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How to Install Flood Sensors, Heat Sensors & Carbon Monoxide Sensors

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How to Install Flood Sensors, Heat Sensors & Carbon Monoxide Sensors
November 27, 2019

How to Install Flood Sensors, Heat Sensors & Carbon Monoxide Sensors


sensors add an additional layer of protection to home security systems

Comprehensive home security systems can do much more than simply detect break-ins. Systems that include environmental sensors also provide alarms when certain conditions inside your home threaten your life and property.

Environmental sensors can alert homeowners to leaks, floods, fire, rapid rises in temperature, and dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. When these sensors are part of a professionally monitored home security system, homeowners have the additional confidence of knowing that emergency services will be sent promptly to their aid, even if they’re not home or unable to call for help.

Not only can installing environmental sensors as part of a home security system save lives, prevent long-term health problems, and help residents avoid expensive property damage, it may also provide users with discounts on their homeowners insurance.

According to Consumer Reports, many insurance companies offer discounts to customers who take steps to make their homes safer. Installing a professionally monitored home security system could shave 4–8% off your homeowner’s insurance premium. Adding smoke alarms might provide an additional small discount, while more companies provide larger discounts for monitored smoke and fire alarms.

Frontpoint offers three types of environmental sensors that can be incorporated into your home security system: water and flood sensors, smoke and heat sensors, and carbon monoxide sensors. Unlike intrusion detection sensors which are only active when your alarm system is armed, these life safety detection devices are active 24/7. Let’s look at how each of these sensors protects your home and family, and how each should be installed.

Water and

flood sensors allow you to stop costly water damage in its tracks

Whether your home is located in a flood zone or not, water damage is always a possibility. Basements can leak, pipes can freeze and burst, water heaters can break, sump pumps can fail, and toilets and bathtubs can overflow. And the weather seems to become more unpredictable every year, leading to floods in areas that have never had drainage issues and serious storms that damage roofs and cause leaky attics.

Picture of the Frontpoint Flood SensorPicture of the Frontpoint Flood Sensor
Frontpoint’s best-in-class Flood Sensor can alert you to even the smallest leaks as soon as they happen, allowing you to stop water issues before they create thousands of dollars’ worth of damage.

The wireless, battery-operated sensor sends a signal as soon as any water touches it. Meanwhile, a separate transmitter, located where it’s unlikely to be affected by incoming water, is able to send a message to your security hub so that an alarm sounds, Frontpoint’s monitoring center can reach out to inform you, and you’re able to receive an instant, automated mobile notification.

Smoke and

heat sensors help save homes and lives

Home fires cause incredible amounts of damage, serious injuries, and loss of life. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an average of almost 400,000 property fires are reported in the United States every year. These fires result in an average of almost 3,000 deaths, 12,000 injuries, and billions of dollars of property damage every year. And more than twice as many people die in home fires where no smoke alarm is present than in homes with a working smoke detector.

Although many homes in the United States already have smoke detectors installed, these typically are not monitored smoke alarms—and many individuals fail to keep the battery charged or remove it altogether after nuisance alarms. Having one or more smoke and heat sensors integrated with a professionally monitored home security system provides homeowners with an extra degree of safety and security.

Picture of the Frontpoint Smoke and Heat SensorPicture of the Frontpoint Smoke and Heat Sensor
Frontpoint’s Smoke and Heat Sensor monitors your home for smoke, excessive heat, and rapid increases in temperature.

If the sensor is triggered, an alarm will sound, the monitoring company will be notified immediately, and an alert can be sent to your mobile device. If the monitoring company is not able to reach you, they will dispatch emergency help immediately—the local fire department will be notified even if you’re incapacitated by smoke or otherwise unable to contact them yourself.

The wireless, battery-operated sensor can be placed at various optimum locations within your home. It can also provide mobile notifications for any diagnostic issues, a low battery, or case tampering.


monoxide sensors protect homeowners from deadly poison gas

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. According to the American Lung Association, “Approximately 430 people die each year from CO exposure related to fuel-burning, residential appliances. Thousands more became ill or sought medical attention. CO poisoning is estimated to cause more than 50,000 emergency room visits in the United States each year.”

Sources of CO include faulty, improperly used, or incorrectly vented gas appliances (furnaces, ranges, ovens, water heaters, clothes dryers, etc.), fireplaces, wood stoves, space heaters, and generators. Exposure to low levels of CO can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, weakness, and confusion while breathing high levels of CO can also cause sleepiness, anxiety or depression, vomiting, impaired vision and coordination, and disorientation. Regular exposure to low levels of CO can result in permanent mental or physical problems, while very high levels of CO exposure can quickly lead to loss of consciousness and death.

