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Wireless Home Security 101 – Smoke and Heat Sensor

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October 26, 2010
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Wireless Home Security 101 – Smoke and Heat Sensor

Fire protection alone is a major reason to have a monitored alarm system – and that’s why good alarm companies recommend at least one monitored smoke detector for every residential system. I’ve posted on fire monitoring before, and we gave a shout-out to the NFPA’s announcement of Fire Prevention Week. Let’s recap the key benefits of adding fire monitoring to your alarm system:

  • Non-monitored smoke alarms – even the extensive systems sometimes required by building codes – will never summon help. They do nothing when you are away, or at home and overcome by smoke.
  • Fire monitoring should not add a penny to your monitoring fees.
  • Fire monitoring should provide you with additional home insurance discounts.
  • Pets that are home alone need monitored fire protection, too!

Explaining the Smoke & Heat Sensor

The workhorse of home fire monitoring is the wireless smoke and heat sensor, and the good devices actually contain three separate fire detection technologies:

  1. Smoke Detection: using either ionization or photoelectric technology to sense airborne particulate, the sensor “samples” the air. Ionization is slightly better for actual flames, whereas photoelectric (more common) has the edge detecting smoldering fires: both types work.
  2. Fixed Temperature Sensor: the standard trigger point is 135 degrees F. Once the detector senses this temperature has been reached, the alarm is activated.
  3. “Rate of Rise” Temperature Sensor: the sensor can determine if room temperature is increasing by more than 15 degrees F within a 60-second period. That unusual (and dangerous) “rate of rise” triggers an alarm.

Placement

Smoke and heat sensors are placed high on the wall, or on the ceiling – but in either case at least 4” away from where the wall and ceiling meet. I recommend one sensor on each floor, starting with the upper floors and working down (since heat rises, and upstairs is usually where the bedrooms are). Here is a simple but effective set of detector placement guidelines from the University of Tennessee’s Institute for Public Service. As you may imagine, the kitchen is not a great location for the smoke & heat sensor. There is such thing as a monitored heat sensor (heat only), and it has its applications – but that’s for a future blog posting!

As you can see, FrontPoint is a committed advocate for monitored fire protection. We consider life safety monitoring (including carbon monoxide detection) an inseparable partner of intrusion detection, to provide you with the maximum peace of mind. Since we’re the nationwide leader in interactive, wireless home security, our customers expect us to recommend the safest security – in every sense of the word.

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Comments
Home Alarm Systems – Firefighters Watch House Burn – What Do You Think? «
October 29, 2010 at 2:01 PM
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Home Alarm Systems – Firefighters Watch House Burn – What Do You Think? «
October 29, 2010 at 2:01 PM
[...] be too late. The best early warning is the home’s monitored fire alarm, starting with wireless smoke and heat sensors that trigger an alarm to the monitoring center, so fire personnel can be dispatched. And in every [...]
Wireless Home Alarms – Portable Heating Appliances Cause Fires «
November 3, 2010 at 2:03 PM
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Wireless Home Alarms – Portable Heating Appliances Cause Fires «
November 3, 2010 at 2:03 PM
[...] including the danger of smoke inhalation, concerns over carbon monoxide, and the need for working (preferably monitored) smoke detectors. The additional factor of the windows being nailed shut for security adds a cruel element to this [...]
Missouri House Burns Down – ADT Never Received Fire Alarm Signal | Home Security Blog
January 25, 2011 at 4:02 PM
[...] of monitored fire detection to every household alarm system, at no extra monthly charge. Plus, our wireless smoke and heat sensor costs only $64.99 – a fraction of what you’ll pay with other companies – and you’ll [...]
Missouri House Burns Down – ADT Never Received Fire Alarm Signal | Home Security Blog
January 25, 2011 at 4:02 PM
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Home Fire Alarm Systems Work – Monitored System in NJ Saves House, and Dog | Home Security Blog
February 2, 2011 at 5:08 PM
[...] leader in interactive, wireless home security, FrontPoint makes it easy to add fire monitoring with GE Security wireless smoke and heat sensors and safer, cellular monitoring. So, here’s the big question: does your home alarm system include [...]
Home Fire Alarm Systems Work – Monitored System in NJ Saves House, and Dog | Home Security Blog
February 2, 2011 at 5:08 PM
[...] leader in interactive, wireless home security, FrontPoint makes it easy to add fire monitoring with GE Security wireless smoke and heat sensors and safer, cellular monitoring. So, here’s the big question: does your home alarm system include [...]
Home Fire Statistics – Recent Report Says US Homeowners Underestimate the Danger | Home Security Blog
March 23, 2011 at 9:08 PM
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Home Fire Statistics – Recent Report Says US Homeowners Underestimate the Danger | Home Security Blog
March 23, 2011 at 9:08 PM
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Home Fire Safety – National Association Uses 25-year old Video to Remind on Speed and Power of Fire | Home Security Blog
May 4, 2011 at 5:42 PM
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Home Fire Safety – National Association Uses 25-year old Video to Remind on Speed and Power of Fire | Home Security Blog
May 4, 2011 at 5:42 PM
[...] than by the fire itself. The best solution – unless you do have sprinklers in your home – is a monitored smoke and heat sensor.What You can DoOne of the most important developments in home security is the simple addition of [...]
Homeowner Confronts Burglar – But Burglar Sets Home on Fire after Beating Homeowner | Home Security Blog
June 6, 2011 at 7:03 PM
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Homeowner Confronts Burglar – But Burglar Sets Home on Fire after Beating Homeowner | Home Security Blog
June 6, 2011 at 7:03 PM
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Home Fires Kill – Top 10 Home Fire Safety Tips from the National Fire Protection Association | Home Security Blog
July 8, 2011 at 10:29 PM
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Home Fires Kill – Top 10 Home Fire Safety Tips from the National Fire Protection Association | Home Security Blog
July 8, 2011 at 10:29 PM
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Home Security Should Include Life Safety – Monitored Fire Detection Catches Fires Early | Home Security Blog
August 3, 2011 at 8:10 PM
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Home Security Should Include Life Safety – Monitored Fire Detection Catches Fires Early | Home Security Blog
August 3, 2011 at 8:10 PM
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Bob Wicksell
October 18, 2015 at 2:51 PM
The notion of having a fire/smoke sensor that you have no way of knowing that it is "alive", capable of communicating, and is an active part of your system is totally unacceptable. Basically you are telling us customers "don't worry, trust us" as we, the customers have absolutely no wat to verify that. The sensor shold be able to be "named" and it should "ping" the control panel or central monitoring system and return an "OK" status. Keeping customers completely blind to this key function is just BAD DESIGN. Please fix this oversight!
Gilbert Cho
October 19, 2015 at 3:09 PM
Hey Bob, I agree that this is a key function, and everything you've voiced here actually is available with every Frontpoint system. While we do want our customers trust us, we definitely do give them the ability to confirm/verify things themselves. All customers have the ability to give their sensors unique names. Protective Monitoring customers will have to call in and request these changes, but Interactive and Ultimate Monitoring customers can log into MyFrontpoint.com and make the changes themselves. You can also check your system and sensor statuses by hitting the Status button on your Control Panel. When everything is perfectly fine, the system will report "System OK." If something isn't working, the Control Panel's status light will turn on and report what sensor is affected and what the issue is. I hope this addresses your concerns, but please feel free to reply to this comment if you have any other comments or questions!
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