So you went out and got yourself a brand new camera system, ready to be the next person to upload a video of a guy licking your doorbell to YouTube (can’t make this stuff up folks, and if you haven’t seen that video, here ya go courtesy of LivePD on A&E ). Now the question is, where do you hang your cameras for best coverage?
Thanks to wireless capabilities these days, there’s tons of possibilities out there. Just remember not to overcomplicate the simple and get the most out of your equipment. Some basic equipment recommendations I would throw in before we get into it would be:
- Wifi or Wireless needs to be hung high enough that someone cannot dislodge, move or remove, or otherwise tamper. This isn’t necessarily for the fact that you won’t capture the intruder’s image, but more for the fact that you don’t want to have to replace equipment that is stolen.
- Get cameras that have night vision, it is a great feature. However, I’ll always recommend a motion activated flood light in addition to cameras in areas that are near vehicles or entryways. Nothing like a good million or so lumen flash of light to deter a would-be robber or nosey neighbor.
- Don’t discount the affordability and reliability of a trail or game camera for a highly wooded area that has access to your property. Some have real time viewing and motion sensor capabilities, and the definition can be just as good. Their ability to be camouflaged is a bonus.
So where is the best coverage for your house? Well every house is different, so I’ll give some generic best practices.
- The obvious, your front door. Video doorbells have become a huge asset in home protection, the ability to answer the door remotely without having to actually open the door is invaluable to combat a home invasion scenario, or when the kids are home alone. I mean think about it, if Ring Doorbells existed when they made the Home Alone Movie, game over…. Kevin wins before his pizza is delivered. Additionally, in the wake of the Amazon package boom, this is a huge asset to deter or prosecute package thieves.
- Exterior Cameras. Secondary Entryways, Garage, Driveway, areas of access that are obscured by foliage or out of view of the house in general. Camera placement should be 8-10 feet above ground, not pointed directly at the sun (can’t believe I have to say that) and can be visible or hidden depending on level of deterrence you wish. Lastly, make sure you weatherproof your cameras. Keep an eye on dust or smudge obscuring the lens and perform basic preventative maintenance on a regular basis.
- Interior Cameras. Common areas are the key, main entry way that shows anyone entering the main door, living area, and kitchen area are always best. Determine whether these will be used to solely record evidence of a break in, or to monitor children or elderly. In either case, the ability to see real time video, with motion sensor is a great option. Also, the ability to hear and vocally communicate is an excellent way to check in on loved ones or deter (scare the crap out of) unwanted intruders. Some things to watch out for:
- Window reflections can degrade image quality or give a false impression of an intruder. Try to point the cameras in a manner that include windows, but don’t point directly at them.
- Utilize corners as much as possible. The angle will give you the maximum area of coverage for one camera.
- Indirect lighting is your friend. Direct light (lamp, light fixture, sunlight) can wash out your footage. Use backlighting whenever possible, especially if coverage outside of a window is necessary.
- Things to consider. For exterior cameras, be mindful of pointing cameras in such a manner that they will violate your neighbor’s privacy. State laws vary on this subject, so check with your local/state regulations, or you might end up having to register on a list, and become permanently unpopular at the next homeowner’s association meeting. For interior, again, privacy matters. Monitoring kids and elderly can be a good (sometimes necessary) thing, but areas like changing rooms, bathrooms, and bedrooms may violate an individual’s reasonable expectation of privacy. Baby monitors for the young ones, and emergency alert systems for the old ones are probably your best bet.
Test your equipment BEFORE you install (you’ll thank me).
Use the manufacturer provided or recommended installation hardware.
Don’t forget to clean them!
Sometimes, having them installed professionally may be the best route. Know your capabilities, and if they fall somewhere in the “Tim The-Tool-Man Taylor” realm of competency, maybe contact a handyman before you have to call 9-1-1.
For tips on choosing the best types of security system for your home check out our blog on the factors to consider here.