Honeywell T6 Pro Z-Wave Posts

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The Alarm Grid holiday buying guide for the 2020 season continues, this time focusing on smart home automation. We will be covering our top picks for lights, door locks, and thermostats. As usual, our selections are compatible with our top security system picks for the 2020 shopping season.

If you haven't seen our earlier 2020 holiday buying guide releases, make sure to review them at some point. They will provide you with a good introduction before checking out our smart home automation offerings.

An automation device is a piece of equipment that you can have activate automatically based on a set schedule. These devices can also be controlled remotely from virtually anywhere in the world using a platform like Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com and a simple app on your smartphone. When we talk about automation devices for alarm systems, we are mainly discussing lights that can be turned ON or OFF, dimmer modules that can adjust the brightness of lights, door locks that can be LOCKED or UNLOCKED, and thermostats that can increase or decrease the set temperature in the building when connected with an HVAC system. There are also some miscellaneous automation devices, including smart water valves, that we will also explore. Depending on the platform, you can also integrate these devices with smart home voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home. We won't be exploring that too much in this buying guide, but it is something to keep in mind if you already have a smart home assistant set up in your house, or if you were considering setting one up in the near future.

To keep our automation section as simple as possible, we will be primarily looking at Z-WAVE PLUS automation devices. This refers mostly to 500-Series Z-Wave Plus devices, though you may occasionally see some newer 700-Series Z-Wave Plus devices thrown in as well. Using certified Z-Wave Plus devices with a Z-Wave Plus controller will ensure the furthest possible wireless range, as well as the longest possible battery life, when applicable. Using exclusively Z-Wave Plus devices on a Z-Wave Plus controller is also the best way to ensure the strongest possible mesh network. Another advantage to going with Z-Wave Plus is that your automation devices will pair directly with your alarm system, which will thereby serve as your central automation controller. This keeps things as simple and as organized as possible, and it will ultimately allow you to keep everything in the same app on your phone.


However, we will also be including a few Apple HomeKit products along the way. We understand that we have many customers who use iOS and are building around the HomeKit platform for automation. When looking at our top security system picks, only the Honeywell Lyric is compatible with Apple HomeKit. This is out recommended system if you are building around the HomeKit platform. If you are starting from scratch and you are not a dedicated iOS user, then you will likely prefer Z-Wave Plus, as you can keep all your system control and automation control in the same app, with virtually no crossover. But, if you have taken advantage of what Apple HomeKit has to offer, and you want to continue building around the platform, then we have you covered. Remember, of our top system picks, only the Lyric can support HomeKit, and even then, your HomeKit devices will not pair directly with the Lyric.


Of our top security system picks for the 2020 holiday buying season, both the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus and the 2GIG GC3e support Z-Wave Plus technology. Both of those systems have their own integrated Z-Wave Plus controller, and they will allow you to take full advantage of what Z-Wave Plus has to offer. However, our other top pick, the Honeywell Lyric only has a classic Z-Wave controller built-in. You can still enroll Z-Wave Plus devices with the Lyric, but they won't offer the same range, battery life, and security provisions as Z-Wave Plus. This makes the Lyric the weak link of the three if automation outside of Apple HomeKit is particularly important to you. But rest assured that every product listed here should work with any of our recommended systems. Its just that you will get the best possible results by using a Z-Wave Plus compatible system, like the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus or 2GIG GC3e.

With all of that out of the way, let's begin exploring our favorite smart home automation devices of the 2020 holiday season.


Smart Lights

Smart lights can be split into a few different categories. They are usually either in-wall modules that replace your existing, standard light switches, or they are plug-in module that you simply plug into a regular wall outlet. Lights can also be split into groups of ON/OFF switches that merely turn the lights ON and OFF, and groups of dimmer modules that can actually adjust the brightness of the lights. As such, you will see four (4) groups of lights listed below. There are in-wall switches, in-wall dimmers, plug-in switches, and plug-in dimmers. We know that may seem a bit confusing, but it should make more sense once you see all of the categories properly laid out and organized. Spoiler, if you're looking for Apple HomeKit Lights, then skip to the very end of this section.

We will start with Z-Wave Plus in-wall switches. These devices replace existing in-wall switches, and they are able to turn the lights ON and OFF. When installing one, make sure to cut power at the circuit breaker first. Then simply remove the existing in-wall switch, and install your new Z-Wave Plus in-wall switch in its place. Keep in mind that most of these units will require the use of a neutral wire. Most homes built in the 1980s onward will have this readily available, though older homes may be lacking this wire. It's also important to mention that all of the in-wall switches listed here should readily fit into single gang brackets. We will also be listing coordinating 3-way switches in the notes section when applicable.

Here are our top picks for Z-Wave Plus in-wall switches.

Model Notes
GoControl WS15Z5-1 From Nortek. Supports up to 1800W for resistive bulbs, or 600W for incandescent bulbs. Uses GoControl WT00Z5-1 as coordinating 3-way switch.
GE 14318 From GE. Supports up to 1800W for resistive bulbs, or 960W for incandescent. Uses GE 12723 as coordinating 3-way switch.
GE 46201 From GE. Supports up to 1800W for resistive bulbs, or 960W for incandescent. Compatible with CFL and LED bulbs. Uses GE 12723 as coordinating 3-way switch.
GE 46562 From GE. Supports up to 1800W for resistive bulbs, or 960W for incandescent. Uses GE 12723 as coordinating 3-way switch.
Resideo Z5SWITCH From Resideo. Supports up to 1800W for resistive bulbs, or 960W for incandescent. Compatible with CFL and LED bulbs. Uses Resideo Z53WSWITCH as coordinating 3-way switch.

