There is no need to call a home security camera installation service as anyone can install a DVR security system. The thought of running all those cables and wires may seem daunting, but it isn’t as hard as it seems as long as you take the right steps.
Things You’ll Need
- DVR home security kit
- House blueprint or sketch for camera placements
1. Mark the Locations
Note the locations where you want to install the cameras. Use your house’s diagram or just make a sketch. This gives you an idea of how many cameras you’ll need and how long the wires have to be, what supplies you’ll need etc.
2. Get an All in One Home Security Kit
Buy a DVR kit with at least 4 cameras – 8 is better -, a DVR and enough storage space to last 1 to 3 days. A 1 TB hard disk should be enough. You may also want to buy a DVR kit that supports several channels so you can add more cameras depending on how many are needed.
Among the locations you may want to install cameras are:
- Common spaces like living room, kitchen, dining room etc
- Back and front doors
Read our quick checklist on: How to Choose a Security Camera System.
Unpack your DVR kit and all the components. Test the cables, cameras and DVR by connecting them. If they’re all working, disconnect and prepare for installation. Read the security camera installation guide PDF or manual provided for details.
Install the Cameras
For indoor cameras, choose a broad, high angle, i.e. from a point on the ceiling where walls meet. This allows the camera to see all those who come and go from that spot.
If you’re going to install the camera outside, place it at least 10 feet high so intruders won’t be able to knock it off.
2. Mount the Camera on the Wall
If the cameras come with a sticky pad, you just stick the camera on the wall. But even with easy to install wireless outdoor security cameras it’s best to mount and screw it. The steps are:
- Position the camera mount in the desired location.
- Mark the areas where the screws will be drilled in.
- Drill holes in the areas you’ve designated for the screws.
- Screw the mount in place.
- Set the camera at the chosen angle.
3. Connect the Camera to a Power Outlet
Plug the camera power adapter into an electrical socket. Plug one of the ends on the camera and the other end to the power outlet.
4. Connect the DVR and the Wired Camera
If you want know how to install security camera wiring, check the manual. But generally they use BNC (Bayonet Neill–Concelman). Just plug one of the ends into your DVR port and the other on your camera. If there’s no BNC connection on your cable, you can get one in a hardware store.
5. Wireless Camera Installation
For wireless cameras you’ll need to install the software that comes with it. Follow the instructions to install the software. You may need to hook up a receiver to your computer’s USB port. In most cases you’ll need to type your computer’s IP address to adjust your camera’s settings.
DVR cameras take video and power, and usually you just need to plug the coax cable those into the camera. You just need to repeat the process for the other cameras and it will be ready to record.
You should have no problems mixing and matching the cameras to match your needs. While you’re setting up your cameras, now is a good time to take a look at some of their features and tweak them.
- Infrared night vision – this is standard in most DVRs today.
- Dome cameras – this is the type used for indoor cameras.
- Bullet – they’re not bigger than your finger and most often used in outdoor DVR security systems.
6. Connect the DVR and Monitor
Your DVR probably has a BNC cable but others may have coaxial cables or an HDMI. Regardless, follow the steps.
- Attach one of the cable’s ends to the monitor’s output.
- Connect the other end onto DVR output.
- Connect as many cameras as you want. As long as there are inputs on the DVR it will run.
7. Turn on the DVR and Test
Now that you know to set up a DVR security kit, it’s time to test them. Check the video resolution, the backup and other features. Download the companion app and see if you can get remote access.
Change the sensitivity settings and check if it generates false alarms. Use as many features as you can so you’ll know if you did the installation properly. If everything runs smoothly congratulations, your work is done.
Here’s a video which explains how to install a surveillance system:
How to Install Security Cameras Two Story House
The process is more involved especially if you’ve got fully wired cameras. If that’s the case you may want to begin the installation from the attic. An ideal scenario is to have a couple of closets, one for each floor. The basic steps are:
- Drill through the attic’s ceiling until you get into the upper closet.
- Go through the top closet floor until reach the first floor closet ceiling.
- You can run the cables in the closet or hide them. There are wire mold products that can conceal the cables on the baseboards and walls.
- Once you’ve run the cables you can set up the cameras using the same steps as above.
Fine Tune Your Home Security System
1. Set Up a Central Hub
Once you have installed the security system you’ll want to establish a surveillance hub. If you connected a lot of cameras to your system you should have an area where you have access to all the feeds.
The hub needs to be accessible and one that allows you to manage the wires easily. Good options are your Internet router, the attic or other areas around your house. If your security system has an app you can control all the functions from your mobile device. However it is still a good idea to have a central hub in case there is a problem with the wiring.
2. Wire the Cables Properly
Siamese cables are the most commonly used cables for surveillance equipment. The nice thing about these cables is they are attached together and you just need to run a single wire to get your system ready.
3. Get a Suitable Power Supply
Power boxes are sold in hardware stores and online for $30 or so, and it’’s good to have one as it allows you to power the security cameras with one wall outlet. Most power supplies have several ports and are suitable for managing cameras that are not close to a power source.
