Eight Ways to Troubleshoot Your Garage Door Opener

Machines don’t always cooperate. Having a garage door stick in its place can prevent you from driving out of your garage or present huge security problems. If you’re home alone when this happens, you may need to fix it quickly and by yourself. If you’re not the type of person that normally tinkers with hardware, check out our list of easy checks that may fix your garage door!

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  1. Power and Batteries

Before tinkering with the tools in the garage, check your power source first.

Make sure the operator is plugged in properly and that the socket has electricity. You may want to try unplugging the operator and plugging it back again.

Also check the batteries of your remote control and wireless keypad. A simple change of batteries may be the only thing you need.

  1. Reset Your Remote Control

Another reason for the malfunction may simply be that the remote control is not working. Sometimes when you change batteries or reprogram the operator, you may need to reset the remote control again.

Resetting the remote control is not as difficult as it may sound; read your user manual and follow its short step by step guide.

  1. Garage Door Sensors

If the remote control is not the problem, check the garage’s sensors located at the bottom of the door.

Make sure the sensors on both sides are level with each other. Tighten the screw of the sensors or use a cable tie to permanently fix them on the door frame. Easily missable items like garbage bags, a mop, or your leg may interrupt the laser signal and cause a malfunction. So, before doing anything else, check the area near your garage door. Make sure to clean the lens of the sensors as well, since dust and snow may cause problems.

  1. Operator

The operator is the machine that moves the door of the garage. The machine may stop working due to motherboard malfunctions, busted wires, defective buttons, or overheating.

If the operator is frequently used and you suspect overheating, allow it to cool down for 30 minutes before using it again.

Tip: if the door only opens 6-8 inches, it’s probably an RPM sensor problem. If the operator lights blink 6 times, it may indicate circuit failure. Fixing these problems may be a little complicated but you’ll certainly impress your significant other or the mechanic if you can pinpoint which part of the operator is faulty.

  1. Repair Your Devices

Programming may be an intimidating word for some people but, setting up the operator and synchronizing it with your remote, wall button, keypad, and even your car’s HomeLink system is usually easier than you would expect. Read your owner’s manual for a step by step guide, watch video tutorials, or search the internet for easy-to-read troubleshooting instructions.

  1. Locked Wall Button

Another often overlooked part in the whole system is the wall button. Sometimes you check every little thing but nothing seems to work until you realize that the wall button is actually set to lock feature. If you don’t see an easy way to unlock the door right there on the keypad, consult your owner’s manual!

  1. Door Track and Inner Trolley

Sometimes garage doors get stuck because the door track or inner trolley is loose, bent, or broken. You may be able to tighten the railings and other parts by yourself. Just make sure to read the manual and turn the whole system off before touching anything. If you need a new track or trolley, call for a professional to install it properly.

  1. Grease the Door

If your garage door is stuck because it needs lubrication, then get your hands dirty! Grease the parts of the garage door that move, like hinges and bearings. Choose a dry lubricant so it will not attract dirt that may cause problems in the future.

Now that you know some of these tips and tricks, you can solve some of the most common garage door problems out there!

**Written by Kristy Jones of A Click Away Remotes – Garage Door Opener Store in California, USA.

If Your Kids Could Have Their Way, Where Would They Move

Young professionals without kids have the freedom to move based on personal preference, financial reasons, and job opportunities. Often, high-paying jobs and seemingly endless amenities for entertainment, dining, and sightseeing draw people to bustling, costly cities on the coast. Parents, however, operate under a different must-have list where high priority is given to finding family-friendly neighborhoods with ample outdoor space.

To define the best areas for kids, Zillow analyzed 100 of the nation’s largest cities, grading them on commute times, child population, and kid-friendly amenities like theme parks and playgrounds. Consider the following four cities that made the top 10 kid-friendly cities list.