Next up are Z-Wave Plus in-wall dimmers. These units also replace your existing in-wall switches. The difference here is that these devices have the ability to adjust the brightness of your lights, in addition to simply turning them ON and OFF. You will want to make sure you are using these devices with dimmable light bulbs. Again, you will want to cut power at the circuit breaker when installing. Most of these units will require a neutral wire, though there is an exception here. You should be able to fit these units into a single-gang electrical bracket.

Here are our top picks for Z-Wave Plus in-wall dimmers.

Model
Notes
GE 14299 From GE. Supports up to 600W incandescent. For dimmable bulbs only. Uses GE 12723 as coordinating 3-way switch. No neutral wire required.
GE 14294 From GE. Supports up to 600W incandescent, or 300W for dimmable CFL/LED bulbs. Uses GE 12723 as coordinating 3-way switch.
GoControl WD500Z5-1 From Nortek. Supports up to 500W of lighting load. Uses GoControl WT00Z5-1 as coordinating 3-way switch.
Resideo Z5DIMMER From Resideo. Supports up to 600W incandescent, or 150W for dimmable CFL/LED bulbs. Uses Resideo Z53WSWITCH as coordinating 3-way switch.

Now we will look at some more DIY-friendly options, starting with Z-Wave Plus plug-in switches. Unlike in-wall switches that you have to install using a screwdriver, these devices simply plug into your standard wall outlet. Just plug one in, connect a lamp, and you now have smart lighting control. These units couldn't be more straightforward and simple to use, and if you're intimidated by having to install your own in-wall light switch, then these are a fantastic alternative. Again, these units are only capable of turning the lights ON and OFF. You can also technically use some of these units with other plug-in devices, provided that the connected device does not exceed the maximum load limit.

Here are our top picks for Z-Wave Plus plug-in switches.

Models
Notes
GE 28172 From GE. Designed for lighting devices only. Supports up to 1800W for resistive lights, or 600W for incandescent lights.
Linear PS15EMZ5-1 From Nortek. Supports up to 1800W for resistive lights, or 600W for incandescent lights.
Resideo Z5SWPID From Resideo. Supports up to 1800W for resistive lights, 600W for incandescent lights, or a 1/2 HP motor.
Resideo Z5SWPIO From Resideo. Supports up to 1800W for resistive lights, 600W for incandescent lights, or a 1/2 HP motor. Suitable for outdoor use.
Qolsys IQ Smart Plug From Qolsys. Supports up to 13A of power. Not just for lighting devices. Also sold as Qolsys QZ2101-840.

Our penultimate category of smart lights focuses on Z-Wave Plus plug-in dimmers. As you can probably guess, these are plug-in modules, but instead of just turning the lamp ON and OFF, you can also adjust its brightness. The use of dimmable bulbs is recommended. Again, this is an excellent DIY alternative if you don't feel comfortable installing your own in-wall dimmer switch. Just plug it in, connect a dimmable lamp, and enjoy your new smart lights!

Here are our top picks for Z-Wave Plus plug-in dimmers.

Model
Notes
GE 28170 From GE. Supports up to 300W for incandescent, or 100W for dimmable CFL/LED bulbs.
GoControl PD300EMZ5-1 From Nortek. Supports up to 300W for incandescent lights.
Resideo Z5DIMPID From Resideo. Supports up to 300W for incandescent, or 100W for dimmable CFL/LED bulbs.

Lastly, we want to give special recognition to Apple HomeKit compatible smart lights. We're keeping things simple by only listing products from Lutron. These lights work by building around a centralized base station and then pairing lighting modules with that main unit. Our team at Alarm Grid is wholly impressed by what Lutron has to offer, and we can definitely recommend these lights for anyone building around the HomeKit platform. One other major benefit of Lutron Smart Lights is that no neutral wire is required as part of the setup. This can be very beneficial if you do not have a neutral wire in your home's existing electrical wiring. Please note that Alarm Grid only offers the Caseta lineup from Lutron, so that is what we will be focusing on in this buying guide.

The Lutron section of this guide will be split into four (4) categories. First we will look at the smart bridges, or central hubs, that we offer for Lutron. Then we will explore some bundled deals we offer as starter kits. From there, we will check out individual Lutron lighting devices. Lastly, we will examine some accessories for Lutron devices.


First up, we have the Lutron Smart Bridges. There are only two (2) here. You need one of these devices to start building a network of Lutron Smart Lights. You will notice a standard "non-Pro" model, as well as "Pro 2" model. The main difference here is that the "Pro 2" model can integrate with Alarm.com, while the "non-Pro" model cannot. This is completely irrelevant if you are building a HomeKit network around the Honeywell Lyric, as you will be using Total Connect 2.0 as your interactive smart platform instead of Alarm.com. But if you are using HomeKit separately with an IQ Panel 2 Plus, a 2GIG GC3e, or pretty much any other Alarm.com Security System, then this can really come in handy, as you can then integrate your smart lights in with the same network as your alarm system.

Here are our Lutron Smart Bridges.

Model
Notes
Lutron Caseta L-BDG2 "Non-Pro" smart bridge for Lutron. Does not support an Alarm.com integration. Supports up to 50 Lutron devices.
Lutron Caseta L-BDGPRO2-WH "Pro 2" smart bridge for Lutron. Supports an Alarm.com integration. Supports up to 50 Lutron devices.

But before you rush out and buy one of the aforementioned Lutron Smart Bridges, you may instead consider getting one of our Lutron Starter Kits, which all include a Lutron Smart Bridge and some compatible devices to get you started. This can save you a bit of money if you are just getting started with Lutron. Unfortunately, we only have starter kits based around the "Non-Pro" smart bridge. If you are wanting the "Pro 2" model for Alarm.com use, then you will need to buy that model ala carte, along with all the devices you want to pair.

Let's check out our Lutron Starter Kits.

