In this post, we cover five different garage automations that can help automate your life and help you feel more secure!
This post is inspired by tweets and TikToks from Jimmy of SmartThings Beat and Automated House. Follow his accounts for more smart home content!
Many of the original inspirations for these automations involve automatically closing your garage door, but if you don't feel comfortable doing that, a common alternative is to a send a notification to your phone to remind you to close the door.
1. Automatically Close After X Minutes
If you're anything like me, at some point you'll find yourself driving to a destination wondering if you remembered to close the garage door. One approach to help with this is to setup a rule to automatically close your garage door after being open for X minutes.
2. Conditions Like Weather
Perhaps you prefer to keep your garage door open, so automatically closing it after a period of time doesn't suit your lifestyle. There may still be cases where you don't want your garage door left open – for example if it starts raining.
There's a variety of different smart devices that can help, but many smart home platforms also have weather integrations that can help here. Feel free to post in our community if you're looking for help!
In our case, we're using Percent Precipitation (aka. "Chance of Rain") as the trigger for our rule. If the chance of rain goes above 70%, the rule checks if the garage door is open and only sends us a notification if it is.
3. Left Open after a Specific Time
In my home, I have notifications sent to me when I leave my garage door open, but I don't have it automatically close. That leaves the chance for me to ignore a notification, so I have another rule that runs every evening at 9 PM and checks if all the doors are locked and the garage doors are closed and sends me a notification if anything is not secured.
In this case, we're using time as the trigger for when the rule should run and again we have an If Condition that checks if the garage is open to determine if it should send the notification.
4. When Everyone Leaves
If your primary concern is around leaving your garage door open when you're not home, you could use presence as a key factor in determining when your rule should run.
There's a variety of 'Things' that can be used for determining if you're home or not. One of the more common solutions is to use your smart phone as a presence indication. In that case, you might consider using a 'state stays' trigger as shown in the screenshot above as phones will sometimes briefly think they've left the zone.
The community has also come up with a variety of neat alternatives for determining presence including connectivity to wifi, physical arrival sensors (fobs), and more.
5. Open Garage Upon Arrival
You could also create a rule to open the garage upon your arrival, though it's a contentious point of debate in smart home discussions.
Presence sensors and even arrival sensors aren't always 100% accurate, so I generally recommend against automatically opening your garage door.
For this type of solution, it's strongly recommended to use a dedicated hardware presence sensor and/or multiple factors in determining presence. You can also add conditions to your rule to only allow it very limited cases - for example, during a short targeted window when you commonly arrive home.
In feature-rich automation builders, like the SharpTools.io Rule Engine, you can have other rules which create 'flags' to determine if certain rules are allowed to proceed. For example, if you have a 30 minute commute from work you might have a rule which sets a variable to 'true' 25 minutes after departing your office and then back to 'false' after 35 minutes. Then in your arrival rule, you could check if that variable was set to 'true' to determine if the rule should be allowed to open the garage.