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Security System Troubleshooting: Intrusion Sensors and the App

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Security System Troubleshooting: Intrusion Sensors and the App
March 20, 2020
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Security System Troubleshooting: Intrusion Sensors and the App

Never fear. Frontpoint’s convenient

guide makes it easy to troubleshoot home security devices and the app that

controls them

Intrusion sensors lock down your home against uninvited entry, and continuous protection is key to staying safe and secure. But as with any modern technology, questions about proper setup or maintenance can arise. Fortunately, Frontpoint’s handy security system troubleshooting guide helps you quickly find the answers.

We’ve put together some helpful tips for troubleshooting door and window sensors and motion sensors—and the app that remotely controls them—to ensure your home stays protected around the clock. You can also check out our previous blog on “Security Camera Troubleshooting Tips” to learn what to do if cameras go offline.

Frontpoint Security also maintains a useful list of Frequently Asked Questions, installation guides, and more on our support page to address common concerns. And our exceptional Customer Care team is available at 877-602-5276 or by emailing support@frontpointsecurity.com.

Door/Window Sensors:

mounting issues are often the problem

Door/Window Sensors are part of your home security system’s front line of defense, sounding an alarm, alerting your monitoring service, and sending instant notifications to your mobile device if entry points are compromised. These small-but-mighty sensors consist of two parts: a magnet (the smaller piece) and a transmitter (the larger piece). Generally, the magnet goes on the door, and the transmitter goes on the frame. But this setup can be reversed when needed, such as when decorative molding surrounds a door.

If your system reports that a door or window is open, but it's actually closed, a mounting mistake is often the problem.

During setup, it’s essential to make sure the notch on the transmitter piece is lined up with and facing the notch on the magnet. The components must be no more than a thumb’s width apart (less than three-quarters of an inch), and one piece can’t be higher than the other.

If your door or window has a slight recession, try using the thick adhesive mounting included with the sensor to correct the misalignment. This helps raise the recessed piece of the sensor and aligns the parts correctly. Contact Customer Care if additional adhesive is needed to reach the proper height. And read this carefully: make sure the magnet doesn’t stick out so much that the door knocks it off when opened.

Picture of the Frontpoint Door and Window SensorPicture of the Frontpoint Door and Window Sensor
Follow these guidelines for mounting Door/Window Sensors on different types of molding. Double lines underneath the magnet indicate that two pieces of mounting adhesive should be used.

If you have double-hung windows, make sure the transmitter and magnet are placed on the same window as the lock. This way, the sensor will report correctly whether the top or bottom pane opens.

If you have a sliding glass door, try rotating the magnet and mounting it perpendicular to the transmitter to avoid issues.

Test your sensors by closing and then opening each door or window. If the sensor is mounted correctly, you will hear it chime each time the door or window opens. However ...

If your system doesn’t announce or chime when you open a door or window, your chime may be turned off.

Follow these steps to turn chimes on:

  1. Disarm your control panel.
  2. On the right of the control panel’s display, you will see a “Menu” button as well as UP and DOWN arrows. Use the DOWN arrow to scroll down until you see the option for “Chimes Off.”
  3. Press OK. You will see “Off” flash.
  4. Press the UP arrow You will see “On” flash.
  5. Press OK. You will see “Chimes On.”
  6. In a few seconds, the control panel will say “Disarmed,” and the bell icon will appear. Your chimes are on.

Common Door/Window Sensor causes of a faulted zone

A “faulted zone” happens whenever a sensor activates in an installed system. If it’s not caused by a security breach, reasons can include:

  • A window or door is not fully closed. This happens quite often, especially with sliding windows. If a window isn’t closed all the way, the magnet can’t line up with the transmitter.
  • Missing magnets. The sticky adhesive used to attach the pieces of the sensor can dry out, causing them to come loose. They can also be knocked loose by rubbing or striking other parts of a door or window.
  • Misaligned sensor pieces. Over time, doors can sag or warp, moving sensor pieces out of alignment. Windows can also loosen in their frames and close at different places than they did when they were new.
  • Damaged sensor pieces. Sagging doors can rub on the frame and the transmitter. Windows that loosen in their frames can also allow enough movement to hit and break a transmitter. If you discover an obviously damaged sensor, replacing it will typically solve the problem.