Model
Notes
Lutron Caseta P-BDG-PKG1W Includes Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge, In-Wall Dimmer, Pico Remote, and Wall Plate.
Lutron Caseta P-BDG-PKG2P Includes Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge, Two (2) Plug-In Dimmers, Two (2) Pico Remotes, and Two (2) Mounting Pedestals.
Lutron Caseta P-BDG-PKG2W Includes Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge, Two (2) In-Wall Dimmers, Two (2) Pico Remotes, Two (2) Wall Plates, and Two (2) Mounting Pedestals.

Now we'll look at the actual Lutron Lighting Components. These are the individual, ala carte lighting devices that you pair with your Lutron Smart Bridge. The included notes should help you decide which devices are right for your Lutron network. Lutron keeps things relatively simple here, as the selection is short but sweet.

Here are individual Lutron Lighting Components.

Model
Notes
Lutron Caseta PD-3PCL-WH Plug-In Lamp Dimmer Module. Supports up to 300W for incandescent or halogen bulbs, or 100W for dimmable LED/CFL bulbs.
Lutron Caseta PD-5NE In-Wall Smart Dimmer for Electronic Low Voltage (ELV+) Lights. Supports up to 250W for dimmable LED/CFL bulbs, 500W for incandescent, halogen, or ELV bulbs, or 400W for Magnet Low Voltage (MLV) bulbs.
Lutron Caseta PD-6ANS-WH In-Wall Neutral Smart Switch. Supports up to 720W for incandescent, halogen, ELV, or MLV lights, 6A for LED/CFL, or 3.6A for a ceiling fan.
Lutron Caseta PD-6WCL In-Wall Light Dimmer Switch. Supports 600W for incandescent or halogen bulbs, or 150W for dimmable LED/CFL bulbs.

Last but not least, we have some Lutron Accessories. These include the Pico Remote that you can use a remote control for your Lutron Lights, as well as various wall-plates and some bundles. There are quite a few accessories to cover, and they make the perfect stocking stuffer for the Lutron lover on your gift list.

Here are Lutron Accessories.

Model Notes
Lutron Caseta PJ2-3BRL-WH-L01R Lutron Caseta Pico Remote. Small handheld remote that you can use to control your Lutron Lights. Includes three (3) buttons for turning ON and OFF and adjusting brightness. Can also be used to facilitate a multi-pole setup for your Lutron Lights.
Lutron Caseta PICO-WBX-ADAPT Lutron Caseta Pico Remote Wallplate Adapter Bracket. Allows you to mount your Pico Remote to the wall. Wallplate not included.
Lutron Caseta PJ2-WALL-WH-L01 Lutron Caseta Pico Wall Plate Kit. Includes a Pico Remote, Wallplate Adapter Bracket, and Wallplate.
Lutron CW-1-WH Single Gang Wallplate for Lutron. Double, triple, and quadruple gang wallplates also available!

Door Locks

Door locks are fairly straight forward. They replace the existing deadbolt lock on your front door, back door, patio door, pool door, garage door, or really any door with a deadbolt lock. You will then have smart control over that door, meaning you can LOCK and UNLOCK it remotely using a compatible interactive service platform. This also includes the ability to have the door LOCK or UNLOCK automatically with smart scenes. Most of the locks listed here will allow you to use a traditional key if you want, but you can also manually enter a code into the lock using push-buttons or a touchscreen. This can be very convenient for getting in if you forget your key or don't wish to carry one around.

Virtually any door lock will accomplish the same goal, so what you should base your buying decision on is how reliable the brand is, how you control the door lock locally (e.g. a push-button touchpad or a LED touchscreen), and which design you like. You will also need to decide whether you need a Z-Wave Plus door lock or an Apple HomeKit door lock. Most of the models listed here are Z-Wave Plus variants, but we did include a couple of HomeKit versions for good measure. Many of the door locks listed here come in multiple finishing options to give you some added customization. You will notice that we do not list too many brands here. We really wanted to focus on the ones we feel the most confident in offering.

Here are our top picks for door locks.

Model
Notes
Yale YRD216 From Yale. Push button Z-Wave Plus door lock. Stores up to 250 codes. Available in Polished Brass, Oil Rubbed Bronze, or Satin Nickel.
Yale YRD226 From Yale. Touchscreen Z-Wave Plus door lock. Stores up to 250 codes. Available in Polished Brass, Oil Rubbed Bronze, or Satin Nickel.
Kwikset 914 From Kwikset. Push button Z-Wave Plus door lock. Stores up to 30 codes. Available in Satin Nickel, Aged Bronze, or Polished Brass.
Kwikset Obsidian From Kwikset. Touchscreen Z-Wave Plus door lock. Stores up to 16 codes. Does not allow for traditional key locking/unlocking. Available in Oil Rubbed Bronze or Satin Nickel.
August Smart Lock Pro w/ Connect From August. Includes August Smart Lock Pro and August Connect, which makes integrating w/ Apple HomeKit significantly easier and more reliable. Supports BOTH Apple HomeKit and Z-Wave Plus connectivity. Also supports Bluetooth connectivity. Does not allow for traditional key locking/unlocking. Available in Dark Gray and Silver.
Yale YRD256 w/ iM1 Module From Yale. The integrated iM1 Module allows for use w/ Apple HomeKit. Lock itself can store 25 codes, pairing w/ HomeKit increases limit to 250. Available in Polished Brass, Oil Rubbed Bronze, or Satin Nickel. There is also a Z-Wave Plus variant of the same lock that does not support Apple HomeKit.


Smart Thermostats

Now we're really getting into exciting territory, as smart thermostats allow you to control the temperature in your home from virtually anywhere! This is perfect whether you want to keep energy costs low, or you simply want to ensure you arrive home to a comfy house. We all know how stressful it can be if you forgot to adjust your thermostat before leaving home. Well, now you can worry no longer! All you need to do to get started is cut the power at the breaker for your HVAC system, remove your old thermostat, and install your new smart thermostat in its place. This is easier than you might think! For this category, we will mostly be covering Z-Wave Plus thermostats, but we did include an Apple HomeKit thermostat in the listings as well.

