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.

6 Reasons to Get a Garage Security System

A typical garage doesn’t come with a complete security system. Although certain home devices already come with basic security features, a full security system is an investment that you have to make for your home.

The garage is usually the place where expensive tools and vehicles are stored. Many homeowners do not give much thought to the security of garages. However, robbers are already targeting this as it also serves as a point of entry to the entire house.

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If you are still contemplating taking the dip and making this purchase, here are the top reasons why you should get a full security system that covers your garage:

1. Peace of mind. Nothing beats the peace of mind that you get from having security 24/7 in your home. This provides that blanket of security for your family members even if you are not at home. That feeling of protection creates a safe haven for you and your family. A full security system makes your garage hard to break into, compared to a normal garage.

2. Increase in home value. Getting a full security system for your garage is obviously an investment. However, the extra security that the system provides can increase the value of your home. If you’re planning on selling your home in the future, then this can serve as an extra selling point!

3. Full control anytime, anywhere. Modern home security systems are fully integrated with smartphones. No matter where you are and what time of the day it is, you can have access to your home. This also lets you choose who has access to your garage, and from there, to the rest of your home. You can receive regular updates on the security status of your home and you can control it through your mobile device.

4. Better insurance rates. A safe and secured garage is received as good news by insurance providers. This gives them peace of mind knowing that break-ins are less likely to happen in your home because of the security, which can lead to having lower insurance rates on your home. If you have recently added a full security system, then give your insurance provider a ring and inform them that you have installed a new security system.

5. Secured storage of vehicles and equipment. The garage is where pricey items (like your vehicle, tools, garden equipment, and sporting goods) are stored. Most of the things inside your garage can be easily stolen and sold. So, beefing up your garage’s security should be something you consider. A new security system will help keep your valuables protected whether you’re at the neighbor’s for dinner or you’re out of town.

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6. Video monitoring. A full security system includes security cameras. Having video monitoring will help you feel at ease about the safety of your family. No matter what you’re doing, you can constantly check up on the status of your home and your family. You can see what’s happening any time of the day.

** Written by Kristy Jones,the blog author of A Click Away Remotes – Garage Door Opener and Remotes Blog.

Why Should Homeowners Care About Conserving Energy?

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Have you heard the buzz about going green? Homeowners across the country have started to embrace a greener lifestyle, but what’s in it for them? Here are just a few of the reasons why homeowners should be concerned with energy conservation!

Improves your quality of life.

Everyone wants to feel comfortable in his or her home, and energy efficiency can help homeowners reach a new level of comfort. Do you have to snuggle up under blankets to stay warm or turn on a ceiling fan for extra cooling? Do you have to wear socks around the house because of icy cold floors? These problems can easily be fixed with insulation, which will reduce your energy use and make you more comfortable. This is just one way energy efficiency can improve the quality of your life. The opportunities to make your home more comfortable are endless, which is why so many homeowners love tackling green home improvement projects.

Saves you money.

Perhaps the main reason why homeowners start to conserve energy is to save money. Most homeowners spend around $2,000 a year on home energy bills, but this can be reduced by 20-30% if you make energy efficient upgrades in the home. The less energy you consume, the less you will have to spend on water and electric bills every month. This means you will have more money in your pocket to allocate towards your mortgage, savings, or paying down student loan debt.

Helps the environment.

The less energy that is consumed by homeowners, the more society can save valuable natural resources. Energy conservation can also reduce air pollution. Everything from cars to power plants contribute to air pollution, so the less you rely on these things, the more you can help keep the air clean.

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Improves the economy.

Besides the benefits it can bring to you personally, becoming more energy efficient at home can also help the economy. Energy efficient projects, such as installing solar panels on the roof of a building for example, can build jobs. In fact, in 2010 alone, there were over 800,000 jobs in America related to energy efficiency. As more homeowners begin to conserve energy, manufacturers are forced to adjust to this new type of consumer demand, thus conserving energy sparks innovation. If every homeowner made an effort to be more energy efficient, the results would be huge and far-reaching.

