Wintertime is upon us yet again, and with it comes inclement weather and temperatures that can be well below freezing. With the onset of snow, sleet, hail, and freezing temperatures, home security system owners may be concerned for the health of their systems. Will outdoor cameras continue to work through these conditions?
Most security systems are built tough, but not all of them can stand up to everything. Cold weather has a clear negative effect on electronic devices. This time of year, tech experts always come out warning users that cold weather can drain batteries in minutes, damage and freeze screens permanently, among other concerns that come from winter weather. Where security cameras and systems as a whole differ is their placement. A phone left in a car has the danger of having the battery destroyed, but it’s protected from the elements. Security cameras on the other hand, are intended to be outside in the open, where hail, rain and snow can pour all over it in addition to the temperature. How can you ensure that your system won’t experience hardware failures this winter?
Check Your Camera’s Temperature Tolerance
One of the main ways to tell if your security cameras are ready to take on the winter is to check the temperatures in which the camera works. Most cameras will have these temperatures laid out clearly under the specifications list included with the system. Just ensure you know which the storage temperature is and which the operating temperature is. Storage temperatures refer to temperatures the camera should be stored at safely when not in use, and operating temperatures refer to safe temperatures when the camera is in use. Comparing the expected temperatures for the season to the minimum and maximum (during hot summers) temperatures your cameras allow will help you know if your camera can stand up to it.
What Is Ingress Protection On Electronics?
One way many manufacturers rate their products is on the Ingress Protection enclosure rating system. This rating system exists to rate the degree of protection provided by mechanical casings and electrical enclosures against things such as dust, water, and contact. IP ratings can provide a good degree of insight into the protection against the elements that cameras have. The Alarm.com ADC-V721W, for example, has a rating of IP-66. In an IP score, the first numeral is on a 0-6 scale, with 0 offering no protection against solid particles, and 6 being dust tight. The second numeral is on a 0-8 scale, judging its resistance to water. A 6 is a good rating for a security camera, as it means it can withstand powerful water jets. Higher numbers refer to resistance to immersion in water, and the highest point on scale, 9K, can resist high temperature high-pressure water jets. Be sure to look up a product’s IP rating before purchase, as this can give helpful information on how it will withstand the elements.
Choosing the Right Security Camera for Your Climate
During the winter, it’s important to remember you don’t just want your cameras protected from the temperature. Inclement weather can cause a great deal of damage to cameras that aren’t equipped to handle it. Weather-rated enclosure, like those seen in IP ratings, provide great insight into the durability of your camera when wild ice storms and blizzards strike your town. The correct camera for a house that is in the path of winter storms is one that is both temperature tolerant and has a waterproof enclosure.
Seek out cameras that have been reviewed as being weatherproof in order to be protect your cameras against any upcoming storms. If any of your cameras aren’t meant to withstand temperatures lower than the expected temperatures in coming months, consider purchasing heated enclosures for your cameras in order to ensure they stay at a safe temperature for proper operation. The last thing you’d want to deal with in an ice storm is camera repairs.
Further issues from the cold can affect security systems. For example, be sure to check on all outdoor connectors and cables to make sure they are properly housed and protected from the snow and cold, as they can cause degradation in the wiring. Be sure to perform regular maintenance checks on all your security equipment throughout the season. Preventing damage is much more cost effective than repairing it. Hard drives and the like are typically stored inside in temperature controlled locations, so there’s typically little concern with that.
Outdoor security cameras powered by battery will need to be changed more frequently, as cold weather tends to drain batteries much quicker. Placing cameras in areas with more direct sunlight can be a massive benefit to the working temperatures, as even this small change can affect the internal temperature of the camera. The camera lens can often be obstructed by snow and water. Make sure to regularly dry the camera lens with a soft cloth to ensure you have an unobstructed view of the property.
If you live in an area facing extreme winter weather, it may not be a bad idea to contact a professional security expert. They can provide additional tips, as well as maintenance for all of your security equipment during these months. Many security experts recommend an annual winter maintenance, whether done by a local contractor or by yourself by carefully inspecting and caring for all your pieces of equipment throughout the winter.
Wintertime can be incredibly detrimental to your security system, during a time of year where property crimes are on the rise. Winter is the most common time of the year for burglaries to occur, so it’s more important than ever to make sure you have a working security system. Keep the lenses clear, the DVR clean, and your cables and connectors protected from the winter. Always ensure your cameras can withstand the extremely low temperatures you may be facing. By following these steps, you can ensure your property will continue to be protected with little interruption throughout the year.