Smart Garage Door Openers

Smart Garage Door Openers

Home WIFI networks have allowed many modern conveniences in our day to day lives. Automated lighting, heating and smart speakers are among the many examples. Smart garage door openers use the same technology to provide additional features and security that are available with a new smart garage door opener. In addition, a smart opener adds resale value to your home. Let’s look into some details.

Smart Garage Door Opener Definition

A smart garage door opener connects to the internet through a home WIFI network allowing remote control and many other features. There are two classes of smart openers: the After Market Smart Opener that are added to existing openers and smart enabled garage door openers that come with smart functions built in.

 After Market Smart Openers

After Market smart openers are added to your existing opener to provide smart access. For example, the Genie Aladdin Connect Smart Garage Door Controller replaces your wall switch with a WIFI enabled controller allowing access from a smart phone. A sensor is attached to the garage door so the app can tell what position the door is in. Some add-on smart openers require wiring to the existing opener which is fairly easy to do if your opener is compatible. After Market smart openers usually have some of the following features:

  • control from one or more smartphones
  • voice control
  • auto close rules that close the door at a set time or after being open for a programmed period of time
  • compatibility with smart home systems like Alexa and Hey Google
  • virtual keys allowing temporary codes for visitors or contractors so they can access the door functions from their own smartphones

 Smart Garage Door Openers

A smart garage door opener has WIFI connectivity already built in. All garage door opener vendors offer some form of smart openers as consumer demand has increased. Top of the line openers like the Liftmaster 84505R interface with the MyQ app offering a ton of features including:

  • Built-in camera adding video and 2-way audio communication to the myQ app
  • Complete control and monitoring of the garage with the myQ app from anywhere
  • Integrated LED lighting system that brightens high traffic areas of the garage with 1500 lumens of light
  • Ultra-quiet DC motor and strong belt drive system reducing noise in living spaces near the garage
  • Works with Amazon Key for convenient and secure In-Garage Delivery of Amazon packages and groceries – watch deliveries happen in real-time
  • myQ Diagnostics in the myQ app providing real-time insights for your garage door via the Health Report

With a video camera, remote control lighting and WIFI, smart openers become a versatile part of your home security. As a result, homeowners enjoy added peace of mind when they’re at home or on the road.

Why Smart Openers?

No Worries

A smart garage door opener provides peace of mind in a number of ways. First, no need to worry after you’ve left the house if you remembered to close the garage door. With a smart garage door, you can make sure it’s closed from anywhere with your smartphone. Second, you can be notified anytime your garage door is opened. This can be useful if you’re away and not expecting anyone to be in the garage. In addition, we like the door scheduling function. You can preset a daily closing time so you never need to wonder if you remembered to close the door in the middle of the night.

Home Access Control

Another advantage of smart openers is the ability to open and close the door from anywhere with a smartphone. You may want to provide temporary access to a friend, relative or even a contractor so they can go in and out while you’re away. Smart door apps allow you to create codes for others to use that you can enable or disable as needed.

Secure Package Delivery

Home package delivery has taken off recently and so has package theft. Deliveries left on the front porch are prime targets for theft. A smart garage door allows you to open and close the door for delivery drivers so your packages are safely stored in the garage until you get home. Some garage door apps integrate with services like Amazon Prime providing even more convenience.

Recommended Smart Opener Models

Liftmaster 84505R

Liftmaster 84505R Smart Garage Door OpenerThe Liftmaster 84505R is packed with features taking full advantage of the hi-res camera and audio features allowing homeowners to monitor their garage from anywhere. This opener works with the popular MyQ app to provide a huge set of functions and conveniences.

Features

  • Built-in camera adds video and 2-way audio communication to the myQ® app.
  • Control, secure and monitor your garage with the myQ app anytime, from anywhere.
  • Integrated LED lighting system brightens high traffic areas of the garage with 1500 lumens of light.
  • Ultra-quiet DC motor and strong belt drive system ensures for comfortable living spaces near the garage.
  • Works with Amazon Key for for convenient and secure In-Garage Delivery of Amazon packages and groceries allowing you to watch deliveries in real-time.
  • myQ Diagnostics in the myQ app provides real-time insights for your garage door via the Health Report. Receive alerts and error codes in the app if an issue arises and connect with a professional for services if needed.​

Chamberlain B6753T

Chamberlain B6753T Smart Opener with Battery BackupThe Chamberlain B6753T is feature rich and also works with the MyQ app. What we like about this particular model is the battery backup. Chamberlain offers the same model without battery backup for $70 less, but for the money we suggest getting the backup.

