To achieve maximum coverage you need two security camera’s for each corner of the house and one additional camera to cover each entrance of the house. At each corner of the house one camera will point each direction creating cross zone coverage. If the house has an odd shape you may need to add additional cameras to eliminate blind spots. The total number of cameras you need will depend on the shape of your house, the square footage of the house perimeter and the range of the cameras you purchase.
Continue reading to learn more about types of cameras, their ranges and best placement strategies.
Security Cameras as Part of Every Home Security Strategy
Having an effective home security system is one of the main considerations when it comes to securing your home. Video surveillance equipment is an indicator of increased security and serves as a great deterrent for home intruders. With surveillance evolution and software advancements, you can now monitor multiple areas in real-time from virtually any place as long as you have an internet connection.
However, figuring how to go about it can be a daunting process considering the vast array of options available on the market. Below is a detailed and comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about home surveillance systems and how you can incorporate one into your overall home security plans.
Types of Home Security Cameras
There is a wide range of security system cameras. You can mix and match them to create an effective home surveillance system, which suits your unique security needs and lifestyle. Full-motion, full-color, and high-resolution video images are the standard among security camera providers thanks to advances in video and wireless technology.
The right type of camera for your home will depend on your security needs, home design and budget. Additionally, you will want to look at camera range and the distances between each camera. You will probably want to understand how the field of view will effect your camera placement and what the light levels will be. Take into consideration the feature set of each camera, do you need night vision, is the range good enough, do you have camera to camera coverage and will each cameras have a large enough field of view to cover the entire area you are trying to secure. Do the cameras need to be outdoor rated, water proof or tamper proof? Do you have the ability to run wires to each camera or do you need wireless and battery powered cameras. All of these factors play a major role in helping you decide which type of cameras to purchase.
• Bullet Cameras – Bullet cameras are named as such for their long cylindrical shape. This distinctive shape is highly recognizable and thus provides a visible deterrent to intruders. The cylindrical shape also enables you to focus on fixed views, such as specific entry or exit points. You may need multiple cameras as you only have one fixed view. Bullet cameras can have night vision, motion, and heat-sensing technology.
• Dome Cameras – Dome cameras, also known as ceiling cameras, are designed to conceal the camera’s orientation. They are mostly used indoors but can also be used outdoors. Dome cameras have a wider viewing angle and are more resistant towards vandalism and tampering. Just as with Bullet cameras, dome cameras can have night vision, heat and motion sensing features built in.
• PTZ Cameras – PTZ cameras have the ability to pan, tilt, and zoom in on subjects when you control the movement via an app or browser remotely. This type of camera is built around a cocoon of gears and motors that allow an operator to move it remotely. You can also set it to automatically patrol an area.
• Wireless IP Cameras – Wireless IP cameras stream and collect data over a wireless network. These cameras connect to your home Wi-Fi and allow you to view security footage from any place. It is worth noting that within IP cameras, there are wired, wireless, and wire-free security cameras.
With wired cameras, you connect them directly to a recorder that connects to the internet via your router. You need to connect wired cameras to a DVR or NVR recorder to store and view security footage. Wire-free cameras, on the other hand, are battery-powered cameras that are cable free.
You can use several home security cameras, both indoors and outdoors. Often, they tend to have the same features, such as remote viewing and infrared night vision. The main factor to take into consideration is durability. An outdoor security camera has to be weather resistant or waterproof. Bullet cameras are the most ideal as an outdoor camera since they have enclosures at the barrel tip.
How Many Security Cameras Do You Need?
A home security system with very many cameras will be expensive to purchase and maintain. On the other hand, a surveillance system with too few security cameras might leave you relatively unsecured. As such, there are some important factors to consider when deciding on the number of security camera that you need. These are the best places to install home security cameras for optimum effectiveness.
• Main Living Areas – It is recommendable to place security cameras in main living areas since you are able to capture more space and more entrance points with fewer cameras. The open concept design of most modern homes compounds this effect.
• All Entrances – You need to cover all the entrances to your home. Intruders may be able to avoid detection by outdoor cameras, but they have to go through one of the handfuls of entrances to get inside. It will be difficult for them to avoid cameras placed at these locations.
• Hallways and Stairways – Intruders will have to go through hallways or stairways in order to get to your valuables. Hallways and stairways box in intruders forcing them to walk in specific places. Cameras placed at these locations will catch them.
• Garage – Garages are one of the most overlooked places when it comes to home security. They are relatively easy to break into and are an attractive entry point for intruders. As such, you have to cover this vulnerable entrance to your home.
