Maintaining Your Security Camera System


Its recommend to clean your cameras monthly or quarterly. Removing access dirt and water spots from your camera view will ensure you get the best video results possible for those cameras. Dirt and water spots harm cameras with infrared. You can experience over saturation in your camera's field of view during nighttime operation since the infrared will reflect off the dirt and water back into the camera lens, causing a white blown out image at night, making it hard to discern what the camera can actually see. Windex is a fine solution for most cameras since they are glass.


Once a quarter, you should review all the cameras on your system to ensure no trees, vines, foliage, or bushes have gotten in the way of your camera's field of view. It's imperative to keep your landscape trim back, so it does not negatively impact the camera's field of view. The biggest issue aside from the camera's field of view being blocked by landscaping is if you own infrared cameras, bushes, trees, vines, anything leafy will also absorb your camera's night vision limiting the distance the camera can actually see night.


It's important to check the integrity of your indoor and outdoor cameras, look for cracks in the lenses of your cameras, ensure all video and power connectors are securely fastened to each camera, remove animals nests near your outdoor cameras, remove any spider webs that may have formed on the exterior cameras, spiders love infrared, they are drawn to it as are most bugs. They will turn your camera into their personal hunting ground, so keep a close eye on them. Spider webs can impact your camera's ability to see during nighttime operation, so dust them off.


If you have individual power supplies, check that they are securely plugged into a surge protector; if you own a power box for your cameras, open up that box and make sure all the power leads are securely fastened down to the positive and negative terminals in the box. Power cycle your power box to ensure it's working properly.


Review your DVR's event log to pinpoint camera issues, hard drive issues, and the overall health of your DVR. The event log normally tells you what cameras had lost video when they lost it, and when the video was reestablished, the camera is failing and needs to be replaced. If you see your DVR is constantly rebooting, you may have a motherboard issue. Always review your event log of the DVR. It's good to power down your DVR and power it back up, be sure to have a can of air handy and blow out all vents on the DVR to ensure good airflow circulation to the motherboard and hard drive. Keep your DVRs in temperature-controlled rooms if possible, and if your putting it in a cabinet or anything with doors, be sure the DVR can breathe; if it can not, cut a small hole in the cabinet, and you can attach a small PC fan to allow for circulation or just put a screen cover over the hole.


Nothing lasts forever. Be sure to inspect each of your camera's video and power connectors. If you see corrosion or if the connector is loose on the cable, replace it with a new one.


It's always good to check the camera cables to ensure no animals have chewed them up; if you find a chewed cable, be sure to lay down traps to stop the pest. I recommend re-running the entire line instead of splicing the line to ensure a healthy and working system long into the future. Make sure cable is being run through dry areas and not over the top of light fixtures. Light fixtures can cause impedance on your video signal giving you a grainy image or rolling image.


Individual camera prices have come down significantly over the past 10 years in the security camera industry. Be sure you are replacing grainy cameras, cameras with failing night vision or cracks in their lenses, and cameras with broken mounts. Cameras with cracks in their lenses should be changed out quickly since they are no longer weatherized. The lenses can become fogged up, particularly in the morning during the spring and summertime; this will normally clear up as the day warms up, but you will have no usable video footage from the said camera for several hours.


Security lights are a great tool for homes and businesses to help deter crime, but they can blow out a camera's image at night. Be sure to check the nighttime footage of your cameras near security lights, be sure the camera is not looking directly into the light, instead the camera should be utilizing the light to allow for it to see further at night, meaning the camera should face the same direction as the light.


It's always good to review your camera's angles to ensure they cover what you intended; if they are not, adjust the camera in the direction you want. Most cameras have set screws that need to be loosened before you can move the camera; most are Phillips or various Allen wrench sizes; if you have a kit, this will normally work on most cameras since it comes with multiple-sized heads. Suppose you have cameras that have varifocal lenses its always good to go through any of the cameras and clear up the focus. I recommend making all of your focusing and camera adjustments in the evening; this will ensure your cameras' best possible image quality. Watch out for house eves because the IR can reflect off the interior of the eve back into the camera lens and blow out the image, so be sure to angle your camera down more if this happens, you can even purchase specific mounts that will lower your camera off the eve 3 to 4 inches.

If your camera does not have that option, you can use a 4x4 cantex box or 2 by 4 piece of wood to help lower said camera below the eve. If your cameras are mounted on metal buildings, they will lose focus quicker if they are varifocal cameras because most metal building structures vibrate from the wind, which causes the camera to lose focus over time. After all, the set screw will undoubtedly loosen from the vibration. Suppose you notice rolling lines while viewing your camera on a metal building it most likely because the camera is mounted directly to the building. Since the camera is metal and the building is metal, it can cause video issues. Remove the camera off the building, buy a 4x4 plastic cantex box and mount the box to the building where you want the camera and bring the video line through the box and mount the camera to the front plate of the box, then make up your camera ends in the cantex box and screw the front plate on, put some silicone around the edges of the box to help keep moisture out.


All DVRs have the ability to change passwords; please keep your passwords in a secure spot. Be sure to remove previous employees who had access to the security system that is no longer working for your company.