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We're checking out the best environmental sensors for our top security system picks for the 2020 holiday shopping season, which are the Honeywell Lyric, the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, and the 2GIG GC3e. Environmental sensors include life-safety sensors, flood sensors, and temperature sensors.


If you haven't seen our alarm panel 2020 holiday buying guide or our security sensor 2020 holiday buying guide, then be sure to go and check those out, as they will give a nice introduction to this buying guide for environmental sensors. You will need to make the same compatibility considerations for environmental sensors as you do for security sensors. The sensors you choose must be compatible with your system and communicate at a wireless frequency that is accepted by the alarm panel you are using.

As a refresher, here are the compatible sensor lineups for our recommended systems. Just like last time, the sensor lineups that are italicized and underlined represent the encrypted sensors that provide extra wireless security and protection.

While security sensors look for signs of forced entry and unauthorized access, environmental sensors look for undesirable environmental conditions. Specifically, we offer environmental sensors that look for life-threatening conditions, such as a fire or the presence of carbon monoxide (CO) gas. We also offer environmental sensors for detecting floods, water leaks, and unusually high or low temperatures that indicate a broken HVAC system. We will cover each type of environmental sensor in greater detail later in this holiday buying guide.

Adding environmental sensors to your system offers a few advantages. For one, it makes your alarm system more versatile so that it is looking for more than just security breaches. You will also be able to check off more boxes on your certificate of alarm (CoA), and that could lead to bigger savings on your home owner's insurance. Make sure to check with your insurance company to see if that is the case.

Life-Safety Sensors

Life-safety sensors monitor for unsafe environmental conditions that could result in a loss of life. Specifically, this group is primarily comprised of smoke and heat detectors and carbon monoxide sensors. There are also special combination sensors and listening modules that we will discuss further down the line.

First, we will take a look at some of our most popular smoke and heat detectors. These sensors monitor for both the smoke and extremely high temperatures associated with a fire. It is recommended that you have at least one (1) of these sensors on each floor of your building, particularly inside of sleeping areas and in central and connecting areas such as living rooms and hallways.

When checking out these sensors, you might also look for one-go-all-go functionality. This means that when one detector on the network activates, all of the other compatible sensors on the network will also activate their sounders. This can be very important for ensuring that everyone is alerted to the emergency. Certain jurisdictions may require one-go-all-go as part of building codes, so check with your local fire marshal to see if that is the case.

Here are our top picks for smoke and heat detectors.

Sensor Name
Product Lineup
Compatibility
Range
Encryption
Notes
Honeywell SiXSMOKE

Honeywell SiX Series Lyric 300 Nominal Feet 128-bit AES Encrypted photoelectric smoke detector and 135°F fixed temperature and 15°F per minute rate-of-rise heat detector w/ 85 dB sounder. Supports One-Go-All-Go.
DSC PG9936

PowerG All IQ Panel 2 Plus 2,000 Feet Open Air 128-bit AES Encrypted photoelectric smoke detector and 135°F fixed temperature heat detector w/ 85 dB sounder. Supports One-Go-All-Go.
2GIG SMKT8e-345

2GIG eSeries 2GIG GC3e 350 Nominal Feet 2GIG eSeries encryption Encrypted photoelectric smoke detector and 15°F per minute rate-of-rise heat detector when fixed temperature is 104°F or higher w/ 90 dB sounder and freeze detection at 40°F.
Honeywell 5808W3

Honeywell 5800 Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Non-encrypted photoelectric smoke detector and 135°F fixed temperature heat detector w/ 85 dB sounder and freeze detection at 41°F.

Now let's look at carbon monoxide sensors. These devices respond upon detecting unusually high levels of carbon monoxide (CO) gas. This gas is both odorless and tasteless, making it virtually impossible to detect without a proper sensor. The gas is extremely harmful to humans, and it can result in serious injury or death in a matter of minutes. We recommend installing at least one CO detector on each floor of your home or office. They are often installed outside of garages and furnace rooms where CO events are most likely to occur.

