Professional CCTV technician working.

Security Camera Installation At Home: What You Need To Know

The Internet is replete with reports of vandalism, burglary, violence, and other criminal violations in the one place most people feel safe—the home. The Bureau Of Justice Statistics (JBS) Reported The Following In A Study Conducted From 2004-2008:

  • One out of three violent crimes occurs in or near the home
  • Two-thirds of all property crimes occur in or near the home
  • An average of 990,900 violent crimes occur annually in the home
  • An average of 4,801,740 property crimes occur annually in the home

In medieval times, when a person´s home was literally their castle (assuming they were of royal heritage), a moat was constructed around the exterior walls to prevent intrusion. These days, many people use sophisticated surveillance cameras to produce the same effect: A feeling of security.

Though the benefits of a CCTV camera or a wireless security camera system with the latest motion detection and outdoor cameras are obvious, not everyone can afford the services of a professional contractor to install and maintain a stellar security system. Fortunately, there are many surveillance options for the do-it-your selfer that provide similar results at reduced cost.

If You Are A Do-It-Yourself Type With A Few Dollars To invest In A Home Security Camera System, Here Are Some Tips To Help You Set Things Up With A Minimum Of Hassle:

1. Do Your Homework

Home security concept

It is a good idea to make a small diagram of your home to assess your security needs before you start your shopping. Your budget will likely be the biggest factor in determining the amount of surveillance coverage you can purchase. The Following Are Good Areas To Consider For Initial Placement Of Security Cameras:

  • Front and back doors
  • Garage door and/or porch
  • Master bedroom (studies show that a majority of burglars go straight for the master bedroom)
  • Children’s room (many parents, especially those with infants, use a security camera with monitor detection to follow their child’s activities

Placement should be done strategically according to the type of device. If the device is not powered by a battery, do you need a power source? If the wireless camera transmits its video feed through WiFi, is your Internet signal weak in this area? Depending on circumstances, placement preferences may dictate what type of device you need to purchase

Experts suggest installation of surveillance cameras at heights of eight to ten feet off the ground to avoid damage or vandalism. Position cameras under shelter such as ceilings and eaves if possible, as precipitation and bright sunlight can adversely affect the quality of the surveillance video.

2. Choose The Best Camera For Your Circumstances

Some experts recommend purchasing a complete security system in bulk with motion detectors to save money (and avoid the aggravation of having to seek out all of the components needed for installation). Others suggest purchasing one or two cameras initially and adding more as needed.

The former may be a smarter move if initial funds are plentiful, while the latter may be a better fit for tight budgets. There are myriad options for purchasing cameras and motion detectors, a CCTV system, or other alarm system in retail stores and internet outlets.

Best Security Camera

eBay and Amazon both have a large selection of alarm systems for sale and many offer free shipping. The type of camera(s) you purchase will have a large say in how much trouble you will have to go through during installation.

Wireless devices are a good fit if you are not crazy about the idea of snaking wires through wall voids. These devices are either rechargeable or run on disposable batteries and don’t need an external power source to function. Video surveillance is sent via WIFI to a DVR, computer, or VCR

Advantage: No drilling or knowledge of building construction is necessary. The devices can be perched on wall mounts that are easily installed with a few screws. Some come with magnets that allow attachment to metal surfaces.

Disadvantage: A constant need to replace or recharge batteries. If you are not careful with battery maintenance, the camera may not function when it needs to. Also, performance is affected by proximity to the receiver.

Security Camera for Home

The solution some camera distributors have come up with in resolving the issue of battery maintenance is programming the device so that the video recorder is activated using a motion sensor. This cuts down on energy use and the subsequent need for battery maintenance.

Hardwired systems are similar those installed by professionals. Depending on the device type, both video and electric wiring will need to be run through wall voids to connect cameras to a central power/monitoring source. This is not recommended as a do-it-yourself option for newbies to house construction, as competence in running and connecting electrical and video wires is needed.

Advantage: The system tends to function more reliably than wireless options and is able to cover a greater area.

Disadvantage: Significant knowledge of house construction is needed to effectively install the system.

Even if a person with limited experience in wire installation is forced to enlist the help of a contractor for help setting up the system, they will still likely save money in the long run by avoiding the monthly maintenance fees imposed by professional security services.

When choosing a security camera, care should be taken to ensure that devices created for indoor use are nor used in an outdoor environment, as the elements will quickly damage or destroy a device that is not weatherproof.

3. Installation

Before installing the cameras, all elements of the system should be connected and checked for defects. Each system should have a checklist of parts and all should be accounted for.

installing video surveillance camera on wall

Citing the marked differences in installation requirements for the various types of surveillance devices, John Fuller, a staff writer and editor for How Stuff Works, said: "Poor installation won't get you any results and if you've never had any experience with electronics, it would be best to have a professional handle the job."

That said, many surveillance systems come with a complete list of necessary parts, detailed assembly instructions, and a website and/or telephone help center to assist with troubleshooting problems.

Lorex by Flir, a leading distributor of surveillance systems, claims many clients have successfully installed their systems with a minimum of aggravation: "You may wish to hire a professional to install your security system; however, Lorex security systems are designed to be DIY-friendly and many of our customers get them up and running quickly. Our security systems come with detailed installation instructions and include the parts needed to install them yourself."

Whether you take the plunge yourself, enlist the help of a tech-savvy friend, or hire a professional to do the work, the installment of a well-planned security system will prove to be a worthwhile investment of time and money. Statistics indicate that 1 in 36 homes will be burglarized this year. Secure your home with a surveillance security system and markedly decrease your odds of being singled out.