed correctly.

If you hear a chirp after installing, you know that the battery and unit are functioning properly.

Testing the Detector

You test the smoke detector by pressing and holding the test button on the unit for four seconds. The siren will sound three short beeps, pause, and then sound three more times. The SimpliSafe base station will also emit the same sequence of sounds. The green light on the detector will also flash repeatedly during the testing process.

If the sensor is malfunctioning, the smoke detector’s yellow LED light will flash three times in 43 seconds. The base station may or may not sound.

If the yellow LED starts to blink and chirp every 30 seconds, this means the unit has malfunctioned and you must replace it.

Low Battery

If the red light blinks and you hear a chirp every sixty seconds, that means your battery is weak and should be replaced. A battery should last thirty days once the low battery indication is seen or heard

SimpliSafe CO DetectorCarbon Monoxide Overview

The carbon monoxide (CO) detector has about the same diameter as the smoke detector, five inches, but is slightly thinner at about one and a half inches. Instead of one lithium battery, it takes three AA rechargeable ones. The operating temperatures are the same.

The wireless detector only detects carbon monoxide. As with the smoke detector, there is an internal siren. If concentrations above safe levels occur, the red light on the detector will light up, the internal siren will beep four times, and the base station siren will beep. The sound pattern, four beeps followed by a pause then another four beeps will continue until the source of the carbon monoxide removed or eliminated. Once the unit can no longer detect anymore carbon monoxide, the detector will reset itself.

Suggested Installation Locations

The CO detectors should be installed near the occupied bedrooms and in the most frequently used rooms in the house, such as the den or living room. Ideally, install one outside each bedroom and on each level of the home.

Locations to Avoid

Due to the probability of excessive false alarms, do not install the CO detectors in kitchens, garages, furnace rooms or closer than five feet to heating or cooking appliances. Large amounts of metal or electrical wiring near the installation point can cause false alarms also, as can fans or vents that blow air on the detector.


You install the CO detector in the same manner as you install the smoke detector.

Once you install the batteries, all three LED lights (red, yellow and green) will blink and the siren will beep for one-half second. The detector’s green LED will then start flashing.

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When you press and hold the test button on the bottom of the detector, you will hear four beeps and the LED light will flash three times. This will happen twice each time you press the test button. The base station will not sound.

CO Alarm Activation

If the CO detector detectors carbon monoxide, the red light will flash and the siren will beep four times every five seconds. After four minutes, the unit will pause for sixty seconds between beeps and continue to do so until the unit is turned off or CO is no longer present.

Silencing the CO Detector

You can mute the alarm on the CO detector by pressing the test button. The red light will continue to flash for four minutes. If after four minutes the concentrations of CO remain above acceptable limits, the siren will reactivate and continue to beep four times every minute along with a continually flashing red light.

Malfunction and End of Life Indication

If the yellow LED starts to flash three times and the siren beeps once every minute, the unit is malfunctioning.

Once the sensor wears out, after approximately five years, the LED will flash twice and the siren beeps once every minute.

Low Battery

The CO detector has a yellow light that indicates a low battery instead of the red light indicator on the smoke detector. The light will flash once a minute and the internal siren will chirp. The CO detector’s battery will also last approximately 30 days in low-battery condition.

Siren Overview

The base station comes with a built-in siren. Some consumers report that the base station siren cannot be heard during the day with the TV and other background noises. You can purchase a stand-alone siren that is advertised as four times as loud as the base station’s internal one.

The siren measures six and one-half by four inches and comes with a battery already installed that you activate once you are ready to install it.

The sirens, unlike the rest of the components, must be programmed prior to use.


Programming entails a simple two-step process. You hold down the programming button, located on the back underneath the bracket, at the same time you input your pin number three times on your keypad. Keep the button held down until you hear beep from the siren, confirming that the system recognized it.


The siren can be installed just about anywhere in your home as it is loud enough to be heard throughout most average-sized homes. You can secure the siren to the wall using the screws and bracket or the self-adhering tape.


Press the home button on your keypad, which arms your system. Wait ten seconds and open a door or window that has an entry sensor installed. The Siren should beep.

You can turn off the siren by either pressing off on you Keychain Remote or entering your pin number on the keypad.

Disabling the Entry Delay

If your system is armed, your siren will beep until you enter your pin or put your system in “Home” mode. Some find the delay beeps annoying. You can disable this function by quickly pressing the programming button five times. The siren should sound one long tone which confirms that the delay beep function is off.

Siren and Panic Button Functions

The siren will not sound if you press the keypad panic button. Pressing the panic button on your keypad will alert the monitoring service silently.

Any other panic buttons you have installed or the panic button on the Keychain Remote will sound the siren.


Despite a few minor quirks, you can install the SimpliSafe detectors and sirens as easily as you can the rest of the components. Users report that they are reliable and dependable. Buying each individually costs less than most models offered by competitors. SimpliSafe charges $59.99 for the siren, $49.99 for the carbon monoxide detector, and $29.99 for the smoke detector.

Related: The Best Security Systems of 2019

Gabe Turner

Gabe Turner

Gabe Turner is an attorney and journalist with a passion for home tech and secure, efficient living. Since graduating from NYU Law, he has maintained a paradoxical existence of trying to live life adventurously while remaining staunchly risk-averse. He is torn by the dual desires of wanting to only be in Brooklyn writing about housing policy and smart home tech and aspiring to visit his friends scattered across the globe. Gabe believes that stable, safe communities are the cornerstone to a vibrant and healthy society, and it is this passion that brought him to contribute to Security Baron.

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