• Choosing a Garage Door Opener: Remotes and Safety

    June 6, 2016 | Blog
  • In our previous post, we outlined the types of garage door drive systems and power options available to help you choose the right automatic door solution for your garage. Once those key decisions have been made, the other important choices available are remote controls and safety features.

    Remote Controls and Keypads

    Interior Keypads: your inside keypad is usually the first button you press as soon as you open your interior door to get into the car. A keypad with one prominent button is sufficient for a single garage door, but either an additional keypad or a multi-button keypad is necessary if your garage has two or more doors. Inside one-touch buttons, multi-button keypads for multiple doors. Illuminated buttons are ideal for a dark garage.

    Car Remote: as you’d expect, most of the time you’re opening your garage from the outside, you’re in your car coming home. The most common type of remote is the visor clip remote, but another great option is a key fob. With a key fob, you can easily carry your remote with you even if you’re not in the car (if you go out for a walk or bike ride, for example). It’s also a safer option if your car should be broken into—the car visor remote is essentially a key to your house, but the key fob remote keeps it separate from your car.

    Wireless Outdoor Keypad: an exterior keypad is helpful both for emergencies and convenience. If the remote in your car (or on your keyring) fails to open the door—which can happen with low batteries or just a signal glitch—then the outdoor keypad is there to let you in. It is also a convenient tool for letting others into your house when you’re not available: for pet sitting, package delivery, or other chores.

    Wi-Fi Control: the recent growth in the smart home and automation industry has expanded your garage door opener options to include control even when you’re not home. Automatic openers equipped with Wi-Fi can be accessed over the internet by computer or smartphone. Not only is this another convenience (you can open or close your door from your phone!), but it allows you to verify your door is closed when you’re not home, and you can open it from anywhere in the world to allow access without giving out your keypad code. Many of these systems also include cameras so you can visually verify that you’re opening or closing the garage door safely and for the right people. Retrofit and add-on kits are even available so that a non-equipped unit can be upgraded (rather than replaced) to work with Wi-Fi.

    Safety Features

    Rolling Codes: choose a garage door opener that features rolling-code technology. As the garage door remote sends its signal to trigger the automatic garage door opener, the rolling code expires after just a few seconds so that it can’t be mimicked by another device, warding off would-be thieves. Also, to reduce the opportunity for the signal to be picked up, press your remote button only once.

    Obstruction Sensors: for the safety of everyone in your household, but particularly children or pets, have sensors installed that will cause the door to automatically reverse if an object is sensed in the door’s path. This prevents crushing injuries or even death.

    Manual Emergency Release: it’s important to be able to bypass your automatic garage door opener in the event of a device failure or power outage. The red handle dangling above your car is a manual emergency release that disengages the opener and allows you to manually lift the door. Use caution, of course, as some types of doors are significantly heavier than basic aluminum single-car doors. And if your torsion spring has broken (rather than the issue being with the garage door opener or power), you will not be able to lift the door without assistance and should call a garage door professional. Also note that when the manual release has been used to disengage the opener, anyone can opener your door from inside or outside, so consider installing a locking mechanism.

    Vacation Lock: your interior remote may have a vacation lock mechanism that will not allow any wireless remotes (keypad, fob remote, car remote) to open the door. If you’ll be away from home for an extended period, consider engaging the vacation lock—but make sure you have your door keys!

    DC Power: if you choose a garage door opener that operates on DC power, you’ll be able to get a few opens/closes on its reserve power even in the event of a power outage.

    Wi-Fi Remote Access: as discussed above, a Wi-Fi-enabled garage door opener can be opened or closed even when you’re not home—and can alert you when the door has been left open (or reopened due to obstruction) by mistake.

    There are a lot of options available so you can have a garage door opener that works great for your needs. But with a little research and advance knowledge, the decision process can go smoothly. Give us a call to help you make your selection and have your garage door opener system professionally installed and maintained.