Have you ever fumbled around looking for your garage door opener? It’s yet another controller to keep track of which is why a lot of people out there are trying to use their phones instead. But is there a convenient way to connect your phone so you can open and close your garage door? Having everything consolidated to one device means you won’t have to search for another controller constantly, but is it even possible and how would you go about it?
You can easily connect your phone to your garage door, in fact, there are several methods available. Some retrofit your existing door opener, and some are all-in-one smart home devices.
Let’s face it; everything is connected these days and garage door openers are no exception. If you want to add convenient features like phone control and smart commands to your unit, it’s easier than ever. Even if you are less than tech-savvy, you can get it done in no time, you just have to read the right material so you understand what you’re doing. If you want to learn more about the kinds of smart devices that can handle opening your garage door, read on!
How To Add Smart Features to Your Garage Door
When it comes time to add smart functions to your garage door, there are essentially two options: 1) is replacing the old opener with a smart opener like the Genie StealthDrive (on Amazon), and the 2nd way of doing it is to retrofit your existing opener with a system like the Chamberlain myQ Hub (on Amazon). Both options can offer you enhanced functions like a phone connection.
Some openers can even offer smart command features integration with Alexa, Siri, or Google Home systems. Deciding which option is the right choice for you can depend on a few factors including the age of your existing opener, what functions you’re looking for, as well as the price. Adding smart functions to your existing opener will depend on the product you are using.
Devices like the aforementioned Chamberlain myQ Smart Hub are true wireless systems. Installing the Chamberlain myQ is as easy as placing the sensor directly on the inside of your garage door. It is oriented toward the opener itself. The device provides the bridge to connect your phone to your garage door opener. It isn’t compatible with all devices, though—check the Chamberlain site at this link here for more information.
Other devices that aim to add functionality to existing openers may require a bit more setup work. The Garadget (on Amazon) is one such device. It promises to add the same functionality as the Chamberlain but requires some light electrical work. While this may not be ideal, if the myQ isn’t compatible with your existing opener, it is an excellent second choice.
If you want to replace your unit completely, there are a lot of different models to choose from. Many manufacturers have heeded the call of consumers wanting more integrated and much smarter functionally. The Chamberlain Group B550 (on Amazon) can add smart connectivity without the need for external adapters. These newer machines also offer other features like ultra-quiet tracks and enhanced safety functions.
How to Make Sure Your New Garage Door Opener is Smart
If you are working with an old and outdated opener, it might be time to replace the unit. If that is the case, be on the lookout for smart openers to make your system even more convenient and easy to use. You may already have some smart home devices, so the big question to ask is why not add your garage door opener to your network? There are a couple of options to choose from, and they are each a bit different. Think about how integrated you want your system to be.
Do you want to be able to use smart commands? Are you okay just having phone connectivity? These can help guide you to the right choice for your home. Additionally, you will want to decide if you want an out-of-the-box system or one that requires a hub. While out-of-the-box means you need no additional hardware, it can also come with limited features. Using an opener that requires a hub often means you can integrate seamlessly with your existing smart home system. Here are two killer choices with smart functionality:
- Chamberlain B675T (on Amazon)—This opener comes from a trusted name, integrates with a proprietary app, and comes with an additional smart view camera.
- beamUP Sentry (also on Amazon)—With Alexa compatibility built-in and loads of security features, the Sentry is another excellent option for full opener replacement.
Integrating Your Smart Garage Into Your Smarthome
There are a couple of considerations when it comes to integrating your smart garage into your greater smart home system. First, what kind of system have you chosen? Is it Zigbee or Z-Wave? Your new smart garage will need to be compatible to communicate effectively. Second, consider what kind of integration your smart garage is capable of. Some systems only work over Wi-Fi and can’t integrate outside of the smartphone app. If this is the case, then voice-command features and other communication are out.
Other systems are capable of connecting to popular platforms like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home. Remember that you will need to either have these connected to your phone already or have a device like the Echo Auto (on Amazon). Additionally, some systems will require an extra subscription service to integrate with smart hubs. Chamberlain is one of these companies, but the cost of the monthly subscription is only $1.
Summarizing the Steps
So you have decided to get the required hardware and make your garage door smart. Well, the way you go about this is going to depend on what system you have chosen. If you only got an adapter to retrofit your old opener, things should be fairly easy. In contrast, a full-fledged replacement is going to take a bit more time and expertise. Regardless of which option you decide to go for, soon, you’ll be controlling things all from the convenience of your phone. Here are the two most popular methods and a basic overview of the installation process.
