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Just like any residence, an apartment is at-risk for a burglary or break-in. An unlocked door or a shattered window offers an easy entrance for an intruder. With an apartment security system you can be ready if this occurs. But picking a system can be daunting with so many options available!

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Luckily, Alarm Grid is here to help you pick the best apartment alarm system for your needs. A good apartment security system usually features a wireless panel that can be installed using a desk or table stand. This will allow you to easily take the system with you when you move, and it will prevent you from having to drill holes in the wall. The wireless sensors can similarly be mounted using double-sided foam tape, and they can be easily removed if you relocate. You may also want the panel to include some cool smart home automation features to make your life more convenient.

It is strongly recommended that you select an apartment security system that is non-proprietary. This means that you will be able to take it to a new monitoring company if you cancel your current service. A great option is to go with a DIY no-contract alarm monitoring company like Alarm Grid. Our company does not charge you anything to start or stop monitoring service, which is really convenient if you ever need to take a month off of service while you are moving. We also offer systems that are super quick and easy to install without having to hire a professional installer!

With that in mind, we have our picks for the top 5 apartment security systems of 2019. All of these systems work great if you are looking to set up your own apartment alarm system that you can take with you if you decide to move later on. These systems are all very easy to use, and you can set them up in a matter of minutes. Let's check out the systems!

5. Interlogix Simon XTi-5i

Interlogix has long been known for their cost-effective systems. While they are ceasing operations at the end of the year, they are leaving us with a very good system. The Interlogix Simon XTi-5i is great if you need a no-frills alarm panel for basic operation. It has a 5-inch touchscreen display, support for up to 80 wireless zones, and some great communicators available, including some dual-path options. Adding a communicator will also make the system Z-Wave ready. You can even choose from an exclusive lineup of Interlogix Encrypted Sensors to add to the system. And for apartments, there is an excellent table stand you can buy for the system!

4. 2GIG GC2e

2gig gc2e wireless encrypted alarm panelThe 2GIG GC2e is the current entry-level option from 2GIG. It packs some great features into a small package, and it provides some nice upgrades over its 2GIG GC2 predecessor. With the GC2e, you will enjoy a larger 5-inch touchscreen, built-in Z-Wave Plus, and support for 2GIG eSeries Encrypted Sensors. Some other specs include support for up to 60 wireless zones and 64 different user codes. Remember to add a cellular communicator so that you can use with system for monitoring service through Alarm.com. And don't forget about the desk mount!

3. 2GIG GC3e

2gig gc3e wireless encrypted alarm panel2GIG offers an impressive high-end security system with their GC3e. It still retains a lot of similarities to the discontinued 2GIG GC3, while offering some new upgrades in its own right. Namely, the panel now supports the 2GIG eSeries Encrypted Sensors, and it offers a fresh redesign over its predecessor. Returning features to the GC3e include a 7-inch touchscreen, support for up to 100 wireless zones, 100 user codes, partitioning, integrated WIFI, and built-in Z-Wave Plus. Note that you will still need a cellular communicator to monitor the system and use it with Alarm.com. Interestingly, the system uses the same desk mount as the 2GIG GC2e.

2. Honeywell Lyric Controller

Honeywell lyric controller encrypted wireless security systemThere are many reasons why we can confidently say that the Honeywell Lyric Security System is one of the best panels on the market today. It is one of very few panels (and currently the only one on this list) that can support Apple HomeKit. The Lyric offers a very impressive 128 wireless zones, 64 user codes, built-in Z-Wave, and a 7-inch touchscreen. You will have no trouble filling up the zones with Honeywell SiX Series Sensors, which offer military-grade 128-bit encryption! Other features include a built-in 2MP camera for disarm photos and ten (10) different chime settings.

The panel also comes with built-in WIFI, and unlike the other systems on this list, it can be monitored across IP only. Not only does this mean you do not need to add a communicator, you can use the Lyric on a less expensive IP-only monitoring plan. This is perfect for users looking to cut-down on monitoring costs. But you can still add a Lyric Cellular Communicator if you want. The Honeywell LCP500-DK is the recommended desk mount.

1. Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus

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There is so much to like about the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus as an apartment security system. It is sleek and modern with its thin profile and beautiful 7-inch touchscreen. You will love its built-in glass break sensor, integrated 5MP camera, and support for up to four (4) partitions. This is also the only system on the list that is dual-path ready right out of the box, as it has both an LTE communicator (AT&T or Verizon) and a WIFI card. You can even live-stream compatible Alarm.com Cameras right from the panel once you have connected the system with Alarm.com.

