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Did you know that your Alarm Grid Security System most likely has smart home automation capabilities? While keeping your home or business safe with trusted monitoring service is the main function of an alarm system, the world of home automation is easily accessible and very exciting.

Qolsys iq lightbulb dimmable z wave lightbulb for iq and iq pane

As a quick recap for anyone who may not be familiar with automation or the concept of a "smart home", it refers mostly to two (2) somewhat related ideas.

1) Being able to control devices remotely (aka, while you are away from the premises).

2) Being able to have devices activate automatically based on a schedule and/or predetermined events, with no action required on your part.

These devices that we speak of are collectively referred to as "smart devices". There are all sorts of smart devices that you can integrate into your automation network. Some examples include:

  • Smart Lights - Illumination devices that you can control remotely and turn ON or OFF automatically. These come in many forms, including light bulbs, in-wall switches, plug-in modules, and even wall outlets. Smart lights are perfect for making it appear as though someone is present while away or on vacation.
  • Smart Door Locks - Access control devices that you can operate remotely and LOCK or UNLOCK a door automatically. These are typically deadbolt devices that prevent unauthorized individuals from gaining access to your home or business. In addition to remote operation, these devices can also be automated based on a schedule or the condition of other devices in your home.
  • Smart Thermostats - Temperature control devices that you can be adjusted locally or remotely and INCREASE or DECREASE the temperature. The operation of these devices can also be automated based on a schedule or event. These wire in directly with the HVAC system in your home or business. The setup is surprisingly simple, and it can be easily completed by a DIY user.
  • Smart Water Valves - Water shut-off switches that you can trigger locally or remotely. If you CLOSE the valve, then the flow of water will be stopped. If you OPEN the valve, then the flow of water will proceed when a faucet is activated. Smart water valves can be very important if the building is prone to flooding or water damage. These devices can be automated based on the activation of a flood sensor.

Now that you know a little more about smart devices, you're probably wondering how to get started. The first thing that we advise doing is selecting a smart protocol to build around. This refers to the type of wireless communication that the individual smart devices will use to speak with the centralized hub.

The smart hub, also known as the controller, is the single most important piece of equipment in any smart home. All of your individual smart devices will communicate their status with this centralized hub. And when you go to control your devices remotely, all incoming commands will pass through the hub before ultimately being forwarded to the individual device. Without the smart hub, home automation is impossible.

Honeywell lyric controller encrypted wireless security system

When you select a smart hub, you are also selecting the wireless protocol for your network. All of the individual smart devices in your network must use that same wireless protocol to communicate successfully with the main hub. As a result, your smart hub determines which devices can (and cannot) join the network.

A great aspect of most security systems sold by Alarm Grid is that they can double as smart hubs for your automation devices. The panels that we sell support the Z-Wave wireless communication protocol. Virtually any Z-Wave device can be enrolled with an alarm system that supports Z-Wave communication.

Once you have a Z-Wave device enrolled with your system, a few things become possible:

1) Operate your programmed Z-Wave devices on the main system display. This is the same place where you arm and disarm your system.

2) Control your programmed Z-Wave devices remotely using the same platform you use for controlling your system, namely, Alarm.com or Total Connect 2.0. This requires monitoring service.

3) Build complete smart scenes, in which multiple Z-Wave devices are controlled simultaneously. This is done through either Alarm.com or Total Connect 2.0. Again, alarm monitoring service is required.

While all of this certainly sounds exciting, we understand that it may seem a little daunting at first. If you are already an Alarm Grid monitored customer, then there's a good chance that your system is already capable of serving as a central hub for your Z-Wave network.

The following systems readily support Z-Wave communication, with no add-ons being required:

Additionally, the following panels can be upgraded to support Z-Wave communication:

Of course, there are other options besides Z-Wave for home automation. If you are an iOS user, then you might consider getting a security panel that can support the robust and powerful Apple HomeKit automation platform. The Honeywell Lyric is a great option for this. You can learn more about HomeKit in this prior post.

Another option for lighting control is the Lutron devices that use their own communications protocol. Lutron is known for their tight integration with Alarm.com, and they certainly make for a great starting point if you are looking to establish a smart lighting setup. More info on using Lutron with Alarm.com can be found here.


