DIY Security Systems Posts

Posted By

Last week, we took a look at three of the best alarm panels in the industry. These were the Honeywell Lyric, the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, and the 2GIG GC3e. Today, we are checking out the sensors that you can add to support these systems. Here is our 2020 Security Sensor Buying Guide!

Sensors are accessories that are added to alarm systems to report specific activity. Each sensor has its own job of looking for a certain type of activity in its designated location. All of the sensors on a system communicate with a single centralized panel or hub. This panel is actively listening for any sensor that is triggered due to a potentially important system event. Adding new sensors is perhaps the best way to expand upon an existing system, and they make awesome gifts and stocking stuffers for the security enthusiast in your life.

Broadly speaking, sensors can be split into two main categories, which are security and life safety/environmental. Security sensors look for activity that suggests potentially unauthorized entry into a monitored and protected location, such as a door being opened, movement in a room where nobody is supposed to be present, or a window being broken. Life safety/environmental sensors look for activity associated with unwanted or potentially harmful conditions that affect the well-being of those in the area, such as a flood, an extreme temperature, a fire, or the presence of CO gas. We'll be taking a look at life safety/environmental sensors another time. Today, our focus is on security sensors.

Wireless Sensor Basics


Before we dive into specific security sensors for our top panel picks, we're going to start by giving you some general, generic information that can be applied to any sensor out there. First, understand that this post is focusing only on wireless sensors. These are almost always the sensors chosen for use with wireless alarm systems. Wired sensors can also technically be used with wireless panels but a converter module is almost always needed. Not to mention the fact that wireless sensors are significantly easier to install, especially for DIY users. The only time you will realistically see wired sensors used with a wireless panel is if a user is upgrading from an older wired system and bringing over their old wired sensors, or in new construction where a user wants to integrate the sensors in with the building. But if you're expanding upon a wireless system by getting new sensors, then the new sensors will almost certainly be wireless.

The important thing to remember when choosing wireless sensors for a wireless alarm panel is making sure the sensor is compatible with the system. It doesn't matter if a sensor has all the specs and features if it doesn't work with your panel! The way to determine compatibility is to look at the lineup that the sensor is from. Petty much every wireless sensor out there is part of a larger grouping of sensors that will all have the same compatibility.

To make it easier for you, we have the three panels we mentioned before (well, make that five, as the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus actually comes in three versions), and all their compatible sensor lineups conveniently listed. We hope that this sheds some light on your options. The only caveat is that for any panel listed here that supports the Honeywell 5800 Sensors, we must be clear that this is only for the uni-directional sensors with one-way communication in the lineup. Any bi-directional Honeywell 5800 Sensors with two-way communication will not work with any of the aforementioned systems. The bi-directional Honeywell 5800 Sensors are only compatible with the Honeywell LYNX Touch and VISTA Systems, which were not included in our buying guides.

With that out of the way, here are compatible sensor lineups by system:

You will notice that some of the sensor groups listed above are italicized and underlined. That is done to identify the lineups of encrypted sensors. These encrypted sensors have special protection measures put in place to make them more secure and less prone to being hacked or defeated by malicious attacks. Encrypted sensors tend to have more restricted compatibility. They may follow a special enrollment process. Encrypted sensors often use bi-directional communication so that the sensor knows that it is actively paired with the system. Many encrypted sensors may only be paired with a single system at any given time, and the sensor will need to be deleted from its existing system before it will work with a new one.

It's okay to use non-encrypted sensors with your system, especially in zones that are less likely to trigger an alarm, like a second story window. Many users will opt to use a mixture of both encrypted and non-encrypted sensors. Other users feel comfortable using entirely non-encrypted sensors. It really comes down to your level of comfort. Non-encrypted sensors are secure in most situations, and they are still tricky to defeat. But going fully encrypted is recommended for anyone seeking maximum security. One tip if you do decide to go with some non-encrypted sensors is to avoid letting others know what wireless frequency your sensors use or what type of system you have installed. Knowing the frequency and the system being used makes it much easier for a savvy intruder to defeat a sensor.

Door & Window Alarm Sensors


Now that you know some basics that apply to almost all wireless sensors, let's start talking about specific types and models. Door and window sensors will let a system know when a door or window has been opened or closed. These are some of the most basic and easy to use sensors on a security system. These devices work by using a larger sensor portion and a smaller magnet portion. The sensor is placed on or inside the door or window frame, and the magnet is placed on or inside the moving portion of the door or window. When the door or window is opened, the magnet will move away from the sensor. This will trip a metal reed switch inside the sensor, which will tell the sensor to alert the system to the opened door or window. All of the sensors we've listed here follow that same method of operation.

Door and window sensors can be split into two (2) main categories. Surface-mount door and window sensors are mounted outside the door or window and its accompanying frame on the surface. The advantage to surface-mount door and window sensors is that they are very easy to install, and they can usually be mounted using double sided foam tape. But some users may not like how they are visible on the outside of the door or window. If you don't like the appearance of visible surface-mount door and window sensors, then you might instead consider recessed door and window sensors. A recessed door or window sensor is installed inside a door or window and its frame, so that it is hidden and cannot be seen from the outside. Recessed door and window sensors are more difficult and time-consuming to install, because you must drill holes in both the door or window and its accompanying frame. Whether you decide to use surface-mount door and window sensors, or recessed door and window sensors is up to you. Most DIY users and Alarm Grid customers in general will use surface-mount door and window sensors.

Now let's look at some door and window sensors.:

Sensor Name
Product Lineup
Compatibility Range
Encryption Installation
Notes
Honeywell SiXMINICT

Honeywell SiX Series Lyric 200 Nominal Feet 128-bit AES Surface-Mount Premier mini encrypted door/window Sensor for Lyric.
DSC PG9303

PowerG All IQ Panel 2 Plus 2,000 Feet Open Air 128-bit AES Surface-Mount PowerG encrypted surface mount door/window sensor.
DSC PG9307

PowerG All IQ Panel 2 Plus
2,000 Feet Open Air 128-bit AES Recessed PowerG encrypted recessed door/window sensor.
2GIG DW10e

2GIG eSeries 2GIG GC3e 350 Nominal Feet 2GIG eSeries Encryption Surface-Mount Encrypted surface-mount sensor for 2GIG
2GIG DW20e

2GIG eSeries
2GIG GC3e
350 Nominal Feet 2GIG eSeries Encryption
Recessed Encrypted recessed sensor for 2GIG
Qolsys IQ DW Mini-S

Qolsys S-Line 319.5 MHz IQ2+ 600 Feet Open Air Qolsys S-Line Encryption Surface-Mount Encrypted surface-mount sensor for 319.5 MHz systems.
Qolsys IQ Recessed Door-S

Qolsys S-Line 319.5 MHz IQ 2+ 600 Feet Open Air Qolsys S-Line Encryption Recessed Encrypted recessed sensor for 319.5 MHz systems.
Honeywell 5818MNL

Honeywell
5800 Series
Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Recessed Non-Encrypted recessed door/window sensor for 345 MHz systems.
VERSA-2GIG

2GIG 345 MHz Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Surface-Mount Non-encrypted surface-mount sensor for 345 MHz systems.
VERSA-GE

Legacy GE 319.5 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Surface-Mount Non-encrypted surface-mount sensor for 319.5 MHz systems.
VERSA-DSC

Legacy DSC 433 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Surface-Mount Non-encrypted surface-mount sensor for 433 MHz systems.

