Auto-close my garage door (again)
July 6, 2020 1:35 AM   Subscribe

What are reliable, easy-to-install options available to auto-close a garage door after a set amount of time?

My spouse appears to be wholly unable to remember to consistently close the garage door right now and it is unsafe, drives me absolutely up the wall, and in our high-property-crime city is absolutely going to get some expensive bikes stolen. Please assume that this part of the game is not fixable and we need a technological solution and not a he-remembers-this solution. This is an ongoing executive function issue for him that has gotten much worse lately with [gestures wildly at the world]; I asked this same question in 2011 but never got a solution to work even after ordering one of the devices suggested.

Technology is so much cheaper and simpler to work than when I last asked this question that I have to assume there is an app or simple device that might exist to close a door 15 minutes after it is opened, no exceptions, at this point. Great if it is fancier but really, that is all I need it to do.

Extra bonus points for simple to install- we are not handy but we are good at following very basic instructions- and/or something that would work easily with our existing door opener (an Overhead Door Phantom, as far as I can tell without getting on a ladder, that predates our ownership of the house).

Thank you!
posted by charmedimsure to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
For $35, I'd give this a go.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:00 AM on July 6, 2020

I have the Chamberlain myQ. You can program it to alert you and/or close after the garage is, say, open for 10 minutes. Or you can set it to close at a specific time of day. It runs about $40 at my local Lowe’s and is easy to install. Good luck!
posted by kittydelsol at 4:47 AM on July 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

Seconding myQ. After having the police knock on our door at 2 in the morning because the garage door was left open (thanks kids!), I set ours to close automatically after 30 minutes.

It also sends me a notification if the door has been open for 15 minutes to remind me to close it, but you can check in the app any time to see if the door is opened or closed (great to silence the middle of the night "wait did I close it" voice in your head). It flashes the light and beeps before automatically closing (plus the normal sensor "eyes"), so no worries about someone or something getting smooshed either.
posted by hankscorpio83 at 5:54 AM on July 6, 2020

I had this same desire, for the same expensive-bike reason, not too long ago, and had a hard time finding something that would just plain CLOSE it after an interval, so I ended up with the MyQ kittydelsol mentioned above. This turns out to be better; I just have it configured to hassle me if it stays open for more than 5 minutes, and to continue to do so every 5 minutes until it closes.

It was dead easy to set up, and Just Works; it's apparently compatible with a WIDE range of openers, I think because it's basically just a door remote with some minimal smarts wrapped around it.

As a bonus, it also allows me to check the status of the door, and open or close it, from my phone.

The device itself is about the size of 2-3 CD cases stacked, and requires an electrical connection and a WIFI connection. I say that; the kit also includes a gravity-operated switch you affix to the door to allow the system to discern the open/close state.

In any case, installation for us was like 10 minutes, tops.
posted by uberchet at 9:08 AM on July 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

I’m looking at reviews for the MyQ and there’s a ton of back and forth about whether a monthly subscription is required for it to function. Is that something you guys encountered?
posted by charmedimsure at 12:17 PM on July 6, 2020

Nope, no monthly subscription for me, never heard of a monthly subscription! The only ongoing cost is an occasional button battery for the unit that attaches to the garage door.

My experience has been just like uberchet’s. It just works. It only gets squirrelly when the battery on the garage door attachment is dying.
posted by kittydelsol at 1:48 PM on July 6, 2020

Yeah, I pay no subscription. I've never even been asked about one.

This is the one I bought (Amazon link, from my order history).
posted by uberchet at 1:57 PM on July 6, 2020

Ok! Ordered it, am crossing my fingers. Thanks, everyone, this looks a lot more promising than what I tried the last time I was ready to strangle him over this.
posted by charmedimsure at 4:01 PM on July 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

thanks for this question. The inability to securely store bicycles in my garage was actually a real problem for me...
posted by suelac at 5:21 PM on July 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

I should be clear that this is only a partial solution for the bike-storage thing. At our house, we have several bikes. Three live in the garage, typically locked together. The nicer two live in the house.

I can't imagine leaving my main road bike in any garage. They're just not secure enough for storing a highly portable multi-thousand-dollar item.

But having the garage door monitor makes the other stuff in there safer.
posted by uberchet at 5:56 AM on July 7, 2020

Ok! Looks like it works! I don’t see a way to close the door automatically if it has been open too long, but I can at least set it to bug me (and him) when it has been more than X minutes. 10 minutes after my dude left the house to bike today, it pinged me and I closed it. We will call it a success! Thanks, all! The bikes also thank you.

Uberchet, I appreciate the thought but the garage attaches directly to the house without a lock so if someone is in, they’re in to everything. Maybe not the best system but at least we have closed the biggest hole. :)
posted by charmedimsure at 10:24 PM on July 18, 2020

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