Retrofit With an Adapter
If you are looking to retrofit with an adapter, the easiest and most straightforward solution is the Chamberlain myQ. Here is how you get one set-up:
- Install the myQ app on your smartphone (Chamberlain is compatible with iOS and Android devices)
- Plug in your smart garage hub.
- You should see an indicator light blinking. If not, try and reset the device.
- In the app, scan the serial number on the back of the hub.
- From here, you will see an option to connect to your Wi-Fi network.
- Once you have connected, you will need to remove the tab from the sensor and hit next on the app dialog screen.
- Go through the steps to pair the sensor with the hub.
- Next, you will need access to your garage door opener. Use a later to safely reach the re-program button for the existing remote on the opener.
- Press the button and quickly release it. This will cause your garage door opener to move and will pair with the sensor.
- Make sure to name everything inside the myQ app.
- You should now be finished and ready to use your myQ app to control your garage door.
Replacing Your Old Garage Door Opener
To replace your old garage door opener with a smart one, you will need to work with some electrical components. If you are not comfortable with this task, consult a professional instead. It can be very dangerous working with live electrical components, keep these risks in mind and also how to mitigate them. Basically, you will need to go through all the regular steps to replace your garage door opener. After that, you will then need to integrate the opener into your overall smart home system. Here’s how to replace your garage door opener:
- Make sure all the power is cut-off at the circuit panel
- Unplug the existing opener. Then, loosen the brackets to lower it down gently.
- Use a wrench to loosen the brackets on the door itself.
- Install the bracket that has come with the new device.
- Next, slide the track into the newly installed bracket and make sure it is secure.
- Now, install the new motor in the ceiling.
- Connect the lifting arm from the track to the door.
- Now you will need to wire the keypad onto the wall on the inside of the garage.
- Run wire using a conduit from the keypad to the opener.
- Mount the electrical eyes around 6 inches from the ground.
- Now, your garage door should be ready to go.
When it comes to smart connectivity, the steps will depend highly on the brand and model. For the most part, you will need to explore a process similar to the myQ. Furthermore, you’ll need access to a strong Wi-Fi network and set up through a smart device like a phone. Like we touched on previously, some devices will require a proprietary app. Similar to how you would connect security cameras without Wi-Fi (our guide), others will need access to a smart hub for full integration.
Pros and Cons of Adding your Garage to your Smarthome
Convenience is obviously the biggest advantage when talking about smart devices. A smart garage door is no exception. But, if you think about a regular garage door, you may consider them reasonably convenient as is. While the extra remote control may be a menial inconvenience, there is a lot more to consider when talking about smart functionality. Additionally, some units have added features that can help you park, keep you safe, and even help you with things like package deliveries. Here are a few benefits to having a smart garage door in your home:
- Security—Garage doors are often overlooked entry points for break-ins. A smart garage door opener can alert you when your door is opened and be another barrier in your security system.
- Parking—Some devices come with laser-guided parking assist built-in.
- Temperature alerts—Never leave your garage door open in the cold or excessive heat ever again with temperature-triggered notifications to your phone.
- Scheduled events—If you have a time when you know some needs access to your home (children coming home from school, electrician, neighbor), you can set the door to open to any schedule.
With all that said, there are some downsides to smart garage door openers. Most of these come in upfront costs and installation time. While it is true that a full smart garage door opener may be pricey, an adapter is much more affordable. Moreover, the extra installation time may be a concern. Another potential problem is that you may run into all kinds of issues that we’ll have to be fixed; it’s an unfortunate reality that sometimes technology can cause just as many problems as it solved.
Will My Smarthome Connected Garage Door Work Without Wi-Fi?
A question that always comes up when it comes to Wi-Fi is whether systems will work without it, similar to when people ask if it’s possible to cast to a TV without an internet connection (our answer to this question). Let’s consider this question in two parts. First, can you open your garage door without Wi-Fi? The short answer is going to be yes. Regardless of if you decided on retrofitting or replacing your unit completely, the physical controls will still work. This means you can stop worrying about your car getting stuck in the garage if the router goes down.
Additionally, some units will come equipped with a battery. If the power goes out, you can still open the garage door. The second part is the question of the smart functions. Unfortunately, in most cases, you are not going to be able to access these. When the Wi-Fi goes out, the network of the devices we’re using to communicate also goes down. While some devices can work locally, usually, this means functions like phone-operated control are no longer available.