Looking to secure your home or business with a security camera but want to avoid paying for installation? Our step-by-step guide will walk you through the DIY process, from selecting the right camera to mounting and connecting it to your network. Protect your property and gain peace of mind with our easy-to-follow instructions.
Plan Your Positions
Many different options are available for do-it-yourself security camera systems. These include freestanding cameras that rest on window sills or kitchen wall cabinets and wired models with more permanent mounting. While various choices can seem daunting, each has advantages and disadvantages.
Regardless of the type or number of cameras purchased, you must carefully consider where each should be placed. A camera’s position in a room can make or break its effectiveness. In general, cameras that are higher up are more difficult to reach by trespassers or inquisitive children, which makes them more secure. It is also essential to place the camera in a position that can provide a wide enough field of view to capture the movement of anyone entering or leaving a space.
It is also essential to ensure the camera has enough ambient lighting to identify faces quickly. If the camera is too close to a light source, such as a streetlight or security lamp, it can cause backlighting that leaves rings or dots in the video footage. If your camera’s viewing angle is obstructed, consider purchasing a lens extender to increase its range of motion.
Installing a Home Automation Hub
A security camera system is only helpful if it is being watched. To avoid having to physically check in on your property each time something happens, consider installing a home automation hub to monitor your camera from the comfort of your home.
Security systems with remote monitoring can also greatly benefit business owners, mainly those operating storefronts. A live stream of what is happening in and around the property can alert customers to any unusual activity, allowing them to take immediate action.
Before you begin your camera installation, it is essential to understand the surveillance laws in your area and country. While most homeowners can put up outdoor surveillance cameras, you’ll want to ensure yours don’t infringe on neighbors’ privacy. Additionally, it is generally against the law to point a surveillance camera into someone else’s home without their permission.
Gather Your Tools
A security camera system allows the monitoring of a property remotely from an app or in person. Many people install their home surveillance systems, as it’s typically cheaper and more flexible than paying a monthly monitoring fee for the same services. Many cameras are available, ranging from license plate recognition (LPR) units that track car activity to fisheye models with a wide-angle view. The kind of camera you choose will depend on your client’s specific needs and priorities.
Residents considering a DIY security camera installation should gather a few essential tools, before starting the project. They’ll want to ensure that they have a cordless drill with a hammer attachment, Phillips-head and flathead screwdrivers, needle-nose pliers, and a ladder. If they’re installing a wired camera that will be hooked up to an outlet, or they’ll be running cable through walls and conduit, obtaining a permit from the local authorities may be necessary before starting the work.
If the camera will be powered by electricity, residents should shut off the power to their homes before beginning the project. This is essential for safety and to prevent damage to the wiring or connections. Residents should also consider whether the wiring project will require them to cut into walls and, if so, if they’re comfortable doing that. If they aren’t comfortable working with electricity, they can opt for a battery-powered camera or have a professional install the system.
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The next step is to test the equipment and ensure it works correctly. A resident should try out the camera in their intended location (using tape or a nail as a temporary fix) to evaluate whether they can see everything they need and that it isn’t affected by glare or other obstructions.
Before beginning the project, residents should ensure the power is turned off at the breaker box and any other electrical outlets. They should also find out if the job requires them to apply for a permit and, if so, leave plenty of time to do that. Finally, they should ensure that their wireless network can support the amount of data they plan to use for their security cameras.
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Run the Wires
If you’re working with wired security cameras, the first thing to do is find a place to power them. Make sure you can access the spot comfortably from anywhere in the house. An attic or your Internet router are ideal locations. Also, consider a central “surveillance hub” to bring all your camera feeds together. This can be easier to set up and can give you more control over what you’re monitoring.
Once you’ve found the right location for your camera, mark the holes where its cable will feed through. If needed, leave a few feet of extra space inside for termination and future reorganization. A standard RG-59 siamese cable should be sufficient for both power and video transmission if you’re using an analog or HD-over-coax security camera. However, some cameras require a Network Ethernet cable and a PoE adapter.
Then, start drilling holes in the wall or ceiling where you plan to run your cables. Be sure to use a stud finder and a straightened metal coat hanger to feel for any unforeseen obstructions before drilling to avoid hitting anything electrical.
Hide the Wires
After drilling holes, run your wires from the home to your camera. You can do this by using steel fish tape and labeling the ends to help identify which wire works for each camera.
Alternatively, you can use PVC or metal conduit pipes to hide the wires for a cleaner look. However, this option requires some extra labor and expense.
When splicing cables, be careful not to cut the actual copper wires. Instead, remove the outer insulation and expose a few inches of each wire’s end. Then, twist the exposed copper ends to connect them. Electrical tape protects the splices from water, pests, and other harmful elements.
If you’re installing more than one camera, you may also need to splice the signal wires together. Check the manufacturer’s documentation for a wiring diagram and any other special requirements for your system. You should also see if your municipality requires any permit to work on the wiring for your home surveillance system.
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Install the Cameras
After determining where to mount the cameras, it’s essential to ensure the equipment works correctly. Residents should test the camera in the intended spot by mounting it loosely (with tape, a single nail, or another temporary fix) and attempting to use it to monitor an area of the home. This will allow the resident to see if there are any issues with the video feed or the device’s settings before making any permanent changes.
If the camera is set to operate outdoors, it’s also crucial to consider how it will interact with sunlight and shadows. The sun’s movement can cause glare or high contrast in the footage, and residents will want to position the cameras away from areas where sunlight can disrupt the feed.
For wired cameras, it’s necessary to run data cables from the camera to the digital video recorder box (DVR). This can be as simple as running the line through a decorative conduit and along baseboards but may require drilling holes into walls or fishing cables through insulation and crawl spaces. If a resident isn’t comfortable digging into their borders or needs the tools necessary to do so safely, they should consider hiring a professional for their home security installation.
Connect to Wi-Fi
Once the cameras are mounted, the resident wants to tighten the screws that secure them. Then, they will connect the cameras to their Wi-Fi and sync them with any other devices, like smart sensors or video doorbells, that they’ve purchased.
The last step is to check that all the connections are in place and working correctly. Residents should also take a final look at the cameras’ angles to ensure they capture the planned area.
Residents can easily install their home security cameras with little planning and preparation. These steps will help them avoid costly mistakes and ensure their systems operate as they should. If you happen to have a Technology Coupon Code, you can use it to save on the purchase of your security camera equipment. For residents who aren’t comfortable with installing their cameras or would prefer to have a professional handle the project, many local professionals are ready to help.
Choosing a security camera system for your home or business requires careful consideration and research. The top 7 cameras on the market today offer a variety of features and benefits to fit different needs and budgets. Whether you’re looking for remote access, motion detection, night vision, or other advanced features, a camera on this list can meet your requirements.