Features

  • Built-in camera: 130⁰ wide angle camera lets you see and hear what’s happening in your garage through the myQ® app.
  • Smartphone control: Control, secure and monitor the garage with the myQ app- anytime, from anywhere.
  • Integrated Corner to Corner™ LED lighting: Uniformly brightens every corner of the garage, motion activated, 2,000 lumens.
  • Quiet operation: An ultra-quiet DC motor and belt drive system ensures for comfortable living spaces near the garage.
  • Open/close your garage door even when the power is out with Battery Backup.
  • Works with Amazon Key: Enables convenient and secure In-Garage Delivery. PLUS live video streaming capabilities let you watch your Amazon packages and groceries get delivered to your garage in real-time.
  • BILT® intelligent instructions: 3D instructions for a quick, easy installation.

Genie Stealth750

Genie 7055 Smart Garage Door OpenerThe Genie Stealth750 is an affordable option while offering quiet operation with a hefty 1 1/4 HP motor. In addition, it features battery backup which is a requirement in some states. However, this model doesn’t have any audio or video capabilities which keeps the cost down. If audio and video aren’t needed, this may be a great choice.

Features

  • Keeps you connected without the need for added hardware
  • Aladdin Connect is compatible with the most popular smart home platforms like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Set-up is a breeze, simply download the free Aladdin Connect App, connect your homes Wi-Fi and you have a smartphone connection in no time
  • 1-1/4 HPc DC motor will smoothly and quietly lift sectional garage door up to 7 ft. in height and up to 500 lbs. in weight
  • Easy-to-install strong 5-piece rail system snaps together with no added hardware
  • Keep your home safe with state-of-the-art security of Genie Intellicode that changes the opener’s access code when the remote is used
  • GenieSense monitoring technology minimizes wear and tear by always monitoring the door
  • Works with popular built-in car remotes systems such as HomeLink and Car2U (Genie exclusive)
  • The integrated backup battery operates opener when your power goes out up to 50 cycles from initial power failure.
  • Accessories Included: a 3-Button remote, Multi-Function wall console, and 2-LED light bulbs

Smart Openers Are A Smart Upgrade

WIFI technology has allowed manufacturers to add a ton of features using WIFI, apps and smartphones. These new features provide additional security and convenience at affordable prices. Whether adding on to an existing opener or getting a brand new opener, smart garage door openers are worth a look. Feel free to contact us if you need more information.

Repair Or Replace Garage Doors

Repair Or Replace Garage Doors

All homeowners eventually face the same question: Should I repair or replace my garage door? That’s because garage doors don’t last forever even when they are well maintained. But there are considerations that go beyond the age of the door. Garage doors contribute a significant amount to your home’s curb appeal so the value a new door adds needs to be considered.

Your future plans can play a role in your decision to repair or replace as well. For example, squeezing a few more years out of your existing door may not make sense if you plan to sell soon. A new $2000 door can add 3 or 4 times that to your home sale value. On the other hand, an old door can be seen as a liability by a prospective buyer.

Most garage doors will last between 15 and 30 years depending on maintenance and environment. The age of the door will factor into your decision so take the time to determine the age of your door.

In this article, we discuss some issues homeowners should consider when making the decision to repair or replace garage doors.

Garage Door Repair

A new garage door is a great upgrade but can be an expensive investment. Components in a garage door system can be repaired and maintained to stretch your dollars while keeping the house looking great. Of course, the cost of a repair always needs to be weighed against the expense of a new door installation. In addition, the age of the door will impact how much money is worth spending on a repair. And finally, your budget is a factor too. If money is tight, you may want to look for the least expensive solution to keep your existing door in service. Let’s start by looking at some common repair situations.

Broken Garage Door Springs

Garage Door SpringThis is one of the most common repairs and is usually not a cause for an entire door replacement. Garage door springs have a rated lifespan expressed in cycles (number of open and close cycles). Standard springs are good for around 10,000 cycles which translates into 7-10 years. Heavy duty springs will usually have twice the lifespan. The cost to replace springs on average is around $200. So a spring repair is usually no more than 10% of the cost of a full door replacement. Unless your garage door is at the end of its life, replacing the springs makes sense.

