How to install security cameras at home

In this article,  I explain  how to instal home security cameras yourself.

You just need to mount the cameras, run some cables and setup the video recorder.

Security camera installer

The easiest way to install security cameras at home is by using wired IP PoE cameras and a Network Video Recorder. You just need to run the UTP (network cables) from the security camera to the recorder.  

==> For your reference you could purchase a home security camera kit like the Reolink 4MP 8CH PoE Video Surveillance System available on the Amazon store.

==> Before go shopping, I recommend you to read the article: How to choose a security camera system for your home to have a better idea of the different types of system and choose the one that works for you.

How to install a home security camera system

There are some steps you have to follow to have a good security camera system installed, please pay attention to the details and everything will work fine.

Let's start with an example of wired security camera system installation.

Choose the best spot for the security cameras

Before installing the security cameras is necessary to carefully choose the best spots that can give you a clear view of the subject you want to monitor and record.

Security cameras Installation height (outdoor cameras)

Outdoor security cameras must be installed up high so they can't be reachable, you don't want people trying to break or change their position.

Security camera installation height

The security camera installation height is usually 3m or higher, which allows the correct field of view to monitor the area without compromising the camera physical security. Indoor cameras are an exception to that rule.

Security cameras field of view

Security systems require the best position for the security camera to avoid blind spots, check the field of view of your camera and mount it on the wall corner or other specific places to have the best angle that covers the entire area. 

Security camera viewing angle

Run the cables for the security camera installation

I highly recommend using an IP based security system so you can run fewer cables since the same cable that carries the video signal can also carry the power to the camera using the PoE technology (if you purchase a kit that has PoE devices).

NVR sends power to the IP camera

==> Just in case you are interested in learning more about PoE technology, please read the article: PoE switch for IP cameras. 

To install security cameras, you can buy the network cables in any computer hardware store or even from an online store such as Amazon. Just look for UTP cat5e cables and choose the one that is long enough for your installation.

UTP cable category

This type of cable needs an RJ45 connector at each side of the cable so it can be connected to the camera and to the recorder. You can either learn how to crimp the connectors or buy a UTP cable that comes with the connectors on each end of the cable (which is much easier if you have no experience with cabling).

UTP cat5e and RJ45 connectors

See the picture below that shows the UTP cables that are sold with specific lengths, they are called patch cords and you can buy them with different colors. 

UTP patch cords

Security cameras installation details

The camera installation for a security system depends on the type of wall you have and how you intend to run the cable. In this example, the camera is installed in a wood wall and the UTP cable goes through a hole behind it. See the picture below. 

Drilling a hole for security camera installation

In this picture it's possible to see a 3/4" drill bit that is used just in the center of the camera installation, that's large enough to pass the UTP cable.

As you can see it's possible to pass the cable for the security system through the hole even if it has an RJ45 already attached to it. Consider these details if you are buying a pre-made cable (patch cord). See the picture below.

Passing the cable for the security camera installation

The next step is to mount the camera in its position, just use the screws that come with the camera (most of the models are sold with three screws). 

Just make sure you are using the correct screws for the type of wall you are installing the camera, if necessary just visit a hardware store to get new ones.

Security camera installation

Usually, you need to readjust the camera position after the setup is complete since it's necessary to look at a monitor to see where the camera is pointing to and what is the viewing angle. You can leave this step for later.

Adjusting the security camera in its position

After installing the camera, just connect the UTP cable from the camera to the Network Video Recorder (NVR) as shown in the picture below.

Security camera RJ45 connector

The UTP cable is the same one you use to connect your computer or laptop to the Internet router, so it's pretty popular....

Connect RJ45

Security camera installation on the ceiling

The picture shows a security camera installed on a ceiling, note that it's not possible to see the cable since it's hidden (that's a nice installation).

Security camera installer

IP security system Installation diagram

It's important to understand how everything is connected to your IP security camera system, so just take a look at the diagram below.

Security camera installation diagram

As you can see, there's an IP security camera connected to a recorder via the UTP cable which can carry the power using the PoE technology. This is very common on most modern security systems.

Everything is connected to a router so it's possible to have local and remote access to the IP camera and to the NVR by using a mobile device, a computer or a laptop. C'mon, just look at the diagram and tell me you can do such an installation.

It's not rocket science, you just need to purchase the devices, mount the camera in their position and connect the cables properly, the last step is the software and app setup and that's just a question of following the manufacturer instructions (read the installation manual). 

Factors to consider for security cameras installation

Light conditition

Most security systems require good light. Make sure to have enough illumination where the cameras are installed and choose models that have infrared light for dark places monitoring.

Be careful when pointing your cameras to the area you want to monitor and avoid having them pointing to sources of lights, if you really need to have a camera installed in such a condition, look for models that can handle backlight with features such as BLC (backlight compensation) and WDR (Wide Dynamic Range).

WDR dark and bright area

When purchasing your security cameras, look for these features to guarantee you will have your security camera system working properly. See the information below with an example of a Hikvision IP camera which has the WDR feature.

WDR Security Camera
Hikvision WDR Security Camera

==> I recommend you to read the article: What is WDR (Wide Dynamic Range) for CCTV cameras to better understand this technology.

If you need to install a security camera pointing to a door, windows or any source of light, you definitely will need a camera that can work with backlight compensation and the WDR is one of the best features for that. The problem with dark areas showed in the previous picture can be solved with the use of this technology, so considering using it.

Last words and conclusion

Now you know how to instal home security cameras to avoid the monthly fees charged by security companies. The cameras can also be part of your smart home system and alert you when somebody is at your front door.

I recommend you to read the product manual and follow further instructions on how to setup the system for remote access with a mobile phone. Usually, it's a very simple process just like the one you can find in the article How to access Hikvision DVR from mobile, just use the same principle for your system.

Want to learn more ?

If you want to become a professional CCTV installer or designer, take a look at the material available in the blog. Just click the links below:

Ultimate Guide V3

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