We also want to share a selection of outdoor door and window sensors with you. These surface-mount contact sensors are specifically designed to withstand the conditions of an outdoor environment, including intense rain, wind, dust, and sunlight. You can see them listed below.

Sensor Name
Product Lineup
Compatibility
Range
Encryption
Installation Notes
Honeywell 5816OD

Honeywell 5800 Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Surface-Mount Outdoor contact sensor from 5800 Series.
DSC PG9312

PowerG All IQ Panel 2 Plus 2,000 Feet Open Air 128-bit AES Surface-Mount PowerG Outdoor Contact Sensor.
2GIG DW30-345

2GIG 345 MHz Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 350 Nominal Feet None Surface-Mount Outdoor contact sensor from 2GIG 345 MHz series.

Motion Sensors


Motion sensors use passive infrared (PIR) technology to detect movement within the sensor's coverage area. This is done by looking for the changes in infrared (IR) energy that occur when a person, animal, or object comes within the sensor's field of view. Standard motion sensors are typically PIR only. These are appropriately called PIR motion sensors.

Some motion sensors will also use microwave technology in addition to PIR technology. This involves having the sensor send out microwave signals and seeing how the signals bounce off of objects in the area. Movement will change the pattern of these microwave signals, and the sensor will be able to detect this. These motion sensors that use both microwave and PIR are called Dual-Tech motion sensors. The purpose of using both PIR and microwave together is to prevent false alarms. A Dual-Tech motion sensor will only activate and alert the system if both its PIR sensor and its microwave sensor are triggered. A microwave sensor is not vulnerable to the same environmental issues that may cause a false activation on a PIR. You will not find a motion sensor that uses microwave technology without PIR detection, as microwave alone would result in too many false alarms without having PIR to confirm movement.

One feature that you will often see listed on a motion sensor is pet-immunity. A motion sensor that has been set up for pet immunity can be configured to not "look" in the areas close to the ground where pets and small animals walk. Instead, the motion sensor only looks in the areas higher up, where humans move while walking upright. A pet immune motion sensor is not impervious to small animals, and you must position it carefully so that it works as intended. Pet immune motion sensors normally have a weight limit, where animals under that weight limit should avoid triggering the sensor, assuming that the sensor is installed properly. Please note that most pet friendly motion sensors will require you to set the sensitivity for the sensor to the lowest possible setting.

When it comes to motion sensors, mounting them carefully is very important. A motion sensor may cause false alarms on the system if it is not installed properly. These sensors should not be facing any vents, air ducts, ceiling fans, or curtains that may cause the sensor to activate without any movement. If you are using the motion sensor for pet immunity, then it should also not be facing any furniture or stairwells that your pet could use to get within the sensor's field of view. You will likely want to perform a Walk Test of your motion sensor to make sure that it responds properly when movement is present, and does not respond due to other external factors when there is no movement. You should also have any pets participate in the Walk Test to ensure that pet immunity is working properly.

We recommend reading the following FAQs to learn more about motion sensors:

Below are some of the most popular motion sensors for our recommended systems:

Sensor Name Product Lineup
Compatibility Range
Encryption Coverage Area
Detection Type
Pet Immunity Notes
Honeywell SiXPIR

Honeywell SiX Series Lyric 300 Nominal Feet 128-bit AES 40 by 56 Feet
PIR Up to 80 lbs Encrypted PIR Motion for Lyric.
DSC PG9914

PowerG All IQ Panel 2 Plus 2,000 Feet Open Air 128-bit AES Up to 39 Feet PIR Up to 85 lbs PowerG Encrypted PIR Motion.
DSC PG9984P

PowerG All IQ Panel 2 Plus 2,000 Feet Open Air 128-bit AES Up to 50 Feet Dual-Tech Up to 40 lbs PowerG Encrypted Dual-Tech Motion.
2GIG PIR1e

2GIG eSeries 2GIG GC3e 350 Nominal Feet 2GIG eSeries Encryption
30 by 50 Feet PIR Up to 55 lbs Encrypted PIR Motion for 2GIG.
Honeywell 5800PIR-RES

Honeywell 5800 Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None 35 by 40 Feet PIR Up to 80 lbs Non-encrypted residential PIR motion for 345 MHz systems.
Honeywell 5800PIR-COM

Honeywell 5800 Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz, IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None 60 by 80 Feet PIR None Non-encrypted commercial PIR motion for 345 MHz systems.
Honeywell 5898

Honeywell 5800 Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None 35 by 40 Feet for Pet Immunity Dual-Tech Up to 100 lbs Non-encrypted Dual-Tech motion for 345 MHz systems.
Qolsys IQ Motion-S

Qolsys S-Line 319.5 MHz IQ2+ 600 Feet Open Air Qolsys S-Line Encryption 30 by 40 Feet PIR Up to 40 lbs Non-encrypted PIR motion for 319.5 MHz systems.

There are also certain outdoor motion detection sensors that are better-suited for use in an outdoor environment. These outdoor motion sensor models are typically more expensive than indoor variants. You can see some of our most popular ones listed below:

Sensor Name
Product Lineup
Compatibility Range
Encryption Coverage Area
Detection Type
Pet Immunity Notes
DSC PG9994

PowerG All IQ Panel 2 Plus 2,000 Feet Open Air 128-bit AES Up to 30 Feet PIR Up to 40 lbs PowerG Outdoor PIR Motion Sensor
Honeywell 5800PIR-OD

Honeywell 5800 Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None 40 by 30 Feet PIR None Honeywell 5800 Series Outdoor Motion, 1st ed.
Honeywell 5800PIR-OD2

Honeywell 5800 Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None 40 by 30 Feet PIR None Honeywell 5800 Series Outdoor Motion, 2nd ed.
Optex FTN-RRIX

Legacy Interlogix 319.5 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Up to 16.5 Feet PIR None Optex Fitlink Outdoor Motion Sensor for 319.5 MHz Systems
Optex FTN-RR2G

2GIG 345 MHz Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Up to 16.5 Feet PIR None Optex Fitlink Outdoor Motion Sensor for 345 MHz Systems.
Optex FTN-RRDS

Legacy DSC 433 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Up to 16.5 Feet PIR None Optex Fitlink Outdoor Motion Sensor for 433 MHz Systems.