Garage Door Rollers

Garage door rollers are an easy repair job too with replacement costs in the $200 range as well. A broken roller is easy enough to spot but a poor performing roller may not be as obvious. A lot of squeaking and other noises may be a sign that rollers are dirty or worn.  Poor performing rollers put a strain on other parts of the system like the springs and opener. It may be difficult to say if the rollers are a problem or not so we recommend having a garage door technician check them as part of a routine maintenance call. The lifespan of your rollers will depend on the quality you have, the environment you’re in and usage.

If rollers are a problem, you need to weigh the cost to replace versus a whole new door. More often than not, we discover problem rollers when we’re replacing garage door springs. In this case, the garage door repair can get to $400-$500. Once again, the homeowner needs to weigh the repair cost versus a new door. If your door is less than 5 years old, a repair is the way to go. You may even consider upgrading rollers and springs so they last twice as long or more. If you have a high end garage door system, repairing can make sense for older doors.

Dented Panels

Many garage doors feature sectional horizontal panels which can get damaged over time. Accidents happen, and a damaged panel reduces the appeal of the garage door. A damaged panel can also impact other parts of the garage door system so it’s a good idea to have the panels looked at by a pro. The good news is that most panels can be replaced, eliminating the need to replace the whole system. If the garage door is in its final years, it probably make sense to look at a new door but otherwise, a panel replacement is the way to go.

Garage Door Opener Problems

Liftmaster Garage Door OpenerOpeners are another common reason for repair calls. They have a tough job raising and lowering doors that can weigh well over 100lbs. And there are plenty of things that go wrong with an opener including the electronics, the motor and the remotes. Sometimes the reason an opener stops working is simple and a quick visit from your local garage door pro can get things sorted out. On the other hand, if the opener is fried or otherwise beyond repair, a new opener is called for.

None of these situations on its own would be reason to consider a new door. However, homeowners will need to consider why the opener failed. Sometimes the door system itself may be putting too much strain on the opener. For example, old springs and rollers can force the opener to work harder than normal causing damage to the motor. Your garage door technician can assess the condition of the door when servicing the opener and if there is an issue with the door, you will need to consider the bigger picture.

Garage Door Replacement Situations

A new garage door is always a good investment, especially from a return on investment perspective. Studies conclude that a new garage door gets the best return on investment and has the greatest impact on a home’s curb appeal. But the increased value of your home doesn’t matter much if you have no plans to sell in the next 5 years or so. So aside from curb appeal, homeowners need to trade-off new doors versus repair based on expense and functionality. In other words, what’s the most economical way to get a door that provides the features you need?

Garage Door Over 15 Years Old

With garage door life expectancy between 15-30 years, any door over 15 years old is at least past mid-life. So you need to consider if putting money into a repair makes sense for a door you may be replacing soon. The value of your existing door plays into this as well. For example, a high end insulated door may be worth more repair expense versus a cheaper standard sectional door. This is especially true if you plan to replace with an equal quality door. Does it make sense to spend $500 on a $2000 door that you may replace in 5 years? Probably not. Does it make sense to spend $500 on a $5000 high quality door? Maybe so. Chances are your high quality door will last longer too.

Severe Damage

Repair or replace severely damaged doorIf the door has sustained serious damage, it may be an easy call. Unless your door is less than 5 years old, it probably makes sense to replace. For example, if your brand new door accidentally gets run into by a car causing extensive damage, it may still makes sense to repair. Once repaired, you could still count on 15-30 years service. But if the door is more than 5-7 years old, it might make sense to bite the bullet and replace with a new door and all new parts.

Upgrade For Curb Appeal

Upgrading for curb appeal comes into play if you’re planning to sell in the next 5 years or less. A new, upgraded door will help get the best price for your home when you sell. For example, an upgraded insulated door, maybe a battery backup system and upgraded components can be a real selling point. When prospective buyers visit the home, a quiet door is surprisingly noticeable! And buyers always appreciate energy saving upgrades like door insulation. So if budget allows, an upgraded garage door can be as good an investment as a kitchen or bath remodel at a much lower cost.

