How to Use Smarthome Door Sensors Around Metal

Open/close sensors, like those included with the Samsung SmartThings kit, are great for automating certain actions whenever doors or windows are opened. But if you’re having trouble getting them to work well, it might be because the metal on the door or window is causing issues with the magnet system that’s used on the sensors. Here’s how you can get around that.

The workaround is quite simple, although it doesn’t look the prettiest and doesn’t quite blend in. But it at least works. The sensor basically needs to be at least a few inches away from the nearest piece of metal to prevent interference.

First, try to mount the sensor normally to see if it works first. Even if a door does include some metal, it still may work just fine. It’s mostly doors that are heavily made out of metal (like garage doors) where you’ll usually come across problems. If you do, though, this trick should help.

The image above shows what the final product looks like—a door sensor mounted to the top of my garage door that’s a few inches away from the nearest piece of magnetic metal. Setting this up is pretty simple, but requires a bit of creativity.

What You’ll Need

To do this, you’ll need a couple of tools and materials, including:

The aluminum flashing (shown above) will come in an L-shape when you buy it, but it’s pliable enough that you can bend it all into a flat piece using light taps with a hammer. It’s one of the reasons we’re using aluminum for this: it’s very soft and can bend easily to your will, allowing for the most customizability. It’s also non-magnetic, so it won’t interfere with the sensor.

Step One: Mount the Sensor

We’ll start by mounting the larger sensor portion off to the side by a few inches from the door (or above). In this guide, I’m doing this with my…

Sasha Harriet

Sasha Harriet

As content editor, I get to do what I love everyday. Tweet, share and promote the best content our tools find on a daily basis.

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Sasha Harriet

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