If you are considering installing security cameras on or around your home, there are several questions that should be answered before turning a single screw, drilling a single hole, or buying a single camera. If you are on a limited budget, it is a good idea to decide ahead of time exactly what your concerns are and limit the number of cameras to 4, as there is usually a jump in price between 4 and 5 cameras. This jump in price is because digital security video recorders, or DVRs, come in 4 channel, 8 channel and 16 channel configurations. I you feel you need more than four cameras, it is usually better to go ahead and install four cameras using a DVR that is easily upgradable. When this is the case, we recommend using a scalable PC-Based DVR system, and splitting the cost of additional cameras over time. After all, some protection and deterrence is better than none. Just be careful to purchase a DVR that is easily upgradable.

If you are limited to four cameras, you will want to do everything possible to combine camera angles to cover as many problem areas at once. This of course means wider angle lenses which will give you less detail. However, if you use cameras with adjustable, or varifocal lenses, you can later adjust thosecamera angles to get better clarity and detail as you add cameras later on.

We recommend covering each entrance as the basis for any home security system. This means a camera at the front door, a camera at the back door and one at the garage door. Because we want to maximize the viewing area, you may find the following tips helpful when looking at the various security cameras for sale.

  • Always use outdoor cameras to watch your entrances so you can use the excess viewing area to watch the perimeter of your home.
  • Place your front door camera in a corner facing away from the home. This allows you to see the face of the person standing at your door, and will likely also allow you to see part of your front lawn or walkway leading to your door.
  • Place the backdoor camera close enough to the door to see detail, but far enough away that you can also watch part of the yard for safety reasons. This usually means about 10-12 feet away from the door.
  • Any cameras that are watching entrances should be placed on the side of the door that opens in order to see the person entering or exiting and so the door does not block the view.
  • Use a single camera to cover your garage door and your driveway.
  • Use outdoor infrared cameras with enough power to cover the area you are watching. If your driveway is 40 feet long, do not use a 25 foot infrared camera. The money you save will lead to inferior results.

If you find that you have covered the recommended entrances and exits and still have room in the budget for another camera or two, you should consider coverage for areas of the home that provide risk. Your outdoor air conditioner is loaded with valuable copper pipes and is a common target for thieves and criminals, consider covering it and part of your yard with an armored infrared camera. If any of the windows in your home have shrubbery that is not directly up to the window, consider covering these areas as burglars and thieves like to use the shrubbery as cover while they work on breaking into the home. This coverage is also useful if you have teenagers that like to sneak out at night.

Interior cameras can be useful if you have baby sitters, house sitters, or are away from home a lot and want to check in over the internet, but in general, they can be saved for a later date if the budget does not allow for it. Of course, if you purchased the right DVR, you can always upgrade later as you see fit by adding indoor cameras or covert cameras.

In general, we recommend initially going with fewer cameras than you think you will need. Chances are that once you have some experience watching your home on camera you will identify some areas you want covered that you may not have thought of before. This is pretty common, so we find it’s a good idea to leave a channel or two open with no cameras installed so you can cover those areas later on as budget and need allows.

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