Here are our top picks for smart thermostats.

Model
Notes
Honeywell T6 Pro Z-Wave From Resideo. Uses Z-Wave Plus technology.
Alarm.com ADC-T3000 From Alarm.com. Uses Z-Wave Plus technology. Compatible temperature sensor also available.
2GIG STZ-1 Thermostat From Nortek. Uses state-of-the-art 700-Series Z-Wave Plus technology.
Honeywell T6 Pro WIFI From Resideo. Uses WIFI to connect w/ Apple HomeKit.


Other Smart Home Devices


Alright, we're finishing this up with some great smart home devices that we couldn't really fit into any other category. Our main focus here will be on smart garage door controllers and smart water valves. These are super convenient and useful devices that make a great addition to almost any home. A smart garage door controller connects with your existing garage door motor so that you can open and close your garage door from anywhere or have it open and close automatically with smart scenes. Smart water valves are an excellent emergency tool that you can use to shut-off your water supply in the event of a flood or leak. Many users will pair them with flood sensors for inclusion in smart scenes. Unfortunately for Apple HomeKit users, we don't have any HomeKit devices for this section, and we will only be covering Z-Wave variants in this section.

Check out these miscellaneous smart home devices!

Model
Notes
Honeywell GDCK Garage Door Controller Kit From Resideo. Garage door controller kit that includes Honeywell 5877 Relay Module, Honeywell 5822T Tilt Sensor, and a SSA-1 Siren/Strobe. For use w/ Lyric and LYNX Touch only. Cannot be used with LiftMaster MyQ Garage Door Motors
GoControl GD00Z-8-GC Garage Door Controller From Nortek. Z-Wave Plus Garage Door Opener. Includes tilt sensor for detecting current position of garage door. Cannot be used with Lyric or LYNX Touch.
Alarm.com ADC-SWM150 Smart Water Valve & Meter From Alarm.com. Z-Wave Plus Smart Water Valve w/ Meter. Water valve allows you to shut off the water supply in the event of an emergency. Meter tracks your water usage for energy savings and efficiency. Typically installed by a plumber.
Alarm.com ADC-SWV100 Smart Water Valve From Alarm.com. Z-Wave Plus Smart Water Valve. Used to shut-off the water supply in the event of an emergency. Typically installed by a plumber.


Reach Out to Us!

Got any questions about which smart home devices are right for you, or are you not sure about compatibility? Reach out to us! Our team is happy to help you make your holiday shopping season as easy and as stress-free as possible. The best way to contact us is to email support@alarmgrid.com. We check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. And as always, we look forward to hearing from you!

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If you have been keeping up with Z-Wave home automation lately, then you have likely at least heard about the S2 Security Protocol. The security suite offers an advanced level of protection to keep smart home devices safe. Today, we're checking out the S2 Protocol to learn more about it.


Before we get into the specifics of Security 2 (S2), it is important to understand which Z-Wave setups will support it. In order to achieve a proper S2 setup, the Z-Wave controller and the paired device itself must both support the S2 Protocol. If either end is not S2-compatible, then the protocol will not be used. If you pair a non-S2 device with a controller that supports S2, then the device will simply pair using the S0 Protocol instead. Likewise if you have a hub that does not support S2, then none of the devices on the network will use S2, including those that technically are capable of supporting the protocol. Not to worry, if you do have an S2-compatible controller, then it is certainly possible to have a mixture of S2 and S0 devices on the same Z-Wave network.

The S2 Security Protocol is optional for 500-Series Z-Wave Plus devices and hubs. In other words, some 500-Series Z-Wave Plus smart home devices and controllers will support S2, while others will not. You need to check the specifications for the exact device and hub that you are working with to see if it is supported. In some cases, it may be possible to perform an over-the-air (OTA) update for a 500-Series accessory or controller so that it can support the S2 protocol, even if it did not previously. An example of this is when you upgrade the Z-Wave firmware on the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus to Version 6.81.03. That is the first Z-Wave firmware version for the system that supports S2. Older versions do not. The panel firmware should be on version 2.5.3 or higher when using S2.

But for 700-Series Z-Wave Plus V2 equipment, support for S2 is required. In order for a device or hub to be certified as 700-Series by the Z-Wave Alliance, it must support the S2 Protocol. Therefore, if you see equipment listed as 700-Series, then you will know for certain that the technology is supported. As of October 2020, we have not seen many Z-Wave Plus V2 controllers or devices available. One 700-Series device that is available now is the 2GIG STZ-1 Thermostat. We hope that more 700-Series equipment will be hitting the market soon.

Looking at what S2 actually entails, you should understand that it isn't just one aspect or factor that makes the protocol what it is. There are many different components coming together to create a single protocol that is extremely secure. But perhaps the single most crucial aspect of S2 is that it is readily built into the Z-Wave framework for use by software developers. This makes it very easy for a developer to implement the technology into any given Z-Wave Plus device. Prior to the introduction of S2, there was no security built into the Z-Wave framework. The only option for a developer was to implement their own security protocol, and this was completely optional. Many develops would elect not to provide any security and just leave automation devices vulnerable. But when a device is listed as S2, you can be absolutely certain that it is meeting an advanced standard of security and protection.

