Security cameras are like pets, if they’re happy and healthy then it’s hard to forget that they require frequent grooming otherwise they might stop functioning. Despite the obviousness of this statement many homeowners see surveillance units as one-time investments that they can just set up and ignore. And when a stubborn smear becomes large enough to obscure the view, they simply grab a rag and wipe the lens – an act that would make any security experts roll their eyes in disbelief.
The truth is that cameras need to be maintained properly on a regular basis in order to avoid drastic drops in footage quality or even a premature malfunction. Don’t be agitated though, the actual cleaning process lasts no time at all.
Being Consistent Is the Key
Surveillance devices are susceptible to several environmental effects depending on their location. Dust is the biggest threat for indoor cameras, but they are still lucky compared to outdoor units, which are easily smudged by bugs, rain drops, kicked up mud, and more. A few stains might not seem serious at first, but as these impurities start to pile up the image quality will suffer for it. Not to mention that small objects – such as spider webs – that get stuck to the lens are responsible for the infamous ghosting effect.
If you wish to keep your equipment in top shape then performing a brief maintenance on each of them regularly will help in the long run. The frequency is debatable, some experts recommend a monthly schedule – which is quite trying if you have a full surveillance system with multiple cameras – while others say it’s more than enough to clean the units every half a year. The best option is to simply check the feed at least once a month and immediately tend to any recorder whose footage is spotty or unclear. Otherwise perform a regular maintenance every 3-4 months.
Camera Cleaning 101
In order to keep your cameras in shape you only need a clean microfiber cloth to wipe the glass. The material is vital and don’t replace it with a common cloth or you’ll risk scratching the lens, leaving a permanent mark that will affect the camera’s footage. Bullet cameras and indoor IP cameras are the easiest to maintain since no tinkering is required to get to the glass. Dome cameras, however, are trickier; these will require you to first remove the protective casing by removing the screws.
When cleaning the lens, apply a cleaning solution using the microfiber cloth. The special cleaning solution is optional, but remember: this is an expensive piece of electronic equipment and a wet rag might leave additional stains afterwards. For dome cameras, be sure to wipe both the lens and either side of the glassy part of the dome. Don’t forget to wipe the rest of the casing either, but you don’t need to further disassemble the camera. Once the surface is dry again replace the casing and put the unit back to its original place.
Extra Tips for Maximum Efficiency
Before performing your first ever maintenance, be sure to read the device’s maintenance manual to learn about the disassembly process (for dome cameras) or any special instructions from the manufacturer. It’s best to use professional cleaning tools; Amazon is full of useful polishing products that come bundled with soft microfiber cloths. For dusting indoor cameras, you might also want to try a can of compressed air so you won’t unnecessarily leave any fingerprints.
Outdoor surveillance units demand the most attention because you must pay attention to the environment too. For examples, unchecked trees and wallflowers can grow to the point that they obscure the view, while cameras that are exposed to the rain might end up broken or rusted. Speaking of rain, while the maintenance is being performed consider applying a layer of water repellant to the lens of your outdoor camera. Doing so could save yourself more time and energy than you might think.
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