Here are our top picks for carbon monoxide sensors.

Sensor Name
Product Lineup
Compatibility
Range
Encryption Notes
DSC PG9933

PowerG All IQ Panel 2 Plus 2,000 Feet Open Air 128-bit AES PowerG CO Detector w/ 85 dB sounder.
2GIG CO8e

2GIG eSeries 2GIG GC3e 350 Nominal Feet 2GIG eSeries encryption 2GIG eSeries CO Detector w/ 85 dB sounder.
Honeywell 5800CO

Honeywell 5800 Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Honeywell 5800 Series CO Detector w/ 85 dB sounder.
2GIG CO8

2GIG 345 MHz Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 350 Nominal Feet None 2GIG CO Detector w/ 85 dB sounder.
Qolsys IQ Carbon

Qolsys 319.5 MHz Series 319.5 MHz IQ Panel 2 Plus 300 Nominal Feet None Qolsys CO Detector w/ 85 dB sounder.

We also want to give some special recognition to some combination smoke and CO detectors from Honeywell. These sensors combine fire detection with carbon monoxide detection into one convenient life-safety device.

Here are our top picks for combination smoke and CO detectors.

Sensor Name
Product Lineup
Compatibility Range
Encryption Notes
Honeywell SiXCOMBO

Honeywell SiX Series Lyric 300 Nominal Feet 128-bit AES Encrypted photoelectric smoke detector and 135°F fixed temperature heat detector and CO detector w/ 85 dB sounder. Supports One-Go-All-Go.
Honeywell 5800COMBO

Honeywell 5800 Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Encrypted photoelectric smoke detector and 135°F fixed temperature heat detector and CO detector w/ 85 dB sounder and freeze detection at 41°F.

Lastly, we want to mention a pair of listening modules. These devices actively listen for the Temporal 3 (T3) sound of an activated smoke detector or the Temporal 4 (T4) sound of an activated carbon monoxide sensor. These are commonly used with wired smoke detectors and CO detectors that would otherwise have no way of interfacing with an alarm system. If your smoke detectors or CO detectors are one-go-all-go, then, a single listening module can take over your entire wired detector network.

Here are our top picks for smoke & CO listening modules.

Sensor Name
Product Lineup
Compatibility
Range
Encryption
Notes
Encore FireFighter FF345

Encore 345 MHz Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Offers both T3 Detection for Fire & T4 Detection for CO
Interlogix SLX-AD-T3
Legacy Interlogix 319.5 MHz 319.5 MHz IQ Panel 2 Plus 200 Nominal Feet None Only offers T3 Detection for Fire. Not for use with CO detectors.

Flood Sensors

Next, we'll be looking at flood sensors. These devices use probes to detect water caused by a flood or leak. It only takes a small amount of liquid to activate one of these sensors, so your system will be alerted before any serious damage occurs. Many of these sensors double as temperature sensors, so expect to see quite a bit of cross-over with that section as well. For best results, use your flood sensors in low-plane areas where leaks are likely to occur, such as underneath toilets, water heaters, and in basements. You might also see that some flood sensor have a reporting delay that is used for false alarm prevention. This will be listed in the notes section in the table when applicable.

Let's check out our top picks for flood sensors.

Sensor Name
Product Lineup
Compatibility
Range
Encryption
Notes
DSC PG9985

PowerG All IQ Panel 2 Plus 2,000 Feet Open Air 128-bit AES PowerG Flood Sensor w/ 6-Foot Detection Probe.
2GIG FT6e-345

2GIG eSeries 2GIG GC3e 350 Nominal Feet 2GIG eSeries Encryption 2GIG eSeries Flood Sensor w/ High Temperature Detection @ 95°F and Freeze Detection @ 41°F.
Qolsys IQ Flood-S

Qolsys S-Line Series 319.5 MHz IQ Panel 2 Plus 600 Nominal Feet Qolsys S-Line Encryption Qolsys S-Line Flood Sensor w/ 6-Foot Detection Probe. Has a 1 to 3 minute reporting delay.
Honeywell 5800FLOOD

Honeywell 5800 Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Honeywell 5800 Series Flood Sensor w/ High Temperature Detection @ 95°F and Freeze Detection @ 45°F. Has a 25 second reporting delay.
2GIG FT6-345

2GIG 345 MHz Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 350 Nominal Feet None 2GIG 345 MHz Flood Sensor w/ High Temperature Detection @ 95°F and Freeze Detection @ 41°F.