Now that you know why you should care about conserving energy, are you ready to start living green? Here are a few easy ways you can get started:

  • Switch to energy efficient light bulbs, which use 25-80% less energy than traditional bulbs.
  • Install a power strip. Leaving devices on can waste energy, but did you know that devices plugged directly into the wall can still waste energy while they’re off? Plug as many devices as you can into a power strip, and then turn the entire strip off when it’s not in use to cut energy off at the source.
  • Install a programmable thermostat, which can help you make sure you are not unnecessarily heating or cooling your home and wasting energy when no one is there.

As you can see, it doesn’t take much to start conserving energy in your home, so why not start today?

M/I Homes takes many steps to ensure that your new home is energy efficient. We build all of our homes to our Whole Home Building Standards, and always work to make sure that our homes are up to the best energy ratings.

** Uma Campbell is a green loving yoga instructor and freelance writer. She currently lives in Southern California where she enjoys writing about natural living, health, and home design.@Umajcampbell www.umajcampbell.wordpress.com

Smart Homes – Security Systems and Cameras

Previously, we wrote about Smart Home products that you can use to update your garage and outdoor living space.  Now, we’ve done some research about Smart Home security systems and security cameras that can help make your life easier while also raising the security level of your home!

There are plenty of security systems on the market, but how many of them actually make living in your home easier and more secure? Here are a couple that we found!

ADT Pulse:

If you’re looking for a traditional home security system with modern technology mixed in, then you’ll love this system. ADT Pulse is a Smart Home security system that uses wireless technology to make a single network out of multiple devices around your home.

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This system offers a multitude of Smart Home features.  The interactive touchscreen panel gives you control of the system while you’re home, and you can remotely control it with your computer or your mobile device.  Using either of these methods, you’re able to arm and disarm your security system, lock and unlock your doors, and monitor your indoor and outdoor cameras.  More passive features include 24/7 fire, burglary, and carbon monoxide monitoring.  The system will also send you alerts if there is a fire, an intrusion, or if your home is at dangerously low temperatures.

This home automation system can also provide you with security even when you’re away from home and don’t have access to your mobile devices thanks to its custom settings.  For example, putting your system in Vacation Mode arms the system, turns on random lights around your home, and adjusts your home’s temperature to be slightly closer to the outside temperature so that you can save money on your energy bills!

The cost of the ADT Pulse system depends on whether you choose their Remote Arm, Control, or Live Video service, which you can compare here, and which monitoring contract you choose.

Installation:

Since ADT Pulse is in part a traditional security system, it requires ADT to come install the system in your home. You can find the number to call here on their website.

Simplisafe2:

Unlike ADT Pulse, Simplisafe2 is a system made entirely of wireless technology to ensure that you’re able to keep your home secure in the most convenient way possible.

Simplisafe2

Unlike traditional security systems, this Smart Home system offers a home monitoring service for only $15 a month. It doesn’t require a contract, so you can start your security plan when you need it and cancel it when you don’t! Even better, Simplisafe2 is completely wireless, so you can move the different parts around as you please!

One of the great features of this system is that its base station does most of the system’s thinking, while a traditional system uses its keypad as the “brain.”  The base station has a SIM card inside, just like a phone, which activates when you use their monitoring service.  If you use their monitoring plans, it will not only call the police if a burglary occurs, but also sends you text messages for alerts.

If you’re asking yourself why the Simplisafe has a base station that calls the police, it’s because most security systems do this through the keypad, so if a burglar quickly smashes the keypad, the police may not be called. The Simplisafe’s base station does all of this, so it can be hidden anywhere in your home and silently call the police even if the wireless keypad is destroyed. After the police have been notified, the base station sounds off an alarm to deter the intruders.

If you’re interested in this system, they currently have a deal that offers you their base station, wireless keypad, a motion sensor, 3 entry sensors, and a free keychain remote for around $300.  If that doesn’t meet your needs, you can also create your own bundle on their website! This way you can make sure that your security needs are met.

