5 Tips for Setting Up Smart Home Security Cameras

5 Tips for Setting Up Smart Home Security Cameras

Whether you're monitoring package deliveries or peeking at your house while you're out of town, here's how to make the most out of your home security camera setup.



There has been a rapid increase of smart home tech has filled our homes with connected appliances and devices, including security cameras.

It's easier than ever to set up your own home security system to monitor package deliveries, make sure the kids get home safely, and peek at your house while you're out of town. But if you don't want to install a complete smart home security system, there are plenty of relatively low-cost ways to keep an eye on your home when you're away. Here's how to get the most out of your devices so you can better protect your home. Plus there is a deterrence factor for just having your camera system visible.


1. Don't Hide your Cameras

Unless there's a specific activity you want to catch a person doing—like someone breaking into your car—don't bother hiding your outdoor security cameras. Most burglars consider the presence of security cameras when selecting a target and avoid homes where they might be caught in the act, according to research from the University of North Carolina.



2. Protect More Than your Front Door

Picking the right spot for your home security cameras will depend a lot on the layout of your home. However, there are a few key areas that are more important to cover than others.

Your front door sees a lot of traffic, from visitors to deliveries. Covering your entryway with a camera or video doorbell helps monitor for intruders, but keep an eye on more mundane things, like whether your delivery driver is handling your packages properly.

You should also cover less obvious places on your home. Back doors are a common entry point for intruders, since they're more likely to be left unlocked (lock your back doors!), but ground-floor windows on the sides or rear of your home also present an enticing option for intruders. Consider putting a second set of eyes in these vulnerable spots, too.



3. Set-up Motion Detection

You don't have time to monitor your cameras 24-7 or watch hours of video, so make sure you get a camera with motion detection.

Some cameras allow you to set certain spaces in your camera's field of view to monitor for motion. So, for example, you can get alerted when something comes to your door, but not when a cat runs through your yard.

Some smart camera systems also require a subscription for advanced features. Nest cameras, for example, can detect general motion, but with the Nest Aware subscription, the camera can tell the difference between a tree swaying in the wind and a person approaching your door.

Consider what kind of activity you want to monitor for and activate the appropriate feature on your smart camera after you connect it.



4. Do You Have Power?

It should go without saying that your outdoor cameras will need a power source. Consider whether you want a battery-powered camera or one that connects to a nearby power outlet. Not having to snake a power cable into your home to plug into an outlet in a plus, but be aware that battery-powered Wi-Fi cameras tend to drain quickly in colder weather. Look for an outdoor Wi-Fi camera that can connect to either the 2.4GHz or 5GHz radio band to alleviate network congestion. If you're having trouble getting a good signal outside, try a wireless range extender.



5. Secure Your Accounts

You're installing a smart security system so you can keep an eye on your home, especially when you're not there. However, if you don't secure your account properly, you're leaving the metaphorical door open for intruders to peer through your cameras as well.

To prevent this, make sure that you change any default passwords on your camera. Older or off-brand camera often use very simple security, and passwords for them are a Google search away, potentially opening yourself up to some scary situations.

For smart cameras, be sure to give your accounts complex passwords and enable two-factor authentication if it's available. If your camera is connected to Wi-Fi, make sure your router is secured using WPA2 encryption, as well. You can never be too careful.


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