One thing to keep in mind is that you have to run a considerable amount of wire to connect the cameras. Make certain the cameras are attached prior to linking the box to electrical power. You also need to make certain the power supply is sufficient for all the cameras that you have installed.
4. Plug the Video Cables onto Separate Ports of Your DVR
DVRs can manage several cameras at the same time so you’ll be able to record all the rooms with one power supply. Once the video cables are attached you will be able to view all the cameras from the monitor. The monitor will either display the cameras at the same time or you can cycle them via the DVR input control.
5. Backing Up
As mentioned earlier you should look for a DVR that has backup capabilities. But you also have to consider how much you’ll need to back up. If you back up continuously rather than motion, we’re talking terabytes of data that will require a lot of USB flash drives.
How to Hide Security Camera Wires Outside
Installing security cameras outside home isn’t that difficult as explained above. But how do you hide the wires? Even wireless surveillance cameras need a cable to run. The only exception to the rule are battery powered cameras as you can put them anywhere outside without worrying about wires.
How to Hide a Security Camera Outside
So now you’ve got the wires ready, but where do you put all those cameras? Here are some suggestions.
You’ll find it easier to hide cameras if they’re compact. Fortunately that is the case with most security cameras. Another option is to buy wireless security cameras as they are easier to conceal outdoors.
How to Hide Security Cameras Indoors
Placing hidden cameras for your house is not as difficult as it may seem. You don’t need to create a special hiding place. In fact that’s the worst thing you can do as it will attract attention. Here are some suggestions.
- Mirrored tissue paper
- Light switch plate
- Compact electronic gadgets
- Stuffed animals
- Smoke alarms Books
There are a lot of places in your home where you can hide a security camera. If you had a security cameras installation company do the installation for you, they’d put it in the same places as those suggested above.
In general, choose locations that are subtle, places where you can hide an object but without drawing attention. You could for instance, put the camera in the plants by the living room couch.
As mentioned earlier you can also position the camera among books. You can easily hide the lens in the midst of all those books in the shelves and the knickknacks on it.
If you’re going to install the camera high up on the ceiling, position it so the lens don’t appear too obvious. The camera does not necessarily have to become invisible, but it must be inconspicuous so people will not notice.
We had already spoken about hiding outdoor wires, but you need to take the same approach when it comes to the interior. You have to camouflage the wiring as well as the cameras. Sensors should also be concealed.
DVR Security Installation FAQs
How Much Does it Cost to Install a Security Camera System?
It depends on the level of security you want for your home. At the high end are the comprehensive alarm systems where you pay a security firm to watch over your home. In exchange for the monthly fee they keep watch over your property. This is the most expensive and may cost hundreds of dollars a month.
The more practical option is to buy a security system and install it yourself. You could pay for professional installation, but you can do it yourself and it’s cheaper. As for the cost, well it depends on the kit you buy.
- A security system with 8 cameras, a 2 TB 16 channel DVR HDD and a 21 inch monitor costs $900 and up.
- A 4 MP 8 channel DVR with 1 TB HDD costs about $800.
- A DVR with 1 TB HDD and 4 HD cameras costs from $200 to $600. The reason for the price disparity is it depends on the camera resolution, the number of channels and its other features.
- A 4 channel, 4 camera DVR can be bought for a $100 or less.
- Some security systems consist only of a DVR or a camera, allowing you to purchase. the other components. These are sold for less than $100.
- Some DVR security systems do not include a hard disk so they are cheaper.
- NVR security systems are more expensive than DVR because IP cameras are more advanced than the ones used by DVR systems.
The bottom line is, you’ll spend about $1000 or so for a complete DIY security system. You get 8 cameras, a DVR, a hard disk and maybe a monitor. Or you can just purchase a DVR with a hard disk and hook it up to your computer or CCTV and save money. For a basic 4 to 8 DVR with a 1 TB you can get for just a few hundred dollars.
How Do You Get Camera Wires in a Sheet Rock?
There are a lot of ways to do this, but the most effective is to create a hole using a drywall saw or a drill bit. You can also use grommets or communication boxes to clean the opening made by the drill or saw.
How Do You Setup an IP Camera?
Use an Ethernet cable to plug your camera into your router. Install the software that is bundled with your camera. Assign a password and look up the IP address your router has designated. Note this IP address and type it in your web browser’s address bar.
You’ll be taken to your camera’s settings page. Adjust any preferences you want. After unplugging the camera you can place it anywhere and it should work as long as it is within range.
Is it Necessary to Buy a Battery Backup?
Having a battery backup will keep your security system running in the event of a power failure. This is worth considering if you’re going on a vacation and nobody will be home. It’s also ideal if there are valuables in your home.
What is the Maximum Distance Between the Receiver and a Wireless Camera?
Wireless cameras usually have a range of at least 150 feet, but newer models can handle longer distances. However the signal will be affected if the camera and receiver don’t have a direct line of sight. Transmissions from other wireless devices can have an adverse effect on performance.
