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Project Guide

Security Camera Installation

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Create an Installation Plan
Two women looking up at a security camera mount.

Planning your home security camera installation locations before you even purchase the equipment helps you determine exactly how many cameras you need and their desired features.

  • Sketch out your home plan and diagram your priority areas and proposed camera angles. Typical security camera placements include entry doors, off-street windows, porches, stairways, driveways and interior common rooms.
  • Walk your plan and be sure that each location has no obstructions and has a clear line of sight.
  • When installing outdoor security cameras, try to choose a placement that is higher than 10 feet and will offer some protection from inclement weather. Outdoor-rated cameras are built to be a durable, and choosing a good camera placement will help extend the life of the device.
  • If you plan to use a wired system, map out the location of the components and how you will run the wires that connect the camera to the DVR box. Running cable on a wired system will require drilling holes into walls and ceilings. Measure the space so you know how long the cables need to be.
  • If you are not comfortable drilling or running cable, hire a professional installer. 
Purchase Home Security Cameras
A set of wireless security cameras.
  • Bundled home security camera systems are the best value and the most convenient option since all of the accessories you need for installation are included. Read the packaging carefully to see what features are offered in each system and choose according to your needs. 
  • Typically the most convenient installation option is wireless security cameras since they require minimal drilling, but powering them can be tricky. In addition, image quality can be impacted by the size of the area you are trying to cover. The farther the camera is placed from the receiver, the more interference can diminish picture 
  • Wired security cameras are an excellent choice if you have a larger property to cover, but the installation process will require more steps.
  • Motion-sensor is a good feature to look for in both indoor and outdoor camera to save recording space and energy. They operate at low power until they sense movement, then "wake up" and capture images.
  • Remote viewing is a feature generally found in more expensive systems, allowing you to stream footage to your laptop or smart device. The added expense may be worthwhile if you are often away from your property or as an extra security measure if you have children who are old enough to be home alone.
  • Refer to your setup plan when shopping to determine if you will need extra security camera cables or cable extenders to help you reach power outlets and parts of your wired security system.
  • To protect outdoor security cameras, you may be able to purchase weather shields that will block the rain and snow without obstructing the view. Check to make sure the shields are compatible with your cameras.
  • A recording device is needed to store footage from your security system. You can purchase a digital video recorder, or DVR, separately, but most complete systems are sold with a recording device. Expect to receive either a DVR or a network video reorder (NVR) with wireless systems.
  • When you have purchase your selected system, be sure to unpack, connect and test all the components before you begin installation. If you have purchased a wired system, lay out all the included security camera cables to be sure you have enough length to reach your camera locations. If the cables are not long enough, you may need to purchase cable extenders or rework your layout.
Prepare the Camera Mount - Wireless
A man using a power drill to attach a security camera to a wall.

Most kits will come with a drill template for fastener placement.

  • Using the mounting template as a guide, drill pilot holes at the indicator for the mounting screws.
  • Install any included mounting pins by lightly tapping with a hammer.
  • Screw the camera mount securely into the wall.

Prepare the Camera Mount - Wired
A person using fish tape to pull a wire through a wall.
  • Using the mounting template as a guide, drill pilot holes at the indicator for the mounting screws.
  • Using a spade bit, drill a larger hole in the center of the guide; this is where the cables will exit. 
  • Repeat at all camera locations.
  • Following your map, run the cables through the camera mount point and behind the wall until you reach the point where the DVR box will be mounted. Use a fish tape to help feed cables behind the wall and in tight spots. You may require assistance with this step.
  • Repeat with each camera mount.
Install the Camera
A person adjusting the angle of a wireless security camera.
  • If your WIFI cameras require batteries, install them first.
  • If using a wired system, connect the cable extending from the wall to the camera.
  • Attach the camera to the power source, if needed.
  • Secure the camera onto the mount and then adjust to the desired angle.
  • Repeat at each camera location.
Make the Connections
A person on a laptop configuring a security camera.
  • Connect the input cable of your wired camera to the DVR box. Write down which input port each camera is being connected to as you will have remember the input number to select which camera to view if your monitor only displays one camera at a time.
  • Connect the DVR output port to the input slot of a monitor.
  • Be sure all of the parts are connected to a power source and that all cables are securely connected.
  • If your system is wireless, you should only need to install the software that came with the device, then follow the instructions as it walks you through the setup process.

Tip: Record the IP address of the wireless camera. If you need to view the camera feed remotely, just type the number into a web browser.

Ready to protect your home? Check out our guides on DIY home security systems, video surveillance and how to select the best home security systems for your home.