• Outdoor Areas – The most important outdoor areas to cover include the front door, the driveway, and back yard. Cameras in these locations will help catch anyone scoping out your home from the outside. They are also the most visible areas where security cameras will serve as deterrents.
Security Camera Quality and Range
Different types of security cameras have different video image quality or resolution. The cameras with higher resolutions will capture the better quality of video images. In terms of camera quality, there are three main options. These are entry-level analog cameras, High Definition cameras, and IP cameras.
The analog cameras provide lower resolution video images suited for monitoring areas and detecting people. Their resolution is measured in TV lines, also referred to as TVLs. Currently, the highest resolution you will find at stores is around 700 TVLs while the lowest is approximately 420 TVLs.
HD security cameras provide crisp, high-resolution images (1080p) suitable for catching characters and numbers, or for recording evidence for legal purposes. Such cameras allow for a more enhanced image whereby you can digitally zoom in and capture superior image qualities. This can help identify the faces of subjects and other crucial details, such as number plates. IP cameras are at the top end of the market and provide High Definition (HD) to Ultra High Definition (UHD/4K) resolution.
When it comes to how far a security camera can see (range), a number of factors come into play. However, the main factor that determines a security camera’s range is the focal length. The focal length refers to the distance between the image sensor and the camera lens measured in mm.
There are two types of focal lengths when it comes to security cameras: fixed and variable. The larger the focal length, the smaller the field of view but the greater the range. As such, cameras with large focal lengths will have the most range. Nonetheless, optical surveillance provides a range of 10 to 700 feet, depending on the type of security camera.
However, there are factors that will influence the visibility of individuals and objects, including lighting and weather conditions. Most outdoor and indoor cameras will be good for about 10-30 feet, larger bullet cameras for approximately 50-60 feet and PTZ cameras for about 500-700 feet.
Security Camera Recording Options
There are several solutions for recording the footage or events that your home security camera system captures. These are DVR/NVR, hard drive, FTP Server, Cloud, and SD card.
• NVR/DVR – Recording via Digital Video Recorder (DVR) or Network Video Recorder (NVR) is the most common option for most homeowners. DVRs and NVRs come with an in-built large capacity HDD (1TB, 2TB or 3TB). The HDD capacity will affect how long you can record video footage.
• SD Card – Most IP security cameras have SD card slot built in. Since the capacity of the SD card is often limited to 32, it is only used for recording motion events.
• Computer Hard Drive- This is among the cheapest ways to record security footage. All you need is a wired or wireless IP security camera system, the surveillance software or app, and a computer.
• FTP Server – FTP servers are ideal for recording security footage remotely. Most cameras can record footage to remote FTP servers making it a great way to record footage round the clock. You just have to connect the camera and your computer to the same network.
• Cloud Recording – This is the more costly way to record round the clock security footage. All you need to do is purchase a suitable cloud storage plan from a reputable cloud storage service provider. The service providers avail guides on how to record your security footage to the cloud.
Creating a Security Plan and Layout for Your Cameras
You will want to install your home security system right the first time. You do not want to discover that your cameras have bad viewing angles once you have drilled holes in several walls. As such, planning ahead is vital. Avoid skimping on the number of cameras, storage space, and cable lengths.
Always ensure that your cameras are visible, especially the outdoor ones. Many homeowners make the mistake of attempting to conceal them. You remove the deterrent factor when you conceal cameras. Try to make it very obvious that your home is monitored. You want to make your home as unattractive as possible to would be thieves.
The next consideration is camera placement. Your security cameras have to cover the crucial areas you want to be monitored. These are the aforementioned main living areas, entrances, hallways, stairways, garage, driveway, and backyard. Locating ideal spots at these locations goes beyond interpretation.
As such, carefully analyze your home design to determine the best camera placement spots. For instance, an area that receives direct sunlight in the afternoon/evening can make the camera output useless. Tree branches can block a camera’s line of sight on windy days. Place your cameras in sheltered areas protected from the elements and with optimal lighting conditions.
Most importantly, if you opted for the internet-connected systems, ensure that the spot has a strong Wi-Fi signal. Always test the equipment before you commit to the full install. Once you have installed your home security camera system, check and recheck the live feed on all weather and lighting conditions to ensure that the footage will be usable if ever needed.
Overall, a home security camera system is crucial as it acts as a deterrent, can provide evidence, encourages a safe environment, helps resolve conflict, and affords you peace of mind. They are more affordable and available today, and with the right information, installation, and incorporation into your overall home security plan is not as daunting as it may seem.