Home Security Blog

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So we spent a few days in the middle of Washington DC at SpreeConf 2013!

Spree is the program that we have built our entire store on, and we got to spend a few days with the incredible development team. During the conference, we gave a little 5 minute presentation discussing how to make your Spree store search friendly. Here's the presentation:

If you're one of the developers who attended the conference, and you find this useful, we'd love a link. Other than that, feel free to embed it or do anything you want.

If you're an alarm monitoring (or alarm product) consumer who found your way to our site, you might have noticed that we show up everywhere in search. We have accomplished this in two ways: 1) We have designed a system that makes sure that you get all the useful information you need in a very simple, quick way whether you search for it on our site or you go to Google/Bing/Yahoo to find your content. 2) We produce as much useful content both on and off-site as we possibly can. If you are a small business owner, the principles in this power point apply to you. So, take what you can from it.


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Alarm Grid's YouTube channel has hit a huge milestone this week. Now, with just a hair short of sixty subscribers (we know it's still not that many), the channel itself served its 50,000 minute of video this week. Simply put, users have watched nearly 32 days worth of installation videos and instructionals since we launched the channel back in August. It's growing fast too, more than half of those minutes watched came in the last two months. Since our last slough of videos, viewership has shot up, and visitors to the channel are increasing the number of minutes we serve per day by incredible amounts watching just under 1,000 minutes of Alarm Grid footage each day.


So we want to thank all of you for watching our videos, and we hope that you continue to get great use out of them. 

In the meantime, we'd love if you subscribed to the YouTube channel. We love watching numbers go up.

Below are the 4 most most watched videos on our channel ordered from most wasted time spent watching it to least:



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The latest question to come to our Ask Sterling column comes from Gary in North Carolina. Gary wants to know how to change the default installer code on his Honeywell L5100.

We absolutely recommend changing the default installer code on your Honeywell Lynx Touch L5100 because all panels ship from Honeywell with a default of 4112.

The last thing you want is someone to be able to use that installer code to start messing around with your system.

So thank you Gary for asking this very important question. Watch our video below or read our FAQ on changing the default installer code on your Honeywell L5100 and be sure and change yours today for your family's security!

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We are told an awful lot that we show up everywhere in the search results. It's no accident. We've built a comprehensive site that will do just that, ranking for everything from products to questions about each and every product. We do our darndest to cater to DIY alarm enthusiasts, which means that we are working with a crowd of people who love to research. That said, I assume you've probably run into our security FAQs once or twice in the course of looking for information about your dream home security question.

Ever wondered what percentage of people who come to our site with a question actually find the answer they were looking for?

I've put together a fun little chart that takes a look at Alarm Grid's FAQ traffic since our launch last year on May 15(ish).

As you can see, nearly 9% of our traffic comes from people looking for answers to questions. The orange line shows anyone who came to the site looking for an answer and finding it. The blue line shows the number of people coming to the site looking for an answer and not finding what they were looking for. And the green line is every person who came to the site looking for an answer to a question regardless of whether the question was answered or not.

So if you look at our progress, when we started writing the FAQs to now, things have really changed. Since we're pretty much coming up on our 1 year anniversary, I thought I might break up the year into quarters to show the progress.

From May-July, we had answered only 27.4% of all questions asked by visitors.

From Aug-Oct we had answered 54.8% of all questions asked by visitors.

From Nov-Jan we had answered 55.8% of all questions asked by visitors.

And from Feb-present, we have answered nearly 58% of all questions asked by visitors.

Our goal is to get to about 80%. But as you can see by the data, the more questions we answer, the more difficult it gets to increase the ratio of answered questions to unanswered questions.

Some more data-fun. We can actually drill down on products and see what percentage of questions are answered for each specific product.

For the last 3 months, 53% of all L5100 questions are answered, 79% of all VISTA 20P questions have been answered, but only 21% of VISTA 21iP questions have been answered. So, as you can see, there is a lot of work to be done.

Anyhow, if you're part of the now-42% whose questions haven't yet been answered in the FAQ, please feel free to leave your question here or on any of the FAQs themselves, we'll do our best to write up a good, comprehensive response.

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Since we opened for business, we've had a number of requests from wholesalers, distributors, and installers who want to purchase product at a deep discount. Usually it's an enormous amount of product that someone wants at a fraction of the price everyone else pays.

We made a decision very early on not to do business with wholesalers, distributors and installers. We really are only interested in selling to end users. One look at our alarm monitoring page reveals our goal, I think. It's clean, simple to understand, and we are up front about our pricing

Our goal has been to create a brand that helps guide individuals through the process of purchasing and installing a new alarm system and then offer them the exact kind of home security monitoring that they need. We really aren't the negotiating type of company. The price you pay on our site is the same price that every single person pays.

We really are a very small team. When we get distracted trying to give wholesalers, distributors and installers price quotes, it deters from our ability to build the brand that we want to build (and that we think you want us to build).

So if you're a wholesaler, distributor or installer please don't bother contacting us for quotes on big orders. You can do the math yourself. If you want 100 5808W3s, you will pay 100 * $77.99, just like everyone else.

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We're excited to announce our first repeat reader question! Andrew in Kalamazoo is back with his second Ask Sterling question.

Last time Andrew wanted to know how to arm and disarm his Lynx 5100. This week, Andrew wants to know how to change his Lynx 5100 master code.

Don't worry, Andrew. We're here to help again!

Changing the master code on your Honeywell Lynx Touch L5100 is an absolute must for any install.

While the default ultra-insecure "1234" might be acceptable for luggage combination, you're going to want to change that first thing!