Because you cannot see, smell, or taste CO, a special sensor is required to detect its presence. The National Fire Protection Association’s NFPA 720: Standard for the Installation of Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detection and Warning Equipment provides rules for the installation, location, performance, inspection, testing, and maintenance of carbon monoxide detection and warning equipment. And, as of 2018, 26 states require homes to have working CO alarms installed.

You can purchase relatively inexpensive CO sensors and install them yourself, but unless they’re professionally monitored, they provide only partial protection. Because nausea, dizziness, weakness, and confusion can be caused by even low levels of CO exposure, it may be difficult or impossible for you to exit your home or call 911 if CO is present. Installing a professionally monitored CO sensor means that if dangerous levels of CO exist in your home, the sensor alarm will sound, the monitoring center will be notified, and emergency responders will be immediately dispatched to your home—with no prior calls to confirm an emergency.

Picture of the Frontpoint Carbon Monoxide SensorPicture of the Frontpoint Carbon Monoxide Sensor
Frontpoint’s wireless Carbon Monoxide Sensor is field-tested and patented, with one of the longest battery lifespans in the industry. It also offers automatic malfunction detection.

How to

install your Frontpoint environmental sensors

With Frontpoint, everything you need comes pre-configured, so it works right out of the box. Your environmental sensors will arrive already programmed and can be set up using the Frontpoint mobile app.

Picture of the Frontpoint Installation ProcessPicture of the Frontpoint Installation Process
When you receive your Frontpoint security system equipment, the app will provide information on where the environmental sensors are located within the package.
Picture of the Frontpoint Installation Process for the Smoke and Heat SensorPicture of the Frontpoint Installation Process for the Smoke and Heat Sensor
You will also be given information on the exact function of each sensor as you’re setting it up.
Picture of the Frontpoint Installation ProcessPicture of the Frontpoint Installation Process
You will use the Frontpoint app to name each sensor.
Picture of the Frontpoint Installation ProcessPicture of the Frontpoint Installation Process
The app will let you know once your Frontpoint system has successfully detected each sensor.

There are a number of things to keep in mind when installing your sensors. The following placement guidelines apply to all of Frontpoint’s environmental sensors:

  • All sensors should be placed within 100 feet of your Frontpoint Hub.
  • Sensors are not weatherproof and should be kept indoors, though Water and Flood Sensors will, of course, be able to detect and sound a signal when contacting water. Avoid placing sensors in high-humidity areas.
  • Before mounting any sensors using the included adhesive, make sure that the surface to which you are adhering the sensor is clean and dry. Dampen a paper towel or rag to wipe the surface, and then go over the area with a dry one.
  • After removing the backing from the adhesive and placing a sensor on a surface, be sure to press it firmly in place and hold for 30 seconds.

Each type of environmental sensor also has specific placement and installation guidelines. Following these guidelines will ensure that you receive the most accurate and timely alerts, alarms, and emergency assistance.

Water and

flood sensor installation

Frontpoint’s Water and Flood Sensor is comprised of two pieces—a transmitter and a detector. These sensors should be placed in flood-prone areas like basements, leak-prone areas like attics, and near appliances like washing machines, water heaters, and sump pumps.

Once you’ve decided on the proper location for your sensor, adhere the detector (which is the smaller piece) to the floor with the metal prongs and serial number facing down. Then you will adhere the transmitter (which is the larger piece) to the wall, at least 10 inches above the floor and as far from any appliance as possible.

Smoke and

heat sensor installation

Frontpoint’s Smoke and Heat Sensors can be installed in addition to any smoke alarms that are already in place in your home or can be used to replace your existing alarms. We recommend that you start by installing a professionally monitored smoke and heat sensor near your home’s bedrooms and consider adding at least one additional professionally monitored smoke and heat sensor for each level of your home.

  • Install smoke alarms inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement.
  • On levels without bedrooms, install alarms in the living room (or den or family room) or near the stairway to the upper level, or in both locations.
  • Alarms installed in the basement should be installed on the ceiling at the bottom of the stairs leading to the next level.
  • Smoke alarms should be installed at least 10 feet from a cooking appliance to minimize false alarms when cooking.
  • Mount smoke alarms high on walls or ceilings (remember, smoke rises). Wall-mounted alarms should be installed not more than 12 inches away from the ceiling (to the top of the alarm).
  • If you have ceilings that are pitched, install the alarm within 3 feet of the peak but not within the apex of the peak (four inches down from the peak).
  • Don't install smoke alarms near windows, doors, or ducts where drafts might interfere with their operation.
  • Never paint smoke alarms. Paint, stickers, or other decorations could keep the alarms from working.

