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.

Energy Saving Tips for the Winter

Summer is long over and we are quickly nearing some fun festivities like Christmas, Hanukkah, etc., which usually indicate that the winter season is in full effect. And what do these seasons bring besides peppermint mochas and holiday gifts? The answer is short days, dark evenings, and bigger electricity bills. But it always doesn’t have to be this way, because there are things that you can do to decrease your energy consumption at home and save money! So lets get these energy saving tips rolling and see our electricity bills in the fall and winter shrinking.

Seal It Up

A common reason why people complain about insufficient warmth in their homes even though they still are paying huge heating bills is that they are losing heat through cracks around their windows. Using weatherstrip around your windows will reduce heat loss, keeping your home warmer and using less energy to heat it. And using less energy means you pay less on your utility bills!

Lower the Temperature

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Although to some this might seem like a weird tip, you may want to think about lowering the temperature on your thermostat to around 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit, or even lower if you are comfortable with your home being a bit cooler. This will let you save on energy, since your heating won’t be blasting all the time, but you will still be living in a home that is comfortably warm.

Let the Sun Warm You Up

Sun is an amazing energy source, and all the best solar lights and solar panels are able to produce a ton of electricity and very bright lighting when the sun is out. The same also goes for heating, because natural sunlight is a great heat source, too. So use it; keep your curtains and blinds open during the day and let the sunshine in! On a sunny day, even if it is cold outside, the sun will warm up your house or apartment and you will be able to turn your thermostat down to save energy on heating.

Switch to LED

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You maybe have heard people talking about switching their incandescent and CFL bulbs to LED ones, and for good reason. LED bulbs consume up to 10 times less electricity, yet provide the same, if not better, illumination as other types of light bulbs. So exchange all of your light bulbs to LEDs and see your energy consumption drop. On top of that, think about getting LED holiday lights instead of ones with incandescent bulbs. Many people break out the Christmas lights as soon Halloween is over, and LED holiday lights will make sure that your festive home decor won’t cause your electricity bill to skyrocket for two whole months.

Unplug – Not Standby

Did you know that even if you leave electronic on a standby mode, which essentially looks like the devices are turned off, they still continue to consume quite a lot of electricity? In fact, electronics on standby make up as much as 10% of your total household electricity load. So start saving on energy and fully turn off and unplug your electronics whenever you’re not using them.

Cool the Water

Lastly, also make sure that you lower the temperature of your water heater, since water heating racks up around one fifth of all the energy that is consumed within your household. Use the warm (not hot) setting and adjust the temperature to around 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This will help reduce your energy bills and reduce the risk of you scalding your hands with hot water when you come inside.

Have any other simple ideas for saving energy during the winter? We would love to hear your tips and tricks!

 

**Arthur Smith has been working in solar and lighting industries for a long time, and now he shares his experience and knowledge on renewable energy, lighting, and energy efficiency on his blog LEDwatcher.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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Smart Homes – Garage and Outdoors

A Smart Home is a home that is equipped with modern technology to make it more functional, efficient, and convenient than ever before.

Smart Home products are accessible, provide you with knowledge of your home, and make your life easier by saving you time. One of the best things about a Smart Home is that you can retroactively upgrade your home without spending thousands of dollars, and installation is quick and easy!

We were so curious about how to make a Smart Home that we did some research and found tons of cool products on the world wide web! Throughout the next few months, we’ll be posting different products that we think could help make your home a Smart Home! For now, we give you our first Smart Homes blog post: Appliances that will help make your garage and outdoor space more functional and convenient than ever before!

Garageio:

Garageio is the next step in bringing your garage to the modern day, without needing to buy a new garage door opener.

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The Garageio Blackbox is a WiFi-enabled device that installs directly into your home garage. It allows you to open and close your garage door with your smartphone from anywhere in the world via the Garageio app, which is available on both Apple and Android devices.  If you have a babysitter, contractors, or in-laws that frequently visit your home, Garageio gives you the control to give (or take away) visitor’s access as needed, giving you peace of mind.

Our favorite feature of the Garageio is its ability to integrate with other apps on your smartphone using IFTTT (If This Then That). You can connect Garageio to your weather channel app so that your garage door automatically closes when it starts to rain, or you can integrate it with your smartphone’s location services to automatically open and close the garage door when you arrive home. As a safety feature, you can also set it to notify you if your garage door has accidentally been left open!  There are also plans for future integrations with other services such as SmartThings, so this Smart Home product will continue to offer you more convenience!