Repair Versus Replace

In summary, there are plenty of reasons you may need to call for service on your garage door. In many cases, it may be obvious whether you should repair or replace garage doors. If not, consider the following factors in your decision:

  • the age of the garage door (lifespan is typically between 15-30 years)
  • the extent of the problem and cost to repair
  • the value of the existing door
  • the cost of a new door
  • when and if you plan to sell the house

In other words, the amount of repair cost to put into a door is greater for higher quality, younger doors. For older, standard doors, you may be better off investing your money in a new door.

Keen Garage Doors Wins Best Of Sonoma County Award

Keen Garage Doors Wins Best Of Sonoma County Award

best of Sonoma County awardIt’s an honor to receive the Best of Sonoma County Reader’s Choice award for 2022! Our goal is and has always been to provide our customers with the best pricing and service and this award means we must be doing something right! We just want to take a moment to thank all our customers for their support and votes! We are truly humbled. Rest assured, we are even more motivated to continue providing the same exceptional level of service going forward.

Thank You!

Jeramie Keen

Owner, Keen Garage Doors

Garage Door Safety Tips

Garage Door Safety Tips

We take garage doors for granted when they work properly and that’s ok. But it’s important to remember that garage doors are heavy and have a number of components that can be dangerous, especially when kids or pets are in the area. It’s a good idea to know what the dangers are so we can avoid any unfortunate accidents. We compiled a list of garage door safety tips for homeowners to protect themselves, loved ones, friends and pets.

Garage Door Safety Systems

By law, garage doors are required to have certain safety features and homeowners are obligated to make sure they work properly. A malfunctioning garage door can be a legal liability when accidents happen so it’s important to understand the safety features of your garage door system and how they work. In addition, make it a habit to test them several times a year so you don’t get any unwanted surprises.

Optical Sensor

The optical sensor shoots a beam of infrared light from one side of your door to the other to detect an obstruction. If the way is clear and the other side detects the light, the garage door can close. If something is blocking the light like an object, child or pet, the door will not close and flash a warning to let you know.

To test, place a solid object in the path of the beam and try closing the door. It should not close and should flash the light or present some indication that there is a problem. If the door does close, something is wrong and the door should be serviced as soon as possible.

Obstruction Sensor

Your door is also equipped with a resistance sensor designed to detect a problem anywhere along the travel of the door. If anything interferes with the proper travel of the door, the door should reverse. This is a critical safety feature because it is designed to prevent crushing something or someone under the door.

Test this feature by putting a 2×4 or similar object on the floor where the door closes. Make sure it is not blocking the optical sensor. When the door closes, it should reverse when it is blocked by the object. If it doesn’t, consult your garage door opener owners manual to make adjustments or call in the pros. This is an important safety and must work properly!

Child & Pet Safety

Children and pets are often oblivious to the dangers that a garage door presents. Therefore, it’s important for homeowners to be keenly aware of kids and pets when operating the door. Here are some recommendations:

  • Explain the garage door system and the dangers that come with it to your kids. Point out the dangers of getting trapped underneath. In addition, explain how the door can trap their little fingers between panels.
  • Don’t allow children to use the remote or access any wall switches. It may be simple for them to use, but if their friends or pets are in the vicinity they may not be as careful as they should be.
  • Teach them not to share the garage door code with anyone. Treat it like a password for online accounts.
  • If you have pets, be especially careful. Make sure your pets are in the car or house and out of the area before operating the door.

Emergency Release

A power outage can present an inconvenience at best or a lethal situation at worst. If you have no power, operating your garage door becomes a manual process. If you’re in a hurry, like in the case of a wildfire, you better know how to get the door open fast.

Garage door opener systems have a red emergency release hanging down from the garage door opener track. Pulling the handle releases the door from the opener shuttle allowing it to move along the track freely. Make sure the door is closed before pulling the release or have someone help to support the door to prevent damage. If the door falls hard, it’s may be out of balance and require service.

Take the time and consult your owners manual to learn how the emergency release works. If you have physical limitations that make operating the door manually difficult, consider installing a battery backup system so your door can operate during a power outage.

