Home » Security Camera Guides » Security Camera Troubleshooting » Does Cold Weather Affect Security Cameras? (and What to Do About It)

Does Cold Weather Affect Security Cameras? (and What to Do About It)

Not all security cameras are temperature-tolerant or waterproof, meaning they won’t work outside in the cold.

AlfredCam mounted to a red brick wall outdoor

Do Security Cameras Work in the Cold?

Outdoor security cameras work in cold environments so long as the temperature isn’t below the device’s operating temperature threshold. This is usually somewhere below 0 Celsius/32 Fahrenheit. 

However, when the temperature drops below freezing, frost and ice are likely to form on the lens, limiting what the camera can capture. Snow also negatively impacts the device’s ability to capture footage.

If you’re unsure of your security camera’s operating temperature threshold, an IP rating is a good indication that it works outside in spite of most weather, since it means it’s been successfully tested against water and dust penetration.

What Temperature is Too Cold for Cameras?

While operating temperature usually accounts for colder temperatures, anything far below 0 Celsius or 32 Fahrenheit is too cold for cameras to function optimally.

Although the camera might continue to work, frost and ice will form around the device, which limits its ability to capture footage and could damage the device.

Do Outdoor Security Cameras Work in Winter?

Reputable outdoor security cameras continue to work properly in winter (assuming you don’t live in Antarctica). 

Snow and ice are more likely to negatively affect security camera use than the temperature itself. If it’s not adequately covered, the camera might get snow or frost on it.

Effects of Cold Weather on Security Cameras

Impact of Dew Point on Security Cameras

It’s totally normal to have a bit of condensation on your security camera in the early morning as dew forms. The sun’s rays will evaporate it as the day begins. However, extreme condensation obstructs the lens.

If the temperature is well below 0 Celsius/32 Fahrenheit, dew crystallizes, blocking the security camera’s view and potentially damaging the device.

Security video camera in winter. Icicles on the camera block the lens. Frozen security camera in winter with ice crystals.

Impact of Cold Weather on Battery Life

Wire free security cameras struggle in excessively cold weather because low temperatures drain battery life fast. 

Effects of Hot Weather on Security Cameras

Security cameras also have a maximum operating temperature, so excessive heat negatively affects security cameras as well. Here’s how.

Impact of Excessive Light on Security Cameras

Intense light produces intense heat, meaning the camera might overheat and power off automatically.

Imagine, if you will, a kid on an ant hill wreaking havoc with a magnifying glass. A camera’s lens focuses light energy into the sensor in much the same way. Extreme direct sunlight can burn the inside of the camera and even catch alight.

Impact of Dust on Security Camera

Hot climates are drier, meaning more dust formation.

Strong summer winds pick up dust and other debris and plaster it onto a security camera’s lens if exposed.

Likewise, if the camera itself does not have an adequate ingress protection rating, dust might enter the system and damage it. This is also a fire hazard.

8 Security Camera Tips for Dealing with Extreme Weather Conditions

Whether you live in the Sahara Desert or the North Pole, you still deserve an optimal security camera experience! Check out these tips for combating harsh weather to keep your cameras up and running as needed.

1. Choose the ideal security camera location

One of the best ways to protect security cameras from extreme weather is to position them under an eave or awning, about eight to ten feet above the ground.

Any type of overhang from your house safeguards the security camera against the rain, snow, and extreme sunlight, making it the ideal outdoor security camera location.

Alternatively, if you’re concerned about frost, avoid putting your security camera in the shade. Instead, expose the security camera to sunlight to evaporate the condensation and avoid it crystalizing. 

Sometimes, it’s important to recognize when to give up the fight if you want to protect your security camera against the elements.

For example, if a hurricane or tornado is coming, take the security camera inside. Pose it against a window for the duration of the storm to avoid it getting destroyed or blown away. 

3. Dry wet devices out

If the camera starts to malfunction, it might be wet or damp inside. 

If the security camera cannot be positioned under an overhang, try placing it in an enclosure instead to keep it warm, dry, and protected from extreme light.

Camera enclosures can be bought at retail or DIY’d to add a touch of personality. A DIY birdhouse is easily converted into a security camera enclosure.

Add acrylic glass to cover the hole to create a weatherproof enclosure. 

Add acrylic glass to cover the hole to create a weatherproof enclosure. 

5. Cool the camera with cooling fans

A DIY birdcage or other kind of enclosure protects security cameras against extreme heat if you add a cooling system.

While there’s all sorts of fans available, PC cooling fans are a particularly nifty way to keep the temperature down inside the DIY birdcage.

6. Monitor the battery temperature and charge level

Bring the security camera indoors if the outdoor temperature nears 32 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure optimal charging. The company also recommends charging the battery to 100% to ensure optimal function.

Always charge a security camera battery to 100% to ensure optimal function.

7. Use heating tapes

Frost King RC60 Heating Cables Black

The heating elements are powered by electricity, keeping the security camera’s surface temperature higher than the environmental temperature.

Only use a device like this in excessive cold, as it could create a fire hazard if the security camera is functioning at a regular temperature.

8. Protect the wires

If your security camera has cables or wires, they must be adequately protected against the elements. 

Ultra-low temperatures cause the wire to become inflexible and brittle, increasing the risk of it cracking and breaking. 

Shielding the security camera wires in a conduit (a flexible tube for housing cables) should do the trick.


Protecting security cameras against extreme cold and extreme heat is achievable, but bringing the camera inside is the only solution in some situations, like during a hurricane.

Choosing a security camera with an extensive operating temperature range helps in extreme climates. Outdoor security cameras should have at least an IP65 ingress protection rating.

These characteristics increase your chances of safeguarding security cameras in extreme weather.