Other features include built-in Z-Wave Plus technology for smart home integrations, as well as integrated Bluetooth for optional automatic disarming. If that weren't enough, the system offers support for PowerG Sensors, as well as one legacy frequency (319.5 MHz, 345 MHz, or 433 MHz). The PowerG support is particularly useful, as PowerG Sensors utilize military grade 128-bit AES encryption and a wireless range of up to 2,000 feet away from the panel. This is way further than you will likely need in an apartment, but it's still cool nonetheless! A standard desk mount comes included with the system, but you can also purchase the Qolsys IQ Stand if you want something a little more robust. The Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus is without a doubt the pinnacle of apartment security systems in 2019.

If you need help choosing a system, or if you want to learn more about the alarm monitoring plans offered from Alarm Grid, then please reach out to us! The best way to contact us is to email support@alarmgrid.com. You are also welcome to call us at (888) 818-7728. Just keep in mind that our regular business hours are from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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In today's real estate market, many homeowners are looking for ways to increase the value of their homes. One way to do this is to install a home security system. This is an easy and effective way to make your home more appealing. And getting alarm monitoring service is completely optional.

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Many people mistakenly believe that signing up for monitoring service is a requirement when buying an alarm system. Technically, this is not the case. An alarm panel, security sensors, and even home automation accessories are all items that you can purchase without signing up for anything. You can install this equipment in your home without any alarm monitoring plan. Then you can list a security system as feature in your home when you go to sell. This can help seal the deal for a buyer, as many people are looking for smart homes with state-of-the art security systems.

What makes this even better is that you can likely install this equipment by yourself. The biggest challenge is mounting the panel to the wall. This will require drilling some holes and maybe fishing some wire. But it's really nothing you can't do as a quick weekend project. If the idea still makes you uncomfortable, then you can get a desk or table stand for the system instead. Nearly every system has one available. Meanwhile, the sensors can be mounted without drilling any holes by using double-sided foam tape. And basic programming is a cinch with a wireless all-in-one panel.

An aspect of residential alarm systems that is sometimes overlooked is that these devices do more than just keep a home secure. Today, most home security systems double as complete smart home automation hubs. In other words, you can set up a security panel to serve as a one-stop controller for various smart devices in your home. This includes peripherals such as smart lights, smart door locks, smart thermostats, water shut-off valves, and more. Many alarm panels allow you to control these devices from one location, even if the system isn't monitored. And if you add a key fob, then you can control some of these devices from anywhere in your home with the press of a button!

The most important thing when choosing a home security system without professional monitoring is to make sure the system is non-proprietary and can be taken to any alarm monitoring company that will support it. For example, all of the security systems sold on the Alarm Grid website can be used with monitoring service from nearly any alarm company. This will give you or a new owner greater flexibility if you decide to sign-up for alarm monitoring later on. The last thing you want to do is tie yourself to a single monitoring company. A non-proprietary security system offers greater freedom!

Once you have the security system, you just need to install it. This includes mounting the panel and sensors, powering the system, and enrolling any accessories. Like we said earlier, this can all be easily done yourself as a quick weekend project. And just like that, you will have immediately raised the value of your home! Whether or not you use the system from there is up to you. An unmonitored system can still be armed and disarmed to serve as a local noisemaker. And you can still use it as an automation controller for your smart home devices. All while improving your home's sell value!

Honeywell lyricpk10 lte a new dual path security system w slash

Of course, we always recommend monitoring any alarm system. This is the only way to receive text and/or email alerts for any system activity that occurs. It is also the only way to receive service from a central monitoring station for automatic emergency dispatch in the event of a burglary or a fire. You can even control your smart home automation devices remotely from nearly anywhere in the world using a user-friendly platform like Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com.

Also keep in mind that signing up for central station monitoring service can help you save money on your homeowner's insurance. The savings might even cover the full cost of your monitoring service! Remember, just because you don't sign-up for monitoring service right away doesn't mean you can't later on. As long as you have a non-proprietary system and a compatible alarm monitoring communicator, you will have a ton of options at your disposal. We recommend checking out our alarm monitoring page if you want to learn more about our monitoring services.