Fort Worth

Out of the top 10 cities for kids, Fort Worth holds the highest percentage of youngsters at 16.1% of the total population. In addition, 13.8% of homes listed for sale in Fort Worth include kid-friendly terms such as “playroom” and “custom treehouse,” which helps relocating parents narrow their scope. Fort Worth holds four parks and 0.02 theme parks per 10,000 residents, while the median yard size is a comfortable 5,742 square feet. M/I Homes’ Creekwood community in Saginaw, located just north of the city, is representative of Fort Worth family living. Creekwood holds recreational fields, lake access, and green space. Various amenities, including a duck pond, fishing pond, biking trails, playgrounds, and swimming pools, are fundamental for families with children. Plus, close access to I-35W minimizes driving time to and from work for employed parents.

 San Antonio

At no. 4 on the best kid-friendly cities list, San Antonio kids make up 14.6% of the city’s population. House hunters with kids might have an easier time finding the perfect place given 14.3% of listings depict kid-friendly amenities. What San Antonio lacks in accessible public parks – two per 10,000 people – it makes up in yard size at a median 6,211 square feet. San Antonio also holds one of the higher theme park proportions of the top 10 cities at 0.04 per 10,000 residents. If you’re searching for family-friendly homes near San Antonio, consider the Waterford Park community. Waterford Park includes a community pool, playscape, open space and cabana for both adults and children to enjoy. This Alamo Ranch new construction community is located within the highly-rated Northside Independent School District, which feeds into several distinguished elementary, middle, and high school public facilities.

 Charlotte

Charlotte is the sixth best city for child rearing, based on its large kid population (14.3%) and numerous tot-approved listings (8%). With four parks and 0.03 theme parks per 10,000 people, Charlotte doesn’t lack profuse amusement. Still, Charlotte’s distinct attribute is the city’s sizable backyards at a median 10,549 square feet. Avery Park, a new home site in Cornelius, is a prime example of kid-friendly living near Charlotte. Avery Park offers easy access to Lake Norman, parks, playgrounds, a community garden, and dog park. Residents benefit from a convenient location, just 20 minutes north of Uptown Charlotte, facilitating faster commute times throughout the work week.

 Dallas

Dallas comes in no. 10 of the best cities for kids with 15.7% kids and 7.6% of homes listed with kid-friendly terms. Dallas offers three public parks and 0.02 theme parks per 10,000 residents. The median yard size of 7,133 square feet designed to satisfy any energetic toddler proves everything truly is bigger in Texas. Castle Point is a prime community for single-family house hunters. Located in Garland, northeast of downtown Dallas, Castle Point is a few miles away from George Bush Turnpike and minutes from major highways. In addition, Castle Point is within walking distance of Springfield Park and the Rowlett Creek Preserve, while the greater Garland area holds thousands of acres of green space and nature trails.

While kids are destined to enjoy green space and neighborhood amenities, parents are wise to weigh job opportunities, local schools and real estate prices alongside family must-haves. Luckily, many of these major cities fit everybody’s best interest – regardless of age.

**Jennifer Riner writes about rentals, home improvement and design for Zillow Blog.

Happy Homeowners: The Randolph Family

This new “Happy Homeowners Interview” features Gary and Cheryl Randolph, who recently built their new home in Charlotte.  Read below to hear about Randolphs’ homebuilding journey with M/I Homes!

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M/I Homes: Is this your first M/I home? What convinced you to choose M/I Homes over another builder?

Cheryl and Gary: Yes, this is our first M/I home. We had our realtor take us around to see existing homes, but there was nothing that met our price/feature preferences. We soon noticed that some builders stuck houses wherever they saw a spot of land and had no thought of an overall community design. One place actually had someone’s front door opening out to the side of their neighbor’s home.