There’s no need to worry about someone hacking in to your Garageio account!  Garageio uses bank-level security that includes industry-standard encryption and short-lived authentication tokens.  And any action your Garageio makes has to go through the app, so local communication across your home WiFi network won’t budge your garage door.

With such a useful array of features, you may think that Garageio would break the bank, but it is surprisingly affordable! The price is based off of the number of doors it would control. The prices are as follows:

1-door garage: $199

 

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What comes with the 1-door garage package.

2-door garage: $209

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2-door garage package.

3-door garage: $219

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3-door garage package.

Installation:

Installation should take about 15 minutes per door and can be done with just a screwdriver, a stepladder, masking tape, and the Garageio app. Just activate your Blackbox over WiFi using the 16-character code on the website, install the Blackbox on your garage door opener, place the activator on your garage door, and you’re good to finish setting up your door with the Garageio app!

Click here to see the more detailed installation instructions on their website!

 

Schlage Smart Lock:

SchlageSmartLock

The Schlage Smart Lock is a new touchscreen deadbolt lock with an alarm. By inputting your password on the touchpad, you unlock the deadbolt. The touchpad has a matte finish so that it’s resistant to fingerprints and smudges, and the lock is capable of holding up to 30 user codes! You can also set it to give off an audible alert whenever the door is moved. You can choose the type of alert you receive: activity, tamper, or forced.

Another great feature of this lock is its wireless capabilities. Depending on your service provider, you can connect it with your home security system via computer, tablet, or smartphone.

This Smart Home appliance offers you plenty of security and knowledge of who goes in and out of your home, and costs $265.

Installation:

Installation is nearly the same as any other door handle, but while you’re installing the deadbolt, you run a cable inside the door from the deadbolt to the alarm assembly. That’s it! No confusing wiring, just a screwdriver.

Click here to see more information on their website for installation.

 

iRobot LOOJ:

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The iRobot LOOJ  is a remote controlled robot will save you from the dangerous and time consuming task of cleaning your gutters. It operates by breaking clogs, lifting and throwing those clogs away, and then sweeping and scraping the remaining debris. It also comes with an extra set of smaller ejectors that work on different types of debris.

The remote control puts more power in your hands than you would initially think! When you have other work to do, you can set the robot to the automatic clean mode! Or if you want, you can use the remote control to make the robot move forwards and backwards, and you can chose the spin direction to ensure that debris is thrown away from your roof!

Home automation products such as this are worth the price they carry, and the LOOJ will cost you around $300.

Installation:

The iRobot LOOJ is a perfect example of a smart home device with no installation.  Since this is a portable robot that you can carry around, you don’t need to worry about installation at all! It stands just under 2 inches high and is 3 inches wide, making it able to fit in most gutters. However, you can download the measurement document from their website to make sure it will fit.

Click here to see their measurements document to make sure that the robot will fit in your gutters.

 

High Tech Pet Power Electronic Pet Door:

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The Power Pet Door is a vertically-sliding pet door that’s activated by an ultrasonic collar. Since it operates via ultrasonic waves, the door is able to sense the direction of the collar. This means that the door won’t open when your pet wanders by or sleeps next to the door. The door also has 4 different controls: in only, out only, full access, and closed & locked.

You don’t have to worry about feeling a draft through this pet door! It’s wind and weatherproof with an airtight seal, giving it much better insulation than a regular pet door.

The door uses an AC adaptor, but there is an optional battery that you can buy if you want to have battery power as a back up or operate the door solely off of batteries.

The door comes in two different sizes as well! The medium size allows for animals of up to 30 lbs., and the large size is for pets up to 100 lbs.

Pricing for this modern home product depends on the size of the door that you purchase.  The prices are as follows:

Medium: $299.99

Large: $349.99

Installation:

It’s as simple as installing a regular dog door. Cut the hole for the section where your pet can walk through, screw the pet door into place, and you’re done.

Click here to see their page for more specific information on how to install your pet door.

