FAQ: Get a Notification if Something is Left On, Open, or Unlocked for X Minutes (2021)

People frequently ask “how can I get a notification if a contact sensor is open for 10 minutes?“ Or “how can I get a notification if my door is unlocked for more than five minutes?“ Etc.

April 2021 Update

This has now been added to the official features when you create an automation using the + in the upper right of the main screen, at least for some devices. You will be able to send either a push notification or a text message.

In case you have a use case/device which does not offer this option in the official features, over the years the community has developed multiple ways of accomplishing this. Some require paying a license fee for third-party app, but then are very easy to use. Others are free but have a more complicated set up.

Because this is 2021, please limit discussion in this thread to methods which will work with the new V3 app.

  1. RBoy Apps. $40 lifetime license grants access to the entire library.

This is a collection of very popular, highly sophisticated smartapps which work with smartthings and provide many different features and choices.

@rboy , The developer, is very active in this forum as well and gives lots of free advice in addition to answering questions about his products.

The notifications app is: [RELEASE] Door Chimes and Notifications for Doorbells and Sensors


  1. SharpTools. The SharpTools.io Rule Engine is a highly polished visual interface for building rules and automations. The Rule Engine is free and includes a wide variety of notification options. If you’d like to use SharpTools dashboards, variables, or built-in SMS, you can upgrade to the premium offering. Like Rboy, developer @joshua_lyon is very active in this community and gives lots of free advice here.

    Note that there’s also a SharpTools for Android app that provides Tasker plugins, but the SharpTools.io Rule Engine is web based and can be accessed from any modern browser like iOS, Android, and Fire OS.

SharpTools Notification Channels include:

  • Email
  • SMS (Premium, North America)
  • Twilio SMS (International)
  • Pushbullet
  • Pushover
  • Device integrations (Sonos, Echo Speaks, Google Cast)


  1. Webcore. Free community created rules engine. Can do almost anything, but setup can be pretty complicated if you are not used to programming languages. However, it’s very popular and they have their own forum with lots of people who are happy to help if you get stuck.

Here’s the specific “piston“ (Webcore calls their rules “pistons.“)

Door Left Open Reminder - Configurable by Individual Contact - Example Pistons - webCoRE Community Forum

And if you aren’t familiar with Webcore, here’s the FAQ on that:

FAQ: What is WebCoRE? (And what was CoRE?)


4.Custom Smartapps. Free. @johnconstantelo is a community member who has contributed a set of free smartapps which can do most of the notifications of this type that people are looking for. Basically you are going to copy his code and paste it into your own account and then you will have your own copy of the smartapp to use. So it may look daunting initially, but it’s actually a very simple process. Once you have pasted in the code, it will look like just another automation screen in your smart things mobile app. (This is also true for the Rboy apps option one above.)

Door left unlocked notification (2020) - #5 by johnconstantelo

And here’s a screenshot showing what @johnconstantelo ‘s smartapp looks like once you are ready to create a rule:

So there you have four different ways to do this. I can’t say that any of them have a really easy setup (sharptools is probably the easiest), And they all offer a somewhat different set of features. But in all four cases there are people who will be very happy to help if you get stuck at any point. [quote=“Vincentfhylla, post:1, topic:225200, full:true”]
Trying to figure out how to create a automation that will notify if a contact sensor for a door is left open for more than 5 min. Thank you in advance.
[/quote]

This was added to the automation creator about a month or so ago. It’s pretty straightforward.

One) choose the + in the upper right of the main screen
2) choose automation
3) For the IF, choose device status
4) select the sensor you want
5) choose open and then select “save” in the upper right
6) Now you will see an option that lets you set a specified period of time. Set that for the time period you want


7) now set up the THEN for the automation and use “notify a member.“ you can send a push notification or a text message.

That should do it. If you need something more complicated, there are other methods, but this one is the most straightforward now.

14 Likes

Just realizing this very basic feature is missing. I am trying my best to force myself to start using the New App Rule Engine but it keeps falling short.

I still have plenty of old CoRE Pistons that I am retiring but so far, this very old App is still WAYYYYYYY more powerful than the New App’s Rule Engine. Seems like there has been an issue with every rule I attempt to make. I either end up using SmartLighting or webCoRE. CoRE was one of the reasons why I fell in love with SmartThings. They actually hired the Dev so I just can’t understand why the New Rule Engine is so limiting. :man_shrugging:t5:

I think when you say “new rule engine” you are referring to the new app’s Automations and not the new Rules API (which can only be accessed outside the app at this point), which should eventually be as powerful as webCoRE (e.g., Advanced Automations with the Rules API).