Am I Legally Obligated to Post a Sign Cameras are Installed?
No state requires you to reveal security cameras are installed on your property. However it is to your advantage if you do as it will discourage would-be intruders.
How Easy is it to Install a DVR Security System?
As the steps above show, it isn’t that hard to install a home security system. Security systems today have a simplified installation process. And if you’re uncomfortable you can call a professional installer to set up the system for you.
Is it Possible to Set Up a Security System without an Internet Connection?
With a DVR home security system, yes it is possible. You only need an Internet connection if you want to download the security app and have remote access on your mobile device.
How Do You Install a Home Security Camera System?
The process can vary depending on the type of system you buy. In general though the steps are similar to what is given here. You unpack the security system and mount the cameras in the desired location.
You connect the cables to the DVR, monitor and the cameras. Next you install the software and download the app to your mobile device. That completes the set up and you just need to test the features. To avoid problems you need to follow the directions in the owner’s manual.
What is the Right Type of DVR to Buy?
DVRs basically run the same way, but features vary. The most important are:
- Resolution – the higher the video and camera resolution, the clearer the footage will be. But keep in mind this will consume a lot more storage space.
- Capacity – don’t get anything less than a 1 TB drive.
- Cameras – check how many cameras are installed and if you can add more. Most DIY systems offer 4, 8 or 16 cameras. Others have just 4 but allow you to add four more for a total of 8.
- Remote Access – remote access is necessary if you want access to video footage for your mobile device.
- Backup – look for a DVR has at least one USB port so you’ll be able to back up important footage. Others even offer cloud backup.
- Upgrade Options – to be specific, look for a DVR that allows you to upgrade the DVR HDD capacity.
- Warranty – most DVRs have a 1 year warranty, but others run for 2 years and have a 60 day guarantee.
What is H.264?
H.264 is the compression standard used for DVR security systems. H.264 is more efficient than MPEG and MPEG4 as it compresses 3x more data without compromising on the quality. This compression technology works for over the web and live feeds, and it is suitable if you want to preserve storage space.
Will Remote Viewing Slow Down My Internet Speed?
It depends on your Internet connection. A high speed connection is necessary if you’re going to watch HD footage from your DVR. Even if the video footage doesn’t slow your connection by itself, things could slow down if you download and browse at the same time.
What are WinCE and Symbian Networks?
If your DVR supports these two networks, it means you’ll be able to run the system with a dynamic IP address. Dynamic IP addresses are free so you’ll be able to use it for free and only have to pay for your Internet access.
Why is Motion Detection Important?
A good DVR should support advanced motion detection especially one that works with object masking. With this feature you’ll have an easier time viewing footage.
DVRs with advanced motion detection allow you to record only when motion is detected. This is an effective way to save space and is practical too. After all who wants to view days’ long footage looking over the same area? We don’t have the time to go over that so it is better if there is an option to record only during motion so you can get to the incident right away.
What is the Ideal Place for My DVR and Monitor?
Ideally the monitor and DVR should be together so you’ll have an easier time managing the devices in case something goes wrong. Do make sure the location is just right for the devices is correct, i.e. wiring won’t be an issue.
Is it Possible to Run Separate Power Lines in an Outlet?
Yes it is. The best way to do this is to use a pigtail wire connection and an AC adapter. If your system has several cameras then the DVR system will come with a multi output power supply unit.
Just screw in the negative and positive wiring in the power supply. Hook up the camera, turn the power on and the system is ready to go.
Are Wireless Security Cameras Really Wireless?
Most wireless cameras need at least one physical wire or cable for power. Aside from that one cable most wireless cameras don’t need anymore. But there are battery powered cameras which are truly wireless.
While there are different types of wireless cameras, they usually work the same way. Video and – if supported – audio is transmitted by over a wireless network or the Internet. The network is linked to a receiver that is linked to your recorder.
What Kind of Cable is Used For Security Cameras?
Two kinds of cables are used in home security installations, RG59 coax Siamese cable and plug and play cables.
Plug and play cables are popular because of their simplicity. They look similar to the video / audio RCA cables used on TV and stereo, with color coded connector ends for audio, video and power. Yellow is for video, red for power and white for sound.
Plug and play cables are available in 25, 65, 100, 150 and 200 ft lengths. The biggest benefit of plug and play cables is they are easy to use, but the drawback is they don’t have as much shielding compared to RG59 cables. For DVR security cameras the ideal length is 150 and under.
RG59 Siamese cable jackets have a video coaxial cable and a couple pf power cables (18 gauge). These cables are known for being insulated and shielded from interference. This is what makes them ideal if there is some distance between your DVR and cameras.
Compared to plug and play cables, RG59 are more durable, and they can also be cut to the specific length you need for the DVR. The drawback with these cables they’re not as easy to install and don’t have audio support.
There used to be a time when DVR security cameras were so complicated to install that one had to call professional help. But now that is no longer the case. The technology has not only gotten more powerful, but it is simpler to use and set up too. By following the tips in this guide your security system will be ready in no time.