There have been many technologically innovative additions in the home improvement industry. One of these additions is the automated gate. In the past, automated gates were perceived as a luxurious home feature. Fast forward to today, they’re no longer limited to being a status symbol as they have become more affordable, plus they're now considered a key part of a property’s security system.
Although some people consider gate automation as purely optional, the convenience they offer makes them well worth the investment, especially if you drive on a near-daily basis. As long as you watch out for common mistakes to avoid when automating gates, you’re bound to get a lot of value out of them.
Having said that, it’s best to know a few pointers on choosing gate automation as an additional investment for your home:
1. Find The Right Automated Gate Installer
Gate automation systems come in a wide range of styles, and most of these are easy to install and program. While you can perform the installations yourself, it would still be best to reach out to pros, especially if you're thinking of other safety considerations for your automated gates.
That said, it’s very important that you choose the right people to automate your gate. Prioritize quality of workmanship, and don't be tempted to go for a company that offers the cheapest quotation. You always get what you pay for, and you can't blame their services when their price offering is that low. Do your research and compare installation packages from multiple companies, prioritizing those who offer the most competitive prices. Aside from installation services, check whether they also offer automated gate repairs.
2. Consider The Current Space You Have
Some automated gates operate by swinging wide, while others slide the gate panels to the sides. This means you have to avoid parking a vehicle or putting items that could get in the way of the panels. In some cases, you may have to design your garage space in a way that readily accommodates an automatic gate. Here’s a quick overview of possible gate options, depending on the available space.
A swing gate is fairly simple, with one or two panels that swing open. Thanks to its design, a swing gate is easy to install and automate. Swing gates work best if there’s enough space for the panels to fully open or close. Although some regular swing gates have panels that swing outward or inward, automated swing gates usually open only one way.
A bi-fold gate features panels that swing just like a regular swing gate, but the panels can fold halfway. Because of this feature, bi-fold gates require only half as much space as traditional swing gates, making them great for areas with limited space for non-folding panels. Automated bi-fold gates require rails to guide the panels as they open or close.
A sliding gate is characterized by having one or more panels that slide along a rail to open or shut. Because of the way it opens or closes, a sliding gate doesn’t take up a lot of space in the front or right behind it. However, there must be enough horizontal clearance to the sides to fully retract. Automating a sliding gate is rather straightforward, with the motor pulling or pushing the panels along the rails.
3. Pick A Type of Motor
Automated gates can either have hydraulic or mechanical motors, with both options having their pros and cons.
A hydraulic motor uses liquid pressure to pull or push the gate panels. Homeowners prefer hydraulic motors because they are more powerful and run much quieter than mechanical motors. However, they tend to be more expensive than mechanical ones, and repairing them is more difficult.
Electromechanical motors use a series of gears, springs, and smaller motors to move the gate panels. Budget setups tend to feature mechanical motors, because they are more affordable and are cheaper to repair. However, mechanical motors make a lot of noise, and they can’t move larger panels that a similarly-sized hydraulic motor would’ve easily moved.
4. Check for Emergency Features
Automated gates may be reliable, but there’s always a risk of failure. If your automatic gate is suddenly unable to move due to lack of power or a failing motor, you must still be able to open or close the gate.
To avoid getting blocked out by an inactive automated gate, you have to ask the gate installer about how to override the mechanism for manual operation. Trying to force the gate to move not only runs the risk of damaging the mechanism, but can even cause the gate to jam, further complicating things.
You should also confirm if your automated gate has built-in safety features. An emergency stop mechanism or a kill switch is a must-have, as well as ground protection and safety beams. It’s also important to check if these safety features work, so feel free to test them out right after installation.
While there are many best home security systems, an automated gate is a great additional feature for your home. Hower, getting the most value out of it depends on picking an option that best suits your needs. Work with a gate automation installer and see which options are available given your driveway’s dimensions and your budget.