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

Yes, cold weather does affect security camera functionality—as does hot weather. Before making any purchase, it’s important to be aware that not all cameras are temperature-tolerant or waterproof. It means if it’s going to be placed in an environment of extreme cold or extreme heat, it may not function properly.

But there are numerous ways to protect video surveillance and security systems against the blistering cold, heat, and wet.

Below, discover the proven methods to safeguard security cameras for those times when Mother Nature doesn’t want to cooperate.

Disclaimer: Our discussion focuses more on Google Nest and Ring products because these products are asked about most often on community forums and discussion boards. 

Cold Weather

street landscape in Ian Capstick

Impact of Dew Point on Security Cameras

It’s usually okay to have a bit of condensation on the security camera’s exterior surface because the sun’s rays and the relatively higher temperature later in the day will evaporate it. However, extreme condensation can obstruct the lens.

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

Hot Weather

Impact of Excessive Light on Security Cameras

Impact of Dust on Security Camera

A more serious concern is particle ingress or the entry of dust and other solid substances into the security camera.

Although we don’t know how exactly these particulates will create havoc in particular systems, we can only assume it would be like pouring silt or sand into your car’s engine.

9 Tips on Dealing with Extreme Weather Conditions

1. Choose the ideal security camera location

Security camera batteries require at least 32 degrees Fahrenheit to charge effectively. Environmental temperatures can drop below freezing without warning. For example, it might be 40 degrees during the day, but plummet to 25 degrees at night.

The security camera might still work, but the battery won’t charge anymore. Ice formation in your device may even occur if the air temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hence, it’s sometimes advisable to bring security cameras indoors where the temperature is kept stable. It may not be ideal for vantage points, but extreme heat and extreme cold can both destroy the device.

3. Check the inside of the camera

If the camera starts to malfunction, it may be worth inspecting inside it to check for condensation or melted circuitry.

Consult any warranty terms and conditions before opening up any electrical device, as it may void the warranty (in which case, simply replace the device).

rice

If the security camera cannot be positioned under shade, the device can instead be placed in an enclosure.

Much like how a human house shelters its inhabitants from the elements, the security camera should also be warm and dry inside its “home.”

Camera enclosures can be bought at retail or DIY’d to add a touch of personality. For example, a DIY birdhouse can be made using poplar board, wood glue, spar urethane, and other materials.

Ideally, the birdhouse’s frontage will use clear acrylic glass to create a weatherproof enclosure. The DIY birdhouse security camera enclosure must have as few entry points as possible without undermining the gadget’s performance. 

5. Observe proper security camera orientation

a wooden birdhouse on a table

Mount the security camera in shade, like under awnings or eaves. Although this advice isn’t foolproof, it should still give you better control of the heat’s effects on your device.

6. Protect the camera in an enclosure with built-in cooling fans

The DIY birdcage we described above could also work to protect your security camera against extreme heat. However, it’s vital to include a cooling system in the enclosure to lower the internal temperature. 

It’s possible to install a PC cooling fan inside the DIY birdcage or use similar technology.

7. Monitor the battery temperature and charge level

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

8. Use heating tapes

Frost King RC60 Heating Cables Black

This technology has heating elements powered by electricity, allowing the security camera’s surface temperature to remain higher than the environmental temperature.

9. Protect the wires

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

FAQ

What temperature is too cold for cameras?

Do security cameras work in the cold?

Yes, security cameras work in the cold. However, functionality depends on the manufacturer’s recommended minimum operating temperatures. For instance, Ring security cameras work at -5 degrees Fahrenheit, while Google Nest Cams can only run until -4 degrees Fahrenheit.

It’s also worth noting that battery-powered security cameras might not charge their batteries below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The stored DC electricity can still power the security camera up to the device’s minimum operating temperature. However, it ceases to function once the battery empties its charge.

What happens if a security camera gets too cold?

Exposing the security camera to temperatures below its recommended operating temperatures can damage sensitive components, reduce battery life, and freeze the lens.

Do outdoor security cameras work in the winter?

Conclusion

Although these measures can help protect security cameras against extreme cold and extreme heat, picking the correct waterproof and weatherproof security camera should reduce worries about undermining the security camera’s performance or damaging it. 

Choosing a security camera with an extensive operating temperature range can help in extreme climates. Also worth looking for are ultra-low minimum charging temperatures, at least IP66 ingress protection rating, and a robust, weatherproof enclosure. 

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