Q: My school-age children keep losing their house keys. Should I give them a garage-door opener to get into the house? It is slightly bulkier...

Share story

Q: My school-age children keep losing their house keys. Should I give them a garage-door opener to get into the house? It is slightly bulkier than a key and would make a louder noise if it dropped out of a backpack.

A: If those kids can be trusted with remembering a combination, then you have a couple of options.

One is to replace an exterior door lock with a push-button combination lockset.

Another is to install a remote garage-door opener. This could be hardwired to the door opener directly or programmed to operate like the door opener in your car.

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

Here’s how it works: The remote opener mounts to the side of the garage-door frame. A child lifts the protective cover, punches in the combination and the door opens. Programming is relatively simple. Expect to pay about $30.

The cheapest option is to hide a key on the house or property. However, you’ll still have the risk of losing the key — possibly to a thief.

Darrell Hay is a local home inspector and manages several rental properties. Send home maintenance questions to dhay@seattletimes.com. Sorry, no personal replies. More columns at www.seattletimes.com/columnists.