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Hi DIYers! Today, we plan to talk about some of the specifications of Z-Wave Plus and how the protocol has been improved over classic Z-Wave communication. Setting up some Z-Wave Plus devices with your system is a great way to get started in the exciting world of home automation!


You probably see us talking about Z-Wave Plus all of the time, but you might not know why we get so excited about it. If you didn't know, Z-Wave Plus is a wireless communication protocol that is frequently used with smart home devices. This includes peripherals like smart lights, door locks, programmable thermostats, and more. Many of the systems we sell and support include built-in Z-Wave controllers so you can start pairing these convenient devices. Today, a collective group called the Z-Wave Alliance is working to further improve upon this robust and convenient form of local wireless communication.

By nature, Z-Wave offers many important advantages. Wireless communication makes installation and set up super easy, which is great for DIYers who don't want to hire a professional installer. And by using them with your monitored security system, you can operate these devices remotely through an automation platform like Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com. Both platforms offer their own mobile app so that you can control these devices from virtually anywhere! And you can even establish smart scenes so that your Z-Wave devices operate automatically based on a schedule or with certain events on your system. How cool!

But not all Z-Wave devices are created equal. More recently, we have seen the rise of "Z-Wave Plus" devices, also known as 500-Series devices. This is as opposed to what we sometimes refer to as "classic Z-Wave" devices, or 300-Series devices. When given the option, you will definitely want to go with the newer and more advanced Z-Wave Plus 500-Series devices. This will provide you with the best possible end user experience.

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Before we get into Z-Wave Plus specifications, we want to quickly mention what you will need to achieve a Z-Wave Plus setup. To unlock the full potential of Z-Wave Plus, you will need a Z-Wave Plus controller and certified Z-Wave Plus devices. You can use classic Z-Wave devices with a Z-Wave Plus controller, but you will only get the functionality of classic Z-Wave.

Likewise, you can use Z-Wave Plus devices with a classic Z-Wave controller, but again, you will only have the same 300-series functionality. If you want true Z-Wave Plus, you must have a Z-Wave Plus controller and certified Z-Wave Plus devices. Check for the label shown at the top of this post to determine if a device is Z-Wave Plus. That label should be found somewhere on the product box.

Now that we have that out of the way, you might be wondering what's the big deal about Z-Wave Plus. After all, you can technically do anything with classic Z-Wave that you can do with Z-Wave Plus. The thing is though, Z-Wave Plus can do it better. This comes down to a few different considerations. Namely, Z-Wave Plus offers further range, extended battery life, and better reliability overall.

Kwikset 910 z wave push button deadbolt lock polished brass

When it comes to Z-Wave range, signal hopping is key. Z-Wave signals actually have the ability to "hop" through other Z-Wave devices. Each time a "hop" occurs, the signal is repeated to extend the range. A Z-Wave signal can make up to four (4) of these hops on its way to the intended destination. By adding more Z-Wave devices, you are establishing a stronger mesh network.

Z-Wave Plus devices allow for about 50 to 60 feet between hops. So you can expect a roughly 200 foot range for a Z-Wave Plus device if you have a strong mesh network for signal hopping. Conversely, a classic Z-Wave device will only offer a range of about 30 to 40 feet between hops. That's only a range of about 120 feet with a strong mesh network. By using exclusively Z-Wave Plus devices, you are getting a roughly 66% increase in range!

Battery life is also something to consider for Z-Wave devices that do not plug in or connect with electrical wiring. This is common for most Z-Wave locks and even some thermostats like the Honeywell T6 Pro Z-Wave. The Z-Wave Alliance designed Z-Wave Plus devices to consume less power, which has improved their expected battery life by about 50%. This will save you money with fewer required battery changes!

Lastly, you should consider the fact that Z-Wave Plus offers better reliability than classic Z-Wave. This is important for ensuring that any Z-Wave commands and signals ultimately reach their intended destinations. Certified Z-Wave Plus devices are also required to support Security S2, which includes complete Diffe-Hellman Symmetric Encryption for enhanced security. And perhaps most importantly, Z-Wave Plus devices can receive firmware updates over-the-air (OTA), allowing developers to streamline any needed improvements.

Honeywell t6 z wave thermostat smart thermostat

The future certainly looks bright for Z-Wave, as the Z-Wave Alliance is currently working on 700-Series Z-Wave Communication. This represents the future over the current Z-Wave Plus 500-Series. We do not have the details on 700-Series, including when it will be made widely available, but it is expected to communicate up to 150% further, while using even less power for improved battery life! These devices will also offer enhanced processing for signal transmissions that are up to 18% faster.

At this time, no security systems support 700-Series technology. But there are still fantastic systems like the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus which support Z-Wave Plus 500-Series communication. With Z-Wave on your side, you can truly make your alarm system stronger than ever and achieve a more convenient life! If you have any questions about Z-Wave technology, you are welcome to email us at support@alarmgrid.com. Remember that our support hours are from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Hi DIYers! Are you still looking for the perfect smart lock? We have some brand-new options available with the Yale YRL236 and Yale YRL256. Both options utilize Z-Wave Plus connectivity and make great additions to your growing smart home network. They are perfect for use with TC2 and ADC.

