Security cameras can be one of the best tools for not only catching criminals but deterring them from targeting your home in the first place. But where exactly are you supposed to install security cameras for best results?
Where should I install security cameras? According to police statistics, the most common entry points that burglars use to enter your home are the same entries that you use. Your front door, rear door, and garage doors. Next, the first-floor windows and even the second-floor windows if they have easy access.
A few things to know before installing your security cameras:
1. The farther the object is from the camera, the smaller it will appear on the screen, and the less detail you will see.
2. You will not be able to capture everything with just one camera.
3. Decide what you want to see and record with each camera before you mount them.
4. Some cameras will be installed to get a general view of the property without much detail.
Example: Sometimes, you just want to know if someone is on the property without seeing their face.
5. Some cameras will be installed to identify a person’s face while walking onto the property. A camera installed above your front door will identify a person ringing your doorbell or stealing a package.
Where should you install outside security cameras?
It would be costly to cover every single opening in your house with video surveillance, so this is what I usually do for the most effective placement of security cameras.
Let’s take an average home. Chances are, the front door is in the center of the house, and the driveway and garage are either on the right or left side of the house. Usually, we can get good video coverage by placing three cameras in the front of the house.
1. One camera above the front door to get a close-up view of someone standing at your door. Since most burglars ring your doorbell first to see if someone is home, this is a perfect chance to show them that you have security cameras, and that alone can make a would-be burglar think twice before targeting your home.
2. Next, a camera placed on the corner of your house viewing the driveway. This angle will get a good view of someone trying to break into one of your cars or entering through the garage door.
3. A camera on the opposite side of the house pointed towards the front yard should give a clear view of any cars pulling up to your home or someone walking across your property.
By crisscrossing two cameras on the corners of the house, we’re able to get a good view of the front of the house and see anyone trying to get inside a door or window.
Let’s talk about the side yard. One camera on each side of the house, mounted on the rear of the house, pointed toward the front, can view someone trying to break in through a window or walking into the back yard.
In the back yard, we do pretty much the same thing as the front of the house, two cameras on each corner of the house crisscrossing to get a view of the entire back yard, or, depending on the layout of the house, placing the cameras in an area where we can cover as many doors and windows as possible.
This is just an example of an average home. The average home camera installation for us can range anywhere from four cameras to sixteen cameras depending on the size of the house.
How high should you install cameras outside?
The height that the camera is installed depends on the design of the house and the area to be covered by each camera.
The higher the camera is mounted, the larger the area seen, but the higher it is, the smaller the objects in the image get.
I’ve found that about 9 to 10 feet is the perfect height for a security camera. It is high enough where it can’t be tampered with but low enough to get a clear view of the area.
Lighting for outdoor cameras at night?
You’ve planned the placement of your cameras to get the best coverage of the things you want to see and record during the day, but now you must plan for what the image will look like at night.
Today’s high-definition cameras look great during the day, but they can be a complete disaster at night. Night vision is tough for security cameras. It is best to lower your expectations of what you can see a night.
I always warn my customers about what they should expect to see at night because I don’t want them calling me with complaints.
Even though cameras have night vision, your cameras will be dark and grainy without the proper lighting, and they will look horrible.
How does a security camera see at night?
At night security cameras can be either color or black and white.
Black and white mode
During the day, the cameras are in color mode, but as it gets dark, the cameras are set to switch to black and white mode once the light level drops to a certain level.
There are a series of lights around the lens that shine a light out into the camera’s field of view. This light is infrared and is not visible to the human eye.
When you purchase a security camera, one of the first things you should look at is the night vision distance. Some cameras only have a 65-foot night vision distance, while others have up to 300 feet.
One of the main reasons security cameras don’t look good at night is because they have a short night vision distance. You will have to match the camera’s night vision capabilities to the area being viewed.
Some cameras have a starlight feature that enables them to stay in color mode at night. They are called starlight cameras because, in this mode, the camera takes the available light and amplifies it to prevent the camera from switching to black and white mode.
The image on some older starlight cameras will be completely black if there isn’t enough ambient light. Newer Star Light cameras have infrared lights around the lens and switch to black and white mode in complete darkness.
Is it legal to install cameras viewing my neighbor’s property?
Installing cameras that can see onto your neighbor’s property is an invasion of their privacy and is illegal.
I have been caught in the middle of a few arguments between neighbors when installing cameras that are too close to a neighbor’s yard. Some have even threatened me with violence if I didn’t take the camera down.
These instances are rare, though. Most neighbors don’t even know that you have cameras mounted on your house or care if they are pointing at their property. Some even like that they can view the video footage if something happens on their property.
But if you think that installing cameras is going to be a problem, just let them know, and if they have a problem with it, you can lower the camera to a point where it’s not viewing anything on the neighbor’s property or not install it at all.
Where should you install cameras inside your house?
What are the most common reasons for installing indoor cameras?
- Keeping an eye on the kids/teenagers while you’re at work
- Keeping an eye on the house workers
- Nanny cams
Cameras installed inside the home will probably be wireless due to their ease of installation and the ability to move them around.
It’s nice to have cameras placed inside the house to see what’s going on when you’re not home. But based on my experience of installing video surveillance systems, some homeowners don’t want to have cameras installed inside their homes because it just feels creepy to be under surveillance 24 hours a day.
But we have some customers who need to view certain areas of the home not so much for a burglary situation but to keep an eye on their kids, nannies, or house workers.
This is a hot topic between husbands and wives, where one spouse wants cameras installed inside the home and the other one does not.
I bring this up because I installed six cameras inside a customer’s house this morning where the wife wanted cameras, and the husband didn’t. They started fighting in front of me as if I wasn’t even there.
It was very awkward standing there while they fought over the cameras, so I had to make a couple of recommendations to find a way to get the cameras installed without having to wait there for five hours while they argued.
This homeowner wanted to install cameras to watch their young children with the baby sitter while she was at work.
I recommended installing cameras in common areas such as the kitchen, entryway, living room, and hallways to give them adequate coverage to see what’s going on when they’re not home without invading the family’s privacy.
In the end, the husband wasn’t too crazy about the idea of cameras inside the house, but it was enough to get the job done.
Main Living Areas
In most cases, just one camera in the kitchen gives a good view into the dining room and living room area. Other common spaces such as hallways and basements provide good coverage without invading anyone’s privacy.
I always avoid installing cameras in bedrooms and hallways facing the bathrooms for obvious reasons.
Since you can view security cameras through a smartphone and tablet, adding a security camera can give you comfort, knowing that you can see what’s going on in your baby’s room from anywhere.
This suggestion is more about infant safety and knowing what’s going on while they’re napping or playing in their crib to help you prevent potentially dangerous situations.
What type of cameras should you install inside your home?
Wiring cameras inside the house can sometimes be complicated, especially if there is no basement or attic to run the wires in.
Wireless cameras are so easy to install that I would recommend using wireless for indoor cameras for a few reasons:
- Very easy to install
- Can be moved if you change your mind.
- You don’t need many tools for installation. Just a screwdriver for most wireless cameras.
- Wireless cameras are usually smaller than wired cameras and less intrusive.
Where should you mount the cameras?
I usually install the cameras in the corner of the room for the best coverage.
Because most cameras have an average field of view of 90 degrees, mounting them in the corner typically gets a view of the entire room.
Recommended DIY security cameras
My favorite indoor cameras are the Nest cameras. They are easy to install and only take a few minutes to set up.
My favorite outdoor cameras are also Nest and Ring. I install many Ring flood Light Cameras for my customers, and I installed four of them on my house.