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And if you are in the market for alarm monitoring service, why not consider Alarm Grid? All of our monitoring plans are no-contract, and they feature no added fees. This means that you will not pay any extra cost when activating your monitoring service. If you ever decide to cancel your service, you can do at the end of your monthly cycle, without incurring any fees or penalties. And since your system is non-proprietary, you can always take it to a new alarm monitoring company. This gives us motivation to work hard each and every month to continue to earn your trust and your business.

If you need help choosing a home security system for use without professional monitoring, or if you have any questions about our products or monitoring services, you are always welcome to reach out to us. The best way to contact us is to email support@alarmgrid.com. You are also invited to call us at (888) 818-7728. Just remember that our regular business hours are from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you find the perfect security system!

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Hi DIYers! We're back with another video recap. Sadly, our video team took a break a couple weeks ago, so there was no recap last week. But they came back strong last week with seven (7) new videos! The Alarm Grid boys Jarrett, Jorge, and Joe are all back. Let's check out the videos!

Cellular Communicators That Work With a Honeywell VISTA 20P

Our always helpful alarm technician Jarrett explains which cellular communicators work with a Honeywell VISTA 20P. The system needs an added alarm monitoring communicator to connect with the AlarmNet360 servers and Total Connect 2.0. If you decide to get a cellular communicator, then you must make sure that your monitoring plan supports cellular service. It is strongly recommended that you get an LTE cellular communicator for the system. These include the Honeywell LTE-XA (AT&T LTE), the Honeywell LTE-XV (Verizon LTE), the Honeywell LTE-IA (AT&T LTE & IP) and the Honeywell LTE-IV (Verizon LTE & IP).


Deciding Whether to Use 2-Wire or 4-Wire Smoke Detectors

Joe smiles and waves as he helps you make the decision of whether to use 2-wire smoke detectors or 4-wire smoke detectors with your hardwired security system. Most users will choose 2-wire smoke detectors because they can be used without extra equipment. But the downside is that 2-wire smoke detectors can only be used with a designated smoke detector reset zone, such as Zone 1 on a Honeywell VISTA Panel. A 4-wire smoke detector can be used on any hardwired zone, but you will need extra equipment, including a power supply and relay.


Reasons Why the Wired Alarm Contact on a Door May Not Work

Joe gives another big wave as he provides various reasons why a hardwired door and window contact sensor may not be working properly. A common reason for this is that the magnet is not properly aligned with the sensor. This causes the reed switch inside the sensor to remain open, even when the door or window is closed. Properly aligning the magnet with the sensor will fix this issue. Another possibility is that the wire leading from the sensor to the panel may be damaged or cut. In that case, you would need to re-wire the sensor.


Putting a 5834-4 Into High Security Mode

Three cheers for Joe, as he explains how to put a Honeywell 5834-4 Key Fob into its high-security mode. This key fob can be set for a low-security mode or a high-security mode. When the key fob is in high-security mode, the device is essentially "synced" with the system and using rolling-code encrypted communication. This makes it significantly more difficult for a savvy intruder to try and tamper with the device. The 5834-4 will use a green LED in its low-security mode, while it will use a red LED in its high-security mode.


Enrolling a PowerG CO Detector to a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus

Joe graces us with a fourth video, as he shows how to enroll a PowerG CO Detector with a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus. Adding carbon monoxide sensors to your security system is important. Carbon monoxide is an odorless and tasteless gas that kills hundreds of people every year in the United States. Most of these deaths occur during the winter months when heaters are commonly used in homes. A faulty heater can lead to a CO outbreak. However, CO deaths can also occur due to other factors, such as accidentally leaving a vehicle running in an enclosed garage.

Learning the DSC PG9939 Key Fob to the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus

Jorge is here to show us how to enroll a DSC PG9939 Key Fob with a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus. This key fob can be auto-enrolled like pretty much any other compatible sensor for the system. This is done by putting the system into its auto-enrollment mode and then activating the device to transmit a signal. You will need to choose a Sensor Group for the key fob. The most common Sensor Group to choose is 1 - Mobile Intrusion. The DSC PG9939 features four (4) buttons that you can use to control the IQ Panel 2 Plus System.