Garage Door Opener Security

Garage door openers are convenient but can also be security risks. Here are some tips to maintain opener security:

  • Keep your passcodes a secret. Newer door openers will allow you to create guest and one-time passcodes so you don’t need to change yours when providing access to delivery services and so on.
  • Change your code on a regular basis for additional security.
  • Unplug your opener when you go away on vacation to eliminate the possibility of anyone getting into the garage.

Garage Door Dangers

Garage doors are complex systems with dangers homeowners should be aware of:

  • Garage doors are heavy! Always be careful, especially when the door is in manual mode.
  • The area between garage door panels of most door types can crush a finger easily. Always be aware of where your fingers are when opening or closing the door.
  • Don’t leave your garage door open any longer than necessary. Thieves roam neighborhoods looking for open garage doors and a quick grab.

Stay Safe!

We work with doors and openers all the time so safety is always on our minds. On the other hand, homeowners can take their garage door for granted and sometimes forget about the dangers. Stay vigilant with your garage door to protect yourself and others. If you need any service, you can contact us 24/7.

Garage Door Curb Appeal

Garage Door Curb Appeal

For most homes, garage door curb appeal has a direct impact on the overall curb appeal of the home. Newer homes often feature the garage in a very prominent position and can occupy more than 50% of the street facing side of the house. So it’s no surprise that a great looking garage door adds a lot of value to the home. In this article, we dive in to some ideas on how you can make your garage door pop so you get the most value from your door.

Accessories

One of the most affordable ways to add sparkle to your garage door is by adding decorations to highlight the door area. Potted plants on either side of the door opening will frame the door so viewers are drawn into the overall look. In addition, homeowners can add shrubs or climbing plants on trellis to complete the garage door presentation. The key is to provide a visual “framing” of your garage door that complements the door without overpowering. The nice thing about adding accessories is that it’s affordable and easy to change. So use your imagination and creativity to let your vision shine!

Painting

Another affordable way to boost the visual impact of your garage door is with a fresh coat of paint. Most garage doors are made of aluminum, steel or wood that can be painted or stained so you have plenty of color options. The question is how much do you want the garage door to stand out from the rest of the street facing house? If you want the garage door to stand out from the rest of the house, bright, primary colors may be a good option. On the other hand, if you want the door to blend in with the rest of the visual, more subtle or neutral colors may be in order. If the front entry door is visible from the street, it’s usually a good idea to make that the focal point with colors that pop. In this case, the garage door plays more of a supporting role. If you’re having the exterior of your house painted, consult with your painter to get their ideas. They see a lot of combinations of colors and can provide valuable insights.

Upgrade The Garage Door

Full View Garage DoorIt goes without saying that upgrading your garage door is the best way to improve garage door curb appeal. There are an incredible array of options available to the homeowner that can at times be overwhelming. There are 3 major styles of garage doors with many variations within each category:

  • Traditional: one of the most common styles featuring rectangular patterns with raised bordering between rectangles
  • Carriage House: a broad category featuring rustic or barn-style elements. Very popular in rural and country settings with lots of decorative hardware choices and door materials
  • Modern: featuring sleek design elements including reflective panels and frameless design options

Most styles will allow you to apply your own creativity with a number of design options such as garage door windows, hardware options, woodgrains and more. And while garage door insulation may not add much to your curb appeal, it’s worth considering as an option for both energy efficiency and resell value. For more help selecting a new garage door, check out our Garage Door Buying Guide.

Add Lighting

Cloplay Reserve Wood Garage DoorsAdding exterior lighting around your garage door can really make your house dazzle at night. In addition, it adds safety and security to your property so it’s worth consideration. There is a huge variety of lighting choices for the homeowner including overhead and side lights. While the lighting is most effective at night, remember that the fixtures are visible during the day so choose a style that complements the overall look of your home.

You can find lighting options that point light up or down to create different effects. If you’re not sure, drive around your neighborhood at night to see what others have done. Pointing them up may provide less lighting on the ground but can make a spectacular visual effect. On the other hand, pointing them down can highlight plants and accessories in the garage door area. And then you have some wall sconces that providing light patterns above and below that give the best of both.

Exterior lighting can add very dramatic garage door curb appeal to your home. We suggest contacting an electrician to find out what your options are for adding additional fixtures to your home.

