Dogs, for all the joy they can gives us, can be very needy. This is a fact that every dog owner knows. And it’s not just their food and water which you should think about. It’s after they eat and drink that’s important too. Since they need to go outside to “do their business”, you will have to get up and open the door for your petand when they’re done, you’re going to have to let them back in. It’s a pretty tedious work, unless you own the Autoslide Automatic Pet Doormat Kit.
What’s in the Kit?
The entire kit consists of the following components:
- An Autoslide drive system that measures 19 by 2.5 by 2.75 inches (LWH) and that opens your door
- A low voltage power pack with an aluminum cover (110-240 VAC, 24 VDC Power Pack) you plug in to power the Autoslide drive system
- 2 large pressure mats (with each measuring 25 by 15 inches and weighs 7.9 ounces) that sense when your dog is by the door, and a transmitter for each to communicate with the Autoslide drive system
- 2 wall-mounted wireless push buttons you can use to open the door and to program how it opens
- A friction tester to see that your door opens smoothly and freely
- 2 racks that measure 20 inches each, and with the assembly kit you them to determine the width of the door opening for your dog
- Installation screws and an Allen wrench to put in the screws
- An instructional booklet for installation and use, as well as an instructional DVD that shows you just how you should set up the Autoslide Automatic Pet Doormat Kit.
You can add more components to this kit if you like. Some people, for example, like to put in infrared motion sensors as well, so that the door will open automatically when people stand right by the sliding door.
Basically, with this kit a mat is placed right inside and right outside your sliding door. So when your pet is tight by your sliding door, the door automatically opens for the dog to get out or come in. There’s also a wall-mounted wireless push button on each side of the door for you to activate the kit and choose what modes to use.
Features of the Kit
Here are some features you can expect from the Autoslide Kit:
- Residential use. The kit comes with a 2-year limited manufacturer’s warranty, but that’s only for residential use. That’s not true if you use this for your shop or office. It is also UL and CE certified.
- Installation. This is designed to be quite easy to install, and it should pose no problem for any DIY enthusiast. In general, you’re supposed to be able to do this yourself in under an hour, especially with the well-written instruction booklet with step by step instructions. There’s even an instructional DVD to really demonstrate what you should do. Just remember that not all doors are like, so some doors may take a longer amount of time for installation.
If even this is a problem for you, then you can always check the Autoslide list of authorized dealers to see if there are any dealers near your location. And even if there aren’t any close by, you can always just get a handyman or an electrician to do it for you. Just show them the booklet and the instructional video so they can learn what to do.
- Door requirements. The drive system can open the sliding door automatically as long as the door fits the requirements. The door should weigh no more than 200 pounds and it should be friction free when you slide it open or close. That’s why there’s a friction tester included in the package. You can use it to see that it doesn’t need more than 12 pounds of force to open the sliding door manually.
- Location of drive system. First of all, you need to keep in mind that your power adapter has a 59-inch cord. So if that’s not enough, you’ll need an extension cord for your Autoslide Kit drive system. If there’s a power failure, then your sliding door turns back into an ordinary unpowered sliding door. You’ll then have to open or close it manually.
Then you should stand in front of your door from the inside, and then open sliding door over the fixed segment of the door. If the sliding segment covers the fixed panel, then you’ll need to fit the drive system on the inside of your sliding door. But if the sliding panel goes behind the fixed segment, you’ll have to fit the drive system on the outside. That’s okay, because the drive system is weather-proof and rain and snow won’t damage it.
- Opening the door. The mats that come with the Autoslide Kit have sensors so even the smallest pet dog will be noted and the drive system can open the sliding door automatically. You can also use the wireless push button to open the door. The system also has a built-in multichannel receiver so you can program a remote controller to the Autoslide. You may also wish to buy an infrared sensor from Autoslide to use with this kit.
If a guest comes in and inadvertently pulls on the sliding door manually, that’s not a problem. It has a built-in Power Assist function that automatically pulls the door fully open when someone pulls the door handle gently.
- Modes. In Automatic mode, the door opens fully when any of the activation devices opens the sliding door. With the racks that come with the Autoslide kit, the maximum width of the opening is about 38 inches. You can increase the width of the opening, but then you’ll have to buy extension racks separately. After a certain short time, the door closes automatically.