Temperature Sensors

The final type of environmental sensors we'll be checking out are temperature sensors. These sensors look for unusually high or low temperatures that indicate a broken HVAC system. When a temperature sensor is used for high-temperature detection, it should not be confused with a heat detector that looks for extreme temperatures only associated with fires. Instead, the high-end for a temperature sensor will usually activate at around 90°F. When a temperature sensor is used for low-temperature detection, it will sometimes be referred to as a freeze sensor. On the low-end, a freeze sensor will typically activate at a slightly higher than the temperature at which water freezes, which is 32°F. This is done to give the end user a bit of notice so that they can take action before the pipes freeze. You can typically expect a freeze sensor to activate between 40°F and 45°F. Most temperature sensors will offer both high and low temperature detection. And just like in the previous category, there is a lot of crossover with flood sensors, so you may see some repeats from the previous selection.

Here are our top picks for temperature sensors.

Sensor Name
Product Lineup
Compatibility
Range
Encryption
Notes
DSC PG9905

PowerG All IQ Panel 2 Plus 2,000 Feet Open Air 128-bit AES PowerG Temperature Sensor w/ customizable high and low temperature detection.
2GIG FT6e-345

2GIG eSeries
2GIG GC3e
350 Nominal Feet
2GIG eSeries Encryption
2GIG eSeries Flood Sensor w/ High Temperature Detection @ 95°F and Freeze Detection @ 41°F.
Qolsys IQ Temp-S

Qolsys S-Line Series 319.5 MHz IQ Panel 2 Plus 600 Nominal Feet Qolsys S-Line Encryption Qolsys S-Line Temperature Sensor w/ High Temperature Detection @ 100°F and Low Temperature Detection at 40°F.
Honeywell 5800FLOOD

Honeywell 5800 Series
Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet
None
Honeywell 5800 Series Flood Sensor w/ High Temperature Detection @ 95°F and Freeze Detection @ 45°F. Has a reporting delay of 25 seconds.
2GIG FT6-345

2GIG 345 MHz Series
Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+
350 Nominal Feet
None 2GIG 345 MHz Flood Sensor w/ High Temperature Detection @ 95°F and Freeze Detection @ 41°F.

Contact Us

Remember to contact us if you have any questions about environmental sensors or their compatibility. The best way to reach us is to email support@alarmgrid.com. This is also a good email to use if you are interested in starting new monitoring service. Remember that we are available to check email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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As you may know, the fall season began earlier this week. This means that cooler temperatures are on the way. If you want to prepare your home or business, then you will certainly want to consider getting some low-temperature freeze sensors. Nearly every system has good options available!

Freeze sensors alert your system when the temperature in the building drops to a dangerously low level, usually due to the HVAC system being broken. Having one of these sensors in your home or business is crucial for monitoring the building while you are away. The consequences of having below-freezing temperatures in your home or business can be dire. The pipes can freeze, and major damage can occur. Installing a freeze sensor is small price to pay to prevent this from happening.

Most freeze sensors are designed to alert a system before freezing temperatures occur. Usually, a freeze sensor will activate at or around 40°F to alert the system. This a little bit higher than 32°F, which is when water begins to freeze. This function is intentional, as the user will hopefully be alerted to the situation with enough time to take action. Many users will set up notifications on an interactive service platform used with their alarm systems so that they are notified via text and/or email when a freeze sensor activates while they are off-site. This is possible in both Total Connect 2.0 and Alarm.com.

