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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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We hope this never happens to any of our clients, but what happens if a burglar forces you to disarm your system as you enter your home?

Well, luckily the Honeywell L5100 has the duress code feature and Eric from Washington asked us an amazing question, "how do I set the duress code on a Honeywell L5100 panel?"

In this video, we go over the details of a duress signal code and how you set it on the Honeywell LYNX 5100 panel.  

As usual, if you have any questions you'd like to see answered in our Ask Sterling series, either email us at support@alarmgrid.com or ask below in the comments.

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We get a lot of questions about how central station monitoring works, and so I thought it was a good idea to sort of explain how we do central station monitoring and why we partnered with our central station.

First, I think it’s worth noting that most alarm companies will tell you that they do the central station monitoring. The truth is, most security companies don’t actually monitor your alarm, they outsource it to a company. So when you ask them about their central station, they are probably telling you about someone else’s central station. It’s not really dishonest, but we prefer to be completely transparent about how we work so that you can make a better, informed decision.

CMS LogoWe chose to partner with Criticom Monitoring Services (CMS) because of their incredible track record. While most alarm companies use a central monitoring station that is UL listed, which means they meet UL’s rigorous standards for quality, some central stations go way above and beyond those standards, and that is what CMS does.

The most attractive features of CMS, in our opinion, was their load balancing and redundant station locations. While most UL listed central stations are one building, somewhere a bit remote and probably very secure, CMS has three different locations from which they answer calls: one in New Jersey, one in California, and one in Florida (where Alarm Grid is headquartered).

They also have load balancing, which means when they get flooded with calls, they re-route them to the location that has less volume. What that means is when there is an event (hurricane, snow storm, etc.) that causes a lot of systems to go off, and the central is inundated with calls, because your system is monitored by Alarm Grid and CMS, your alarm signal will still get the priority response you need without any delay.

Why does it all matter? Well, think about what would happen if we had only one central station here in Florida. Sure, we’d be UL listed. We’d have a great, secure location, all our fire extinguishers would be in the right places, we would have two redundant servers, multiple lines coming in, etc. But, if there were a hurricane, there is a chance that we would have to shut down for a short time to make sure our staff were safe. Even if we didn't have to shut down, our operators would have so many false alarms coming in that our response for real alarms may get delayed.

As a result of using CMS, not only do you not have to worry about natural disasters that are happening where the central station is located (think Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey), you can be certain that 24 hours a day, someone is looking out for you and ready to respond immediately to any emergency.