But in Pet mode, the opening is just enough for the width of the dog. You can program the door to open to the size you determine. You just turn the isolation switch off and then back on, and then you place your foot behind the door to the spot where you want the door to stop opening. That’s the new programmed opening width for Pet mode.
In Hold Open mode, the door is left in the open position. In Manual mode, the drive system disengages and you can open and close the door manually. But the settings you’ve saved (such as the width of the Pet mode opening) are still stored in the system’s memory.
- Mat operations. You have 2 mats in your kit, so you place each one right outside and inside the door. You just put them right under the doormats. Each of these pressure matts can sense the wright of the dog, and its transmitter will send a message to the drive system to open the door. The transmitter comes with Velcro so you can attach it to the door frame.
- Safety. It comes with a built-in safety mode, so that if the door comes into contact with someone or with any object, it automatically reverses to the opposite direction. If the door is locked manually, and it someone tries to open it, the drive system won’t be damaged. The Autoslide will try to open the door 3 times, but it will just close it back because of the lock.
- You’ll no longer have to wake up with the dog barking at you to be let out when you want to sleep in. This can really be annoying, especially when your dog feels like doing their business in the dead of night.
- You won’t have some nasty surprises in a dark spot in the house.
- There’s no dog to grovel or whine while you’re doing your chores or working in your home office.
- No dog will disturb you when you’re watching your favorite TV show, reading a book, or taking a nap.
- If you work outside your home, you don’t have to keep your dog outside or inside the house during that time.
- You don’t have to keep your door open if you don’t have to. That means you won’t have to worry about insects getting inside the house, rodents (or even snakes!) coming in to infest your home, and extremely thin intruders.
- You won’t have skyrocketing energy bills because you left the door open during the winter or summer season, when you used your heater or your air conditioner.
Pros and Cons
The Autoslide Kit comes with some fairly obvious benefits. The chief benefit is that your dog doesn’t have to grovel to be let out, nor will they be forced to do their business inside your home. So you if have a dog and a sliding door, you’re not forced to keep the door open so your dog can come in and out at any time. Keeping a door open can let the bugs in, and even rodents may come in to investigate. And if you’re running your heater or air conditioning, that open door can really force your HVAC system to work harder, and it’ll drive up your utility bills.
So why not use a door flap? For decades this has been the popular choice. But that’s not often practical or attractive for a sliding door. Besides, a door flap may still let some insects in, and mice and rats may come in through the opening as well. And then there are snakes too…
And the Autoslide Kit is extremely easy to use, once it has been installed. In fact, it’s easy for the dog to use as well. Once your do realizes that it merely needs to stand or walk over the mat to open the door, then you won’t have to be disturbed when the dog goes out to do its business outside. (We’re assuming that you have a large property for the dog to do its business.)
Can you imagine how that will feel? As a dog owner, the benefits are astounding.
So you save lots of money through energy conservation. And you’re more confortable too, since you don’t have bugs and other critters to worry about.
And it’s no problem for your dog to learn this. Dogs are smart. After all, they’ve learned that when they grovel, whine, or bark, they can make their human do their bidding and open the door for them.
One problem, however, is that this kit can be quite expensive. The official site sells it for $575, although it’s only a few dollars over $500 when you buy it from Amazon. But for some people, even $500 may be too much.
And of course, its installation can be a problem for the technologically averse. You will need some time even if you are DIY-inclined. And if you get some professional assistance, that will add to the cost.
So just how much will you pay for the comfort of your dog? And by the way, this goes for your comfort too. Every time your dog barks at you in the morning when they want to be let out, or whines outside your door begging to come in, do you sometimes wish you can pay a few dollars to be left undisturbed? And that’s probably even more of a problem when your dog does their business inside the house!
So let’s say you’re willing to pay $5 for each day of not having to open or close the door for your dog. After a hundred or so days, you’ve already covered the cost of the Autoslide Automatic Pet Doormat Kit! And since the warranty implies that you can use this reliably for 2 years, it’s real cost is actually 730 days times $5. That’s a true value of $3,650. At its current price of only about $500 or so, it’s an absolute steal!