When it comes to choosing a Z-Wave Plus Smart Lock, you want to make sure that the device you choose is easy to use and does its job of keeping your home safe. With a proven company like Yale from Assa Abbloy, you can rely on these smart locks with complete and total confidence. It has never been this easy to protect your home.

The Assure Lever Locks from Yale feature aesthetically pleasing designs that fit-in nicely with any home decor. Both the YRL236 and YRL256 models come in three (3) different finish options. These are Polished Brass, Satin Nickel, and Oil Rubbed Bronze. We know that the stylish consumer will find the design that matches their home the best. After all, we know that appearance matters too.

There is one major difference between the YRL236 and YRL256 models. The YRL236 includes a more traditional acrylic push-button keypad, while the YRL256 uses an electronic touchscreen. The acrylic keys of the YRL236 are durable and specifically designed to not wear-off with repeated use. The touchscreen keypad of the YRL256 is state-of-the-art and perfect for users who want a more advanced experience.

Whether you choose the tried and true push-button keypad of the YRL236 or the futuristic touchscreen keypad of the YRL256, you can be sure that you are getting an exceptional smart device. Both options feature back-lighting, which means that you will have no trouble using your door lock at night when it's dark outside. Other built-in features include auto re-locking, privacy mode, and tamper alarms.

The YRL236 and YRL256 both pair nicely with any Z-Wave controller. We recommend using a Z-Wave Plus controller for optimal wireless range and battery life. Both of these Yale Smart Locks are excellent devices for your smart home. You can get both the YRL236 and the YRL256, plus many other smart home devices, right from the Alarm Grid website. We also encourage you to check out our alarm monitoring page so that you can learn more about accessing Total Connect 2.0 and Alarm.com.

If you have any questions about the YRL236, the YRL256, or any of our smart home products, please reach out to us. The best and most efficient way to ask us questions is to email support@alarmgrid.com. You may also call us at (888) 818-7728 during our regular business hours of 9am to 8pm EST M-F. We look forward to answering all your smart home questions!

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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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Taking a summer trip DIYers? You need peace of mind to maximize your fun. Knowing that your home is safe and operational is a great feeling. You have a lot of planning before you go on vacation, and we're here to help you get ready. Here are some ways you can prepare for your next vacation.


Get a Smart Thermostat

A smart thermostat is the perfect accessory if you plan on taking a trip during the summer months. It's hot out! You don't want to come home and suddenly discover that your HVAC system has stopped working. The last thing you need when you come home is an uncomfortable house. You can pair your smart thermostat with your security system and start using it with an interactive platform like Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com. While you're on the beach or lounging by the pool, you can check your home's temperature and make sure it's reasonable. You don't want to set the temperature too low; there's no reason to waste the extra energy. But you can check and make sure that it's at a reasonable level to know that your HVAC system is working properly. You can even set up automatic notifications if the temperature gets too high.

We actually just made a post showing-off some of the best smart thermostats on our site. Check it out!

Honeywell t6 z wave thermostat smart thermostat

Get a Smart Door Lock

Let's say that your smart thermostat shows a very high temperature, and you suspect your HVAC system might be broken. How are you gonna let the repair person inside? You're on vacation, and you triple-checked to make sure your doors are locked! Well with your smart door lock, you can let the repair person inside and then lock the door behind them when they leave. What about your plants or your puppy? Your friendly neighbor is going to need to get inside to take care of them. You don't have to give them a key. Just make them a guest code on your smart lock, along with a guest code on the panel. Or if you are extra cautious, you can always lock and unlock the door and arm and disarm your system from TC2 or ADC. This is the perfect way to make sure that your home stays in order while you're off relaxing somewhere far away.

We did a post a few months ago on some great smart door looks. Take a look!

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

Get Alarm Monitoring

You won't able to use your smart door lock and your smart thermostat without a hub. And what better hub than a brand-new security system? At Alarm Grid, we have all you need to make sure that your home is safe and secure while you are gone. If someone dares to break-in to your house while you're off on the vacation you worked hard for, we'll make sure that they pay the price. We offer monitoring plans that will connect your alarm system with a 24/7 central station for automatic police dispatch in these serious situations. The smart home control features are a nice touch, but keeping your home and your possessions safe is always a top priority. We have many alarm panels and security sensors to protect homes big and small.

We recently did a comprehensive post covering all our available monitoring plans. Here it is!

Qolsys iq panel 2 at and t 10 1 kit alarm system kit w slash 10

Get Environmental Sensors

Protecting your home from a robbery is important, but what about environmental conditions? There could be a water leak that causes a flood in your basement, or maybe a wildfire affects your property. It would also be a real bummer to come home to a natural gas leak. We have sensors for all these situations. You can get flood sensors, smoke and heat detectors, and natural gas detectors all from Alarm Grid. Your Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com service will send you a text and/or email alert so that you know about the activated sensor as soon as it happens. And if it's something serious like a fire, emergency help will be sent out if you have central station service. Alarm Grid has all the environmental sensors you need to know that your home is ready for your vacation.

We know what happens when people don't use environmental sensors. Don't let this happen to you!