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I’ve tried that and couldn’t wrap my head around all of the ziggly lines. :weary:

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This is an option for door left open:

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Thank you all for the info. Very helpful. Not really what I was hoping for but a solution. I initially jumped on board home automation specifically for these notifications. One to be told when I detect water in my basement and when my boys forget to close the garage door. Everything used to work just fine.
Wishing to be able to control how Samsung is changing things just is not in the cards. I have looked at all the options, including Hubitat.

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I use the native custom monitors that was mentioned above for for monitoring for doors left open and it works perfectly.

Hi, I have a question regarding the April 2021 update… Does this automation alert me only ONCE at 5 minutes or EVERY 5 minutes that the sensor is open consecutively?

Thanks!

Only once.

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I started here as well, needed something to tell me the kids left the garage door open at sunset because I was tired of it being left open all night. A couple years and about 120 devices later… :joy::joy:

I set up the Something Left Open smart app on the old app and it carried forward when I migrated to the new. I do have separate 15, 30, and 45 min notifications on my doors then a sweep check notification on all contact sensors at 9:30 every night.

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Well, I’ve been using the SmartThings ‘Left It Open’ SmartApp from SmartThings Template Code available in the SmartThings IDE for years, but I just noticed that the ‘Left It Open’ SmartApp doesn’t seem to be working and I’m not at all sure when it stopped working. I really like this SmartThings authored SmartApp since it has the capability to continue notifying me using the SmartApps ‘delay between notifications’ option which is a unique capability that can’t be replicated using an Automation. This ‘nagging’ delay between notifications capability when a multipurpose sensor is left open and remains left open is something I really need.

And a bigger question is, I understand that SmartThings is wanting to move away from SmartApps, but is this how it’s going to happen when a SmartApp just stops working? After all, I’m talking about a SmartApp that SmartThings themselves authored and is available in the SmartThings IDE.

@DaWeav,
I am using this smartapp, which I modified from the original “left it open”, which allows selecting several sensors in the same application and it works well for me.

You can also use automations now:

  1. Create a virtual or simulated switch or choose a light in your house for this purpose. You can name it “Reminder” for example.
  2. Automation:
  • IF door X is open for “y” minutes AND switch “Reminder” is “off” THEN switch “Reminder” turn “on” + turn it off after “z” minutes + Send Notification “…”

You can also add the AND condition “location mode” = x

In this way, it sends you the first notification after “y” minutes of being door open and the following every “z” minutes, if the door is still open

@DaWeav,

With the new, new app, which I don’t have here, you can also select multiple doors to control in a single automation:
UPDATE: Tested this automation with the 2021 app, which I installed today, It Doesn’t Work as notification loop
The precondition requires a new event from any of the open doors to send another notification. Only send the first notification for each Contact sensor when precondition is meet

  1. Create the virtual switch or a Ikea plug or other device in your home… “Reminder”
  2. IF Precondition switch “Reminder” is off AND (A door open “x” minutes OR B door open “x” minutes OR … Door open "x" minutes ) THEN turn on “Reminder” switch + turn it off after “y” minutes + Send notification.

It will send a notification when one of the doors is open more than "x"

An automation must be done for each contact sensor to be monitored if loop notification needed.

Thanks, I know a looping Virtual Switch Automation would work, but could you check to ensure that your modified version of ‘Left It Open’ is actually working? I’m going to try it now to see if it makes any difference since the original SmartThings Left It Open SmartApp isn’t working for me anyway.

It works well.
I have selected 4 doors and I have put for the test to send me the first notification with 1 minute “Puerta Casa” open and the following every 3 minutes.

this is de screenshot of notifications

Well, I just tried your Left It Open SmartApp and it’s not working for me either. I even deleted and recreated the entire SmartApp instance. If your’s is still working then it may be a SmartThings backend server configuration difference between different countries apparently. Go figure. I opened a ticket with SmartThings so I’m going to change it back to theirs.

I guess I’ll now have to go the long way around the barn (no PUN intended) using a looping Virtual Switch and multiple Automations since I’d like the notification to show me which sensor it is.

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Yes, the failure could be because of that

With the original left it open you also have to do several automations, 1 for each contact sensor

Funny thing just happened, I first deleted my original SmartApp in the IDE to create one using your SmartApp which didn’t work. Now after I deleted your SmartApp from the IDE and recreated one using their SmartThings template, it’s working again! Something got reset somewhere. Wow… Anyway, saves me time creating a virtual switch and all those Automations.

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Can try with “Left it open multi contact”, with a single automation, select all sensor contact to control and it sends to you independent notification for each sensor, the total time that each sensor has been open and when all the sensors are closed again