The main thing to consider when choosing a freeze sensor is whether or not it will work with your security system. If you know which sensor lineups are compatible with your system, then you likely already have a good idea which sensors will work. But we'll list out some of the more popular options to get you started. A very versatile 345 MHz freeze sensor that will work with the Honeywell Lyric, the Honeywell LYNX Touch Panels, and any 2GIG Panel is the Honeywell 5821. This sensor can also be used for flood detection if a probe is added.


If you have a PowerG-compatible system, such as any version of the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, then you might consider the DSC PG9905 Temperature Sensor. Many users prefer PowerG Sensors like the the PG9905 due to their superior wireless range and 128-bit AES encryption. If you have an original, non-Plus IQ Panel 2, then the 319.5 MHz Qolsys IQ Temp-S is a good choice. The Qolsys IQ Temp-S will utilize rolling code encryption when paired with the IQ Panel 2. Users of the 2GIG GC3e and 2GIG GC2e also have a good encrypted freeze sensor option in the 2GIG FT6e-345. There's also the non-encrypted 2GIG FT6-345 for users of the older 2GIG GC3 and 2GIG GC2 Systems.

Alarm Grid wants to help you keep your home or business comfortable this winter, as well as for many more winters to come. If you need help choosing a freeze sensor, then please don't hesitate to reach out to us. We are also happy to discuss monitoring services that you might use to receive alerts regarding a freeze sensor that activates while you are away from your home or office, The best way to reach us is to email support@alarmgrid.com. We check our email during our usual business hours of 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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It's Monday again, and this is normally when we would be present you with a video recap. But since we're still working on getting our entire video team together, we figured this was a good time to catch up on some videos we missed in previous recaps, as well as present some classic videos.


How Do I Clear a Latched Alarm Using a Tuxedo Touch Keypad?

I show you how to clear a latched alarm on a Honeywell Tuxedo Touch Keypad. This is done by performing a typical disarm and then clearing the faulted zone. The reason why alarms become latched or stuck is because of the alarm memory feature on the Honeywell VISTA Systems. The panel wants to be sure that you are aware that an alarm previously occurred, so it makes you clear the faulted zone, even after disarming at the keypad.


Programming a Zone to a 2GIG GC3e

I show you how to program a wireless sensor to a 2GIG GC3e Security System. This is a very important step when setting up a security system. Every sensor used with the system will require at least one zone on the system. When you program the zone, you will set various options and configurations that will determine how the system responds when the associated sensor is faulted. You will also enroll the Serial Number with the GC3e so that the panel can recognize the sensor.


Honeywell 5808W3: Program Low-Temp to Lyric

Alarm Grid Co-Founder Sterling shows you how to program the low-temperature detection function for a Honeywell 5808W3 Smoke Detector to a Honeywell Lyric Alarm System. The Honeywell 5808W3 is a smoke and heat detector that also offers low-temperature detection, which is commonly referred to as freeze detection. The 5808W3 uses Loop Number 3 for low-temperature detection, and it activates a temperatures below 41°F. This is good for letting the user know before the pipes potentially freeze.


Lyric Security System: Change Master Code

Sterling shows you how to change the Master Code on a Honeywell Lyric Security System. The Master Code is used primarily for arming and disarming the system and accessing the Master Tools Menu. It can be used to adjust or change a limited selection of system settings. However, changing most advanced settings and making zone changes will require the Installer Code. We strongly recommend changing the Master Code from its default of 1234 for security purposes. But we advise leaving the Installer Code at its default of 4112.

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We are now in the month of December, and 2019 is quickly approaching its end. Now is the time to start preparing for the winter ahead. We have products that are perfect for the winter, including freeze sensors, flood sensors, and doorbell cameras. Make sure you and your family are ready!