2gig ft1 345 flood and temperature sensor

Contact Us!

You need to do one last thing before you Arm Away, lock your smart lock and set your smart thermostat schedule. That is contact Alarm Grid to let us know about your vacation plans! If you want any changes for the dispatching process, make sure to inform us. This could include something like having the central station call your neighbor or your friend instead of you while you're away. Letting us know about your vacation schedule is also extremely important if you plan on having someone else looking after your house while you are away. You should let us know that a neighbor or a friend will be using your system during this time. You might even tell us which user code they will be using so that we know to look out for anything unusual. This is really only necessary if you need temporary changes to your account while you are gone.

If you need to let us know about your vacation plans, you should send a quick email to support@alarmgrid.com. Our support team will check your email as soon as possible and put the necessary information on your account. Enjoy your vacation, and stay safe and relaxed with Alarm Grid on your side!

Alarm grid inside security stickers

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Hi DIYers! Today, we want to discuss some of our favorite smart locks from the likes of Kwikset, Yale and August. There are many great reasons to add a smart lock to your home, and we are sure that you will love the convenience they offer. They are great for Alarm Grid monitored customers.




Smart locks represent a great addition to nearly any home or business. These devices typically enroll with a central hub, such as a Z-Wave controller or into your Apple HomeKit network. You will then be able to control the lock through an app on the Android or iOS smartphone. This is great if you ever want to let someone inside while you are away and then make sure the door is locked after they leave.

Z-Wave locks are particularly useful because you can access them through the Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com service that you use with your security system. These services will also provide you with text and/or email alerts whenever your lock is used. And iOS users always appreciate HomeKit compatibility. They find it highly convenient to be able to control their smart locks through Siri voice commands.

Alarm Grid has been putting out some FAQs to help you get started with various Z-Wave locks. We encourage you to check out some of the FAQs listed below:

Of course, you can buy some excellent Z-Wave locks from Yale, August and Kwikset on our site. Let's take a look at some of our favorites from each of the three companies:

Yale

We actually got a first-hand look at many of the Yale Locks at ISC West 2019. Our team was highly impressed with these locks, and we think any of them would make for a great addition to your home. The Yale Assure Locks were particularly exciting for their added reliability, touchscreen control and Z-Wave Plus functionality. These include the Yale YRD226, Yale YRD246 and Yale YRD256 models. The YRD256 receives special recognition for having both a HomeKit Version and a Z-Wave Plus Version available from Alarm Grid.


Alarm Grid has been particularly impressed with the ease-of-use and overall reliability offered from the Yale Locks. They are available in a multitude of designs and styles so that you can find the lock that fits your home. Whether you choose a HomeKit model or a Z-Wave Plus model, we are sure that you will be extremely pleased with the performance and reliability when controlled remotely.

August

August and Yale are actually both manufactured by the same company, Assa Abloy. The name of the game here is the August Smart Lock Pro. This is one of the best and most versatile locks in the industry, and we cannot recommend it enough. The biggest selling point of the August Smart Lock Pro is that it can utilize Z-Wave Plus technology and connectivity with Apple HomeKit at the same time. Usually, a lock is restricted between one or the other. But that is not the case here.

The round design helps the August Smart Lock Pro stand out from other smart locks. It is sleek and smooth, and an LED light helps the user with setup. The entire process is completed through the August Home App to make setup and installation as easy as possible. Users looking for something different with some great advanced features can't go wrong here.

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

If you want to use Apple HomeKit with the August Smart Lock Pro, then the August Connect WIFI Bridge must be obtained as well. Alarm Grid actually sells the August Smart Lock Pro and the August Connect Bridge in one convenient package. They can also be purchased separately. The Smart Lock Pro can also communicate with your phone wirelessly through a Bluetooth connection. This is great for automatic unlocking when you arrive home. And users will certainly appreciate the integrations with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Nest, AirBnB and HomeAway.

Kwikset

Not to be outdone, Kwikset offers their own smart locks that we have shown tremendous success in our personal testing. These are simple, yet effective locks that each feature their own timeless design. They use Z-Wave Plus technology for easy pairing with your wireless home security system. You can then control the lock from the panel or through a convenient app like Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com. You can even receive notifications from TC2 or ADC whenever the lock is used.


The two Kwikset Locks that stand out the most for us are the Kwikset SmartCode 888 (shown above) and the Kwikset Obsidian. The Kwikset SmartCode 888 is an affordable option for users who want all the great features and functions of a reliable smart lock. It offers a touch-button keypad, with backlit keys for easy operation at nighttime. Meanwhile, the Kwikset Obsidian offers a sleek and futuristic touchscreen keypad for entering codes. The device uses advanced SecureScreen technology to prevent intruders from figuring out codes based on fingerprints. It also offers 128-bit AES encryption for added security.

All of the locks mentioned above are available for purchase from Alarm Grid now. If you need help deciding on a lock, please reach out to us by sending an email to support@alarmgrid.com. We will check the email at our earliest convenience and respond as quickly as possible. We look forward to helping you find the perfect Z-Wave or HomeKit lock for your ever-growing and evolving smart home!

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