Glass Break Sensors

The last type of security sensors we will be discussing are glass break sensors. These sensors include built-in microphones, and they actively listen for the unique sound of glass breaking. Most of these sensors will need to hear both the high-pitched shattering sound of the glass breaking, as well as the low-pitched sound of an object striking against the glass in order to activate. This design choice is to prevent false alarms caused by similar sounds. Most users will use glass break sensors to monitor windows, but they have also been known to work effectively on protective glass display cases that store valuables, such as what you might find in jewelry stores or gun shops. Most types of glass will work with glass break sensors, though there are some exceptions. For example double and triple pane glass windows won't work reliably. The same is true for coated or "safety" glass. Refer to the manual for the exact glass break detector you are using to determine compatibility.

A single glass break detector can monitor multiple windows or display cases, as long as the glass it is monitoring is within its detection range, which is typically 15 to 25 feet. Any glass that is being monitored must have a direct line of sight with the sensor, with no obstacles blocking the path that sound will travel through. When testing your glass break sensors, it is strongly recommended that you us a glass break simulator. These devices will mimic the sound of the glass breaking and activate your glass break sensors without actually breaking any glass. Remember to refer the instructions of your glass break simulator for more information. When choosing a glass break simulator, it is best to use a simulator from the same manufacturer, if possible. We have a Honeywell Glass Break Simulator and a DSC Glass Break Simulator available on our website. If you get one of the 2GIG Glass Break Sensors mentioned in this buying guide, then the Honeywell Glass Break Simulator is best for testing. Otherwise, just match the manufacturer.

Below are some of our most popular glass break sensors:

Sensor Name
Product Lineup
Compatibility
Range
Encryption
Notes
Honeywell SiXGB

Honeywell SiX Series Lyric 300 Nominal Feet 128-bit AES SiX Series Glass Break Sensor for Lyric
DSC PG922

PowerG All IQ Panel 2 Plus 2,000 Feet Open Air 128-bit AES PowerG Glass Break Sensor
2GIG GB1e

2GIG eSeries 2GIG GC3e 350 Nominal Feet 2GIG eSeries Encryption Encrypted glass break sensor for 2GIG.
Honeywell 5853

Honeywell 5800 Series Lyric, GC3e, 345 MHz IQ2+ 200 Nominal Feet None Non-encrypted glass break sensor for 345 MHz systems.
Qolsys IQ Glass-S

Qolsys S-Line 319.5 MHz IQ2+ 600 Feet Open Air Qolsys S-Line Encryption Encrypted glass break sensor for 319.5 MHz systems.

Reach Out to Us!


Remember that you can reach out to us with any questions you might have about planning your system and determining sensor compatibility. The best way to contact us is to email support@alarmgrid.com. This is also a good email to use if you are interested in starting new alarm monitoring service with Alarm Grid. Our team checks for new email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments


Posted By

It's that time of the week for a video recap! We have been busy getting started with our holiday buying guides, so we haven't had quite as much time for new videos. But we still managed to put up a few new ones for you to check out. Let's take a quick look at the newest Alarm Grid videos!

Time Needed to Activate My Alarm Grid System

I provide you with an estimate for the amount of time it will take to activate your new security system for alarm monitoring service. Our activation slots are scheduled for one hour in length, and the typical activation is completed in around 30 minutes. You can help us make your activation go smoothly by having your system installed with sensors programmed, being on-site and ready to work with your system, knowing the important system codes beforehand, and listening carefully to your activator.

Number of Zones On a Wireless System Cannot be Increased

I explain how the number of available zones on a wireless alarm panel cannot be increased. A wireless system has built-in logic, and the number of zones it can support is based on its internal firmware. There is no way to increase this limit, and once you run out of zones, you would need to get an entirely new system to add more. The good news with wireless systems is that all system zones are usually readily accessible right out of the box, with no extra hardware being needed. You just need to get compatible wireless sensors.

Honeywell Lyric System & Garage Door Control

Jarrett explains how the Honeywell Lyric can be set up for garage door control. To do this, you must get a Honeywell 5877 Relay. This unit will wire into your compatible garage door controller. Remember that MyQ Garage Door Controllers are not compatible. You can enroll the 5877 with your Lyric, and then the Lyric will communicate with the 5877 to control the garage door. You must also get a Honeywell 5822T to monitor the Open/Close status of the garage door. This setup will also allow for garage door control through Total Connect 2.0.

Activating a System for Monitoring with Alarm Grid

Jarrett discusses the importance of activating a security system for alarm monitoring service. The user will need to choose an alarm monitoring plan for their system. This will determine how the system communicates (IP, cellular, or both), whether the user has coverage from a central station, and what remote functions will be available for the user through an interactive platform like Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com. Activating a system for central station service is the only way to get a certificate of alarm (CoA) for an insurance discount.

Tags: , , , ,

Comments


Posted By

If you're planning to give the gift of security this holiday season, then we're here to help! Today, we're looking at the best alarm panels available for the 2020 holiday season. Finding the right panel is the first step to building the perfect security system for your home or office.


The panel serves as the central hub for an alarm system. All sensors programmed with the system will communicate with the panel. The panel is also the piece of equipment that communicates with the outside world, namely a central station and/or a monitoring platform. To do this, the panel must have a communicator that is installed and activated. Some alarm panels come with a communicator already built-in, while others will require you to purchase one separately.

Today, most alarm panels are wireless, all-in-one devices, where the panel itself serves as the keypad for controlling the system. There are still hardwired panels available, but these are less common due to the sheer convenience and ease of wireless all-in-one panels. For the purpose of this buying guide, we will only be focusing on wireless panels, as most new users today opt to go the wireless route. We especially recommend wireless panels for anyone looking to save money by installing their own system without hiring a professional installer. It's easier than you might think, as many installations are done using a screwdriver as the only tool!