2gig ft6 345 wireless flood and temperature detectorWhether you love it or hate it, you likely know what winter brings for most of the country. There will likely be some cold weather and snow. The holiday season will also be happening soon, and presents will be sent out. Although Alarm Grid doesn't have anything to help you shovel your driveway or defrost your car windshield, we do have some important accessories that will help ensure that your winter season is a good one.

Today, we have three product categories that we would like to discuss. Making sure that you have these devices set up and running is very important for the winter season. Let's check them out!


Freeze Sensors

Honeywell 5821 wireless temperature sensor and water sensor exte

When it gets cold out, you will definitely want to have some temperature sensors or freeze sensors ready to go. These devices alert your system when the temperature drops to an unusually low level because of a broken HVAC system. Most temperature sensors can detect both unusually high and low temperatures, so they are also good for the summer months.

These devices will usually activate around 40°F. This is high enough above freezing so that you will have time to take action, but still way lower than you would ever keep your home. Total Connect 2.0 can even send you alerts regarding an activated freeze sensor. Alarm.com users can get similar alerts using a Z-Wave thermostat.


Flood Sensors

Dsc pg9985 powerg 915mhz wireless flood detector

You might not think of flooding during the winter months. But many house floods occur when snow melts, and the water needs some place to go. You can use flood sensors to detect water leaks before they result in serious damage. Many temperature sensors also double as flood sensors, so you certainly have many environmental sensors to choose from!

The typical flood sensor uses a probe and will activate upon detecting a very small amount of water. This is important for ensuring that you are alerted before a water leak develops into a serious problem. And interactive platforms like Total Connect 2.0 and Alarm.com can send you alerts for activated flood sensors.


Doorbell Cameras

Skybell dbcam hd video doorbellAmazon is going to be busier than ever this holiday season delivering packages across the country. With packages being delivered faster than ever, package thieves are becoming a serious concern. Stolen presents won't lead to a merry holiday season, especially if you don't have any evidence of the crime. This is why you should definitely install a doorbell camera.

By using footage from a doorbell camera, you can catch any package thief red-handed. These devices are also great for checking who is at your door from your phone, without having to get up. After all, it might be a delivery, or it might just be some annoying solicitor. Most doorbell cameras will support a mobile app that you can use to check the live feed from anywhere. The SkyBell Cameras sold on our website are perfect for this!


We're Here to Help!

Need help choosing the perfect items for your home? Alarm Grid is here to help. We are happy to discuss our services and find the perfect products for your needs. The best way to contact us is to email support@alarmgrid.com. Remember that our support hours run from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to helping you this winter season and beyond!

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Hi DIYers! Today, we want to discuss an unusual quirk we found with Alarm.com. It turns out that the Alarm.com platform cannot receive alerts from temperature sensors. This is important for any Alarm.com user who wants to receive remote alerts for unusually high or low temperatures.


When you use sensors with a security system, the expectation is that you will be able to receive alerts from an interactive service platform whenever the device is activated. But with Alarm.com, the platform cannot receive incoming signals from a system regarding faulted Temperature Zones. This means that you cannot use Alarm.com to receive text and/or email alerts regarding an activated temperature sensor.

We discovered this issue due to a customer using a DSC PG9905 Temperature Sensor with a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus System. We quickly discovered that the issue also applied to any temperature used with an Alarm.com Security System. This is important to note, as we know that many users out there will want to know about any unusual temperatures in their homes and businesses. Many people rely on using these sensors with their security systems so that they know if their HVAC systems break before serious and expensive damage occurs.

Fortunately, there is still another way you can receive alerts from Alarm.com regarding an unusually high or low temperature. If you pair a Z-Wave thermostat with your system, then you can set up notifications to be sent out whenever the detected temperature goes outside of a set threshold. A good Z-Wave thermostat to use for this application is an Alarm.com ADC-T3000 Thermostat. This thermostat also supports the ADC-S2000 Temperature Sensor, which will allow you to monitor the temperature in a second area of the building as well.

