How Long Do Security Cameras Last?

How Long Do Security Cameras Last desktop

A home security system is made more powerful by the addition of high-tech security cameras, but like many of our high-tech devices, there is a finite amount of time that each device will continue to operate properly.

So, how long should a good security camera last, what can affect its durability, and what steps can be taken to maximize its lifespan? We’ll explore some of the factors to security camera longevity and recommend some maintenance tips to help you get the most out of your investment.

How Long Do Security Cameras Last?

The security camera market has rapidly evolved, from standard closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV) connected by analog technology in the 20th century to now highly complex digital cameras which leverage CCD (Charge-Coupled Device) image sensors.

While older, simpler models of security cameras were expected to last a decade or more, these highly versatile and complex modern security cameras range anywhere from 5 to 25 years.

While that range may seem too broad of an estimate to plan around, the factors that affect a security camera’s life are usually known and can often be mitigated.

Factors That Affect Security Cameras' Life

Environmental Hazards:

Environmental hazards are ways that the surrounding area can impact the life of your camera, depending on that camera’s level of exposure. There are three main types of security cameras, each of which have a different level of exposure to environmental hazards. These camera types include indoor cameras, doorbell cameras, and outdoor cameras.

Indoor cameras, while protected from outdoor elements, have their own potential hazards, including:

  • Pet traffic, which might include their often-curious nature

  • Bumped surfaces holding an indoor camera

  • Snagged wires

  • Household dust and dirt

  • Limited exposure to humidity and subsequent corrosion

Outdoor cameras which oversee your property from a high-mounted position outside of your home are made from tougher stuff, but they are prone to harsher conditions, like:

  • High winds, rain, hail, smog, etc.

  • Extreme temperatures

  • Wildlife, especially insects and spiders attracted to the LED

  • Higher potential for humidity and corrosion

  • More potential for vandalism and tampering

Doorbell cameras are usually mounted outdoors but may be installed under an awning or within a foyer, offering limited protection; however, these are still subject to the same outdoor conditions mentioned above, only with the additional risk that comes from being used regularly by visitors and delivery personnel that would ring the doorbell.

Common Components Failing:

LED lights have an extended life expectancy of 7 years or more. Most modern security cameras have at least one LED light to display the status of the camera.

Required, internal batteries may or may not be made as a replaceable part of the camera. Depending on how the camera is powered, if the battery fails, this could cause the camera to fail.

Software Requiring Updates:

The onboard software installed in the camera by the manufacturer is sure to have everything you need for initial operation. That is until new firmware is released, making an update necessary for compatibility and for security. Additionally, new features or bug fixes can, and often are, added during these updates.

Usually, a well-connected security camera will automatically update firmware, but things like inconsistent internet connectivity or running a factory reset on your camera create conditions that require a manual retry.

Improving Technology:

As new and improved technologies are developed, you may find security cameras that better suit the needs of you and your household, and although current security cameras have impressively high resolution that can capture quite a lot, a useful upgrade may come along. For example, someone with a long driveway may find benefit in a camera equipped with a varifocal lens, helping them get a clear capture of a license plate over a longer distance.

We are already seeing improvements in AI and pattern recognition being applied to security cameras. What else will come along that can revolutionize home security?

Security Camera Maintenance Tips

One of the first and most important steps you can take to extend the longevity of your camera is to routinely clean it. Wiping it down with a clean cloth can often remove debris from the lens, such as cobwebs, hard water spots, or any obstructions that might blur the image.

In addition to having an obscured lens, regularly cleaning the cameras can help prevent issues with cameras that have heated or ventilated camera housing.

Insects can be attracted to the small lights on the camera. Spider webs in particular can contain highly reflective substances which might interfere with an infrared night vision sensor.

If the camera has a replaceable battery and shows signs of bloat or degradation in its ability to hold a charge, look to replace the battery.

Inspect the camera at least a few times a year. Try to visually confirm that the mounting materials and mounting surface are not showing signs of deterioration which might lead to the device falling. In the case of indoor cameras with exposed lines, look for any frays in the wires. Ensure that cameras, and their connections, are out of harm’s way.

Monitor for vandalism and report this promptly. Cameras that are outside and within reach of foot traffic can be a target for those who wish to hide their activities around your property.

Update firmware to ensure the camera remains well-protected and conforms to the latest operating systems. This process can be initiated through companion software or by contacting your security system monitoring company for assistance.

How Do I Maximize the Life of My Security Camera?

Partnering with a professionally monitored security company can help protect your investment in a security camera going forward. Getting started on the right foot can help ensure your cameras are installed securely in the best location, and you can expect to receive ongoing support with firmware, continuous connectivity, video analytics, and more. Contact us today to get started with a Brinks Home™ Security Consultant.

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