The panel you choose will affect virtually every other aspect of your security system. Your panel selection determines sensor compatibility, available communication paths, the user interface (UI) for the system, what accessories you can use with the system, and even the interactive platform you use when controlling your system through your phone. In a way, the panel itself IS the system. It's such an important decision, so you really want to get it right.

Today, we're going to be presenting you with our three (3) most favorite alarm systems available for the 2020 holiday season. What's great about all these systems is that they are all extremely DIY-friendly, and they can be taken to virtually any monitoring company, whether that is Alarm Grid, or someone else entirely. With all of that out of the way, let's get started!

Honeywell Lyric Controller

The Honeywell Lyric Alarm System still represents our favorite alarm panel from Resideo, and it is the most popular system for use with Alarm Grid monitoring services. It is the oldest panel on this list, and it doesn't support some of the more high-tech features offered by the other panels presented here. But when it comes down to choosing an all-around great system for alarm monitoring, the Lyric is hard to beat.

There are three (3) things that the Lyric can do that are impossible for the other panels on this list. If you choose the Lyric, it's usually because of one or more of these aspects. The Lyric is the only panel here that can be set up with an IP-only communication path, without cellular. While cellular is always recommended, some users opt to go internet only for alarm monitoring. The advantage of doing this is that the user can obtain monitoring service at a lower monthly rate. A Lyric System user can sign-up for an Alarm Grid Bronze Plan with central station service for just $15 per month. But a user with a system that requires cellular monitoring will need to pay a minimum of $25 per month for the Alarm Grid Cellular Alarm Monitoring Plan. That $10 monthly saving equates to $120 annually. The user should understand that an internet outage will take their system offline and leave their home or business vulnerable in that situation. But if a user is confident enough in their internet service, then they can certainly take that chance. Of course, the Lyric can be upgraded to use cellular at any time, but if you are trying to save money by setting up IP-only monitoring, then the Lyric offers you that option.

Second, the Lyric is one of the very few alarm systems that is able to interface with Apple HomeKit. This is the premier automation platform used with iOS devices, and many users have existing HomeKit networks that they build around. If you already have HomeKit devices in your home, then it is natural that you would want a security system that can also integrate with that network. It's important to note that the HomeKit integration isn't perfect, as Apple HomeKit can only provide specific alerts for a limited selection of system activity. But the integration makes it possible to perform some basic commands through HomeKit. The integration also allows you to set up automations so that your HomeKit devices activate automatically with activity on your security system. Overall, it's a great feature, and we often recommend the Lyric over other systems just for this feature.

Third, the Lyric is the only system on this list that uses Total Connect 2.0 as its interactive monitoring platform. This is the service that you will use to control your Lyric System remotely through a web browser or an app on your smartphone. The platform allows you to arm and disarm, check the current status of your system, and control automation devices. Remember that you will need to upgrade to a Silver level plan to take advantage of these great features. We think Total Connect 2.0 works just as well as any other monitoring and automation platform, but we have heard of users specifically choosing the Lyric to use this platform over the other ones out there.

You have no shortage of sensor options for the Lyric, as the system has its own lineup of encrypted wireless sensors in the Honeywell SiX Series Sensors. It is also backwards compatible with the widely popular Honeywell 5800 Sensors. As we mentioned earlier, the system is a bit on the older side, and it lacks some of the more advanced features like partitioning and automatic Bluetooth disarming. The panel does technically support camera streaming, but that's only for older legacy cameras that are no longer being manufactured. Also, the system only offers classic Z-Wave functionality, so you won't be able to take advantage of the the extended wireless range and longer battery life of Z-Wave Plus. If you want Z-Wave Plus, and you have the Lyric, then you will need to replace the panel entirely. There is no way to upgrade the existing classic Z-Wave firmware for the Lyric and make it Z-Wave Plus. But if you need HomeKit compatibility, or if you are trying to keep your monthly monitoring costs as low as possible, then the Lyric is almost certainly your best option. With its support of local end user programming, the Lyric is the best system from Honeywell and Resideo as of late 2020. There is a good reason why it remains the most popular Alarm Grid security system.

The Lyric is for you if:

  • You want to save money by going IP only.
  • You want compatibility with Apple HomeKit.
  • You want to use Total Connect 2.0 as your interactive platform.
  • You don't need automatic Bluetooth disarming, partitioning, or Z-Wave Plus functionality.

Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus

The Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus is without a doubt the most feature-packed system we offer at this time. It has totally changed the game with its advanced features like automatic Bluetooth disarming, camera streaming from the panel, partitioning, facial recognition, and a super innovative wellness platform. The IQ2+ offers a seamless integration with Alarm.com, which serves as the interactive monitoring and automation platform used with the system. It is also currently the only system where you can perform Alarm.com Smart Scenes directly from the main panel. We also love the system's UI, as automation devices like lights, door locks, and smart thermostats can all be accessed from the main panel screen. It is easy to navigate, and we find that it is arguably the most intuitive panel for users who have never used a security system before. Really, the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus is the system we almost always recommend for any user not needing HomeKit functionality or low-cost IP-only monitoring.

Since this system, communicates through Alarm.com, you must have a cellular connection set up with the system. The good news is that you won't have to buy a communicator, as the IQ2+ already has one built-in (AT&T LTE or Verizon LTE). The bad news is that monitoring for this system starts at $25 per month, assuming you get service with Alarm Grid. And if you want central station service and the ability to do cool things through Alarm.com, such as arming and disarming remotely and setting up automated smart scenes, then the minimum cost jumps up to $35 per month for our Gold Plan. You may want to review this post that explains our monitoring plans in more depth.

One other awesome aspect of the IQ2+ is that it supports DSC PowerG Sensors. These wireless sensors are some of the best in the industry. They can be used from up to 2,000 feet away from the IQ Panel 2 Plus in an open air environment, and they utilize 128-bit AES encryption for advanced protection and security. You also get the choice of one of three (3) legacy sensor frequencies (319.5 MHz, 345 MHz, or 433 MHz). If you are upgrading from an older system, this is fantastic, as there is almost certainly a version of the IQ2+ that will let you bring over your old wireless sensors.

But even with all its bells and whistles, the IQ Panel 2 Plus is still not a perfect alarm system. We aren't blown away with its build quality, as some users have reported struggles in properly closing the panel after opening it up. And having an integrated communicator might seem like a good thing, but it also means that the entire panel must be replaced if the one inside fails for any reason. The same will hold true when the inevitable LTE Sunset occurs, though that should be years into the future. All that being said, if you are looking for the most feature-rich alarm system on the market today, you would be hard pressed to find a better option.