Finding the Serial Number on a Honeywell Key Fob

Jorge is the master of key fobs, as he shows you how to find the Serial Number for a Honeywell Key Fob. The Serial Number is used for enrolling the key fob with the system. The best way to enroll a Honeywell Key Fob with a system is to auto-enroll it. If you manually enter the Serial Number, there is a chance that you might make a mistake. Auto-enrolling will prevent this. It also ensures that the key fob can communicate the with panel properly. Once you auto-enroll the key fob, the Serial Number will automatically appear on the screen.

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Hi DIYers! We are very happy to announce that we have some exceptional new products from Alarm.com. There is a new Z-Wave Plus smart water valve, an upgraded ethernet-to-WIFI bridge for Alarm.com PoE Cameras, and a digital doorbell adapter for use with SkyBell Video Doorbell Cameras.


The first new product we will be discussing today is the Alarm.com ADC-SWV100 Smart Water Valve. This smart water valve uses Z-Wave Plus technology to communicate with your security system or Z-Wave hub. It allows you to remotely shut-off your main water line from virtually anywhere. This can be very convenient if a flood or leak occurs while you are away. The device is perfect for pairing with flood sensors that you have enrolled with your alarm panel. You can even set up smart scenes to have the device shut-off the water automatically whenever a flood sensor detects a leak.

Although the ADC-SWV100 was built with Alarm.com in mind, the versatile device can really be used with any Z-Wave controller that supports smart water valves. This includes Honeywell Alarm Systems that use the Total Connect 2.0 platform. One important thing to note is that if you use this device with Alarm.com, then you will need to have your monitoring company enable the Water Management Add-On Package for your account. If you have monitoring service with Alarm Grid, then we will do this for no additional monthly charge.


Next up we have the Alarm.com ADC-W110 Ethernet-to-WIFI Bridge. This accessory lets you take a hardwired ethernet device and have it communicate wirelessly across a local WIFI network. The device is great for use with compatible Alarm.com Cameras that use power over ethernet, also known as PoE. By using the ADC-W110, you can eliminate the need to run an ethernet cable from the IP router to the camera.

What's super convenient is that both power and IP data are supplied from the ADC-W110. You just need to connect the PoE camera with the ADC-W110 using an ethernet cable. The ADC-W110 will then take care of the rest! This device is actually a newer version of the older ADC-W100, which as of late October 2019 is still available. Keep in mind that you will still need to connect the ADC-W110 with a wall outlet for power.

Lastly, we have the Alarm.com ADC-VACC-DB-A SkyBell Digital Doorbell Adapter. This adapter makes any SkyBell Doorbell Camera with a digital doorbell chime. Normally the SkyBell devices only work with mechanical doorbell chimes. We actually created an FAQ that will help you get started using the SkyBell Digital Doorbell Adapter with your digital doorbell chime. You can check it out right here.

If you have any questions about these new products, or if you would like to learn more about our monitoring services or Alarm.com, please reach out to us! The best way to contact us is to email support@alarmgrid.com. We will review your email at our earliest convenience and reply back as soon as possible. Remember that our support hours for responding to emails are from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Hi DIYers! We're here with the Alarm Grid video recap covering October 21st thru 25th. We have eight (8) new videos this time. These videos proudly feature the Alarm Grid boys Jarrett, Joe, and Jorge. We hope you're ready to learn more about security systems! Let's check out the videos!

Issues Disabling Auto-Stay Arming for a Vista-128BPT

Joe talks about issues regarding Auto-Stay Arming on a VISTA-128BPT running firmware version 10.0. This firmware version has an error where Auto-Stay Arming is not automatically disabled when arming from Total Connect 2.0. This can cause issues if you Arm Away from Total Connect 2.0 and you aren't around to fault an Entry/Exit Zone during the Exit Delay countdown. When this happens, Auto-Stay Arming will go into effect for any zone where the feature is enabled.


Connecting The Lyric Alarm System to Alexa

Jorge explains how you can connect the Resideo Lyric Security System with Amazon Alexa for spoken voice commands. In order to do this, the Lyric Alarm System must be paired with the Total Connect 2.0 platform. Any voice commands for the Lyric System sent through Alexa will pass through Total Connect 2.0 before being forwarded to the panel. You can use Alexa voice commands through TC2 to arm the system, check current status, and control smart home devices.


