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How to Protect Your Outdoor CCTV Cameras

If you are installing a CCTV system in your home and plan to place security cameras outside, there are a number of considerations you should take into account. Your security cameras must be able to withstand any possible weather conditions or even vandalism.

How to Weatherproof your Security Cameras

Extreme temperatures pose a threat to any electronic equipment. If you live in an area where the summers are especially hot or the winters are bitterly cold, then be sure to check the temperature ratings of your cameras. If the rated temperature is not sufficient to handle any potential heat waves or snowstorms, then you will need to equip your camera with a protective housing that contains a heater and a fan.

Heaters are set to automatically turn on when the temperature gets too low based upon the internal thermostat reading. It will also turn off automatically when the temperature begins to rise above a particular threshold. This all happens without any intervention, which is necessary to account for any extreme fluctuations in temperature. In a similar fashion, the fan will turn on if the temperature is too hot and will turn off once it has settled.

Although a camera housing adds initial cost to your system, it is a way to protect your investment for the long term. When you look for a fan and heater housing, make sure the voltage matches your camera’s voltage so it will function properly when powered up.

Besides temperature, your camera housing should be able to prevent damage from dust or water ingress. This is measured by the IP rating (Ingress Protection). Tiny solid particles can damage your equipment if they reach the electronics and cause short circuits. The same is true for water.

The IP rating has two numbers that tell you the level of protection against both solid particles (the first digit) and water (the second digit). The range for the first digit is from 0 to 6. A 0 rating means no protection, while a level 6 denotes dust ingress is not possible. The range of the second digit is from 0 to 8, where level 0 means no protection and level 8 means protection while being immersed underwater to a particular depth.

Unless you plan to dip your cameras underwater, you shouldn’t need the water protection to be at level 8. A good rating for water ingress protection is level 4, which will protect the camera from rain that approaches from an angle.

Fortunately, many camera housings already have an IP rating of 66 or higher. This is more than enough to protect your equipment from any reasonable ingress. Even if you are convinced that your cameras won’t be exposed to rain, you should still have the water ingress protection at a minimum of level 1 because of dew forming on the camera.

How to Protect your Security Cameras from Vandalism

Unfortunately, besides natural causes, your security equipment could be damaged by people. Vandalism is a common threat to security devices because criminals obviously don’t like to be seen and will attempt to destroy any cameras that may catch them in the act of a crime. An easy fix is to place the cameras high enough to make it difficult to reach. However, you will get a less desirable field of view if you place your cameras too high.

Many outdoor cameras have the option of a vandal-proof housing, especially dome style cameras. These can actually protect the camera from a considerable amount of blunt force. They are built with solid metal bases and a strong plastic cover. The last thing you want is for someone to come up to the camera and destroy it with one swing.