The IQ Panel 2 Plus is for you if:

  • You want a system with the most advanced features.
  • You want easy access to smart home automation.
  • You want to use PowerG Wireless Sensors.
  • You can accept a system without replaceable components.

2GIG GC3e

The 2GIG GC3e is the current flagship system from 2GIG, though that might soon change with the 2GIG Edge on the horizon. This panel was introduced in 2019, as 2GIG was a fairly late arriver to the encryption game. But it's here now, and it's ready to support 2GIG eSeries Encrypted Sensors, while still being backwards compatible with older 2GIG 345 MHz Sensors and Honeywell 5800 Sensors.

If we're being completely honest, we rarely recommend the 2GIG GC3e over the Lyric or the IQ2+. The Lyric offers some unique features (HomeKit support and IP-only monitoring) that make it the best option in many cases, while the IQ2+ is the most feature-rich system we offer. The GC3e just doesn't have any one particular feature that helps it stand-out from the other two. We usually only steer people toward the GC3e if they want an Alarm.com System, but don't want the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus for whatever reason. We must also admit that the GC3e local end user programming is a bit more cumbersome than the Lyric or the IQ2+. People who choose the GC3e are usually those who are accustomed to the 2GIG panel, and are upgrading from an older 2GIG GC2 or 2GIG GC3.

That doesn't mean the GC3e is a bad system. The truth is that it actually has the best build-quality out of any system listed here. The panel just feels well-made and durable, especially when compared with the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus. And while you don't get fancy features like panel camera streaming, Bluetooth disarming, or Apple HomeKit support, you do get a nice partitioning suite, and Z-Wave Plus functionality with the ability to create localized smart scenes. Also, unlike the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, you can actually swap out the cellular communicator in the GC3e. It is rather inconvenient that you have to buy a communication module add-on to get the system monitored, but this is a good thing if you ever need to replace your system's communicator for whatever reason.

This is matter of subjective personal opinion, but I can say one very nice thing about the GC3e. Out of every panel we offer, the 2GIG GC3e looks the nicest on the wall, and has the most fluid and satisfying touchscreen controls out of any panel I have personally ever used. And sometimes, that alone is the selling factor. There are users out there who don't care about fancy technical features or easily accessible automation menus, and they just want a high-quality system that looks good and does what they need it to do. If that is you, then maybe you should consider the GC3e.

The GC3e is for you if:

  • You want the panel with the best build-quality.
  • You don't care about fancy extra features.
  • You want an Alarm.com System with a replaceable communicator.
  • You can deal with programming that is a bit more cumbersome.

We hope that this post has given you some insight into choosing a new system for alarm monitoring. Stay tuned to our blog, as we will soon present a buying guide for the various security sensors you can choose from. Remember to email us at support@alarmgrid.com if you have any questions. We are available to respond to emails from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments


Posted By

Our video team had a decent time last week, as five (5) new videos were released. This time, the videos feature myself and Jarrett. As always, we hope that you find them to be helpful, informative, and interesting. Remember, we make these videos to help you! Let's check out the videos.

Finding the Date Code On the FF345

I show you how to find the date code on the Encore FF345. The FF345 is a listening module for smoke detectors and CO detectors that alerts the system upon hearing the unique sound of an activated smoke detector or carbon monoxide sensor. The device is designed to be used with 2GIG Panels and Honeywell Panels. However, FF345 units from a certain batch had an error that prevented them from working with Honeywell Systems. Checking the date code is useful for determining if your unit is affected.


Cameras that Work w/ the Lyric and Total Connect

Jarrett explains which security cameras are compatible with the Honeywell Lyric and the Total Connect 2.0 platform. The only cameras that can work with TC2 are Honeywell IP Cameras. Of these cameras, only the legacy models that are no longer sold are able to interface with the Lyric for live-streaming on the panel. None of the current Honeywell HD Cameras can be streamed on the Lyric. One important note about the legacy IP cameras from Honeywell is that they had to be online to receive a critical firmware update to continue being used to this day.


The Lyric Built-In Camera Disarm Pictures Cannot be Used With HomeKit

Jarrett explains how the disarm photos that are taken using the front camera on the Honeywell Lyric will not appear on the Apple HomeKit platform. While there is a nice integration between the Lyric and HomeKit, it is only used for automation purposes and a very limited selection of security functions. Disarm photos are considered to be a security function, and they will not appear in HomeKit. The only platform that allows you to view disarm photos taken by the Lyric is Total Connect 2.0.


Night Stay On Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus

I explain how there is no Night Stay option for a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus. Night Stay is a special type of Arm Stay. Normally, when you Arm Stay, interior zones are automatically bypassed. But when you Night Stay, motion sensors that are designated for Arm Night will remain active, instead of being bypassed. The feature is available on most Honeywell Panels, but it is not supported on the IQ2+. But there is an okay workaround for the IQ2+ that involves using specific Sensor Groups for programmed motion sensors that you want to remain active when Arming Stay.


Number of Zones On a Hardwired System Cannot be Increased

I explain why the number of zones on a hardwired alarm panel cannot be increased. The maximum number of zones that a system can support is built into its logic, and it cannot be increased. For a wired panel, only the on-board zones are initially accessible. You will need to add one or more wired expansion modules and/or a wireless receiver to open up the other zones. This will allow sensors to connect with the zones and interface with the system.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments


Posted By

Alarm Grid is proud to offer the Honeywell Lyric LCP500-L24 with 24-Hour Backup Battery. This deal comes with the same great Honeywell Lyric Alarm System that is loved by thousands of Alarm Grid monitored customers, plus an extended LCP500-24B Battery for longer runtime during power outages.


Like most security systems, the Lyric uses a backup battery to stay running when the system experiences AC power loss. This can occur during electrical outages, or when the system's plug-in transformer has been disconnected. Traditionally, the Lyric System comes with a standard 4-hour battery called the Honeywell LCP500-4B.

But with our special Honeywell LCP500-L24 deal, you can get a Lyric System that includes the Honeywell LCP500-24B 24-Hour Backup Battery. This bundled deal is less expensive than buying the Lyric System and the LCP500-24B separately a la carte, so taking advantage of this offer is strongly advised. The battery is advertised to keep the Lyric Alarm Panel and its connected accessories running for at least 24 hours during power outages.