Just like many other secure protocols, S2 makes use of an asymmetric key exchange, which at the simplest level involves a public key and a private key. Any command can be encrypted using the public key, but only the specific private key can unlock it. This ever-crucial private key is protected using Elliptic Curve Diffie-Hellman (ECDH) technology. Thanks to this advanced method, the task of deciphering the key is all but impossible. Additionally, different devices on the same network can be separated into different groups. Each device group can be assigned its own set of encryption keys. Often, devices that require greater security, such as door locks, are included with more secure groups that also require authentication during the network inclusion process. Meanwhile, the support of a highly secure TLS 1.1 Tunnel for all Z-Wave Over IP (Z/IP) traffic removes almost any possibility of cloud vulnerability. For the record, the S2 Protocol is rated at 128-bit AES in terms of overall security level.

One other big factor for the S2 Protocol is that it makes use of a single-frame transmission, which is a massive improvement over the three-frame transmission used by the S0 Protocol. Simply put, single-frame transmission is significantly more efficient than three-frame transmission. The improvement in efficiency allows for extended battery life, enhanced reliability, and a huge cut-down on latency. This means that a device using S2 technology will require less maintenance, including fewer battery changes. It will provide more consistent performance, and experience shorter operation delays. This alone makes S2 vital for anyone looking to achieve the most efficient automation network possible.

Understanding this technology in advanced detail may seem a bit daunting. But you just need to know that S2 makes Z-Wave home automation more secure, faster, and more efficient than ever before. If you have any further questions about S2, or if you want some tips for getting started with home automation, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. We check our email from 9am to 8pm Eastern Time M-F. Also remember to check our monitoring page if you are interested in learning more about the monitoring services we offer. We look forward to hearing from you!

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With Father's Day right around the corner (Sunday, June 21st), we thought it'd be a good time to suggest some security and automation gifts to surprise the dad in your life. You don't need to get your dad another neck-tie this year. We've got some neat gifts that dad is sure to love!


The Gift of Security!

If dad doesn't have a security system yet, then he's really missing out. You can have peace of mind in knowing that his home is safe while he's out doing dad stuff like golfing, fishing, or going to a bbq. Maybe your dad thinks he doesn't need security? Well, you could remind him of a big fat insurance discount that he could get by getting his home monitored. That will excite him even more than a weekend trip to the hardware store.

We have lots of great panels available, though the most popular right now are the Honeywell Lyric and the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus. These are both wireless panels that are very easy to set up, even for the dad who doesn't know his way around a tool-kit. You won't hear any swear words coming out of the work shed when dad goes to set up his new system. And he'll probably want to show it off to all the neighbors.

Honeywell lyric controller encrypted wireless security system


Shopping on a Budget?

Okay, totally understand if you're strapped for cash and can't drop a few hundred dollars on a brand-new security system. But just because you're looking to spend $30 rather than $300 doesn't mean you can't make dad smile. If your dad already has a system, then why not get him a new sensor or two? Door and window contacts are always affordable. Just get a model that works with dad's security system. The VERSA-2GIG and the VERSA-GE are both extremely popular, and they won't break the bank!

Maybe you've already surprised dad with a contact sensor before? You could always check out some motion sensors. These are great for knowing if someone is snooping around the basement or the garage. Again, you want to make sure you get a model compatible with dad's system. Popular options include the Honeywell SiXPIR, the 2GIG PIR1-345, and the DSC PG9914. And if you aren't sure which models will work with your dad's system, just reach out to us, and we'll be happy to help!

2gig pir1 345

Automation Excitement!

If dad already has a wireless system, then chances are that it doubles as an automation controller. You can surprise dad with some new Z-Wave automation devices for him to pair with his system. Lighting devices are always a great choice. Your dad will be able to turn the lights ON and OFF without getting up, and he can create smart scenes for automatic control. And a great thing about smart lights - they don't break the bank!

Your dad might like an in-wall switch as a nice weekend installation project. Some of our favorite in-wall switches include the GE 14318 and the Resideo Z5SWITCH. Or if your dad is not into wiring, you can get him a plug-in lamp module like the GE 28170 or the Resideo Z5DIMPID. And the great thing about these Z-Wave devices is that they are universally compatible and will work with any system that operates as a Z-Wave controller!

Maybe the smart lighting game has already been introduced to dad's house? In that case, you could make his day with a different automation device like a Z-Wave thermostat. Our favorites right now are the Honeywell T6 PRO and the Alarm.com ADC-T3000. Or if you really want to get your dad something a little more unique, then you could try a smart water valve like the Alarm.com ADC-SWV100. This can be very useful in preventing dad from experiencing the headache of a flooded basement or laundry room.

Ge 28170 side of z wave plug in smart dimmer

Help Dad Keep an Eye on the Neighbors

We all know that dads like to know what's going on outside. That is why we'd be foolish not to recommend some outdoor security cameras. These devices are actually easy to install, and they can give your dad a good look at the front lawn while he's tucked away in his man cave. You'll want to consider whether his system supports Alarm.com or Total Connect 2.0. For ADC, we like the Alarm.com ADC-V723. If dad has TC2, then go with the Honeywell IPCAM-WOC1.

Maybe dad isn't ready to upgrade to video monitoring quite yet? Don't worry! He can still make sure the neighbor kids stay off the lawn with a different type of camera. One popular option is to use a SkyBell Video Doorbell. These can be used without needing to upgrade to a full-on video monitoring plan. There are models for Total Connect 2.0, and others for Alarm.com. Another possibility is to look into the Arlo Cameras that do not use monitoring service through ADC or TC2.

Honeywell lyric oc1 standalone wifi outdoor 1080p hd total conne

The Best Gift of All!

We've saved the best gift idea for last. It isn't something you can hold in your hand, but it's something that every dad will love, even if they have all the security gadgets under the sun. That is the gift of alarm monitoring service! Why not offer to cover dad's monitoring bill for the next year? That is truly the gift that keeps on giving. Talk it over with dad, and when you're ready, the two of you can contact us to make the arrangements. We'll charge your card every month, with no added fees or sudden surprises. Meanwhile, your dad will be able to spend his money on other important things like new golf clubs or something. Oh dads....