Once we started looking at new builds, we saw many different neighborhoods. Driving along Poplar Tent Road, we saw three developments in a row and we checked out each one. It was sort a Goldilocks experience. The first place we looked at was nice, but you were given a very limited floor plan selection, and there was no ranch style. The second place we looked at was M/I Homes. We fell in love with the neighborhood and the quality of the homes, but we did not think we could afford a home in this area. So, we went to the third development. Styles were limited, but not as much as the first neighborhood we saw. Prices seemed doable and we were willing to settle for a house that was not exactly what we wanted – no ranch style available there either though.

A couple of months later, we visited Charlotte again (we’re from Buffalo, NY). We had eliminated most of the developments we had visited earlier and had pretty much settled on the development on Poplar Tent. We actually picked out a home and the options we wanted, and were almost finalizing the buy on the last day of our visit.

We had three hours before we needed to be at the airport to return to Buffalo. What the hey, let’s just stop and talk to Wendy (M/I Homes) one more time before we fly home. We gave Wendy our budget and told her that we loved the Cambridge model but we don’t need the second floor. Wendy worked with us to see which (of the many) options we really wanted. Two and a half hours later, we were $9,000 over our budget. The thing is, we loved what we had drawn up much more than we disliked the $9,000 overage. The difference between what we would settle for and what we loved was huge. At this point it was a no-brainer. Wendy became our best friend.randolph-family1-1

M/I: Are you happy with how your home turned out?

C/G: Oh yeah, very happy. To save money, we decided to go with the standard lighting fixtures, no garage door openers or ceiling fans, so we were pretty busy picking those things out online and installing them. We did save a lot of money, and the electricians’ prewire work did make the installs very straight-forward. Our home is everything we had hoped for.

M/I: What is the name of your floorplan, and what features of your home do you especially love?

C/G: Our floorplan is the Cambridge without the second floor. Our favorite room is the bedroom. That bay window extension is beautiful.

M/I: Overall, how was your experience with M/I Homes?  Did you get to pick out your homesite and the floorplan you wanted to build, or had the home already been started?

C/G: We have worked with at least three other builders on previous homes. This has been our best experience in home building. And yes, we picked out everything. Having lots of choices is both a blessing and a curse, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

M/I: Do you have any fun memories from the buying / building process?

C/G: Well, working with Wendy was fun. But our day at the Design Center was the most challenging. We picked out exterior colors, brick, fireplace stone, cabinets, countertops, toilets, kitchen upgrades, and so much more. We loved that Kelly was an expert at her job. She knew the colors of each neighbor’s home and guided us in picking out colors that would look great alongside them. Kelly was very skilled at helping us think about various aspects of each feature as we made our choices. Helping us think is much more beneficial than stating an opinion. She knew that.

Soon after the design center visit, we met John, the person supervising the construction of our new home. John made us feel comfortable when construction began but he was still an unknown to us at that point. As time went on, we realized that John really did mean it when he said that he builds each home as though he will own it. He kept things moving, kept us informed, and would not accept poor quality work. I guess that’s not really a fun memory, but it makes us really happy now.

M/I: What do you like about your neighborhood / community?

C/G: We like that it was clearly planned. We also love that it has curbs. That may sound silly, but our previous neighborhood had no curbs and there were always tire tracks on the lawns, unless the snow plows had completely destroyed the lawns. Then there were tire tracks in the mud.

M/I: Anything you would recommend to someone looking for a new home?

C/G: That depends on where the person is in their life. A young couple wants a starter home. We are at the opposite end of that. We wanted our last home. We wanted to get exactly what we wanted, so we would say now “don’t settle for something.”

M/I: What is your favorite space in your new home?  Do you have any pictures of that space you would like to share?

C/G: We could not pick just one because we are so happy with the layout. It has a large, well-planned kitchen space, the master bedroom with the extension looking out on the woods is so romantic and cozy, and the family room with stone fireplace is also our favorite!

M/I: What was something that surprised you the most with building / moving into a new home?

C/G: Wendy, John, and Kelly really listened to us, and really understood what would make us happy. They over-delivered and made this a home even better than our dreams. The upgrades, the wooded lot, the attention to our timeline, our budget needs – everything came together in our dream home.

