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How to Install Home Security Cameras

4 min. read

Home monitoring systems are increasingly popular these days. No matter your budget, the size of your home, or whether you have kids, pets, neither, or both, there’s a security system out there for you.

If you’re looking to save some cash by going the DIY home security or self-monitored route, you might benefit from learning about security camera installation so you can skip the cost of having a technician visit your home.

Decide where to install your home security cameras

When choosing your security camera placement, think about which areas are most important to monitor. There’s no need to cover your entire home with cameras as long as a few key locations are accounted for.

The most common places for security camera installation are the front, back, and side doors. Video doorbells are also quite popular as they allow homeowners to keep an eye out for guests, packages, or intruders, and even make sure the kids are home on time.

You may also want to consider putting a camera on your front porch or wherever packages are dropped off. According to a Reviews.com survey, 34 percent of Americans have had been victims of package theft, a number that only continues to climb as more and more people shop from online stores like Amazon that result in increased home deliveries.

What to know before you break out the tools

Before you purchase security cameras, there are a few important aspects of installation to take into consideration. Namely, there may be limitations associated with certain types of security cameras.

For example, some cameras are powered by batteries that must be changed regularly, while others need to be plugged in and require a nearby outlet. The camera must also store footage somewhere. If footage is stored on a memory card, find out how frequently you’ll need to erase the card. If footage is stored in the cloud, you’ll have to make sure the camera is placed within range of your home’s wifi router, and decide how comfortable you are with having a live feed of your home’s interior accessible from the cloud.

You may wish to connect your security camera to a home automation system. In this case, make sure the security camera you’re purchasing is compatible with any systems you already have in place, which you can find on your system manufacturer’s website.

Finally, make sure to research your local laws regarding security cameras before putting anything up. While you can generally record video in the privacy of your own home in the United States, you could land yourself in hot water if cameras are directed at your neighbor’s home or any other private property. Some laws also prohibit you from placing cameras in bathrooms or bedrooms, although nanny cams for your child’s room may be okay. And recording audio of someone without their consent is against the law in many states, so check to see whether the security camera you’re purchasing has a microphone, and if you can mute it.

How to install security cameras 

When you’re ready for security camera installation, keep these tips in mind.

Do:

  • Test the view via your camera’s app or control panel to see whether the entire area you want captured is within the frame.
  • Use a stud finder to make sure you’re attaching your camera in a secure place, not on drywall or electric wiring.
  • Account for all hardware limitations: check for a reliable power source, make sure you can access the camera’s storage, and confirm the wifi signal strength from the location you’ve selected.

Don’t:

  •   Record your neighbors or unaware guests.
  •  Place cameras anywhere that privacy is expected, such as in a bathroom or bedroom. Check your local laws, even relating to nanny cams.     
  • Use an indoor camera outdoors; make sure any exterior cameras are weather resistant.
  •  Install outdoor cameras in a place where people or animals could tamper with them.

Make the most of your home security cameras

Home security systems are an effective way to keep your family safe, and with so many options out there, it’s easy to create a system that works for your home.

A reminder, however, that even though your camera can capture footage 24/7, it’s just one tool. A security camera’s effectiveness is unfortunately limited to the virtual world, and it won’t physically prevent damage, break-ins, or theft. It’s a good idea to back up your security system with a robust home insurance plan. That way, if your cameras do record something going wrong, you’ll at least have the option of filing an insurance claim to negate the effects.

Keep in mind that self-monitored and professionally-monitored security systems exist for a reason. While there is a recurring monthly fee associated with these types of systems, the service you receive provides a peace of mind that you just won’t get out of a homemade rig with a hodge-podge of your own gear. If you ask us, it’s worth the price.