Your CCTV security camera systems need regular maintenance to ensure a clear picture, uninterrupted feed and complete coverage of key areas. It is important to create a CCTV maintenance checklist for yourself so that you don’t miss out on CCTV maintenance as it is just as important as the safety of CCTV installation. Below we’ve listed 13 practical tips for your security camera maintenance.
CCTV Maintenance Checklist
1. Regularly clean camera lenses
Check your outdoor and indoor security camera lenses to ensure they are always clean. Look for smudges, dust, water-spots and other undesirable elements. Your camera won’t get clear shots if your lenses are smudged or dirty.
You should ideally start by using a compressed air can to blow the lens and remove all loose debris before using a microfiber brush to wipe the lenses very gently. You should perform this duty at least once in three months.
2. Check the camera’s housing
The camera’s enclosures should remain waterproof and you can check this by opening your security cameras’ housing to check for signs of water, dirt and condensation. This way, you will know whether the enclosures are still protecting the cameras from rain and wind. Or you can simply inspect for water residue. In certain cases, you may need to apply waterproof silicon around the camera’s housing.
3. Ensure that all cables are fully connected
Check all cable connectors, including those connecting the monitor, DVR (or NVR) and security cameras to ensure that they are all receiving power. Also check the cabling for any signs of wear and tear, replace any exposed wire immediately.
4. Check the power supply
Check the power supplies to your CCTV security systems to ensure that there is no loss of power due to thunderstorms, tampering, brownouts or other unwanted events. You may also want to check that your surveillance cameras are receiving their recommended power requirements using a voltmeter. Otherwise, the camera may fail rapidly and it is always cheaper to replace the power supply than buy a new security camera.
5. Check for corrosion
Check out all connectors for signs of corrosion. If you found any corroded one, replace it immediately since it can cause the rest of the equipment to short out. Usually, once the system is installed, all the connections should be waterproofed by the installer.
6. Dust your DVR or NVR
The DVR or NVR may collect a layer of dust over time, and this must be wiped off regularly to prevent it from affecting the recorder’s performance. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe your DVR/NVR or use a blower to dust the crevices. This should be done inside the box as well, open up the recorder and clean the dust. A heavy dust may cause the fan or other components to malfunction.
7. Trim the landscaping
Check all your outdoors camera views to make sure that all provide a clear view. Keep bushes, vines, trees and other plants near the cameras trimmed to prevent them from obstructing the camera.
8. Check the lighting
Ensure that important areas have enough lighting to illuminate suspects for easy identification. There are good cameras out there that provide clear images during the night time. Another option is to add CCTV illuminators to improve the outdoor light conditions.
9. Periodically review camera’s placement
This should be done to ensure optimum location and camera focus. In many cases, over time the position of the camera may change, either on purpose or accidentally. It’s always recommended to check the camera’s placement and to make sure that the angle is right. The easy way is to check the image on your TV screen and see which camera seems not properly angled.
10. Verify that the system is recording
You should check camera system recording ability each week. It is always important to find out if there is something wrong with the system before a major security incident actually occurs, only for you to find that you have no footage of the incident.
Many users don’t playback for months and they’re surprised when something happens and the system wasn’t recording at all or the hard drive went bad a few months ago. For that reason, once a week, or once in two weeks, randomly playback to ensure that your CCTV security system is recording.
11. Set the correct date and time (timestamp)
Always check to ensure that the correct date and time are generated by the DVR/NVR and displayed on the monitor. Brief power outages may make it necessary for the time and date to be set.
Having the right time stamp on the recorder will help you to pinpoint exactly when an incident happened. At the same time, an incorrect timestamp (or missing at all) may be inadmissible in the court.
12. Check the hard drives periodically
The hard drive may go bad which means the security system won’t be able to store any recordings. You need to check the settings of the NVR or DVR to make sure that the hard drives are on a normal status.
You should never use a hard drive made for a desktop on your CCTV security system, always go with surveillance rated hard drives which are specifically designed for CCTV systems. A desktop hard drive installed on DVR/NVR will last 6-12 months, a surveillance hard drive usually lasts 5-10 years
13. Post signage
Making a small investment in professional signage can help mitigate risks by confirming that you are in fact using video surveillance around your premises. Visible signage is the first lie of deterrence and helps enforce your property boundaries.