If you haven't already, make sure to check out our monitoring page. This will teach you about the different plans offered from Alarm Grid so that you can choose the perfect one for your dad's needs. Once you're ready, shoot us an email at support@alarmgrid.com or call us at (888) 818-7728 to set things up. Remember that our business hours run from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. Our team will be thrilled to help you give your dad the gift of home security! We look forward to hearing from you!

Alarm grid inside security stickers

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Hi DIYers! We know how important it can be to beat the summer heat with a new smart thermostat. That is why we are presenting you with our very own best smart thermostats of 2019. These devices all make fantastic additions to any growing smart home, and they are perfect for daily use.


A smart thermostat is great because you can program it to save huge amounts of money on your energy bills, while still keeping your home nice and cool when needed. You can integrate these devices with excellent platforms like Alarm.com, Total Connect 2.0, and even Apple HomeKIt. Just be aware that platform compatibility will vary between different devices. Make sure you purchase a smart thermostat that is compatible with the network you want to use.

With that out of the way, let's take a look at the best thermostats of 2019:


Honeywell T6 Pro Smart Thermostat

Honeywell t6 z wave thermostat smart thermostat

Resideo really outdid themselves with the Honeywell T6 Pro Smart Programmable Thermostat. This is the only thermostat on this list that comes in two (2) distinct flavors. These are a Z-Wave Plus version and an Apple HomeKit version. Regardless of which version you choose, you get a neat and clean UI that even new users will feel comfortable using. A unique aspect of this thermostat is that the Z-Wave Plus model does not require a C-wire for power. Instead, the device can run reliably on battery power alone. However, the HomeKit version requires the C-wire connection for WIFI communication. And although the Z-Wave Plus version was built for use with Total Connect 2.0, you can still use it with other networks like Alarm.com and Samsung SmartThings. Just know that it was designed with TC2 in mind.

Best for: Total Connect 2.0 users, Apple HomeKit users.


Alarm.com ADC-T3000 Smart Thermostat



Created specifically for Alarm.com users, the ADC-T3000 offers all the advanced features you would expect out of a robust and powerful smart thermostat. This is a Z-Wave Plus Thermostat which integrates perfectly with any Alarm.com Security System. Although you can technically use this device with other smart platforms like Total Connect 2.0 or Samsung SmartThings, it works best when used with Alarm.com. With the ADC-T3000, you can take advantage of great features like Alarm.com Geofencing, external temperature detection, humidity sensing, smart programming, and more.

Best for: Alarm.com users.


iDevices Smart WIFI Thermostat

Idevices idev0005and4 smart wifi thermostat


The iDevices Smart WIFI Thermostat, also known as the iDevices IDEV0005AND4, was built for users who want a reliable and affordable smart thermostat, but don't necessarily want to integrate it with their alarm control panel. While its WIFI connectivity will not allow you to use the thermostat with Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com, this product is great for those who use smart, voice control platforms like Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and Google Home. The iDevices Smart WIFI Thermostat boasts an easy-to-use color-coded touchscreen, along with push-button controls. It fits in nicely with any decor, and no external hub is needed to use the thermostat. You can also use the convenient iDevices Connected App on iOS and Android devices to easily control the smart thermostat from anywhere.

Best for: Apple HomeKit users, Amazon Alexa users, Google Home users.


Carrier Côr Smart WIFI Thermostat

Carrier cor smart wifi thermostat


Apple HomeKit and Amazon Alexa users looking for a premium smart thermostat can get great results out of the Carrier Côr Smart WIFI Thermostat. Although this thermostat is unable to integrate with alarm panels, it is still loaded with features that make it one of the best smart thermostats available. The typical homeowner saves 20% on their heating and cooling costs with this Energy Star Certified Thermostat. End users also appreciate the local 4-day weather forecast that is conveniently displayed on the main screen. Other features include Ideal Humidity System Management, Hybrid Heat Management, Ideal Away, and Intelligent Comfort to help the thermostat control the temperature more accurately. This thermostat features a 7-day programming schedule and auto-adjusting between heating and cooling.

Best for: Apple HomeKit users, Amazon Alexa users.


Need Help Choosing a Smart Thermostat?

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If you are having trouble deciding on the perfect smart thermostat for your home or business, please reach out to us! Our team is happy to discuss the pros and cons of each thermostat so that you can make the best purchasing decision for your needs. Remember, the best way to reach us is to always email support@alarmgrid.com. We will check your email at our earliest convenience and respond back as soon as possible. You may also call our planning department during our regular business hours of 9am to 8pm EST M-F at (888) 818-7728. We look forward to helping you beat the heat with a brand-new smart thermostat from Alarm Grid!

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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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We have received news from Honeywell that Tuxedo Touch Software Revision 5.3.21.0 is now available. This represents the latest firmware version for the Honeywell Tuxedo Touch WIFI Keypad that is used with Honeywell VISTA Systems. The update provides support for two additional Z-Wave devices.

Honeywell tuxedo touch wifi talking color graphic touchscreen alarm keypadThis update provides support for the Honeywell T6 Z-Wave Thermostat and the Fibaro Dimmer 2 FGD-212 Light Dimmer Module. The latest device firmware version of 5.3.21.0 is recommended if you plan to integrate either of these Z-Wave smart home devices with a Honeywell Tuxedo Touch Keypad.

We've previously blogged about the Honeywell T6 Z-Wave Thermostat. This Z-Wave Plus thermostat provides great innovation with its ability to be used without receiving common power from a C-wire. Instead, the device can run reliably and consistently using battery power. This makes it incredibly easy to install for DIY users. The device will work with a multitude of Z-Wave controllers. And now it is compatible with the Tuxedo Touch Keypad as well. We are particularly excited about this addition, as we believe that it is the finest Z-Wave thermostat available on the market today.

