Garage Door Sensor - Confessions of a Paranoid Home Owner


In the seven years since I first became a homeowner I cannot count the number of times I have turned around the car when I was a few blocks away from home to go back and double check that the garage is closed.  Once I was at least 15 minutes away from home and already running late for a flight when I turned to my wife and asked "Did we close the garage?" It was early in the morning and we were both still waking up so neither of us could definitively confirm that the garage was in fact closed.  So we turned around, adding another 30 minutes to our trip to head back home and confirm that the garage was indeed still closed, and it was.  In fact I cannot recall a time that I have gone back to check and the garage was not closed but I still regularly have that feeling that I left it open and turn around to verify.

I thought I was in the minority with this quirk of mine, but as I have confessed this to friends, family members and colleagues at work, others have come out and told me that I am not alone in this irrational fear of leaving the garage door open and the practice of coming back home to check it out.

As I see it, the morning can be a chaotic time as we try to get out of the house to go to work, head out on a trip or whatever we may be doing that day.  On a typical day for me, I am trying to remember everything I need to bring with to work, grab breakfast, tea and get my two young children off to daycare.  As I am pulling out of the driveway, I am trying to remember if I have everything, make sure I don't hit any kids walking to the bus stop, trash cans (at least once a week), amongst other things.  I think I just go into autopilot mode and close the garage without being fully conscious of it.  Then as I get far enough from home to be out of autopilot mode, it will pop into my head and I will seriously question myself as to whether or not I closed the garage.

I think the problem with the garage is that when it's left open, it's like a big advertisement to anyone driving by saying "Please rob me, nobody is home."  Even though I live in a very safe neighborhood and have left my garage open before accidentally without any incident, it's a big concern.  Nobody wants to have their home broken into.  I have had friends and family who have had break-ins to their homes and they have shared that it is an awful thing to go through.  They were left feeling violated and scared, and wondering how they can ever feel safe again in their home.

When I came up with the idea for ConnectSense, this was one of the first problems I knew I could solve.  The world needed a garage door sensor and from what I could find, there were not really any great affordable solutions out there.  So through the process of building this product, this was one of my key testing locations in my home, helping to test our cloud solution, battery life, and many other aspects of the product.

I apologize for my dirty garage...

I apologize for my dirty garage...

I have my ConnectSense sensor attached to the bottom of my garage with the secondary magnet attached to the door.  There are two main rules that I have in place for monitoring my garage.  The first is a reminder rule, letting me know that my garage is closed anytime it happens between 7 and 9AM in the morning.  Its a nice subtle reminder that gives me the piece of mind that I can keep on driving and not turn around to check to see that the garage is closed.  If I have any doubt, I just pull over, look at my text messages and see that yes, my garage is in fact closed.  

The second rule that I have in place is one that lets me know any time that my garage is open for more than 5 minutes.  Once the ConnectSense cloud sees that the garage has been left open, it will call to both me and my wife, letting us know that the garage has been left open.  It has been really effective in making sure we don't unintentionally leave the garage door open.  It has even caught a few incidents now where, had I not gotten the phone call from ConnectSense, the garage would have been left open all night after taking the trash out, or all day after leaving for work.  In both cases, we are very grateful that we were able to close it and keep our family and our home safe.

Industrial velcro is used on the bottom of the open close sensor connected to the ConnectSense unit and on the back of the magnet that goes on the garage door.

Industrial velcro is used on the bottom of the open close sensor connected to the ConnectSense unit and on the back of the magnet that goes on the garage door.

How to add a Garage Door Sensor to your Garage:

1. Buy a ConnectSense Wireless Security Sensor 

2. Connect your sensor to your home wireless network

3. Use the industrial velcro included in your ConnectSense sensor to attach the security sensor cable to your garage.  There are a few ways to do this, see photos above for how this was accomplished in my garage.  The method I used will work in any garage but there are other ways to mount the sensor,  I will continue to update this post with other ways to attach and achieve the same results as others share with me.  

4. Log in to the ConnectSense cloud and set up your If/Then rules to notify you about your garage

5. Thats It! You now have your very own Garage Door Sensor and are able to monitor your garage and keep your home safe!

Install time: 5-10 Minutes

Difficulty Level: Easy