 

Skydrop Sprinkler:

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The Skydrop sprinkler controller is a WiFi-enabled controller for your sprinkler system that helps you reduce your water usage by watering your lawn more efficiently. The Skydrop doesn’t just water less when it rains or when the temperature drops; it uses your internet connection to track the weather in your hour every hour so that it knows when the soil is dry or already saturated. This means that the Skydrop tells your sprinkler system to run less often, but at the right times and in just the right way. This means that you’ll have greener, healthier grass while using less water!

Sometimes you’re away from home and may want to check in on or manually control your sprinkler system. Not only does Skydrop allow you to control your sprinklers with the Skydrop controller itself, but also with a web browser, smartphone, or table! This means you can manage your lawn from anywhere that you can access the internet!

This revolutionary smart home product may seem like it could cost you thousands of dollars, but the Skydrop controller is only about $280!

Installation:

It should be noted here that the Skydrop Sprinkler controller requires more wiring than the other products on this list, so make sure to take a reference photo of your current sprinkler controller before you take it down! It’s also important to note that since the Skydrop uses your wifi connection, you should install it in a location with a strong connection.

Screw the new Skydrop unit to the wall, test and connect each of the wires, and then attach the main controller to the unit! While this installation process may seem daunting, in the end its entirely worth it!

Click here to see their page for more specific information about installation.

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Want to see more ways that you can upgrade your home with Smart Home products? Read our newest article on security systems and cameras!

Smart Door Lock: A State-of-the-Art Security Feature for Your New Home

M/I Homes is proud to offer different Smart Door lock capabilities. One of our options is the Schlage Keypad Lock enabled by Nexia Home Intelligence. These locks allow you to control the locks directly from your phone. You can see what time the door is locked and unlocked using specific use codes. Need a neighbor to go let the dogs out? You can even give them their own specific code! This gives you the peace of mind to know exactly when family members are entering and exiting your home!

Aren’t familiar with Smart Locks? Check out the information written by Lillian Connors below to learn more about what to keep in mind when looking for Smart Door Locks.

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Smart Door Lock: A State-of-the-Art Security Feature for Your New Home

It has been years since we have been given a card instead of a traditional key in a city hotel. I still remember the moment of awkwardness when we could not make the elevator go to our floor even though we pushed each and every button, until someone noticed a card slot next to the floor digits. We quickly took on and easily opened the room door, but it took some time to figure out how to turn the lights on. Our laughter is something we remember even more, and the how we felt as a part of a Sci-Fi movie.

Nowadays, this is nothing unusual, innovations occur on a daily basis, we have a wide choice of electronic and smart door locks available and the market is ever growing. If this topic is still somewhat unfamiliar to you, you are at the right place. We prepared the essential information about smart door locks, to help you start your research and choose the right security feature for your new home.

Digital Technology

This is something you have to be familiar with if you wish to keep in touch with the latest developments happening around you. Naturally, the same applies to smart door locks. Knowing how to operate them and how to keep your privacy is a necessary precondition for fully functional use and safety. There are also locks that can be remotely controlled, as well as those that support WIFI network. Before getting a smart door lock, make sure you look into the digital technology that you need to support this system.

Operating Systems

Being digital, smart door locks work under operating systems, which, unfortunately do not have to be compatible and usually are quite the opposite. Therefore, if you wish to use your mobile or smart phone as a controller for the lock, make sure they use the same operating system, Android, Windows or Symbian, for example. The last thing you want is an installed lock you cannot use.

Installation

Basically, there are two types of installation. Usually, smart door locks are installed separately from the traditional locks; still, there are some that can be mounted on the existing door locks. Both are perfectly functional and the choice lays only in your preferences. Additionally, some of them even have digital display, allowing you to customize the welcoming note or even take pictures of your visitors.

Power

Smart door locks are battery powered, which can sometimes be a downside, so you’ll want to make sure to pick a system that is easily charged or has additional external batteries.  You’d hate to have a situation where you had been away on business for a week; you have just arrived back home and find yourself outside your front door, unable to enter since the batteries on your Smart Lock had died out.  Not all of the systems are easy to deal with in such situations, and are not rare at all, claim the people who run a trusted 24hr locksmith service, so ensuring that you have a back up plan for the batteries dying will have you prepared for this type of situation.

 

**Lillian Connors is a blogger and home improvement enthusiast ever so keen on doing various DIY projects around her house and passionately writing about them. She is also an online marketing consultant, closely collaborating with a number of companies from all over the globe. You can check her out on G+Facebook and Twitter.

 

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