Installation:

Since this is a wireless security system, installation is a breeze.  The motion sensors, keypad, and entry sensors are all put in place with adhesive tape, and setting up the system is even easier! Simply turn on the base station and it will find all of your sensors for you!

Security cameras have come a long way in being viable security options for the public. Thanks to modern technology, we don’t even need to go out of our way to install them! The following cameras all use wi-fi to help keep your home secure.

Canary:

The Canary is a wi-fi enabled indoor security camera that aims do more than just function as a security camera to increase your quality of life.

Canary

The Canary features an HD camera that’s equipped with night vision to make sure that you get clear video at any time of the day. It also has a microphone, motion detection, and a 90 dB siren. But this Smart Home device does more than just monitor your home for security; it tracks the temperature, humidity, and air quality of your home to make sure that you live safely and comfortably.

The Canary has three different modes so that you can use it when you need to and turn it off when you want privacy.  Armed mode monitors your home and sends push notifications to your phone when it senses movement.  Disarmed mode lets the Canary monitor your home, but it won’t send you push notifications. And Privacy mode disables the camera and microphone, meaning the device only continues to monitor the temperature, humidity, and air quality in your home.

Canary offers a free plan that includes motion-activated alerts, video recordings when the Canary is set to Armed mode, the ability to watch events recorded in the last 12 hours, and allows you to save up to 5 video clips in their Canary Cloud. If you’d like to be able to watch more than the last 12 hours or have more storage space in the cloud, you can pay for one of their upgraded plans.

If you’re looking to purchase a Canary, it will cost you about $199, or you can get the Canary Two-Pack for $379!

Installation:

This Smart Home security device is as easy to set up as it gets! All you have to do is set it in the desired location and then activate it via the app on an iPhone or Android device. No installation required!

Nest Cam:

The Nest Cam is another indoor wi-fi enabled security camera that alerts you when it detects activity in your home.

NestCam

This Smart Home device records at 1080p and has a 130 degree wide-angle view with the ability to zoom in, making it great for monitoring large areas while still capturing small details. The camera comes with a a stand so that it can be placed on a wall, tripod, or shelf. It can also be placed on a magnetic surface. All of these options enable you to place the camera in creative and hidden places.

The Nest Cam sends an alert to your phone when it senses motion or detects a noise, but it makes sure to ignore background noise such as traffic. The optional Nest Away service provides you with a multitude of safety features that take full advantage of this Smart Home technology. Nest Away allows you create zones from the cameras point of view that send you a personalized alert when they detect activity. It also uses algorithms that use use depth perception and facial recognition to decide when it detects motion. In addition to those two major features, Nest Aware gives you a timelapse function, 24/7 continuous 1080p streaming of the camera’s feed, and allows you to save clips.

If you have other Nest products, you can rest assured that all of these Smart Home appliances work together. For example, if the Nest thermostat is set to Away, your Nest Cam will turn on to monitor your home. Similarly, if the Nest Protect (their smoke and carbon monoxide detector) detects smoke, the Nest Cam will turn on to record a clip so that you can go back and find what happened.

The Nest Cam itself only costs $199, or if you want to monitor your home in multiple spots you can take advantage of their deal to save $100 when when you buy 3, bringing the total to $497.

Installation:

Much like the Canary, this camera is about as simple to set up as it can be. You merely place the camera wherever you’d like it to be, plug in the power chord, and activate it with the Nest app.

Kuna Light:

Unlike the Canary and the Nest Cam, the Kuna Light is a wi-fi enabled security camera that’s made for outdoor use.  The Kuna Light is an outdoor light with a security camera hidden underneath!

 

This outdoor security camera sends you an alert when it detects motion, such as someone walking up to your front door. You can then stream live video to your phone. Another fun aspect of this Smart Home product is that it allows you to talk through the Kuna Light’s built-in speaker. You can speak live through your phone or you can play a previously recorded message. If a potential intruder approaches your home, you can sound an alarm through the built-in speakers.

What’s great about the Kuna Light is that their streaming service is free! And the product is built to be weather proof, so it’s made to keep your home safe rain or shine. You can even have as many Kuna Lights around your home as you want; they can all be controlled from one phone.

