‎UL 985: Standard for Household Fire Warning Systems | SimpliSafe Support Home
sergiovergara's profile

Wednesday, June 7th, 2023 1:00 AM

UL 985: Standard for Household Fire Warning Systems

According to p. 9 of the SimpliSafe user manual, I am supposed to contact SimpliSafe on how to install my system so that it complies with UL 985. Would a support representative reach out to me with this information?

Thank you.

Official Solution

Community Admin


5.5K Messages

11 months ago

Hi Sergio,

Thanks so much for bringing up this very important topic. I’m really glad to have an expert like yourself chiming in! And apologies for the delay while I gathered info to get you the right answer.

The Base Station is indeed certified and can be configured to meet the UL-985 standard. You can find info about our certification from Intertek here. If compliance with UL-985 is required in a customer's area, they should contact our Support team for additional setup assistance. Of course you already know that different homes will have different needs, so we also urge our customers to work with their local authorities on specific local requirements.

Speaking of our Support team, I have taken the liberty of requesting a call from an escalated agent to continue the conversation on this topic!


16 Messages

@davey_d​ This is the information I was looking for! I am happy to see that you have several listing from Intertek showing that your devices conform to nationally recognized standards. It appears that the three primary devices needed for this system meet the necessary standards: The Base Station, the Auxiliary Alarm, and the detection devices. That is a significant milestone, and I would recommend placing that information for all of your customers to see!

I spoke with your escalation representative. He was excellent in providing details about the system and taking my concerns. After reading this post, and speaking with him, I feel more confident in the SimpliSafe system as a whole. Guides for users wishing to use SimpliSafe as a Fire Alarm system would be beneficial as well as methods for these systems to be inspected and maintenanced by fire alarm technicians.

Thank you so much for reaching out.

16 Messages

1 year ago

Dear SimpliSafe Community,

I'm Sergio Vergara, a certified Fire Code Inspector and Fire & Life Safety Educator, as well as a devoted SimpliSafe user since 2019. I appreciate the convenience and functionality of the SimpliSafe system for simple security needs. However, an important concern warrants our attention: the SimpliSafe smoke detectors and combination Smoke/CO Detectors.

I cannot overstate this enough: SimpliSafe's system is not designed nor approved as a standalone Fire Warning System. Contractors and homeowners, therefore, should not opt for these detectors in lieu of traditional smoke alarms. Let me clarify why.

The terms 'smoke alarm' and 'smoke detector' are often used interchangeably, but they denote two different products. A fire alarm system consists of three main components: an initiation appliance (detects hazards), a notification appliance (alerts occupants of a hazard), and a control device (coordinates the system, like the brains of the operation). All of these work cohesively via the Fire Alarm Control Panel (FACP), which monitors the devices' functionality and presence.

Contrarily, a smoke alarm is a standalone device combining all three functions: it detects smoke, sounds an alarm upon detection, and has an internal control unit.

The SimpliSafe detectors are indeed detectors intended to operate within a broader system. They can be considered as components of a Household Fire Warning System Unit. Is this necessarily bad? No, but there's a significant distinction we need to understand.

The 2021 International Residential Code mandates the installation of smoke alarms in specific places within homes. An exception allows for the installation of a Fire Alarm system instead of traditional smoke alarms, particularly beneficial for large homes or those who prefer professional monitoring of their Fire Safety Devices (as traditional smoke alarms are not permitted to be monitored). However, Fire Alarm Systems must meet specific requirements for safety and reliability - that's where the SimpliSafe issue surfaces.

For instance, the 2021 International Residential Code (IRC) requires Fire Alarm Systems to be permanently installed in buildings to prevent removal. However, SimpliSafe markets its system as moveable, even offering moving services.

More critically, the system's reliability is questionable. While the Smoke Detector and Combination Smoke/CO detector have necessary certifications (UL 268 - Smoke Detector, UL 2075 - Gas & Vapor Detectors), the Base Station, serving as the Fire Alarm Control Panel, lacks the UL 985 - Household Fire Warning Systems certification.

This certification, independently tested, guarantees the device meets industry standards. Without it, we cannot be assured the system will perform reliably when most needed. Furthermore, Fire Code Officials would not permit SimpliSafe to be installed in new construction or renovations as a stand-alone Fire Warning System. 

Given these considerations, I advise against replacing traditional alarms with SimpliSafe's detectors. Even though SimpliSafe representatives have suggested that their detectors are meant to supplement existing fire warning systems, this statement does not currently feature on their product pages, leading to potential misunderstanding and risk.

My intent is not to disparage SimpliSafe but to shed light on a crucial safety concern that, if rectified, can only enhance SimpliSafe's standing as a reliable home security solution. I urge SimpliSafe to consider these matters seriously and encourage my fellow users to retain their traditional smoke alarms in conjunction with their SimpliSafe systems.


Sergio Vergara

Note: This comment was created from a merged conversation originally titled Caution: SimpliSafe Smoke/CO Detectors are NOT Reliable

Community Admin


5.5K Messages

Hi @sergiovergara ,

SimpliSafe shares your concern on this very important topic - not just regarding product standards, but in our mission to make every home secure. I’m working closely with our internal teams, and will get back to you soon. Hang tight!

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