Do you ever leave your garage door open? Most people do. If you’re coming and going while doing yard work, if you have kids playing in the yard, or if you’re trying to let some airflow into a humid and musty garage, it can be the most convenient choice. This habit can quickly become a problem, however, because leaving your garage door open is almost as bad as leaving the door to your home open. You see, it only takes an instant for an expert thief to duck inside your garage and abscond with some of your valuable possessions, or worse – if you ever forget to lock the door between your home and garage, the garage door being open can result in an intruder in your home. There are other risks associated with an open garage door besides intruders – letting animals and the elements into your garage can also be a problem. To avoid all these problems, there is one simple solution – just shut your garage door!

Everyone will occasionally forget to close their garage door, in the rush of carrying groceries inside when the phone rings, or when the kids come inside for dinner and don’t notice the door left open. There are ways to mitigate this risk, like forming a pattern of good closing-behavior or installing a smart garage door opener that will detect when the garage door is left open and send you an alert. The larger problem is people who knowingly leave the garage door open for long periods of time. 

There are many reasons that leaving the garage door open can seem reasonable. Perhaps you’re trying to get some air circulation through a hot garage in the summer. Maybe you have an outdoor cat or dog and you want to give them some shelter. Or maybe you have friends or family coming over, and you want them to be able to get inside even if you’re not home. No matter how reasonable it sounds, all of these can pose some serious threats to your home, and all of them can be resolved with proper planning instead of leaving the garage door open!

Although opening up a garage can seem like a breath of fresh air, nothing beats the benefits of proper insulation, both on the walls and on the residential garage door. If you have pets that need shelter or a place to get inside, cat/dog doors and outdoor pet houses are a much safer choice than your open garage. And if you have people visiting, you can use a simple keypad to operate the door, letting visitors or your own family in without a threat of intruders or the elements. Most smart garage door systems will also allow you to open the door remotely from your smartphone!

If you’re on the fence about taking the proper precautions for keeping your garage door closed as much as possible, consider the downsides of leaving it open. Although it can seem like a lot of work to get a keypad or cat flap installed, the potential problems caused by leaving the door open are immeasurably worse. 

Firstly, an open door is an open invitation to thieves. If you’re like many families, you use your garage for a variety of storage, including valuables like tools or old family heirlooms. Anything left in your garage with the door open is likely to walk away. Furthermore, if you have an access door between your garage and the rest of your home, giving thieves access to this door can be a serious problem. Even if you lock the door, it might not be a securely mounted door or the lock might not be an exterior-quality lock. Either way, you’re reducing the layers of defense around your home. 

Secondly, an open door is an invitation to wild animals of all types. Your garage makes the perfect nest for all sorts of pests, ranging from birds to raccoons to feral cats. Most garages have some sort of food in them, be it birdseed or cat food or cans of your food, and animal are drawn to food above all else. Additionally, the sturdy walls provide all the shelter from the elements that an animal might be seeking. Once you have an infestation, it will be a pain to clean out. Anyone who has had a bird trapped in their garage or a whole family of mice in their crawlspace knows how annoying and difficult this problem can be. 

Lastly, if you store anything of value in your garage, you do not want to let the elements inside. Wind and rain are one thing, and of course any water that does get into your garage can damage anything you have stored inside, but even just the temperature can pose a threat to more sensitive possessions, like wood furniture or electronics. A well-insulated garage door and new weatherstripping combine to make a more protected space inside your garage, and leaving the garage door open ruins that goal completely. 

Now that you know the benefits and costs, it’s plain to see why you’ll want to leave your garage door closed for any extended period of time. The convenience of an open door can seem worthwhile, but once you’re dealing with the problems that an open garage door can bring, you might think otherwise!

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