Electric Gate Installation – Worth The Investment?

Residencies all over the world are becoming more and more welcoming to the idea of installing electric or automatic gates not only due to their aesthetic appeal and the fact that they add to curb appeal but due to their ease of use and added security. Available in a wide range of styles, materials, and operating methods, all aspects that impact the final cost of the installation, it is easy to see why you need to do a bit of research before you dive in and follow through with the setup. Your hard-earned money is at stake, after all.

If you are considering installing an electric gate for your property, you have come to the right place. Here, we will provide you with insight regarding the importance of this addition to help you figure out if it is worth getting or not, as well as quickly analyze the installation process.

Why Should You Install an Electric Gate?

As you will soon learn in case you weren’t already aware of it, an electric gate is not a cheap affair. However, there are more than enough reasons to acquire and install one if you haven’t already. For short, some of the main motivations for making this addition include:

  • Added safety: One of the main reasons to install the gate, however, stands in the fact that you enjoy added protection from intruders and trespassers. If you have kids or pets, your sense of safety will be further amplified by the fact that you know there is no way for them to get out anymore. Sure, kids could open a traditional gate, but the automated gate will be impossible to operate as the remote control will be in your possession.
  • Easier property access: Long gone will be the days when you used to get out of the car to open and close the gate each time you entered or got out of your property by vehicle. The action is bothersome enough on its own, not to say how much the situation was worsened by rainy or snowy days. Instead, with this installation, you can comfortably sit in the driver’s seat and push a button to command the gate to open and close at your will.
  • Make your property more appealing: Aside from the safety it adds, the electric gate also improves the aesthetic appeal of your property. When you will eventually decide to sell, your pool of buyers is going to be considerably larger than it would have normally been as a result of this simple addition.
  • Long-lasting durability: Even with cheaper gates, the materials they are made of are not light at all and can withstand the elements just fine, regardless of how bad the weather gets down the road. Thus, you are likely not going to need to make a replacement for another decade or so, especially if you handle maintenance work on time.

How Much Does It Cost to Automate a Gate?

If you install a new gate altogether and you want it to be electric, the costs are anywhere from $3,000 to $12,000. The national average cost of this installation, however, is an estimated $7,000. It is a steep sum of money, indeed, but you do have a cheaper variant. In case you already have a driveway gate, experts at Optima Institute recommend that you automate it using an appropriate opener for the style and size gate you have as the procedure will cost you considerably less, within the $1,000 to $3,000 range, to be specific.

Installation Considerations

Caution: If you feel like you are in over your head with this addition, rather than risking your safety and compromising your investment, contract professionals to follow through with the procedure.


Making the Right Choice

If you made up your mind and decided that you want to give DIY installation a try, you first have to pick the right installation kit. For this, you should consider the weight and length of the gate leaf, as well as the number of times per day you estimate that you will operate it. Other aspects that you must take into consideration as they could pose limitations include:

  • Whether the entrance is on a slope;
  • The width of the entrance;
  • The shape and material of the gate;
  • If you opt for a swing-style gate, the clearance it requires;
  • If you opt for a sliding gate, whether or not there is enough space for it to fully slide to the back;
  • How the weather generally is in your area.

Another aspect is appraising the condition of the gate and posts as you have to make sure that everything functions on par before you set up the automation equipment to turn it into an electric gate. To figure this out, open the gate slowly using the tips of your fingers, imitating the movement of the automation. If there are no obstacles or issues with geometry, then you can go ahead and move on to the next step.

Installation Steps that You Need to Go Through With

  • Place the opener in the proximity of the gate’s centerline so that it won’t twist when you activate its operation.
  • Set up the post bracket assembly and connect it to the rear mount of the opener.
  • Connect the bracket to the opener’s front mount with the gate opened and the arm fully retracted so that you can adjust the bracket and the post bracket assembly until you level the opener.
  • With the opener leveled in its position, use C-clamps to keep the gate bracket and the post bracket in their rightful positions on the gate and post.
  • Disengage the opener from the gate and proceed to put the gate in a closed position.
  • Connect the stop plate to the end of the gate’s frame horizontally.
  • Proceed to move the closed position stop plate in the direction of the post until the two touch. When this happens, tighten the hardware of the stop plate.
  • Move the gate into an open position and attach the opener arm to the gate bracket once again.
  • Now you can continue to connect the electronics. First, connect the battery wires that you run through their afferent slot. Then, connect the power cable that you insert through the strain relief slots. There are color markings that guide you when it comes to which power cable should go to what terminal block. Lastly, connect the battery by attaching the wires to the correct terminals (red to positive, and black to negative).

Additional Costs and Considerations to Take into Account

  • If you care for the environment and your wallet as well, for that matter, what you should do is add a solar panel to the gate (it should not cost more than $100, so you won’t spend a fortune on it). This addition will use solar energy to charge the gate’s battery so that you considerably cut on electricity costs.
  • Depending on their operating manner, electric gates can provide different-length lifespans. While most models are rated to last an estimated 10 years before wearing out to the point where replacement is needed, some might last longer than this.
  • Most models feature battery backup that serves as assistance in the event of a power outage so that the gate may continue to run as it normally does for a few extra uses until the situation turns back to normal. However, if the breakout lasts for a long time, expect the gate to be rendered inoperable until the power comes back.
  • In some cases, the municipality might require that you obtain a permit before installing the automatic gate. Make sure to check this aspect beforehand.
  • While most gates are light enough to not pose a danger, there are heavier models with hydraulic mechanisms that can come down on you if you do not use them properly and hurt you severely. Beware to always use the gate with caution for your safety and well-being.

Note: If you want a viable alternative to installing an automatic gate, you can opt for automatic bollards that sink into the ground when you are not using them. However, beware that costs can be considerably higher as each bollard can cost from $1,500 to $3,000, and the width of your driveway dictates how many you need. Moreover, they don’t offer protection against intruders.

What About Maintenance and Repairs?

Maintenance is required at least once per year. Some of the tasks it includes you can do yourself, like oiling the hinges and checking the power supply, whereas, for things like checking electrical components and syncing to the home security system you will need to contract a professional. Generally, what is recommended to do when it comes to maintenance includes lubrication of the moving components, checking to see if there is any damage to the wiring, and testing the system to see if everything is in order.

It is expected to need to perform repairs on the gates once in a while, but this does not mean that they have to be major and costly. If you pay attention when you use the system and check as soon as you see anything wrong with the gate and the power source, you can fix minor issues before they worsen and require costlier repairs.

If you want to contract a professional for diagnostics, expect to pay from $30 to $80 on the expert input. Depending on what is out of order, you can either choose to repair the gate or upgrade it with a newer model (for example, if the motor is the issue, it isn’t worth repairing the system but rather replacing it altogether).

Bottom Line – Is an Electric Gate Worth the Money?

Considering the fact that the electric gate not only adds to the security of your property as it fends off intruders and trespassers, but also keeps your kids and pets within the premises of the property, makes it considerably more convenient to get in and out of your property with the vehicle, and adds value when you sell as well, it is indeed worth the money. As aforementioned, the costs can vary depending on the situation and what you seek exactly. With a new gate altogether, expect to spend about $7,000 on the operation, whereas with a simple upgrade of a pre-existing gate where you just install an operator for automation, the task can cost only $1,000.

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