Troubleshooting security

system motion

sensors        

Avoiding false alarms is a high priority in the home security industry, and smart security systems are infused with technology that helps people quickly determine the difference between real and false threats. But even so, there are reasons motion sensors can be triggered when people are nowhere in sight.

Frontpoint Security relies on passive infrared sensors that are proven to reduce false alarms by detecting body heat from living beings, rather than strictly movement like other types of motion sensors. They are also pet-friendly, ignoring heat signatures from animals smaller than 40 pounds.

Graphic of Motion Sensor PathGraphic of Motion Sensor Path
Motion Sensors typically “look” down to detect heat signatures large enough to represent a person moving across the floor.

But multiple pets tangled together on the floor in play can trick sensors into thinking they represent a single heat source big enough to be a person. And a large pet may set them off. If you believe your pet is triggering your motion sensor, consider this tip:

Motion sensors are typically installed four or five feet above the ground. In the standard setup, they “look” down, making it easier to detect pets scampering across the floor. So instead, try placing the sensor upside down (light on the bottom), so it “looks” straight ahead and up. That way, its field of view never reaches the floor.

Graphic of Motion Sensor PathGraphic of Motion Sensor Path
Positioning a Motion Sensor upside down can help alleviate false alarms triggered by pets.

If you’re still experiencing false activations with the sensor upside down, you may need to face it toward a surface that your pet can’t climb onto or block climbing pets from entering rooms where motion sensors are armed. Read this post for more tips on placing motion sensors if you have cats.

Here are some other troubleshooting tips for Frontpoint Motion Sensors:

  • Make sure your motion sensor is installed correctly. Motion sensors that aren’t securely mounted can trigger false alarms.
  • Confirm your motion sensor is mounted at the recommended height.
  • Refrain from pointing motion sensors at windows. Light and heat that seeps through the glass can set off alarms designed to detect changes in thermal environments.
  • Make sure motion sensors aren’t facing fireplaces, air vents, space heaters, or other heating and cooling sources that can fool the sensor into sounding an alarm.

How to test your motion sensor to ensure it’s working

properly

  1. Remove the sensor’s cover by pressing the ridged button on the bottom of the sensor. A red light will turn on.
  2. Leave the coverage area until the red light turns off (about 30 seconds).
  3. Walk across the coverage area to test. If the light illuminates, the sensor is working properly.

An important note: Some people call Frontpoint’s Customer Care and say their motion sensor isn’t working because the red light is not on. That’s perfectly normal; the red light does not come on during normal use. To save battery power, it only lights up when you are testing your sensor.

Picture of the Frontpoint App ScreenPicture of the Frontpoint App Screen

5 simple steps for

troubleshooting the Frontpoint App that remotely controls your smart security

system

Frontpoint Security’s top-rated mobile app makes it easy to stay connected to your home from anywhere—controlling your security system and any connected smart devices in a convenient interface. But if you are having trouble using your app—perhaps it’s freezing, reporting failed updates, or showing an incorrect system status—here are some simple troubleshooting steps.

First, make sure your mobile device is working properly. If the device is not the problem, follow these steps, one at a time, to return your app to working order. Be sure to check to see if the app is working after each step:

  1. Restart your Frontpoint App. Close the app, so it's no longer running in the background of your mobile device. If possible, temporarily close all running apps on the device.
  2. Log out and back in. Tap the three “Menu” lines at the top left corner of the app screen and scroll until you reach “Log Out.” Close the app after signing out and restart it to sign back in.
  3. Check for updates. Run an update check on your mobile device, as well as on its app store. Install any new updates for the app and device.
  4. Restart your mobile device. Power the device off completely and wait at least 10 seconds before powering it back on. This can help complete any updates that may have stalled in the background.
  5. Uninstall the app. Close the app. Remove it from your device. Restart your device. Reinstall the app from the app store.

Still have questions? Frontpoint’s

Customer Care team stands ready to assist

Fixing issues with door/window sensors and motion sensors is simple with our troubleshooting guide, and more tips are available on Frontpoint’s support page. But if you still have any concerns, contact our top-rated Customer Care team at 877-602-5276, or by emailing support@frontpointsecurity.com. Our dedicated specialists are trained to help you solve problems—and they’re committed to making sure your home is always protected from intruders.


Frontpoint keeps families safer and more connected in their everyday lives. 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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