Why Your Vista-128BPT is Armed Stay After Choosing Arm Away from TC2

Joe explains why you might find that your VISTA-128BPT Security System has Armed Stay even though you have selected Arm Away on Total Connect 2.0. This is due to the error on Firmware Version 10.0, were the TC2 platform doesn't know to automatically ignore Auto-Stay Arming settings if they are enabled. You can overcome this issue by upgrading to Firmware Version 10.4, or by manually disabling Auto-Stay Arming for every zone on the VISTA-128BPT Alarm System.


The Honeywell Lyric Security System Will Allow for Different User Codes

Jorge explains how you can set up multiple user codes on a Honeywell Lyric Alarm Panel. You need to provide a valid code to perform various system functions such as arming and disarming. Additionally, the Master Code and Installer Code both have special privileges on the system as well. The Installer Code is particularly important, as it is needed for programming the system. However, you can only disarm using the Installer Code if it was the code used to arm originally.


Using More Than One SkyBell With Total Connect 2.0

Jarrett explains how you cannot use more than one (1) SkyBell device with a Total Connect 2.0 account. If you want to use a second SkyBell Video Doorbell, then you will need a second Total Connect 2.0 account. Alarm Grid customers can add one (1) SkyBell to any Total Connect 2.0 account, even if their plan does not technically include video surveillance. We offer a special Video-Only Plan, which is perfect if you already have an alarm monitoring plan, but you are needing a second account to add a second SkyBell device.


Why A Legacy IPCAM Won't Work With Total Connect 2.0

Jarrett explains an issue that you might encounter when trying to use a legacy Total Connect 2.0 IP Camera with the TC2 platform. The older legacy TC2 IP Cameras have default software that is not compatible with the new HTML5 version of TC2. Resideo pushed down an update to these cameras to make them compatible with the new HTML5 platform. But any legacy TC2 IP Cameras that weren't connected at the time were unable to receive the update. Those cameras can no longer be used with TC2.


How a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Behaves When the Internet Goes Down

Jorge explains what happens when a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus System loses its internet connection. When this happens, the system will remain connected with Alarm.com using its built-in LTE cellular communicator. All versions of the IQ Panel 2 Plus have an integrated cellular communicator for this exact purpose. You can choose from AT&T LTE or Verizon LTE. We recommend going with the service that works best in your area, regardless of which one you use for your personal phone.


Resetting A Qolsys IQ Panel 2 to Factory Defaults

Jorge covers the process for factory resetting a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus System. This is done using the Dealer Code, which is 2222 by default. By performing a factory reset and restoring the system to factory default settings, several things will happen. Any programming settings will be restored to their default. All programmed sensors will be deleted. All Z-Wave devices will be cleared. All user codes will be deleted, with the exception of default codes. If you changed the Master, Installer, or Dealer Codes, they will all be reset to their default.

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Hi DIYers! Today, we wanted to quickly discuss some of the various integrations that have been made available for Alarm.com. We will be checking out the Sonos, Legrand, Rachio, and Rain Bird integrations. They are great for any ADC user who wants to control their audio or irrigation system!


If you have a smart audio system from Sonos or Legrand, or a smart irrigation system from Rachio or Rain Bird, then it is likely that you can set it up for use with Alarm.com. This will allow you to control your audio or irrigation system conveniently from the Alarm.com Mobile App. All you need to do is have the appropriate options enabled for your Alarm.com account and complete a simple pairing process.

The Sonos and Legrand Audio Systems can also be included with Alarm.com Smart Scenes to have your music or audio play automatically based on a schedule or with certain system events. Your sound system can even be set to activate alongside other devices, including your smart lights, thermostat, door locks, and even your security system! This is perfect for creating the perfect scene for listening to music or your favorite podcast! You might also run a scene while you are away to make it appear like you are really home.

Meanwhile, the Rachio and Rain Bird Irrigation System integrations offer their own benefits. You can use the Alarm.com Mobile App to set your irrigation system to a Rain Delay, initiate watering for any irrigation zone for a set period of time, and view the last time a zone was watered. Additionally, the Irrigation Card from the main screen of the Alarm.com Mobile App will show the current status of your irrigation system.

In order to use Sonos and/or Legrand with Alarm.com, you must have the Audio Integration Service Package Add-On applied to your Alarm.com account. Likewise, you will need to have the Irrigation Service Package Add-On Applied to your Alarm.com account if you plan to use Rachio and/or Rain Bird with Alarm.com. Keep this in mind before you go to complete one of these integrations.

