Garages are great, garage doors are frustrating. Smart garage door openers can help.
If you’re lucky enough to have a garage at your home, you’ll no doubt appreciate the benefits they bring – they’ll keep your freshly washed car out of the bad weather, they help preserve your car’s paint job for longer (and reduce the likelihood of rust taking hold), and they provide a useful place to store years’ worth of your
accumulated junk prized possessions.
The only downside is the garage door. If you get home and it’s raining, the last thing you want to do is leave the dry haven of your car and wrestle with a heavy door that’s in desperate need of a good oiling.
Alas – don’t worry! Smart home to the rescue! Let’s take a look at four ways a smart garage door will simplify your life.
A smart garage door opener will add an extra dimension of security to your home (you really don’t want anyone to steal that old wooden tennis racquet from 1973, do you?)
The security dimension actually works on two levels – knowing if your door has been opened when you’re not at home, and constant monitoring of who is coming and going.
One system that offers these features is the Aladdin Connect from The Genie Company. It works by combining a door control module with a door position sensor.
The accompanying smartphone app allows authorized users to open the door with a push of a button (which in turn enters the event in a log along with the name of person who did it) and will alert you every time the door is opened or closed (even if the door is opened manually by overriding the electric-powered opener).
The opened/closed alerts can be customized so that they’re only sent at certain times. For example, when you’re at work, or when you’re away on vacation.
Open from Anywhere
Most smart garage door openers will let you open and close the door from anywhere in the world.
It means if you’re not at home and you need to open the door for a large delivery, for a friend to gain access, or because your partner has lost their keys, it’s easy to do so. It also means you don’t need to share temporary access codes with anyone that you don’t want to.
To enable this function, you could try using Garageio. Unlike some of its more full-featured rivals, it doesn’t offer anything beyond opening and closing the door remotely – but that’s more than enough for lots of people.
It works by connecting the Garageio Blackbox ($199) to your existing opener. The installation takes around 20 minutes and can be done without any electrical expertise.
Once you’ve got the hardware set up, you just need to download the Garageio smartphone app (available on Android and iOS), enter your Wi-Fi password, and you’ll be ready to go.
The company also offers two-door ($209) and three-door ($219) blackboxes for houses with multiple garage doors.
Be honest, how many times have you driven off and left the garage door open? It certainly happens more frequently than we care to admit, either through laziness or forgetfulness. A passing thief would be quick to take advantage.
You’ll need a Z-Wave outlet, a SmartThings multi-sensor, a presence sensor, and the “Ridiculously Automated Garage Door SmartApp”. Put the presence sensor in your car, the multi-sensor in your garage to detect movement, and use the Z-Wave outlet to act as a relay control.
By setting this system up, the door will automatically shut every time you leave your garage when you’re in your car, and automatically open again every time you return.
Schedule Opening/Closing Times
If you’re fortunate enough to live in a nice family-friendly neighborhood, you might leave your garage door open from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep. This is especially true if you use it as the main entry point to your house or if you have young children who are forever coming and going for their bikes, toys, and sports equipment.
In this case, it would be a massive time-saver and energy-saver to automate the process. For example, at weekends and during school holidays you could schedule it to open at 10am and close at 10pm. You could even benefit during the working week, making the door open for a ten minute period at the time you normally leave the house, and repeating the process for the time when you usually return.
One company that’s currently offering a solution is Iris with their Z-Wave Garage Door Controller. It forms part of the Iris connected home platform – the door opener will set you back $99, while the hub that it connects to will cost you a further $99.
The system has an accompanying web app which allows you to create “rules” for your setup. This covers the aforementioned time scheduling, but will also extend to things like making your garage door close automatically if you lock your front door while using the Iris Lock.
Would You Find a Smart Garage Door Opener Useful?
How useful are these devices in everyday life? For example, it’s unclear what you’d do if your system stopped functioning while your door was open and you were away from home. And what would happen if your system reported that the door was closed when it was actually open? Who would be responsible?
What do you think? Could you see yourself using a system like the ones we describe above, or is this an unnecessary complication of the tried-and-tested remote control that has served people well for so long?
We’d love to hear your thoughts. Let us know your opinions in the comments section below.