Smart locks bring old house doors into modern age

Matthew Grocoff

November 12, 2015

By: Matthew Grocoff, Green Renovation Expert

In: DoorsGreen Living

Schlage smart lock

For some reason, ever since we've had kids, my biggest pet peeve has become doors. Really. They've become barriers to the simplest moments in life. Doors of all kinds (car, house, baby gates., etc.) drive me nuts when I'm juggling children. My life was changed when we finally got a car with radio keys that you could unlock the doors and start the car without ever taking the key out of your pocket. I dreamed that one day our house door locks would be able to do the same.

Finally, the Internet of Things (IoT) has arrived at our front door (and the back one). We no longer ever have to carry a key. I recently bought a smart lock from Schlage which I soon hope to connect with a SmartThings Smart Home Hub. I turned our 115 year old front door and turn it into a 21st Century smart device.

The Schlage Connect Smart Lock can be unlocked using a traditional key, a smart key pad, or remotely from a smart phone app through a smart hub device. I no longer have to leave keys for our babysitter or AirBnb guests. I can remotely assign each one of them their own code that can remain active for any set period of time. If I want to let the repairman in just one time, I can give him a code that will be valid for only a few hours. I can also see who has been going and coming from the house.

If anyone forgets to lock a door, I can be alerted on my app and lock the doors remotely. There's also a setting to have the doors lock automatically when you close the door. It's a neat idea, but I'm not thrilled with this feature. You've got to be really paranoid to use it and it can get annoying. If you are having a barbecue in the backyard, you don't want the door locking behind you and requiring you to punch in the code every time you pop back inside for another beer.

Smart lock for door

Installing the lock is generally very simple. I say 'generally' because old doors can be wonky and may need some work to get any new lock to fit properly. Our doors had old knobs and locks with small holes. I picked up a door lock installation kit for about $30 at the hardware store to make expanding the hole quick and easy. The kit comes with a jig and all the hole cutters needed for the knob and latch. Old doors may also need some adjusting to make sure that the lock lines up properly and will lock easily when the door is closed. If the door doesn't lock properly, the Schlage Connect will flash a red 'X' to let you know. If this happens frequently you should check the alignment of the door so the automatic lock can do its job.

With a Smart Home Hub you can configure the door to follow 'If This, Then That' commands. You can have it communicate with other devices and sensors in your house. For example, you can give everyone in your family a key fob sensor so that your hub knows when each member is home. You can then program your smart lock with "IF all family members are home [THIS], THEN LOCK the doors [THAT]." Or "IF it is after 8pm, LOCK all doors." You can even have the doors unlock when your car is pulling into the driveway.

The possibilities are as endless as the convenience. You'll never need to worry about remembering your keys or locking the door again.


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