Alarm Grid will apply the Audio and Irrigation Add-Ons to any Alarm.com account at no additional charge. You just need to have an Alarm Grid monitoring plan with access to Alarm.com. Any customer with a Gold or Platinum Plan and a compatible Alarm.com Security System can access the Alarm.com platform. This includes any Self or Central Station Plan. We recommend checking our monitoring page for more information.

At this time, the Sonos, Legrand, and Rachio integrations can all be completed by an end user through the Alarm.com Mobile App. Just make sure that the appropriate Audio or Irrigation Add-On has been applied to your Alarm.com account. However, the Rain Bird integration must be manually performed by your alarm monitoring company. For more information on completing any of these four (4) integrations, we recommend checking out one of the following FAQs:

If you are an Alarm Grid customer and you need a service package added to your Alarm.com account or you need help setting up any of these integrations, then you should email us at support@alarmgrid.com. You are also invited to email us if you are interested in our monitoring services and you would like to learn more. Remember that our support hours for responding to emails are from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Hi DIYers! Today, we want to discuss an unusual quirk we found with Alarm.com. It turns out that the Alarm.com platform cannot receive alerts from temperature sensors. This is important for any Alarm.com user who wants to receive remote alerts for unusually high or low temperatures.


When you use sensors with a security system, the expectation is that you will be able to receive alerts from an interactive service platform whenever the device is activated. But with Alarm.com, the platform cannot receive incoming signals from a system regarding faulted Temperature Zones. This means that you cannot use Alarm.com to receive text and/or email alerts regarding an activated temperature sensor.

We discovered this issue due to a customer using a DSC PG9905 Temperature Sensor with a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus System. We quickly discovered that the issue also applied to any temperature used with an Alarm.com Security System. This is important to note, as we know that many users out there will want to know about any unusual temperatures in their homes and businesses. Many people rely on using these sensors with their security systems so that they know if their HVAC systems break before serious and expensive damage occurs.

Fortunately, there is still another way you can receive alerts from Alarm.com regarding an unusually high or low temperature. If you pair a Z-Wave thermostat with your system, then you can set up notifications to be sent out whenever the detected temperature goes outside of a set threshold. A good Z-Wave thermostat to use for this application is an Alarm.com ADC-T3000 Thermostat. This thermostat also supports the ADC-S2000 Temperature Sensor, which will allow you to monitor the temperature in a second area of the building as well.

Another option is to use the Total Connect 2.0 platform with a Resideo Security System instead. Unlike Alarm.com, the Total Connect 2.0 service can be set up to send out text and/or email notifications for any sensor type, including temperature sensors. The Resideo LYNX Touch and Lyric Systems also have designed Temperature Zones that are used with Z-Wave thermostats to end high-low temperature alerts to AlarmNet360 and TC2 whenever an unusual temperature is detected. Just make sure that any Temperature Zone is noted as such on your central station document. These zones are frequently mistaken for 24-hour auxiliary medical zones.

If you have any questions about the functionality of temperature sensors, the Alarm.com and Total Connect 2.0 platforms, or any of our other products or services, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. Remember that our support hours are from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We also recommend checking out our monitoring page to learn more about our monitoring services. We look forward to hearing from you and providing top-quality monitoring service for your home or business.

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Hi DIYers! We know by now you are probably aware of the Alarm.com integration for Amazon Alexa. Today, we just wanted to remind you of the superb features and functions this integration offers and how it can make your life more convenient. Prepare to learn about the Alarm.com Alexa Skill!


It goes without saying that Amazon Alexa is one of the most popular smart home automation platforms available today. This is due in large part to its accessibility. An Alexa Hub is extremely easy to set up and use. And since so many people use Amazon Prime for ordering products online, they realize that adding a simple Alexa Hub in their homes makes sense.

There are many functions you can perform through Amazon Alexa voice commands if you have an Alarm.com Security System. You can have Alexa arm your system, check the current system status, perform entire smart scenes, and control individual Z-Wave smart home devices. Truly, the automation features offered from Alexa voice commands for Alarm.com are particularly exciting.

Alexa even allows you to set up special "Secure Commands" for Alarm.com, which include disarming your system, opening your garage door, and unlocking your Z-Wave door locks. These Secure Commands require you to provide a valid PIN code when speaking with Alexa. This way, you can be sure that it is you or someone you trust controlling your system through the hub!


