Correct Placement Makes the Most of Your Wireless Home Security Camera System
Home security cameras are exploding in popularity among homeowners. Video is a powerful layer of protection for any complete home security system.
But to be an effective part of a home security system, correct placement of indoor video cameras is crucial. It’s especially important because you want to achieve effective video coverage without buying more cameras than you actually need.
Here are some things to consider when you’re figuring out where to locate video cameras in your home.
Find the power
Some cameras require an external power source, so they’ll need to be placed near an outlet. That’s not necessarily a negative, since the most popular video cameras are not only effective but attractive. They’ll look good sitting on bookcases, shelves, countertops, or other flat surfaces near a power source.
Others are powered by long-life batteries, which can hold a charge for up to several months. They give you more freedom in placement, with the ability to use screws or peel-and-stick backing to easily mount them to a wall with no power cords hanging around. You can also mount them high in an unobtrusive place, out of reach for burglars or children.
Now consider the layout of your home. Video as part of a full home security system can only perform its best when it is customized to your environment.
How strong is your signal?
If it’s a two-story home – or even a large one-story home – make sure your wireless home security camera system gets adequate wireless bandwidth from any potential location. Without adequate bandwidth, video feeds may be jerky or even freeze when you view them on your smartphone.
There’s an easy way to check. Set your smartphone to connect with your wireless system, then move it to each of the locations and count the bars on your phone to measure the coverage. Many phones also contain a built-in utility that tells you the strength of your wireless signal, or you can download an app that achieves the same purpose.
If you need to strengthen the signal for your whole house security system, it can be as easy as plugging Wi-Fi range extender devices into outlets throughout your home. They amplify the signal from your wireless router, making sure it covers the farthest parts of your home and reaches your cameras wherever you decide to place them.
Security starts at the front door
Any top-rated video camera is likely to include its own motion detection, but it’s still just part of a comprehensive wireless home security system that includes door/window sensors, motion detectors, and other smart-home security devices.
Even though your front door should have a sensor, it’s best practice to locate a video camera at the front entry, especially since more than a third of burglars enter through the front door. You’ll get a good look at any burglar who’s brave (or stupid) enough to continue once the sensor is triggered. A camera doesn’t take the place of sensors, but it lets you quickly identify anyone who doesn’t belong.
After that, move on to strategic placement of video cameras elsewhere inside the home. Think about the natural flow of movement through your home, getting from one place to another. Which are the most heavily trafficked areas? And where can you get the best images that might help police identify or apprehend a burglar?
Don’t overthink it. Most top-rated security cameras can be relocated, rather than mounted permanently in one spot. So even if you originally position them in a location that’s less than ideal, you’ll have the freedom to easily move them later.
Think like a burglar
Burglars rarely concentrate on one area when entering a home. They’ll look for items in obvious areas, such as a home office or a master bedroom. That’s where jewelry, electronics, and other valuables are. So imagine how a burglar would move through your home once they’re in.
The best video security cameras have a wide field of vision. For example, the popular Nest Cam has a wide-angle view of around 130 degrees. That’s roughly the same range of vision as the human eye. That means that most top-rated cameras can see what you would see by moving your eyes without shifting the position of your head.
Since you and the camera have a similar range of vision, where would you stand for an optimum view of commonly used areas of your home? Start with that as a guide for camera placement, knowing that when a camera detects motion, you’ll be alerted on your smartphone.
- Find an intersection of a hallway and a stairwell, at either the top or bottom, since a burglar would be likely to move through that area.
- If your home is built around a “great room” design, find a location that would let you see not just that area, but different points of entry.
- Place a camera where there is a cluster of doors to different rooms, since a burglar might travel from room to room.
Once a video camera detects an intruder, you can warn them with two-way audio that’s featured in any top-quality camera. Since the best defense is often a good offense, tell the intruder you’re watching and that the police are on the way. That gives them a great reason to head for the door.
More ways than one
Home video has moved way beyond the traditional nursery-cam. Since cameras do more than just complete your home security system, they can also enhance your lifestyle.
- Get peace of mind by checking on your kids when they get home from school, or if they’re home alone.
- Peek in on your pets, even if it’s just a workday break to see what your furry friends are doing.
- Keep an eye on service providers, such as caregivers, housekeepers, babysitters, and others.
You can also keep an eye on sensitive areas, such as a workshop, home office, or even a liquor cabinet. That way, you’ll be alerted if someone in the house is in an area where they’re not allowed.
To hide, or not to hide
Experts differ about whether it’s more effective for your camera to be seen (and recognized as a deterrent) or to be hidden so that intruders don’t know that they’re being watched. So much depends on the camera itself.
Using the Nest Cam as an example, it blends in easily among books, plants, or electronics. But don’t let that be your primary driver of camera placement. If it’s not in the right place, it doesn’t matter whether it’s hidden or in plain sight.
Also remember to respect privacy of loved ones. Your whole house security system should be about making everyone feel safe, and not spied upon. The “Big Brother” approach to camera placement doesn’t suit anyone.
Home security has moved beyond the traditional concept of entry sensors and a control panel. Now you’ve got eyes and ears with video cameras. With correct placement, video lets you create a complete home security system that’s both secure and practical.