Honeywell t6 z wave thermostat smart thermostat

The Tuxedo Touch Software Revision 5.3.21.0 can be downloaded here. For instructions on how to to apply the firmware update to the Tuxedo Touch Keypad, please review this helpful FAQ. If you would like more information about the firmware update, please check out the Software Revision 5.3.21.0 Release Notes.

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Very recently, we made a post highlighting the best smart thermostats on the market today. We made it clear that smart thermostats offer huge convenience, and they can help users save money on energy bills. But just how much can a household save by using a smart thermostat? Let's find out.

Honeywell zwstat z wave thermostat

The idea behind a smart thermostat is that it will allow a home's HVAC system to run only when it is needed. The HVAC system is typically the largest contributor to one's energy bill. With a traditional analogue thermostat, a user has to choose between running the HVAC system all the time (expensive) or coming home to house where the HVAC system hasn't been running all day (uncomfortable). This can be somewhat mitigated using a standard programmable thermostat set on pre-determined schedule. However, a user will still be unable to adjust their HVAC system while they are away.

A smart thermostat offers major convenience, since it allows for the HVAC System to respond automatically with certain events. For example, a smart thermostat can be "taught" to turn off the HVAC system when a user presumedly leaves their house because they set their security system to arm away. That way, the HVAC system turns off at exactly the right moment. If you ever plan on leaving your home at different times of the day, a standard programmable thermostat won't be able to achieve this same level of automatic precision.


Honeywell lyric thermostat smart programmable wifi thermostat th

But the real money saving ability of a smart thermostat comes from the ability to control the HVAC system remotely. This is done by accessing an interactive service platform, such as Alarm.com or Total Connect 2.0. When this setup is done using an alarm system, the command will go from the interactive servers servers to the control panel (through WIFI or cellular communication), then to the smart thermostat (usually through WIFI or Z-Wave), and finally to the HVAC system (through a wired connection). Since most interactive services have their own mobile apps, this type of control and access can be achieved from virtually anywhere in the world.

So say you're away from home, and you're running late. Instead of arriving home at your expected time, it will now be several hours or even the next day until you get back. But oh no, your home's heating and cooling system is still running! If you don't shut it off, the energy bills are going to rack up! In this situation, just pull out your smart phone, access your interactive service account, and tell your smart thermostat to shut off the HVAC system. Just like that, you have saved money. And if you want your house to be comfortable when you arrive, access your account a little bit before you come home and activate your thermostat. It's that easy.


Alarm dot com t2000 smart thermostat

So how much can you really save on your energy bills with a smart thermostat? Well it depends. Obviously, the savings will be largest if you had a traditional thermostat that had the HVAC system running 24/7. Once you adjust to a programmable thermostat, assuming you use it as designed, you will save money in energy costs every time you leave the home and have the HVAC system stop running. But if you had an analogue or programmable thermostat that you adjusted meticulously, or if you almost never leave your home and always run your HVAC system, the savings won't be as large.

As for actual numbers, various studies have found that a typical smart thermostat will save users on average about 10% on heating costs and 15% on cooling costs. This translates to a savings of about $130 per year, or slightly more than $10 per month. But keep in mind, these savings will be larger in certain cases. We've heard of many users saving more than $200 per year in energy costs by using a smart thermostat. For these users, a smart thermostat essentially pays for itself in just a year's time.

The best option is to consider your energy-using habits and determine whether or not a smart thermostat is a good investment for your household. Either way, it will certainly be more convenient and offer more features than a traditional thermostat. And if you're wondering which smart thermostat we recommend, we gotta say we're pretty big fans of the new Honeywell T6 Z-Wave Thermostat.


Honeywell t6 z wave thermostat smart thermostat

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Ah, the thermostat. The unsung champion that keeps your home or office a bearable place to reside during the scorching summer months. You have probably relied on one of these devices for all of your life. It goes without saying that the thermostat is, and always will be, super awesome.

But what you might not know is that the latest thermostats are more feature-rich and more technologically advanced than ever before. At Alarm Grid, we don't mess with the primitive, boring thermostats of yesteryear. We have something more exciting. Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to meet the smart thermostat.

Simply put, a smart thermostat is any thermostat that ties in with home automation. Just like a traditional programmable thermostat, a smart thermostat can be set up so that it adjusts the temperature based on a set schedule. But what separates a smart thermostat is that it can be operated remotely and that it can be included with various smart scenes. And if you have a smart assistant like Apple HomeKit, Google Home or Amazon Alexa, you can control your smart thermostat using voice commands.

So for example, let's say you're out and about, but your plans changed, and now you're going to be home earlier than expected. You can login to your interactive services account (e.g. Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com) and adjust your thermostat so that your house will be comfortably cooled or heated by the time you arrive home. Or let's say you realized you're going to be home later than expected. Simply login to your interactive service account and tell your smart thermostat to hold off on heating or cooling. That way, you can conserve energy and save money on your power bill.

The other reason to get a smart thermostat is to tie it in with your smart home setup. A smart home setup that uses home automation allows users to establish a pre-determined set of actions that will be performed based on a schedule or with certain events. These sets of pre-determined response actions are referred to as smart scenes, and the actions or events that trigger them are called rules. And it isn't just thermostats that can be included in smart scenes. A smart scene can include things like lights, door locks and garage door controllers as well.

But how would you use rules and scenes with your thermostat? Well let's say you set your security system to arm away when you go to leave for the day. You can have a smart scene and a rule put in place to turn off all your Z-Wave lights and have your smart thermostat to stop cooling the house once you arm your system. That way, you are immediately saving money on your energy bills without even lifting a finger. Sure, you could manually do this with a traditional programmable thermostat, but with a smart thermostat, it is much more convenient and simple.

