Tips For Installing a Surveillance System

When it comes to installing a surveillance system, there are a few practices that are good to keep in mind. Not only will these tips help to extend the longevity of your surveillance system, but they will also keep your customers coming back for more. So let’s review a few handy tips that novices and professionals alike can use when installing a surveillance system.

Installing & Burying Cable

If you’re running cable between facilities and your only option is to bury it, then make sure to do so properly. When burying your CCTV cable you want to make sure that you are burying it deep enough to avoid interference. Of course when I say interference I am not talking about your video signal. What I mean is interference from outside problems such as weed whackers, lawn mowers, curious animals, and anything else that could possibly trip, dig up, or damage your cable.

A good rule of thumb is to bury it at least a half foot underground; this will help avoid most of the problems I mentioned. Additionally if you are unable to bury your cable that deep, or if you want a little extra protection for your cable; you can always run a PVC pipe to hold the cable inside. This will better protect the cable, and provide moisture protection as well.

As a final note for using cable outside and burying it, make sure to get outdoor rated cable whenever possible; as it will have a better protective shielding.

Exterior Holes – Seal Them Up

Most of the time when you are using exterior security cameras, and other surveillance equipment; you will have to drill holes from the outside of your building to the inside. This will be required for your CCTV cable runs for the most part. After you have drilled and ran your cables through these holes, it is now imperative that you seal the holes back up to help safeguard both your equipment and the building. By using an outdoor rated silicone caulk accompanied by a washer or nut to help seal up the hole; you can rest easy that animals, bugs, or inclement weather won’t be intruding into your building.

Additionally you can use a connectivity faceplate, some drywall mud, or additional silicone to fill up the hole on the inside of your building as well. This is less imperative then making sure the outside is sealed, but it does help to make the installation look more professional and complete.

Protecting Your Equipment

When installing surveillance equipment, you will want to have an idea of what type of environment you are putting it into, and make sure to act accordingly.

To begin with, if you’re using any equipment outside, make sure to get equipment that is weather rated. Things such as housings with heaters and blowers for cameras or vandal proof enclosures are great ways to protect against mother nature and random miscreants. If your power supply is being mounted outside, it is very important that you get a weather rated power supply that has a solid seal. Additionally if you suspect the possibility of vandalism or theft; maybe you should consider lock boxes for your DVRs.

Now even if your equipment is all weather rated and vandal proof, there are a couple additional steps you can use to further protect it. For example it is always a good idea to use your environment to your advantage. Let’s say your installing a camera on the side of a building; you can use the soffit of that building to help further shield your security camera. Let’s say you don’t have a soffit, but your building is really tall. Use this scenario to your advantage by mounting your cctv camera high enough up that for anyone to mess with it, they would have to get a ladder or throw something at it (vandal proof domes helps with the latter).

One final piece of advice concerning the protection of your surveillance equipment is to keep you CCTV cables out of the elements as much as possible. So if you have them buried, make sure they’re buried right up to the building, and then if you can, try and hide then behind the siding or have them hug the wall as much as possible before they enter the building.

Keep It Looking Professional

If you’re a surveillance installer, then this is for you, but if you’re just doing it for your own sake, then the look of your installation is what you decide is acceptable to your needs. The bottom line here is that when professionally installing surveillance equipment, a lot of your business can be word of mouth and repeat customers. To keep this referral and current customer base happy, you want the installation to be as clean as possible. So always follow the previous tips, but also make sure to do things like having as little cable exposed inside as possible, or make sure your security cameras are mounted to studs or secured with drywall anchors. By keeping an eye out for these little installation cleanups, you will not only please your customer, but you will set a good example of your work for future clientele.

Christian M Gillman has worked in the surveillance industry for over 7 years. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter, learn more about surveillance, and find great products at

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