Garage Door Curb Appeal Is Value

Studies show an upgraded garage door provide the best return on investment when boosting curb appeal for your home. These days, the garage door is one of the most prominent features of a home and is worth a close look to see how you can increase value and personal pride in your home.

Is Your Garage Door Opener Not Working?

Is Your Garage Door Opener Not Working?

Homeowners count on their garage door opener to open and close the door without much thought. So when the garage door opener stops working, it come as an unpleasant surprise. In addition, it can pose a safety hazard in case of emergencies like a wildfire or the need to go to the hospital. In this article, we discuss some of the most common issues that affect opener operation and what can be done to fix them.

Garage Door Opener Doesn’t Operate When Wall Switch is Pressed

Liftmaster Garage Door OpenerYou press the wall switch that’s wired to the opener and you get nothing. Nada. No clicking. No lights, nothing at all. The simplest explanation in this case could be there’s no power to the unit. Make sure the opener is plugged in all the way and then make sure the breaker isn’t blown. If the breaker or fuse has blown, replace the fuse or re-engage the breaker. If they continue to blow, it’s likely there is a defect in the garage door opener and it will need to be replaced.

Try plugging a lamp or other electrical device into the outlet to see if they work. If they work and your opener still gives you nothing, there is likely an electrical defect in the opener that will require a new circuit board or a brand new opener. Either way, time for a service call.

Garage Door Opener Doesn’t Respond To Remote

When the wall switch works but the remote control or keypad don’t, there are a number of things to check. First, make sure you have fresh batteries in the remote. Just because the keypad lights up doesn’t mean there’s enough juice to signal the opener so try new batteries.

Second, if the hand held remote isn’t working and you have fresh batteries, try getting closer to the opener. The remote should work well out into the street and if it doesn’t, there may be an issue with the remote or the opener receiver. Try another remote if you have one and if they both have a range issue, then the receiver is at fault. If this is the case, ensure the opener’s antenna is hanging down and is not damaged in any way.

Finally, you can try reprogramming the remote or keypad. Sometimes electronics get messed up for no obvious reason. Find your owner’s manual for the opener and remotes and see if reprogramming helps.

If after all this you still can’t get the remotes to work, call in the pros.

Garage Door Doesn’t Close All The Way

If you garage door opens properly but doesn’t close all the way, there are several things to check:

Close-Limit Switch

The close-limit switches are set to tell the opener when to stop opening or closing. If it’s set too short, the door may stop closing before it gets to the ground. On the other hand, if it’s set too long, the door will hit the ground before it wants to stop and will interpret this as an obstruction. As a result, the door should reverse as a safety feature. Close-limit adjustments will vary depending on your opener make and model so consult the owner’s manual or call a garage door professional.

Safety Sensors

The safety sensors are electronic eyes that are set up across the bottom of the garage door opening. They are used to detect obstructions like objects, pets or people. Make sure there are no objects blocking the sensors or in the way of the door. If the sensors are out of alignment so they can’t “see” the other side, the opener will consider that an obstruction and prevent closing. As a result, the opener will usually reverse and flash it’s light as a warning that something is wrong.

Track & Rollers

If your garage door tracks or rollers are old or in rough shape, they may just bind up and prevent the door form closing. This will usually result in the door reversing as the extra resistance will be interpreted as an obstruction. If this is the case, well, you know who to call!

Garage Door Does Not Open Completely

Sometimes a garage door will stop short of fully opened. There are a couple of reasons this might happen. There is an up-limit switch that sets the upper limit of the garage door travel so check to see that that is set correctly. It may be a simple matter of adjusting this switch. On the other hand, if your garage door rollers or tracks are old and rusted, you may need to lubricate these parts or have them replaced. Use a lithium grease spray to lubricate, not WD-40. If lubrication doesn’t solve the problem, call the pros to get the issues diagnosed and fixed.

Is the Garage Door Opener Working Now?

We’ve covered the most common problems with garage door openers and offered some solutions. If you’re still having problems, you should call a garage door repair company. Some issues are easy enough to address but you need to be careful with garage doors. First, it’s important to have your opener working reliably in case of emergencies and for safety reasons. Secondly, garage doors are heavy and there’s a lot of force built up in the springs and this can be dangerous for folks without proper training. When in doubt, trust your instincts and call the pros.

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