Normally, the Lyric comes with the 4-hour LCP500-4B Battery pre-installed. When you order the Honeywell Lyric LCP500-L24 Deal, your Lyric System will arrive with no battery installed. The 24-hour LCP500-24B Battery will be included in the package separately. You will need to open up the Lyric Panel and connect the battery during setup. We recommend doing this prior to powering on the system using its included plug-in transformer. For more information on powering the Honeywell Lyric, please see this FAQ.

In addition to powering the Lyric, the LCP500-24B will also keep any connected system accessories running. Most notably, this includes the system's communicator that is used for monitoring service. The Lyric has a built-in WIFI card for connecting to the internet, and you can also add a cellular communicator to provide an additional communication pathway for the system. This is important because an internet outage, which often accompanies a power outage, would otherwise take your system offline, even if the panel itself remains powered on with its battery backup during this time.

Available cellular communicator options for the Honeywell Lyric include the Honeywell LYRICLTE-A AT&T LTE Communicator and the Honeywell LYIRICLTE-V Verizon LTE Communicator. Alarm Grid also sells the Honeywell LYRICUPGRADE-A and the Honeywell LYRICUPGRADE-V bundles that include the Lyric System and one of the aforementioned cellular communicators. Keep in mind that our Lyric LTE bundles only come with the standard 4-hour battery, so you must buy the Honeywell LCP500-24B Battery separately if you want to provide an extended backup power option for your Lyric. Remember that you will need a monitoring plan that includes cellular service in order to use a cellular communicator with your Lyric System. Examples of monitoring plans that include cellular service are the Alarm Grid Gold Level Plans, the Alarm Grid Platinum Level Plans, and the Alarm Grid Cell-Only Plan. More information on all our monitoring plans can be found here.

The Honeywell Lyric is one of the top security systems on the market today. We love the Lyric and its 7-inch touchscreen display, support for 128 wireless zones, local end user programming, built-in Z-Wave, Apple HomeKit compatibility, and its ability to interface with the Total Connect 2.0 platform for controlling the system remotely though a mobile app or web browser. This is truly a state-of-the-art alarm system, and it gets even better with its extended 24-hour backup battery to stay running when it matters most.

If you want to learn more about Lyric, or if you are interested in starting alarm monitoring service, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. We will review your message at our earliest convenience and reply back as soon as possible. Our team checks emails during our usual business hours of 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Comments


Posted By

Security system users in Panama City, FL may soon have to think about alarm registration and newly enforced fines for false alarms. Reports indicate that city council members approved the first reading of a new ordinance, with a second ordinance reading set to follow sometime soon.


Concerned citizens and officials in Panama City, FL are considering a new city ordinance that would allow the city to fine businesses and residents who intentionally or unintentionally cause false burglary/intrusion alarms and/or false fire alarms. The purpose of such a new ordinance would be to make first responders more readily available and to cut down on a high rate of false alarms.

Vice Mayor of Panama City, FL Geoff McConnell said of false alarms, "This is a huge drain on resources that could be better spent responding to emergency calls... We don’t want to spend money on chasing these false alarms when the public isn’t going to benefit from the safety of them.”

According to McConnell, more than 11,000 total false alarms are reported in the city each year. That reported figure comes from combined reports from the Panama City Beach Police Department and Panama City Beach Fire Rescue. McConnell went on to state that most of the city's false alarms are from repeat offenders. The majority of these repeat offenders are neglectful businesses with faulty alarm systems.

The ordinance being considered would not only enact fines for false alarm offenders, it would also make registration of alarm systems mandatory. In particular, alarm system owners, monitoring companies like Alarm Grid, and central stations, such as Alarm Grid's central station partner CMS, would be required to register with the city. Officials state that while the majority of alarm calls end up being false, responders are trained to respond to all calls with the same seriousness every single time.

Alarm Grid understands the frustration experienced by Panama City, FL officials. But we urge the city to take a step back and not enact a new drastic policy that would only make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to get alarm systems. We think it's perfectly reasonable to require alarm systems to be registered, and it's also fair to fine users who repeatedly cause false alarms.

We hope that any registration fees for installing and maintaining security systems are kept to a minimum. Such fees make it more challenging for innocent end users to install alarm systems, and they are ultimately detrimental to alarm businesses. If the city decides that a registry of alarm systems will help prevent false alarms, then just please keep registration fees to a minimum. We understand that some small fees are necessary for maintaining the registry in the first place. But excessive fees will only deter everyday users from installing systems. We have found that low, reasonable fees, such as those in Pompano Beach, FL, tend to work best.

And if the city decides to fine users who cause false alarms, we hope that is also done within reason. One possibility is to give a warning for the first false alarm on a registered system, and then fining users for repeated offenses, or for those who fail to register their systems. Alarm Grid takes false alarm prevention very seriously, and we would expect other monitoring companies to do the same. We do our part to make sure that our customers are properly trained in this aspect of using their systems, and we highly doubt that anyone monitored through Alarm Grid is repeatedly making the same mistake. However, we do realize that mistakes happen, so we ask any city considering a false alarm policy to consider the issue with some leniency and understanding. Remember, the overwhelming majority of end users are not intentionally causing false system alarms.

If you want to learn more about false alarm prevention, we strongly recommend checking out these tips to prevent false alarms. That link is a great resource whether you are monitored through Alarm Grid, are considering signing-up for alarm monitoring, or even if you are monitored through a different company. We also invite any Alarm Grid monitored customers, as well as those who are still exploring their options for alarm monitoring, to email our team at support@alarmgrid.com to learn more about false alarm prevention. We are here to check your emails during our usual business hours of 9am to 8pm ET M-F. As always, we look forward to hearing from you!

Tags: , , ,

Comments


Posted By

Alarm Grid is here again with its latest video recap! We have a lot of videos featuring touchscreen keypads this week, though some other topics are covered as well. As usual, Jorge, Jarrett, and yours truly are all represented. Let's check out the latest Alarm Grid videos from the team!

Pairing a 2GIG SP2 with the 2GIG GC3e

Jarrett helps you pair a 2GIG SP2 Keypad with a 2GIG GC3e Security System. Adding the SP2 Keypad will provide you with a secondary on-site location for controlling your GC3e System. You might consider installing it by your front door, by your garage door, by your back door, or in your master bedroom. Remember that the SP2 is for security functions only, and it cannot perform automation commands. The wireless keypad pairs with the GC3e through WIFI or by using an Access Point (AP).


How to Tell If a Keypad Has an RF Receiver Built-In

Jorge explains how you can determine if your alarm system keypad has a built-in RF receiver. It can be easy to confuse a keypad like the Honeywell 6160RF, which has an integrated receiver, with a similar-looking keypad that does not, such as the Honeywell 6160. If you have a hardwired alarm system, then the benefit of adding a wireless receiver is that you will be able to begin pairing compatible wireless sensors with the system. And if your keypad has a built-in receiver, then you won't need to add a standalone receiver unit.