Another option is to use the Total Connect 2.0 platform with a Resideo Security System instead. Unlike Alarm.com, the Total Connect 2.0 service can be set up to send out text and/or email notifications for any sensor type, including temperature sensors. The Resideo LYNX Touch and Lyric Systems also have designed Temperature Zones that are used with Z-Wave thermostats to end high-low temperature alerts to AlarmNet360 and TC2 whenever an unusual temperature is detected. Just make sure that any Temperature Zone is noted as such on your central station document. These zones are frequently mistaken for 24-hour auxiliary medical zones.

If you have any questions about the functionality of temperature sensors, the Alarm.com and Total Connect 2.0 platforms, or any of our other products or services, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. Remember that our support hours are from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We also recommend checking out our monitoring page to learn more about our monitoring services. We look forward to hearing from you and providing top-quality monitoring service for your home or business.

UPDATE: This issue was later addressed in Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus Firmware Update 2.5.0. Please see this post for more information.

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Hi DIYers! We know it has been awfully chilly out there lately. We thought it would be a good time to talk about freeze sensors and the benefits they provide. These devices are strongly recommended for anyone who lives in a colder area who wants to make sure their home is kept temperate.

Honeywell 5821 wireless temperature sensor and water sensor exte

Also called temperature sensors, freeze sensors alert a security system when the ambient temperature falls below a certain threshold. Usually, this is around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. That way, the user can take proper action to prevent their pipes from freezing. Remember, water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and serious damage can occur if nothing is done in time. There are all sorts of horror stories of this happening while people are away for the day or on vacation.

Freeze sensors are particularly useful when used with an interactive service platform, such as Total Connect 2.0. These services will provide you with mobile alerts so that you will know if a situation occurs while you are away. Nearly every panel we sell can connect with one of these services. You just need the right communicator and monitoring plan.

While there are some standalone temperature sensors, freeze detection is often a secondary feature on a device. In fact, you might already have a device with freeze detection capabilities in your home and not even know it! The feature is commonly found on smoke detectors and flood sensors, so it never hurts to find out if your existing devices can also do freeze detection. For multi-function devices, freeze detection will usually operate on a specific Loop Number, and a unique system zone for freeze detection must be programmed.

Qolsys iq temp temperature sensor for low %3c40 and high %3e100 temp

If you're in the market for a new freeze sensor, you have plenty of options to choose from. The main thing to keep in mind is whether or not the device will work with your security system. If you are looking for a wireless sensor, then it must communicate at a compatible frequency. If you go the hardwired route, then your system must be able to support hardwired sensors. You might consider getting a smoke detector or a flood sensor that also includes the freeze detection function.

If you have a Honeywell or 2GIG System, then you likely use 345 MHz Sensors. The Honeywell 5821 is a convenient option for reliable freeze detection. You can also add a probe to have the 5821 Sensor double as a flood sensor. If you want a combination smoke and heat detector with freeze detection built-in, you might consider a Honeywell 5808W3.

For Interlogix Systems and the original Qolsys IQ Panel 2, you will want a 319.5 MHz Sensor. The Qolsys IQ Temp is a viable option. There's also the Interlogix TX-E611, which doubles as a flood sensor. For users also looking for a smoke, the Interlogix SDX-135Z also provides freeze detection.

If you have a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus or a DSC PowerSeries Neo, then your system supports PowerG Sensors. In that case, you might go with the DSC PG9905. This sensor will offer the impressive range of PowerG, as well as extremely secure 128-bit AES encryption.

For users who want to go the hardwired route, the best bet is often to go with a smoke detector that includes the feature. We often steer customers towards 2-wire smokes, since they are easier to set up. A good option is the System Sensor 2WTA-B, which also includes a built-in sounder.

Users who are having trouble deciding on a freeze sensor can always reach out to Alarm Grid. We are happy to help you find the perfect device for your needs. You may email us at support@alarmgrid.com, or call us at (888) 818-7728 from 9am to 8pm EST M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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