Your home is the one true place you can relax and replenish your energy, surrounded by your comforts, memories and possessions.
However, today many of us are more concerned than ever about the security of our loved ones and belongings. For safety and convenience, you might want to consider the advantages of installing an electric gate at the entrance to your yard.
A basic electric gate costs between $4,000 and $6,000. More intricately designed gates range between $15,000 and $20,000.
Be accurate about gate usage. Cutting corners can ultimately take more time and cost more money.
Ask whether a warranty is included with installation. Will it cover circuitry and labor? For how long? Can the gate be upgraded?
Tyler Lucas, owner of Monster Fabrication in White City, not only installs gates, he custom designs them, as well. "Electric gates provide security, privacy and increase the value of the home," says Lucas. They can help reduce traffic and provide a safer environment for children and pets. Most are made of aluminum, wrought-iron or steel.
A single, sliding gate slides on wheels pulled by a chain and recedes into a frame. A swinging gate rolls back on two posts rather than the six usually required by a sliding gate. The single gate works best for a narrow driveway, but automated swinging gates are better for driveways 12 to 16 feet wide.
For convenience and aesthetics, most homeowners prefer a double-swing gate that parts in the middle versus the sliding style. "Swinging gates are more convenient for getting in and out of the car and are generally half the price of a sliding gate," says Bob Rabitoy of Rabitoy Fencing in Gold Hill.
The gate can be opened from inside or outside with a wireless intercom or digital keypad. Some homeowners have a telephone entry system and many install video cameras to screen visitors.
In the event of a power failure, the gates have a battery backup, an electric charger or solar batteries that can hold enough power for two weeks. Keep in mind the gate installer can wire the motor, but if there is no power at the contact point, an electrician has to be called.
Another consideration is selecting the right motor. Residential motors are best when used an average of six to seven times daily. A commercial motor, however, offers the longest warranty and better performance if usage is higher.
"Don't underestimate the use of the gate," says John Grover, president of Gate Pros (headquartered in Florida with nationwide affiliates). "Give your installer a realistic idea of how the gate is used. If you think you only go out two to three times a day, but you have frequent visitors, say so."
If you are ready to purchase a gate, Grover further advises, "Ask the installer to show you properties where his company has already installed a gate, along with the name and phone number of the homeowner. This is a must." Also make sure the company is licensed and insured.
Lucas also advises homeowners to have an idea where they want the fence located, and to know their property lines before discussing installation. They should also check to see whether permits are required by the county and check state laws before installation, he adds.