To get started using Amazon Alexa with Alarm.com, you must first have access to the Alarm.com Platform. This will require having a system with a compatible Alarm.com Cellular Communicator. You will also need to get an alarm monitoring plan that includes access to Alarm.com. Two of the best plans to choose from are the Alarm Grid Gold Plan and the Alarm Grid Platinum Plan. You can learn more about these plans, plus all our other monitoring plans, on our alarm monitoring page.

Once your system is activated for monitoring service, and you have successfully created your Alarm.com account, you can then enable the Alarm.com Alexa Skill. Simply search for Alarm.com in the Skills & Games section of the Alexa App, and locate the Alarm.com Skill. You will need to provide your Alarm.com account information when you go to enable the skill. This will allow Alexa to communicate with your Alarm.com account.

You can then try controlling your system and paired smart home devices through Alexa voice commands! Remember that commands for use with your system will lead in with "Alexa, tell Alarm.com to..." As long as you remember that, you will have no shortage of exciting and convenient voice commands that you can use with Amazon Alexa and Alarm.com!

If you have any questions, then remember that the Alarm Grid Support Team is happy to help! We will answer any questions you have about the Alarm.com Alexa Integration or about the Alarm.com platform or our monitoring services in general. The best way to contact us if you have questions is to email support@alarmgrid.com. Remember that our support hours are from 9am to 8pm ET. We look forward to hearing from you!

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hi DIYers! Last week, we sent a small team to Silicon Valley, California to check out the 2019 Qolsys Summit. Needless to say, we were absolutely blown away with what Qolsys will soon be offering. Today, we would like to focus on some of their new industry-changing products in the pipeline.


The biggest highlight of the Qolsys Summit was the opportunity to check out the newest upcoming panel from the company, the Qolsys IQ Hub. The IQ Hub represents the vision of Qolsys to bring home security closer and more accessible to the average consumer than ever before. This is truly the optimal system for any budget-conscious consumer who wants to bring state-of-the-art security and technology into their home. It is slated for a Q1 2020 release.

We do not have all the details on the Qolsys IQ Hub quite yet. But there is still a lot that we can talk about. The most obvious addition to the Qolsys IQ Hub is its prominent speaker on the front. Qolsys is expected to introduce some mind-blowing integrations for the system that will turn your alarm control panel into a compact entertainment center.

Remember that Alarm.com already offers an excellent Sonos integration. We are sure that the IQ Hub will take full advantage of this feature and truly put it to great use. Our team did get a chance to test the IQ Hub sound quality, and we can confirm it sounds just as good as any high-end portable speaker. This is highly impressive, and we expect many users to be thrilled that their alarm system can now essentially double as a party-starter.


The next aspect you will likely notice about the IQ Hub is its standout display screen. This is a 7" touchscreen display that appears to have even higher resolution than any existing security system on the market. We do not have the exact specifications on the screen just yet, but it certainly passes the eyeball test. And as you can see from the photo above, the slideshow feature returns. Get ready to show-off some of your best photos on the Qolsys IQ Hub!

As we mentioned earlier, Qolsys seems to be envisioning the IQ Hub as a way to make the home security market more accessible to the average consumer. The new system is not expected to replace the existing Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, but it is anticipated to have a lower price point. We also expect many existing features to return to the IQ Hub, including built-in WIFI, Bluetooth connectivity, cellular LTE, and Z-Wave Plus functionality.

One thing that will not be returning to the IQ Hub is support for legacy sensors (e.g. 319.5 MHz, 345 MHz, and 433 MHz devices). The new system will be entirely PowerG, and you will need to use those sensors with the system. This is fine, as PowerG Sensors offer an impressive wireless range of up 2,000 feet when used with the IQ Hub in open air. They also utilize military grade 128-bit AES encryption in all their communication to ensure maximum wireless security.

Another interesting note about the panel is that it is not designed to be opened up. This is a significant change from most existing security systems, where you will occasionally need to open up the panel to make hardware changes. The battery on the IQ Hub is sled-replaceable, and it can easily be swapped out by the end user with little effort. All of the hardware is built right in, so you will never have to make any changes in that regard. Talk about DIY friendly!


Qolsys made other various enhancements to the IQ Hub System. They touted an improved integrated camera, and it can even double as a motion sensor by detecting changes in pixelation. We also expect this feature to be used in conjunction with Alarm.com so that you can take a peak-in at your home while you're on the go. You will also notice the LED light on the front of the panel. This light changes colors to let you know the current system status. How cool!

