On certain occasions, it’s convenient to put a surveillance security camera in the window facing outside to live monitor the front door, backyard, or even place a CCTV security camera indoors looking out through glass or window. Do security cameras work through window glass? Is it okay to put a security camera on a window glass?
Can an infrared security camera see through glass or window? Does motion detection work through glass or windows? Will the motion get triggered if the security camera has a window glass in front of it?
Can a security camera record through a window or glass? This article will explain a few key points regarding this interesting and curious case.
Problems if a security camera is placed behind a window glass
During the daytime the security camera most likely will work fine, however during the nighttime, where most of the crime tends to develop, window glare is a persistent problem.
So, the main problem that occurs if an IR surveillance security camera is placed behind a window or glass is the glare. This window glare is caused by the IR lights built-in on the camera, the LEDs, the status lights, or even from the surrounding lights (street lights, etc).
The glass reflection or window glare will whitewash the picture, making it too bright and it will be very difficult to distinguish fine details. In a few extreme cases, you may see the image doubled.
Another problem when a camera is placed behind a window or glass is related to the motion detection recordings. Because of the glare or other reflections, the motion detection will not get triggered at all or it will get triggered unnecessarily.
Do security cameras work through glass or window?
If a security camera is placed behind glass or window it will be prone to a whitewash picture and glare, especially if the light conditions are low. In this case, the picture will be unclear, too bright and the fine details doubled. You can try to lessen these effects by applying the following advice:
- To reduce window glare and reflection, place the camera lens as close as possible against the glass. Make it as tight as possible, you may use glue or tape to securely keep the camera in place. Or you can even use a suction cup mount.
- Turn off the IR lights on the camera. You can disconnect the IR block manually from the motherboard or you can do it through the settings (most of the IP cameras allow you to do that). Once the IR lights are off, the window reflect will be reduced and the camera will be able to clearly see through the window pane.
- Disable any status lights that the security camera may have. Many cameras come with status lights such as the camera being online, offline, strong signal, other blinking lights, etc. Access the settings and turn all of them off.
- Install motion-activated exterior lights on your front or backyard. This way the environment will have enough light and the security camera can provide a clearer picture. For example, you can use this motion-activated LED spotlight.
- Make sure that the spot where your security camera is placed is darker than the outdoor environment. The opposite may cause a heavy glare on the camera.
- Wipe the window glasses from time to time to make sure that there’s no dust or dirt.
Does motion detection recording work if the camera is placed behind a glass window?
The motion detection in security cameras is done either by software or by a physical motion detector. The first one is a type of motion sensor that gets triggered by measuring changes in pixels. The software detects the changes on the pixels and knows that there was motion.
The other type is called a PIR sensor and it’s a physical one. Passive infrared motion (PIR) sensors get triggered by detecting the body heat and infrared energy. This type is better than the one based on algorithms and it’s always recommended in CCTV systems.
However, in the case of an IP camera behind window glass, the cameras with PIR motion sensor don’t work well when placed behind the glass. They’re not reliable and we don’t recommend using them for this kind of setup.
These cameras don’t detect motion behind the glass because nowadays most glasses used in modern houses are insulated and limit the heat coming through the glass (and the PIR sensor works by detecting body heat).
All that being said if you need to place a camera behind glass using a camera without a PIR sensor, get the cameras that detect motion using the software (algorithm). These types of cameras will record properly behind a glass window since they don’t relay detecting body heat.
To conclude, use security cameras that detect motion by calculating changes in pixels (software-based) and don’t use cameras that come with a PIR motion sensor.