So let us show you how to change your master code on your Honeywell L5000 / L5100 in the following video:

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We just recently completed a full system upgrade for one of our friends that lives in Boca Raton, FL. Our friends recently purchased a beautiful home that had an older Napco wired security system. The system was operational and even had a cellular alarm communicator installed. However, our friends took one look at what the L5100 LYNX Touch system could do, and they decided they had to have one.

After replacing all wired sensors with Honeywell 5800 Series wireless devices, we helped them install the LYNX Touch 5100 and add an L5100-WIFI module and a GSMVLP5-4G cellular communicator. We set them up with a Total Connect account so that they could arm and disarm their system using their iPhones. We also programmed the system to notify them with text messages every time the system is armed, disarmed or goes into alarm. They have a family member living with them and they also have a cleaning person that comes weekly so now they know right away whenever someone accesses the system. The Total Connect notification even includes the name of the person that armed or disarmed. This level of detail is exactly what they needed and something they always wished they could have with their old system.

Finally, we helped them add an L5100-ZWAVE module so they could turn their new wireless security system into a home automation system as well. They installed Z-Wave locks in all of their exterior doors and we helped them configure it so that when they lock the doors, the L5100 system arms. Unlocking the doors also automatically disarms the system so that they never have to deal with remembering user codes and rushing to the keypad to disarm when they come home. They got some Honeywell ZWSTAT Z-Wave thermostats as well so that they can set their thermostat to a comfortable temperature while they are on their way home from work. They have already seen a substantial drop in their FPL electricity bill now that they have full access to their air conditioning system. With the weather here in South Florida, efficient energy management is crucial. Their next project will be to add Z-Wave lights throughout their home that they will have a truly connected home.

Our friends are thrilled with the versatility and functionality that the LYNX Touch provides and they said the the Total Connect 2.0 app has quickly become one of their favorite apps. While we are very proud to be offering alarm monitoring services nationwide, it feels even better to be providing alarm monitoring in Boca Raton which is just a few exits north of us on I-95.

Our Alarm Grid security sign also looks great in front of their home!

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Welcome to another Wednesday and another edition of Ask Sterling. This week, Frank from New Hampshire wants to know how to set the House ID on his Honeywell L5100.

If you're first wondering what a House ID is, I'm glad you asked. The House ID is used for bi-directional devices that communicate back to your Honeywell Lynx Touch L5100.

A good example would be a a bi-directional key fob like the Honeywell 5804BD that wants to send signals to your panel and also can get status of from your panel.

So now that you know what a House ID is, I'm sure you're eager to set yours up or change yours on your L5100. To change this setting, just follow our useful video below:

If you have any questions you would like to see answered in our Ask Sterling series, please ask below in the comments or send us an email at support@alarmgrid.com.

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If you're looking to save money on your electric bill or just join the smart home revolution, then I have someone I'd like to introduce you to today - the Leviton Z-Wave switch family.

Alarm Grid is proud to now officially carry the entire line of Leviton Z-Wave switches on our site.

When you replace your existing switches with this Leviton Vizia RF+ series, you will be able to remotely control your lights from any Z-Wave controller, including the Honeywell Lynx 5100 with Z-Wave module and Honeywell Tuxedo Touch.

Now allow me to introduce our four new products and explain each of their uses in your home:

  1. Leviton VRS15-1LZ - The VRS15 is the flagship of the Leviton Z-Wave switch line and what we recommend all our customers buy. It can handle up to 15A (or 1800 Watts) of load and can do both incandescent AND compact fluorescent lights (CFL). You can even use them in 3-way when partnered with the Leviton VP0SR-1LZ (3 on our list) and VP0SR-10Z (4 on our list).
  2. The Leviton VRS05-1LZ - The VRS05 is the baby brother of the VRS15. It can handle up to 5A (or 600 watts). We generally do not recommend the VRS05 because it can only handle incandescent and is not as future-proof. It can also be used in 3-way applications when paired with VP0SR-1LZ (3 on our list) and VP0SR-10Z (4 on our list).
  3. Leviton VP0SR-1LZ - The VP0SR-1LZ is the coordinating 3-way switch to use with a VRS05 or VRS15 if the switches are wired properly on the same circuit (using a traveler wire). That's when two switches control one light. The VP0SR-1LZ has a LED indicator.
  4. Leviton VP0SR-10Z - The VP0SR-10Z is a cheaper coordinating 3-way switch that does not have an LED indicator.

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Are you stuck with an old VISTA 15P or VISTA 20P panel, but you want Total Connect? While the bad news is that if your PROM chip (that little microchip in the center of your control panel's circuit board) is lower than version 9.12, you can't use Total Connect 2.0, the good news is, you can upgrade your VISTA panel pretty easily.

To date, the only way to upgrade the panels would have been to purchase the iGSMV-TC2, the GSMV4G-TC2 or the GSMX4G-TC2. These AlarmNet cellular alarm communicator upgrade kits include a little PROM chip version 9.12 that can replace your existing chip. The problem is that not every systems is monitored using a cellular communicator. And while cellular communicators definitely provide a security panel with the most secure communication pathway between the panel and the central station, if you wanted to add an IP communicator and upgrade to Total Connect 2.0, you've been out of luck. You'd have to buy the IP communicator and replaced your entire control panel. Of course, that means mapping over all of your wiring and reprogramming your whole system.

So we're very excited to announce that we've broken out the PROM chips, and you can now buy them separately from any of the GSM communicators. The new VISTA 15P PROM chip and the VISTA 20P PROM chip are simple to install, and will bring your older VISTA system up to date with AlarmNet's award winning interactive service, Total Connect 2.0.

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