The system also features a built-in microphone that you can use to get alerts regarding loud sounds. You can even adjust the minimum sound level required to trigger alerts. This is perfect for parents who want to know if their baby is fussing or for owners of rental properties who may want to be alerted if their guests are throwing a loud party. It's just another way that Qolsys is working hard to keep you connected with your home.

We do expect that there will be some hardware limitations of the IQ Hub when compared with the IQ Panel 2 Plus, especially when you consider the anticipated lower price point. Qolsys most likely reduced costs by dropping legacy sensor support. It's also possible that the IQ Hub will support fewer zones than the IQ Panel 2 Plus (128 zones). But we cannot confirm the exact number of zone on the IQ Hub at this time. The IQ Hub is also slightly larger than the existing IQ2+ due to the added speaker.

As stated earlier, the Qolsys IQ Hub is scheduled for a Q1 2020 release. This groundbreaking new system is sure to make some big waves in the security industry, and we are confident that it will help many new users get their start with home security. We can't wait for its release, and we hope you're excited too!


Qolsys also unveiled another interesting product at the event, the Qolsys IQ Router. At first glance, you might be wondering what's the big deal. What's so exciting about an IP router? Well Qolsys packed in some game-changing features that are sure to make the IQ Router the perfect addition to your IQ Hub or IQ Panel 2 Plus System. It is sure to make your life more convenient in many ways. And we can also confirm, it is dual-band with support for 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz!

At the basic level, the IQ Router is exactly what it sounds like, an internet router. It replaces the existing router for your home's IP network. But what you get with the router is pretty ingenious. Any Qolsys IQ Panel 2 System or Qolsys IQ Hub connected with the IQ Router can be accessed remotely by your alarm monitoring company for programming purposes. This is similar to what the DSC Iotega offers. But with the Qolsys Systems, it is optional rather than mandatory.

Of course, if you don't want your monitoring company accessing your panel, then you can disable the feature. But it's pretty nice if you want assistance with programming new devices. One thing you will certainly love is its ability to auto-discover your IQ Hub System and automatically enroll it with your WIFI network. You can even configure your IP settings right from the IQ Hub. This truly makes the IQ Hub the central controller for your entire network!

Another innovation from the IQ Router is the ability to auto-enroll guest WIFI devices. In other words you can get any visitors on your WIFI network, without making them enter a long, tedious password. The way this works is that your guest will request to join the network from their IP device. You will then approve the request from either your IQ Hub or an app on your phone. And just like that, your guest will be connected with your WIFI network. Super convenient!


As you will notice, the Qolsys IQ Router only has one (1) LAN port for connecting a hardwired ethernet device. This isn't a big deal, as most users might not even need one. If you need additional ports, then you can easily connect a network switch to the router and use it however you would like.

But one very exciting feature of the IQ Router is its ability to support up to eight (8) WIFI extenders or access points. This makes it truly suitable for even large commercial locations! The router facilitates a total mesh network to help ensure that all of your IP devices stay connected across even an incredibly expansive area. Whether your needs are big or small, you are sure to get great use out of the new IQ Router! Qolsys states that it should be out by the end of this year.

We would like to end this post with some smaller product announcements we heard at the Qolsys Summit. A PowerG 360-Degree Ceiling-Mount PIR Motion Sensor called the PG9862 was unveiled. This sensor is perfect for use in closets or in commercial locations where corner-mounting is not feasible. The PG9862 is available from Alarm Grid now, and you can get it right here.

Lastly, we heard rumors about a much-anticipated PowerG Wired to Wireless Converter. This is huge news, as it will allow you to takeover an existing hardwired system and use a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus or Qolsys IQ Hub in its place. And of course, all your hardwired sensors will enjoy the amazing range and security of the PowerG wireless protocol. We do not have any other details on the PowerG Converter at this time, but we will definitely keep our eyes peeled.

We hope that you are eagerly awaiting all of these new products just like we are! This was truly an awesome event that Qolsys put on, and we are thankful that we got to be a part of it. We are hopeful that Qolsys hosts a similar gathering next year in 2020! For now, check out these new and upcoming products, and email us at support@alarmgrid.com if you have any questions or thoughts. Remember that our support hours are from 9am to 8pm EST M-F. As usual, we look forward to hearing from you!

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