And this Smart Home appliance does more than just monitor your home! It allows you to schedule the lights so that they turn on and off at certain times of the day.

Thanks to Kuna’s Companion lights, there’s no need to worry about having mismatched exterior lights! The Companion light is a Kuna Light without the camera, so if you only want one camera then you can still have matching lights.

The Kuna Light costs $199, and the Companion lights run at $129.

Installation:

If you’re just replacing an old light fixture with the Kuna Light, then you should be able to install this Smart Home product in about 15 minutes! Simply remove the old light fixture and replace it with the Kuna!

If you’re installing this as a brand new light fixture, then you’ll need to follow standard installation and wiring procedures for outdoor lights.

You can also click here to see their whole page on installing the Kuna Light if you’d like to see more specifics!

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Top 10 Considerations – New vs. Used Home

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 4.58.04 PMOk. You’re on the hunt for the perfect home, but you can’t decide if you want a fixer-upper or a move-in-ready new home. Obviously, we’re a little biased on this topic, but we’ve also overheard a lot of home-buying discussions. So, we compiled this list of real reasons real people have told us why they choose new homes versus used.

  1. You can design your “Dream Home” exactly how you pictured it. You get to put your personal touches into your home, without having to do an entire home remodel, or find a used home that checks the most things off your “must have” list. New home builders have specialists to help you design your home. Yes, that means you can bring your Pinterest inspiration boards to life in your new home!
  1. Energy consumption/new building requirements = low cost of ownership. HERS index is your home’s rating. The lower HERS score, the better. Think of it like MPG in your car, but for your home. You want more MPG for your car, but for your home you want a lower HERS score. The lower the HERS score, the lower energy your home is consuming, which equates to lower energy bills.
  1. Bye bye replacement/repair bills! Everything is new, so you won’t have to worry about updating your air conditioner, repairing the water heater, replacing the floors, getting a new roof, etc. All of those items are brand new, so time and money spent on replacing those is in your savings (or shopping) account instead. Those items typically all come under manufacturers warranty as well!
  1. Resale Value. Communities that are building new homes are large business ventures for home building companies. They are building in areas that are expected to grow and have spent a lot of time researching the area to ensure they have an area that’s a good value. Costs of these homes build in an upward or growing area will only increase, vs. purchasing a home in an older area of town that might be declining in value
  1. Warranty. New homes come with warranties from the builder, and typically have warranties on all of the appliances and products within the home. With a resale home, unless everything was recently remodeled and includes warranties, there won’t be warranties available on those homes.
  1. Less personal time spent on home projects. Let’s face it. There are only so many hours in a day. Do you want to spend all your free time covered in sawdust, realizing that it looks a lot easier on HGTV? Since you can decide what items you want in your home as it’s being built, you will spend less time working on home improvement projects. Things like remodeling your bathroom, upgrading the floors, etc won’t be an issue since you can choose to have them completed for you! You’ll have more time to enjoy your home, throw parties, spend time at the community amenities, etc.
  1. Keypad Locks - TechnologyAdvanced technology and design. Since your home is brand new, so will all the technology that comes with it. And in today’s tech-savvy age, EVERYTHING has some sort of technology attached to it. For example, M/I homes come with things like Schlage Keypad locks (which offer key-free touchpad entry), built-in thermostats, and many other high-tech appliances.
  1. Choose a floorplan, layout and homesite that meets your needs. Want to be on a wooded homesite with three-car garage? You might spend months, or even years looking for that perfect home that’s already built, but with a new home, you can select your homesite and then the floorplan that fits your family’s need. Again, saving you time (see a trend here?).
  1. Comfort and air quality. My husband has really bad allergies, so this one especially hits home (pun intended) with me. Because new homes have the latest building standards for a home, you will get a better “sealed” home that keeps your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter! That also means you get state-of-the-art ventilation and the best air quality possible.
  1. What’s your Homestyle? Last but not least, this one’s all up to you. We have a new “What Homestyle are you?” quiz on our website, so click here to take it and see if you’re a good match for new or used!

 

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