Over our 34 years in business, we’ve worked with over a thousand customers to design complete home security plans. From locks, to safes, to burglar alarms, we cover every aspect of security. However, perhaps no security measure provides as many layers of security as installing home cameras. Installing this security gives you “eyes” on your property at all times. You can even use a smartphone app or any internet-connected device to view your property remotely. Additionaly, cameras create recorded video of any suspicious activity that may occur in or around your home for future viewing and possible crime-solving. Finally, the mere presence of cameras encourages criminals to attempt their deeds elsewhere. For these many reasons, we strongy encourage considering adding this security to your home. In this post, we share some smart home surveillance tips for the most effective camera installation possible.

First, we’ll explain some of the difficulties surrounding installing cameras in homes in the first place. There are reasons that until recently, surveillance was considered a commercial security measure rarely used in homes. From there, we’ll look at how we go about designing an effective camera installation for your home. This includes both proper system design as well as choosing the best cameras for your application. We’ll then wrap up with a look at installing smart cameras. These cameras can take the place of traditional hardwired devices when necessary. Now, let’s dive in and see why installing home surveillance often proves difficult.

Issues Surrounding Residential Camera Installation

As we mentioned earlier, people used to consider surveillance for their businesses, but rarely their homes. Here, we’ll discuss some of the reasons behind this thinking. For starters, camera installation traditionally involves running wires from a recorder to each camera location. Unfortunately, doing this in houses often proves difficult at best and even impossible at times as well. Luckily, we now have the means to install cameras without wiring them all the way back to a recorder. The advent of point-to-point streaming equipment allows us to install surveillance in applications we previously could not.

Three spools of power wire

Traditional camera installations require running wire from the recorder to every camera location, which often proves difficult in a house.

Furthermore, the cost of surveillance devices in general has also dropped. A few decades ago, the cost of cameras alone, let alone the cost of a dedicated recorder, made installing this security extremely cost-prohibitive. However, as with most technology, prices have decreased as production methods improve. The ability to install cameras wherever you may need them, combined with this drop in price, lets our residential customers experience the security afforded by installing surveillance. Now, let’s check out some home surveillance tips related to smart camera system design.

Effective Home Surveillance Design

When we create a plan to install cameras in a home, we aim to place your cameras as effectively as possible. This involves placing cameras in high-importance areas of your home. For example, covering cars coming up your driveway and people approaching your home should take priority here. Additionally, installing a few cameras inside your entrances to capture the faces of anyone entering can also prove effective. We also recommend placing cameras on areas of your home that capture potential entry and exit spots from your yard. This especially includes secluded or hidden areas, such as paths leading from woods to your home.

Finally, you must anticipate future surveillance expansion when designing your home’s cameras. If you anticipate adding cameras down the line, consider purchasing a larger recorder than you’ll initially need. Recorders have the capacity for a limited number of cameras. Specifically, we generally install machines capable of handling up to 4, 8, 16, and 32 cameras each. Therefore, if you start with 4 cameras but might add on in the future, we’d recommend an 8-channel recorder. Knowing how many cameras you may want, and where, gets you off to a great start. At this point, it’s time to choose the actual cameras you’ll want to install. Let’s change our focus to this important step right now!

Choosing the Right Cameras for Your Home

When it comes to choosing a camera, our customers take several factors into account. For example, they like to see what the cameras they may install look like. Does the size, shape, and color of the camera match its installation location well enough? From there, we also need to think of performance-based issues. For example, cameras installed outdoors should have enough infrared lighting capacity to make their picture look good during the darker hours of the day. Even more importantly, outdoor cameras should have outdoor ratings. Customers who make the mistake of installing cameras meant for indoor use outside end up needing to change these cameras out very quickly after they get hit with extreme temperatures and less-than-ideal whether.

Finally, cameras also come with different types of lenses. The lenses installed within your cameras affects both the price point and the performance of any camera profoundly. Most cameras have a “fixed” lens. This means that once we install it, there is no zooming in and out. Changing what these cameras can “see” involves physically moving the camera. We also offer cameras with “varifocal” lenses as well. These lenses do allow us to change the view of the camera after installation. Finally, we also offer long-range varifocal camerasthat allow us to zoom in on areas of your property hundreds of feet away! We truly offer a cameras that suits every security need. Now, let’s take a look at one of the newest entries to the surveillance landscape.

Putting the “Smart” in Smart Camera

Smart cameras, such as our preferred models powered by Alarm.com, solve many issues that keep some people from installing cameras in their home. For starters, these cameras generally come with a very digestible price point. Although camera pricing has generally dropped across the board, smart camera pricing still has a leg up on just about any hardwired camera from a price point perspective. Moreover, these cameras generally store video to the cloud via your wifi. This means that you do not have to purchase a recorder to install smart cameras. Since the recorder often makes up a significant chunk of the overall cost of a camera system, this can make installing these cameras quite a bit less expensive than their hardwired counterparts.

A screen showing video footage from nine Alarm.com cameras.

Alarm.com cameras do not need to be wired to a common location, allowing homeowners tremendous flexibility when choosing camera locations.

On the downside, smart cameras do not provide the reliable surveillance that their hardwired couterparts provide. Crooks with wifi jammers can easily block your wifi cameras from recording footage during their crimes, as detailed in this news report. For this reason, we only recommend installing wifi cameras in low-security situations. However, for customers looking to check in on their pets or other similar lesser-risk applications, these cameras can provide a cost-efficient surveillance solution.

Putting Our Home Surveillance Tips to Your Advantage

We hope that our home surveillance tips help you create an effective surveillance system for your own home! Additionally, we encourage you to contact us with any questions this post may raise for you. We will happily answer any camera-related inquiries you may have. Furthermore, we also invite you to take advantage of our free site survey program. We’ve always offered complimentary security audits and equipment quotes to both new and existing customers alike. While on site, we can help you address any security concerns you may have. Moreover, we can also make suggestions of our own based on observations we make during our visit.

Perhaps you have minimal camera coverage now and want to take advantage of the tips you’ve read in this post. Or, maybe you have yet to dip your toe into the world of home surveillance, but would like to get started. Either way, we are happy to help! We’ve worked with hundreds of customers in designing and installing surveillance that fits their security needs. Together, we can create an effective and efficient system to help keep your home as safe and secure as possible!