Alarm Grid is about more than just security. We can help you establish the perfect automation network for your home or business. Getting started with smart home automation is easy, and it's a fantastic way to get the most out of your security system. Whether you go with Z-Wave, Apple HomeKit, Lutron, or use a combo setup, we will be there to help you every step of the way.

If you aren't already monitored by Alarm Grid, now is a great time to get started. Smart home automation is included with all of our Silver, Gold, and Platinum Level Plans. This post will tell you all about our monitoring plans so that you can make an informed decision. Alarm Grid monitored customers are provided with free technical support online and over the phone. This includes helping you create the perfect smart home.

The best way for an Alarm Grid monitored customer to get help with all of their smart home questions is to email support@alarmgrid.com or call (888) 818-7728. Our support technicians will be happy to help you in building your smart home network. Remember that our business hours run from 9am to 8pm ET M-F, so make sure to plan accordingly. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

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Hi DIYers! Today, we're taking a look at two (2) in-wall Z-Wave dimmers that we just recently started offering. These are the GE 14299 Z-Wave Plus Dimmer and the GE 45717 Z-Wave Classic Dimmer Switch. What's great about these in-wall dimmers is that neither one requires a neutral wire!

Ge 14294 side of z wave in wall smart dimmer

Installing smart lights in an older home can present some challenges. Most homes built pre-1980 do not use neutral wires with their light switches. The purpose of a neutral wire is to ensure a more balanced AC load to prevent any voltage spikes from occurring. Although most standard lights can work just fine without a neutral wire, you will find that most in-wall light switches require one. We actually wrote a helpful FAQ on the subject recently, which you can view here.

In more recent times, we have started to see smart in-wall lighting devices that can be used without needing to run a neutral wire. The first notable examples were the Lutron Lighting Devices, which are great for use with Alarm.com. But now with the GE 14299 and GE 45717, we now have an effective no-neutral wire option for users wanting to get their lights on a Z-Wave network. You can even pair these new in-wall switches with a GE 12723 Add-On Switch for a 3-way configuration!

As you know by now, adding your lights to your Z-Wave network offers several advantages. These devices are perfect for pairing with compatible security systems. You will need a system with a Z-Wave controller and a monitoring plan that includes home automation to take full advantage of these devices. By pairing your lights with your monitored system, you can control your lights from anywhere using an interactive platform like Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com. You can even create smart scenes to have your lights respond automatically based on a schedule or with system events.

We are sure that being able to install in-wall dimmer switches without a neutral wire will be beneficial to many users. Now you can achieve a top-of-the-line smart lighting setup even if your home doesn't feature neutral wires! If you have any questions about the GE 14299, the GE 45717, or any of our products, please reach out to us by emailing support@alarmgrid.com. Remember that our support hours are from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to helping you!

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Alarm Grid is very happy to announce that the Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge PRO 2 is now available for purchase from our website. This device serves as the central hub for a Lutron Smart Lighting setup. It offers a brand-new integration with Alarm.com for added flexibility and control.

Lutron caseta pj2 3brl wh l01r 3 button wireless pico remote wit

It's funny, we were just talking about Lutron the other day and how great their lighting products are. We didn't know that just a few days later we would be talking about the exciting Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge PRO 2. This hub supports all of the same great integrations and features as the original Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge. These integrations include Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Nest, Sonos Sound, and more.

But the Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge PRO 2 adds the ability to integrate your Lutron Lights with Alarm.com. This is huge news for anyone with an Alarm.com Security System. Now you can control your Lutron devices and your security system from the super convenient Alarm.com App. You can even include your Lutron Lights with smart scenes for automatic operation based on a schedule or with certain system events!

If you are not familiar with Lutron Lights, then prepare to have your life brightened! These smart lights offer a multitude of great features that help them outshine similar products. By using the free-to-download Lutron App, you can create smart schedules to have your lights turn ON and OFF at set times of the day.

The Lutron App also supports Geofencing features to have your lights respond based on the location of your smartphone. This is great if you want to have your lights turn ON automatically when you arrive home, or shut OFF when you leave for the day. There is also a cool feature called "Smart Away" that will have your lights turn ON and OFF at random times during the evening to make it look like you are home. This is perfect for when you are traveling.

Remember, you will need a monitoring plan that includes Alarm.com if you want to integrate your Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge PRO 2 with that platform. For Alarm Grid customers, this includes any Gold or Platinum Level Plan. More information about our monitoring services is available on our alarm monitoring page.

The Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge PRO 2 is compatible with all of the existing Lutron Caseta devices that were already sold on our site. We have all the resources you need to create complete smart lighting network based around Lutron. If you have any questions about Lutron or the new Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge PRO 2, please reach out to us by emailing support@alarmgrid.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Hi DIYers! Today, we are very excited to talk about the all-new Z-Wave Plus lighting products from Resideo. These lights are very easy to use, and they will work with nearly any security system that supports Z-Wave. They will certainly make a great addition to any growing smart home.


Resideo (formerly Honeywell and Ademco) has been long-known for their alarm control panels, sensors, and thermostats. But they really haven't made much of a splash in terms of smart lighting equipment. But that should change with these brand-new lights. The lineup has everything you need to create a robust and capable lighting setup.

All of these products use Z-Wave Plus technology to communicate with a central hub. We strongly recommend making sure your Z-Wave controller is certified for Z-Wave Plus so that you get the maximum wireless signal range. Some systems that support Z-Wave Plus include the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus and the 2GIG GC3e. If you have monitoring service and access to Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com, then you can control your lights remotely and use them with smart scenes.

These devices are all super easy to program with your alarm system or other Z-Wave hub. When enrolling, you should always make sure to exclude the device from the network first. This will clear out any information and ensure that the device can be enrolled successfully. Then enroll the device by putting the controller into its inclusion mode and activating the inclusion function on the light. It should successfully pair with the network.

Now that you know a little bit about the lights in general, let's take a quick look at all of the new products individually:

  • Resideo Z5SWITCH - An in-wall light switch that is used to control hardwired lights or a ceiling fan. Replaces the existing in-wall switch.
  • Resideo Z5DIMMER - An in-wall dimmer switch that is used to control hardwired lights. The light bulbs must support dimming to be used in that manner. Replaces the existing in-wall switch.
  • Resideo Z53WSWITCH - An in-wall 3-way switch that is used with the Z5SWITCH and Z5DIMMER. You can use multiple Z53SWITCH devices to achieve up to a 6-way lighting configuration. Please note that a traveler wire is required for use.
  • Resideo Z5SWPID - A plug-in switch that is used for controlling a lamp or other connected device. It features a manual ON/OFF switch and a pass-through "non-Z-Wave" outlet.
  • Resideo Z5DIMPID - A plug-in dimmer module that is used for controlling a lamp. The light bulbs must support dimming to be used in that manner. It features a manual ON/OFF switch and a pass-through "non-Z-Wave" outlet.
  • Resideo Z5SWPIO - A plug-in switch that is suitable for outdoor use. Great for operating holiday lights or other outdoor lighting fixtures. It does not include a pass-through outlet.
  • Resideo Z5OUTLET - An in-wall AC outlet that provides Z-Wave Plus control to the connected device. The bottom port uses Z-Wave Plus, while the top port is always active. Replaces an existing outlet.

All of these smart lighting products are available right now from Alarm Grid! They're great for anyone looking to create a new smart lighting network or expand upon an existing one. If you have any questions about these new Resideo Lights, please reach out to us by emailing support@alarmgrid.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Hi DIYers! Today, we would like to talk about Lutron Smart Lights and explain why they are a great choice for establishing a smart lighting setup. These smart lights offer many nice features, including integrations with Apple HomeKit and Amazon Alexa. We think you will love these lights!

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When talking about smart lights, we often point customers to Z-Wave lights first, due to their easy integrations with Alarm.com and Total Connect 2.0. But if you don't have access to ADC or TC2, then you might choose a different smart network to build around. For smart lighting, Lutron represents one of the best options available. The Lutron Caseta lineup is perfect for DIY installers, and the products offer some great features and functions.

Anyone interested in Lutron should first become familiar with the Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge. This is the central hub that makes the setup possible. All of your Lutron devices will pair with this controller. And whenever you use a smart assistant (e.g. Siri, HomeKit, Alexa, etc.) to control your Lutron Lights, the command will first pass through the smart bridge.

The Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge is very easy to set up. Just connect it to your router using the included ethernet cable. Then pair your smartphone with the bridge using the Lutron App. You will then be able to control connected Lutron devices from anywhere. One Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge can support up to 50 Lutron devices. You will have no problem decking out your home with Lutron Smart Lights!