M/I: Any suggestions you would give to someone building a new home with M/I Homes?

C/G: Take advantage of the opportunity to look at online pictures of other homes going up in the neighborhood! You can see how your neighbors put together different options to help you determine what you like and don’t like before heading to the Design Center. I know of no other builder who provides this view of their homes as they are being built. It was invaluable, especially because we were building our home in North Carolina while still living in New York.

** Recently retired, Gary and Cheryl Randolph moved from Buffalo, NY to Charlotte, NC in order to be near their grandkids and enjoy a moderate climate. Their retirement is an active one as they both love to bike and run. Cheryl has run a marathon and Gary completed a full Ironman (Lake Placid) at the age of 60.

Designer-Approved Nightstand Styles to Take Your Bedroom from Drab to Fab

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One of the most necessary pieces of furniture in the bedroom is the nightstand — after all, it’s the first thing you see when you wake and the last thing you see before you sleep. Nightstands not only help anchor the style and feel of your bedroom, but they also serve a multitude of purposes. From handy storage of bedroom goods to a work surface for late-night inspiration, these pieces are fantastic for keeping your must-haves close. We’ve rounded up our favorite designer-approved nightstand styles that are sure to take your bedroom from drab to fab in no time.

The Basics

Gone are the days when nightstands had to match to a T. Nowadays, these bedroom essentials have little limits—after all, as one of the main design elements that anchor your bedroom space, they should show off your unique style. There are just a few basics that should be considered when choosing a nightstand:

  • Whether your bed is a low platform or raised high, your nightstand should be close to the height of your mattress to keep things within easy reach.
  • Make sure your table lamps are around shoulder height when sitting up in bed. This allows for sufficient light when reading or scrolling through the internet at night.
  • Evaluate your bedtime routine to determine how much surface area you’ll need in a nightstand. For instance, if you’re reading at night, your nightstand should have sufficient space for books, a cozy table lamp and reading glasses.

From there, the types and styles of nightstands to choose from are endless. Keep these basics at hand during your search and it’s bound to be effortless.

 Traditional Nightstand

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Traditional nightstands with built-in storage keep things nearby and tucked away for easy middle-of-the-night access. Drawers are handy for tools, gadgets, books and any miscellaneous items you’d like to have in reach but out of sight. These are also great options for those with limited space or that like keeping surfaces free of stacks of books and clutter.

Nesting Tables

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We love nesting tables as nightstands in the bedroom. Not only do they offer something different visually, they’re also extremely versatile—after all, is there anything better than having three tables in one? Nesting tables are wonderful for bedrooms that have multiple seating areas, like a master suite with a reading nook that needs a side table pulled out every once in a while. They are also great choices for those that like having a variation of surfaces to work with, as they create an instant tiered nightstand.

Dresser

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If space is tight, consider using a single low-profile dresser to serve double duty as a nightstand. Not only do they offer more bang for your buck when it comes to surface area, but they provide enough space for a pretty vignette or display of your favorite collection. Have enough space to work with? Choose two bedside dressers instead of nightstands for a dramatic effect.

Mismatched Nightstands

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More and more homeowners are starting to mix it up with varying nightstands. They’re the perfect piece of furniture for playing around with different styles and vintage finds.

If you want to keep things slightly cohesive, choose tables around the same height. This allows for matching lamps to stay at the same eye level. Choose ones with similar finishes and mix up the decor, or choose ones with radically different finishes and styles and keep the decor similar on both sides.

Unique Alternatives 

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There are a number of unique alternatives to traditional nightstands. After all, if it has a surface and a height that works for your space, it could be a fantastic option for a bedside table. Here are a few examples:

  • Stacked vintage trunks and antique bar carts offer a vintage option with a unique touch of texture and patina.
  • Secretary desks are unexpected nightstand choices, allowing a variety of surface heights and additional drawers for storage.
  • Tray tables add a functional surface big enough for a lamp and a few books.