Beyond following NFPA installation guidance for general smoke alarm placement, you will need to follow the manufacturer’s location recommendations when installing your Frontpoint Smoke and Heat Sensors. Much of the guidance is the same, but a notable difference with NFPA recommendations is that mounting sensors on the ceiling is specifically preferred:

  • Smoke, heat, and combustion products rise to the ceiling and spread horizontally. Mounting the smoke detector on the ceiling in the center of the room places it closest to all points in the room. Ceiling mounting is preferred in ordinary residential construction.
  • When mounting a detector on the ceiling, locate it at a minimum of 4” from the side wall.
  • When mounting the detector on the wall, use an inside wall with the top edge of the alarm at a minimum of 4” and a maximum of 12” below the ceiling.
  • Put smoke detectors at both ends of a bedroom hallway or a large room if the hallway or room is more than 30 feet long.
  • Install smoke detectors on sloped, peaked, or cathedral ceilings at or within 3ft of the highest point (measured horizontally).
  • Smoke and Heat Sensors should be installed in accordance with NFPA 72: National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code.

Per manufacturer recommendations, AVOID placing Smoke and Heat Sensors in the following areas:

  • Garages (due to the presence of combustion when you start your automobile).
  • Dusty, humid, or insect-infested areas.
  • Areas where the temperature may fall below 32ºF or rise above 100ºF, such as garages and unfinished attics.
  • Within 3 ft of the door to a bathroom containing a tub or shower, forced air supply ducts used for heating or cooling, ceiling or whole house ventilating fans, or other high airflow areas.
  • Near vents, flues, chimneys, or any forced/unforced air ventilation openings.
  • Near fans, doors, windows, or areas directly exposed to the weather.

Carbon monoxide

sensor installation

One centrally placed Carbon Monoxide Sensor can protect multiple rooms. According to NFPA, “CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards.”

Diagram of Carbon Monoxide Alarm PlacementDiagram of Carbon Monoxide Alarm Placement
Source: Saline Valley Fire Protection District

Ideally, a CO alarm should also be installed near each potential source of CO. This includes within every room containing a fuel-burning appliance (water heater, furnace, space heaters, etc.) and near attached garages. Do not place CO alarms too close to sources of CO, however, as this could result in false alarms.

Per manufacturer recommendations, Frontpoint’s Carbon Monoxide Sensors should be placed as follows:

  • Positioned so that the three light indicators can be easily seen.
  • If wall-mounted, at least 2 feet from any corner, and at a greater height than any door or window but still 5.9 inches from the ceiling.
  • If ceiling mounted, at least 12 inches from any wall or light fitting.
  • A horizontal distance of between 3.23 and 9.84 feet from any potential carbon monoxide source.

DO NOT place Frontpoint’s Carbon Monoxide Sensors in the following areas:

  • In a garage, outside the building, or anywhere the temperature could be below -50 ºF or above 104 ºF.
  • Within 5 feet of any cooking appliance.
  • Above a heat source such as a radiator, hot air vent, or cooking appliance.
  • Near a fireplace or any fuel-burning device or appliance.
  • Near a door, window, air vent, exhaust fan, or anywhere it could be affected by drafts.
  • In an enclosed or obstructed space (such as in or below a cupboard or near curtains or furniture).
  • In a damp or humid area or anywhere it may be exposed to water splashes, dripping, or condensation (such as a basement, bathroom, or above a sink or electric kettle).
  • Where it could easily be knocked or damaged, or accidentally turned off or removed.
  • Near paint, thinners, solvent fumes, or air fresheners.
  • Where dirt or dust could block the detector.


home security systems include strong life safety measures

Properly installed and professionally monitored environmental sensors provide maximum safety and security for your home, its possessions, and its people. If you follow the simple setup procedures and easy DIY installation guidelines for Frontpoint’s Water and Flood Sensor, Smoke and Heat Sensor, and Carbon Monoxide Sensor, you will receive critical alarms and alerts instantly—and rapid emergency response when it really matters.

Add environmental sensors to any of Frontpoint’s home security packages. And sign up for any of Frontpoint’s professional monitoring plans when you check out for complete life safety monitoring.

Frontpoint keeps homes safe whether families are there or not. We've been revolutionizing the home security industry for over a decade. And we're just getting started. To shop DIY home security systems, check out our Security Packages. If you have questions or would like to discuss a quote, contact us at 1-877-602-5276.

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