The fun part comes once you have your smart bridge. You can then start choosing individual Lutron devices to use in your home. There are plenty of devices to choose from. We have some of our favorites listed below:

There are also lots of kits that include bundled Lutron items. We won't list them all here, but please check out our Lutron Smart Home Page to see them! Lutron even offers a variety of decorative wallplates to go with your Lutron In-Wall Switches. Look for the Lutron Claro Wallplates for more information!

Remember, Lutron is great for pairing with a variety of different platforms including Apple HomeKit and Siri, Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Nest, and Sonos Sound. It is also excellent for Resideo Lyric System users who use the system with Apple HomeKit, as it gives the user a single robust platform for controlling the system and their lights. Just remember that the Lyric must be running firmware update MR7 or higher to do this.

If you have any questions about Lutron, please reach out to us. The best way to contact us is to email support@alarmgrid.com. We look forward to hearing from you and answering all your questions about Lutron!

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Hi DIYers! Today we're looking at three (3) smart home devices that can make a great addition to nearly any home. Half the fun of owning an alarm system is getting into the exciting world of home automation. These devices are all easy to use, and they are all available from Alarm Grid.

August Smart Lock Pro

August smart lock pro dark gray z wave deadbolt lock 3rd generat

The August Smart Lock Pro is very unique in being one of the few Z-Wave Plus Smart Locks that is also compatible with Apple HomeKit. It also works with great voice-based platforms like Google Home and Amazon Alexa, and it can be used for automatic Bluetooth unlocking. All of this makes the August Smart Lock Pro extremely versatile. It is a great choice no matter what interactive platform you are building around. The lock comes Z-Wave Plus ready right out of the box. You can also pair it with an August Connect WIFI Bridge for enhanced remote access. You can still use the lock with HomeKit without the Connect Bridge, but it will need to be within Bluetooth range of the HomeKit Hub (Apple iPad, Apple TV Gen 4 or higher, or Apple HomePod). Overall, this is a fantastic smart lock for your home and great for many scenarios.

Check out all of our fantastic smart locks here.

Honeywell T6 Pro Z-Wave Thermostat

Honeywell t6 z wave thermostat smart thermostat


The Honeywell T6 Pro is arguably our favorite Z-Wave thermostat right now. Its biggest selling point is its ability to connect to an HVAC system and remain powered on without common power from a C-wire. This is excellent for DIY installers, as it prevents them from having to work with high voltage wiring. The Honeywell T6 Pro Z-Wave version is certified Z-Wave Plus for extended wireless range and improved battery life. There is also a HomeKit-compatible T6 Pro that uses WIFI instead of Z-Wave Plus. However, most Alarm Grid customers get the Z-Wave Plus model so that they can control the thermostat through the same interactive service platform used with their security systems. Although the T6 Pro was designed with Total Connect 2.0 in mind, it will work just fine with Alarm.com and associated systems.

Check out all our smart thermostats here.

Lutron Caseta P-BDG-PKG1W Starter Kit

Lutron caseta p bdg pkg1w unboxed single in wall dimmer starter


Lutron Caseta is a great option if you are looking to establish a smart lighting network for your home or business. In order to get started, you will need a Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge to serve as the central hub for the setup. The kit linked above include the smart bridge, along with an in-wall dimmer switch and a Pico Remote for controlling the device from up to 60 feet away in open air. Other great starter kits from Lutron include the P-BDG-PKG2P with a lamp dimmer module, and the P-BDG-PKG2W with dual in-wall dimmer switches. A great aspect of Lutron Caseta devices is that you can build a network of lights without having to run traveler wires to connect load-bearing light switches to a master switch. Instead, all communication occurs wirelessly through the Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge. Lutron integrates with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and Google Home with ease. This makes this smart lighting network perfect for many different smart home setups.

Check out all of our smart lighting options here.

Build Your Smart Home!


Alarm Grid is here to help you build your ideal smart home. Whether you're looking for locks, thermostats, or lights, we have what you need to help you get started. Remember, we offer free support for all Alarm Grid monitored customers. You can build your smart home network around one of our security systems and make your life more convenient than ever. Alarm Grid customers should email us at support@alarmgrid.com with any questions. And if you haven't joined Alarm Grid quite yet, you can get started by clicking the orange Alarm Monitoring button at the top of this page. We look forward to helping you design the perfect smart home.

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