No matter what the choice, stretching outside the typical nightstand choices can yield fantastic results no matter what your style. What nightstand styles have you been eyeing for your space?

 

**As an interior designer, Kerrie Kelly is an expert on beautiful, functional bedroom spaces. From choosing the right color palette to picking the best dresser, Kerrie provides plenty of helpful information. If you are looking for a dresser or chest of drawers for your bedroom, visit The Home Depot.

 

Home Guide: Choosing the Right Doors for Your Home

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Apart from being the most important part of ensuring privacy, doors can greatly affect the overall style of your home. Whether they are inside or out, your choice and preferences about the door’s materials and design will elevate the looks of your home and affect its energy consumption. When remodeling or creating your home, consider a variety of different doors and their characteristics to decide which ones will fit your home the best.

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Types of Doors

There are plenty of types of doors, and you may think you have to opt for functionality over design. However, several types of doors offer you the best of both worlds by combining both functionality and design!

Sliding doors are most commonly made of wood, glass, or are lined with mirrors. People usually use them for their closets because they don’t occupy too much space. However, glass sliding doors are also used as part of the exterior when it comes to the entrance to the deck or a porch.

Pocket doors are similar to the sliding ones, but they actually slide into the wall, thus saving much more space. These are most commonly used inside the house and can create functional stylish space dividers for your dining room and kitchen.

Panel doors are the simplest and most popular doors for the house. They are usually made of wood or medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and can easily fit any classic style because of their classic patterns of square panels.

French doors fall into the category of elegant internal doors and they usually have a frame around a transparent panel. Also, they can have several such panels, which are usually filled with glass or some foggy translucent material. Besides being great for your kitchen or living room, these doors can make a big entrance into your home if used as the front door.

Barn doors have become a very popular part of the exterior design. They can perfectly fit in your home if its style is rather industrial or rustic. Also, you can use them in the interior if you have big spaces that need to be divided.

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Consider the Materials

The materials will determine the durability and performance of the doors you choose. Additionally, they will affect both exterior and interior design of your home. There are plenty of materials you can choose from, but these several should be considered.

Solid wood is the most common material for the doors and its price and durability depend on the type of wood used. While cherry, mahogany, maple, pine, and other hard and soft woods are rarely used, the most common material is pine with 6 panels. Such doors are generally used on the exterior, but you can use them inside as well. However, they shouldn’t be used for the bathrooms, saunas, and damp spaces, since the wood expands and shrinks with the changes in humidity and temperature.

MDF, the material we mentioned earlier, is an engineered product which is mostly used for internal doors. It is stable and can be used for bathrooms and damp spaces if you purchase the moisture resistant variety; plus it’s smooth and easy to repaint for future renovations!

Metal and glass doors are elegant and can exude modernity. Thus they are often used both for the interior and exterior. However, they tend to be pricey. On the upside, they offer durability and protection for your home!

A photo by James Bates. unsplash.com/photos/ZVYZx4c4abg

Choose Your Style

You should choose the door design according to the overall style of your home. However, you can mix and match a little in order to create a more fun and eclectic look and dynamic atmosphere, but try choosing same elements in order not to disturb the flow. Pay attention to the size of the room – avoid massive doors with plenty of ornaments in small rooms so it wouldn’t be overwhelmed. Also, small doors in big rooms can create a sense of bigger spaces, but the room might feel empty and unfinished.

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Insulation

Apart from elevating the looks of your home, doors can help you conserve energy. Depending on the material and framing, you will affect the amount of energy that is preserved or wasted, so always look for well insulated doors. Also, thick doors can isolate the sounds that enter or exit your house, which can change the atmosphere in your home depending on the amount of noise that is let in.

Even though picking doors seems easy, there are several things to be considered. The right materials, types and sizes of the doors can save you plenty of money and trouble with the noise, while upgrading the style of your home.

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