So now that you know why smart thermostats are great, which one should you get? Well if you want the short answer, we recommend the new T6 Z-Wave Thermostat from Honeywell. But there a couple of others that aren't far behind. Let's take a look at three outstanding smart thermostats, including the amazing T6.

Honeywell T6 Z-Wave Thermostat

Okay, we're going to be honest here. The Honeywell T6 Z-Wave Thermostat is the best device on this list. That's not to knock the other two thermostats we're presenting here. But we firmly believe the Honeywell T6 is the best smart thermostat on the market today. Unless you're dying to know more about some other thermostats that are currently available, you can save yourself the reading and purchase the Honeywell T6 from Alarm Grid right now.

There is one major reason that the Honeywell T6 is currently the best thermostat available. Unlike nearly every other thermostat, the T6 does not require common power from a C-wire. Instead, it is a rare example of a high-quality and efficient smart thermostat that can operate on battery power. This makes it arguably the easiest thermostats to install for a DIY user. Traditionally, DIYers have been apprehensive about installing a thermostat since it usually required working with power wires. But the T6 just needs to be connected with the HVAC system to get up and running.

As far as the end user experience goes, the T6 offers a nice, clean interface that is a joy to use on a daily basis. The options are easy to understand, and new users won't feel overwhelmed or confused by the simple layout. And don't let the name fool you; the Honeywell T6 isn't restricted to use with Honeywell Alarm Systems. This is a non-proprietary thermostat that can be used with any alarm system that has a Z-Wave controller. This includes systems like the 2GIG GC3 and the Qolsys IQ Panel 2. Also, it can be accessed from both the Total Connect 2.0 and the Alarm.com interactive service platforms.

Hands down, this the best smart thermostat available today. Get one.

Honeywell t6 z wave thermostat smart thermostat

Alarm.com ADC-T2000

The ADC-T2000 was designed with Alarm.com in mind. This is the interactive service platform used with that is used with many different alarm system manufacturers, including 2GIG and Qolsys. So if you have an alarm system from one of these manufacturers, it may feel comforting to know that your smart thermostat is essentially "on the same team" so to speak. It is truly designed by Alarm.com, for Alarm.com.

There are few other reasons why one might select the ADC-T2000. For one, it features push-buttons and a light-up temperature display rather than an LCD screen. Some users might prefer this. Personally, we believe the touchscreen of the T6 is the superior option, but we know that some users prefer to keep it as simple as possible. With just three main buttons (up, down and menu) it doesn't get much easier than the ADC-T2000.

The other highlight of the ADC-T2000 is that it can be used with the Alarm.com ADC-S2000. This is a wireless temperature sensor that can send temperature readings to the ADC-T2000. This can be useful for very large properties where the temperature in one area of the building might not be the same as another. So in theory, this add-on can help you control the temperature in a very large building more accurately.

With all that in mind, if you have an ADC-compatible alarm system or you want to use a secondary temperature sensor with your smart thermostat, then the ADC-T2000 might be for you.

Alarm dot com t2000 smart thermostat

Honeywell Lyric Round WIFI Thermostat

The Lyric Round is the only smart thermostat on this list that doesn't use Z-Wave. Instead, this thermostat communicates using 2.4 GHz WIFI. It is exclusively compatible with the Honeywell Lyric Controller. But remember, the Lyric Controller already includes a built-in Z-Wave controller, so it could easily use the (superior) Honeywell T6 Thermostat instead. So why choose the Lyric Round? That is a very fair question.

We see users turn to the Lyric Round for one main reason. It is for the rare instance where a user wants to use WIFI communication instead of Z-Wave. Most users who have a home automation setup will have a strong mesh network of Z-Wave devices that will help support their Z-Wave smart thermostat. And even if a user has no other Z-Wave devices, the range for Z-Wave devices is still acceptable for most homes. But at the end of the day, WIFI is a more robust signal that a standalone (key word, standalone) Z-Wave signal.

If you have a larger property and a weak or nonexistent Z-Wave mesh network, you may ultimately be better off using the Lyric Round. The smart thermostat will send reliable and consistent WIFI signals to your Honeywell Lyric Controller. Also, you will be able to access and control your Lyric Round right from Total Connect 2.0. But keep in mind, you can only use the Lyric Round if you have a Honeywell Lyric Controller Security System.

Honeywell lyric thermostat smart programmable wifi thermostat th

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Alarm Grid is now offering the T6 Z-Wave Thermostat from Honeywell. This intuitive device is excellent for controlling the HVAC system inside any home or business. It provides support for complete heating and cooling control, and it is very easy to set up compared to other thermostats.


The Honeywell T6 uses Z-Wave Plus technology for communicating with an alarm system. It was previously known as the Lyric T6 Pro Z-Wave Thermostat, but Honeywell changed the name to simply T6 in order to avoid confusion with the Lyric lineup. The device will work with any alarm system that supports Z-Wave devices, including the Honeywell Lyric Controller. Although it is manufactured by Honeywell, the T6 will work with other brands of systems that support Z-Wave as well. Depending on the system that is used, the T6 can controlled from Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com.

One thing that makes the T6 great is its ability to be used without a common power from a C-wire. Instead, the thermostat can operate effectively on battery power alone. But if a C-wire is used (which is usually 24VAC from the HVAC equipment), then the thermostat will allow other Z-Wave devices to operate through it as their wireless signals travel back to the Z-Wave controller. But this feature cannot be performed if the T6 is running on strictly battery power.

We have already tested the T6 Thermostat with the Lyric Controller to great success. Our team is particularly impressed with the device's ease of setup and its overall clean user interface. Z-Wave plus capabilities allow it to function extremely reliably on a Z-Wave network, making it a very dependable device. It also provides excellent flexibility with its ability to be used with a C-wire. All of this makes the T6 our new favorite Z-Wave thermostat. You can purchase yours on the Alarm Grid site right now!

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