Remove a PG9914 From its Mounting Bracket

Jarrett shows you how to remove a DSC PG9914 PowerG Motion Detection Sensor from its mounting bracket. Like all motion sensors, properly positioning and mounting the PG9914 is very important for achieving the results you want. If it is positioned improperly, then it may cause false alarms, or it may not activate when movement is present in the area. Proper mounting is also crucial if you intend to use the motion sensor for pet immunity. The PG9914 supports pet immunity of up to 85 pounds.


Determining if Your Keypad is Alphanumeric

Jorge explains the difference between an Alphanumeric Keypad like the Honeywell 6160 and a Fixed English Keypad like the Honeywell 6150. Both keypad types are good for arming and disarming and bypassing sensors. But only an Alphanumeric Keypad is good for menu-driven programming. This is because an Alphanumeric Keypad will display the relevant information as you move through the menus. If you try to program on a Fixed English Keypad, you will basically be operating blindly.


Checking the ECP and RIS Address on the Tuxedo Touch

Jorge teaches you how to check the ECP Address and the RIS Address for a Honeywell Tuxedo Touch Keypad. These settings are important when you go to set up the Tuxedo Touch with a Honeywell VISTA Security System and Total Connect 2.0. The ECP Address is used for setting up the Tuxedo Touch as a keypad controller on the VISTA System, and the RIS Address is used for setting up the Tuxedo Touch as an automation controller on Total Connect 2.0.


Disarming Using the Tuxedo Touch Keypad

Jorge shows you how to disarm your Honeywell VISTA Alarm System by using a connected Honeywell Tuxedo Touch Keypad. Since the Tuxedo Touch is a wired touchscreen keypad controller for the system, it needs to be able to perform all the standard security functions. These include arming and disarming the system. When you are disarming, you are taking the system out of a secured state so that burglary/intrusion zones are unable to cause alarms on the system.

Bypassing Zones Using a Honeywell Tuxedo Touch Keypad

Jorge explains how to bypass zones using a Honeywell Tuxedo Touch Keypad. When the zone associated with a sensor is bypassed, that sensor is ignored by the system. In other words, the system will not provide any response if that sensor is faulted. You must bypass or restore any faulted zones prior to arming the system. Bypassing is often preferred over deleting a zone entirely, as you do not have to reprogram a zone after bypassing. You can just unbypass the zone later on and use it as normal.


Providing AC Power to an Alarm System

I explain how AC power is provided to an alarm system. AC power comes from a plug-in transformer that connects to an alarm panel using wire. The transformer takes the high-voltage power provided from the outlet, and it transforms it into low-voltage power that is suitable for powering a security system. The power travels down the wire and reaches the panel. This represents the primary power source for an alarm system. If AC power is lost, then a backup battery can keep the system running temporarily until AC power is restored.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Comments


Posted By

Alarm Grid is here with a video recap as usual! We only have a few videos this time around, and all feature yours truly. But don't worry, as we have some more videos featuring Jorge and Jarrett on the way soon. But for now we hope you enjoy these videos from October 28th. Let's take a look!


Duress Code Function On the 2GIG GC2e

I explain how the duress code works on the 2GIG GC2e Security System. The duress code feature is useful if you have a system that is monitored with central station service. When you enter the duress code, a secret alert is sent to the central station to indicate that you need help right away. Nothing appears on the GC2e Panel, so it's a great way to discreetly request immediate assistance. The duress code is hard-coded to user slot 8 on the GC2e.


Different Alarm Types On Security Systems

I explain how there are different types of alarms on security systems. The alarm types that can occur on a security system include burglary/intrusion alarms, police panic alarms, life-safety alarms, and auxiliary alarms. The response provided by a central station operator will depend on what type of alarm occurs on the system. For example, a very different response is warranted for a life-safety alarm like a fire alarm or CO alarm, than what is needed for a burglary/intrusion alarm.


How an Alarm System Backup Battery Works

I explain the purpose and function of a backup battery on a security system. The backup battery keeps the system running when AC power is lost due to an electrical outage or the plug-in transformer being disconnected. The battery slowly stores power while the system is running on AC power. That way, it is ready to activate as soon as primary power is lost. Batteries vary in terms of how long they can keep a system running. Some batteries can maintain alarm system power on their own for at least 24 hours.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments


Posted By

Our team came across an interesting website that seems to suggest that there will be a new alarm panel from Nortek Control and 2GIG in February 2021. The 2GIG Edge is expected to be a cutting edge (pun intended) wireless security system, with all of the latest features and capabilities.


On the 2GIG Edge Website, we are only presented with small glimpses of the 2GIG Edge Panel. The system appears to be black in color. This is in contrast to the older 2GIG Panels, which have all been white. The user interface (UI) looks to be completely redesigned from the 2GIG GC3e and 2GIG GC2e. It's too early to make any guesses, but 2GIG may be finally introducing more intuitive end user programming to make their systems more accessible.

It's hard to make many interpretations from the little information we're presented, but there are some takeaways. The upper-right corner has the 2GIG logo, which will likely be a button for accessing menus, system settings, and programming. We also see a gear icon in the bottom-right corner, which should have a similar function. Directly to the left of the gear icon is a button that we think might be used for accessing different system partitions.

The bottom-left corner has a red asterisk (*), and we expect that to open a panic menu for use in emergencies. The center of the main screen has large buttons that will likely be used for arming, disarming, and performing smart home functions. At the panel's bottom, there is a large speaker that should provide chime and voice annunciation functionality. We also see a prominent camera at the top of the panel's front, and we're excited about what that entails.

Also on the main screen are displays for time, date, and a local weather forecast. There is also an LED light in the upper-right corner. Our guess is that this light will change color to indicate the current system arming status. One observation is that the panel appears to be very thin, and it should be extremely unobtrusive when mounted on a wall. We have no word on how power will be provided to the system or what type of backup battery will be supplied.

We reached out to 2GIG to try and obtain more information about the 2GIG Edge. We were informed that there will be inter-company training held in the near future, and more info should be available after that time. However, we were informed that the camera will support some type of facial recognition feature. This sounds similar to what is currently supported by the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus System. You can learn more about IQ2+ facial recognition right here.

A 2GIG representative was also able to confirm that the 2GIG Edge Security Panel will be compatible with Alarm.com, and it should be backwards compatible with non-encrypted 345 MHz sensors, including 2GIG 345 MHz Sensors and Honeywell 5800 Series Sensors. No word on whether the 2GIG Edge will be backwards compatible with the encrypted 2GIG eSeries Sensors, or if it will have its own new lineup of encrypted wireless sensors.

Other questions we have about the 2GIG Edge include its display screen size, whether it will support the 700-Series of Z-Wave Plus and if its Z-Wave card will be replaceable, whether a cellular communicator will come built into the system and if there will be some options for 5G cellular connectivity, and whether the system will be able to interface with various automation platforms. We would love to see another Apple HomeKit-compatible system!

The 2GIG Edge website has a countdown timer that we assume represents the release date of the system. According to the countdown timer, the panel should be released in very early February 2021. That's just a few months away, so it's fair to get a little bit excited and hyped up for the release. Of course, that release date could change, especially considering the uncertainty of today's world. But right now, we're expecting the Edge by February 2021.

Unfortunately, we don't have any pictures or detailed information about the 2GIG Edge at this time. But we do plan to follow up with 2GIG again soon to try and learn more. For now, you can email us at support@alarmgrid.com to submit questions. We will try our best to provide information about what we know. Keep in mind that we check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. Also remember to check out our monitoring page to learn more about our monitoring services. We look forward to hearing from you!

Tags: ,

Comments


Posted By

We have discussed many times before how a Certificate of Alarm (CoA) can save you money in homeowner's insurance. Today, I want to talk about my personal experience in this aspect and explain how my security system literally pays for itself. This is a huge benefit of owning an alarm system.

As I mentioned before, I became a first-time homeowner earlier this year. Like many homeowners with a mortgage, my loan requires me to maintain active homeowner's insurance. This meant that I had to obtain homeowner's insurance for the first time ever. Installing an alarm system and activating it for monitoring service is one way that I was able to reduce my homeowner's insurance premium. As someone with specific knowledge of the security industry, setting up an alarm system was one of my first priorities when moving into my home.

Prior to my home purchase, I had heard first-hand accounts of how an alarm system can fully pay for itself thanks to savings in homeowner's insurance. But to see it for myself in my own personal practice is really something incredible. I'm realistic, and I wouldn't call these savings anything life-changing. But I can say with complete honesty that there is absolutely no reason for anyone in a similar situation as me not to purchase an alarm system and get it monitored. Not only am I essentially operating an alarm system for free, I actually have a net gain in the overall equation.

In my personal experience operating a monitored security system in South Florida, my savings in homeowner's insurance is approximately $320 annually. This equates to a little bit less than 10% of my total homeowner's insurance premium. Since I have a Honeywell Lyric Security System on IP-only with a monitoring plan that includes central station service and access to Total Connect 2.0 (the Alarm Grid Silver Plan), my monitoring expenses equate to $25 per month, or $300 annually. This results in a net gain of $20 annually. This $20 net gain itself isn't anything to write home about, but the fact of the matter is that I am receiving top-of-the-line monitoring service and protection for my home at no cost to me. You could even argue that I'm being paid to have a security system in my home!

For reference, my homeowner's insurance provider is Citizens. The $320 in savings just represents what Citizens offered to me based on the cost of my home, its location, and the type of monitoring coverage listed in my CoA. I cannot promise that Citizens, or any other insurance provider for that matter, will offer similar savings on your personal policy. Your savings may absolutely vary, and you will need to check with your insurance provider to see what you can qualify for. We have heard of cases where an insurance provider may not offer any savings for maintaining a monitored alarm system, so keep that in mind.


To provide a bit more detail, my savings offered from Citizens come from having a system that is certified for burglary/intrusion monitoring and fire monitoring, with central station service. Citizens only requested proof that my system is actively monitored with central station service, and they did not ask which communication path my system was using (Phone Service, IP/WIFI, and/or Cellular). They also did not provide any indication to me that I would receive increased savings by upgrading to a cellular communicator. Upgrading to cellular is something that I plan to do in the near future, as I know the benefits. I know that making the upgrade will increase the cost of my monitoring service to $420 annually and put me at a net negative in terms of savings, But that is a personal choice that I will make in the interest of protecting my home.

Again, I need to stress that my savings are unique to me. A different insurance provider, or even the same insurance provider in Citizens, might offer you savings that are completely different from mine. That remains true even if you bought a home of identical value as mine in the same zip code. I am not trained in actuarial sciences, and I do not know the process Citizens used for determining my savings. Additionally, your insurance provider may require you to receive monitoring service through a cellular communication path. The only thing I can do is report on what Citizens offered for me personally. Your experience may be completely different. Really, you should be prepared to not receive any savings from your insurance provider. Just consider any offered savings to be a nice bonus to having a security system.

Just like anyone with a proper CoA, I am required to test my system annually. Alarm Grid must receive proof at least once per year that my system is capable of transmitting alarm signals to the central monitoring station. This is required by law, and I am not treated any differently as an Alarm Grid employee. But testing my system once per year to have it fully pay for itself is completely worth it, in my opinion. I would say that the biggest obstacle to any homeowner looking to get started with a CoA and homeowner's insurance savings would be the upfront cost of actually buying a security system and the associated hardware. You can absolutely shop around and possibly buy a used system elsewhere to minimize costs. Just remember that we cannot vouch for the quality or performance of any system not sold by Alarm Grid. Anyone who does decide to purchase a used security system and/or communicator should make sure that the equipment is capable of being used for alarm monitoring service.


Remember that obtaining a legitimate CoA and receiving a discount in your homeowner's insurance does not necessarily entail using your security system. All we need to see is proof that your security system is able to successfully transmit alarm signals for whatever types of alarms are to be listed in your CoA (Intrusion, Smoke/Fire, Carbon Monoxide, Water/Flood, and Temperature). While we certainly encourage you to use your system as intended, we aren't here to monitor or report on its usage. If you have no intention of using your system, and you are just getting it for the insurance discount, then you don't need to let us know that, but we won't be any wiser. Just make sure to keep up with your monthly payments and perform a CoA test annually so that the certification stays legitimate.

If you want to get started with a security system so that you can save money in homeowner's insurance, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. We will be happy to work with you and help you determine the ideal monitoring plan for your needs. We check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. You may also want to reach out to your insurance provider to learn more about what savings are available to you. Remember, your savings may vary drastically, and only your insurance provider can give you an accurate estimate or quote. But we'll be here to work with you once you're ready to get started. We look forward to hearing from you!

Tags: ,

Comments