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How-tos

4 dangerous mistakes you’re making with your home security system

Presented by SimpliSafe

Presented by SimpliSafe

For a limited time, save 20% on your SimpliSafe security system, and get your first month free when you sign up for Interactive Monitoring.

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Three things matter most regarding property value: Location, location and location. This applies to more than just real estate, however.

A home security system is only as good as what your cameras can catch. Careful placement can mean the difference between capturing footage of a thief’s face or your dog relieving himself. Tap or click here for the best place to put your home security cameras.

There is more to securing your home than putting up a bunch of cameras. Here are home security system mistakes that make you less safe, brought to you by our sponsor, SimpliSafe. For a limited time, get a free security camera, 20% off + a free month of monitoring.

1. Turning off notifications

We get it. Notifications can be annoying. Do you need a heads up anytime someone comments on your social media post or a fresh spammy letter arrives in your inbox? Don’t hesitate to switch off these annoyances. Tap or click here to get your notifications under control.

When it comes to your home surveillance system, one of the biggest mistakes you can do is to turn off notifications. Or you train yourself to ignore them, and then you won’t know when there’s a real emergency.

You can make some adjustments to reduce these camera alerts if you’re constantly getting bombarded. We’ll show you how below.

To put it simply: Leave your surveillance camera notifications on!

2. Not adjusting motion sensitivity

Motion sensitivity determines how your camera reacts to what it sees: Does it record or ignore? Do you really need footage of squirrels or wind-tossed leaves?

You can tweak how much or how little your camera records. Not only will this save you on storage space for your recordings (whether it’s local or cloud-based), but it will also reduce the number of notifications you receive (see above).

You can usually find controls to adjust motion sensitivity in your security system app. It may go by different names, so let’s review some of the more popular options:

Adjust camera sensitivity with SimpliSafe

  • Open the SimpliSafe app and tap Cameras at the bottom of the screen.
  • Tap the gear icon at the top right of the screen.
  • Choose the camera you would like to change.
  • Choose Motion Detection and make your adjustments to the Sensitivity.

Adjust camera sensitivity with Ring

  • Open the Ring app and tap the gear icon for a camera.
  • Tap Motion Settings > Motion Sensitivity.
  • Adjust the slider to make your adjustments.
  • Tap Save when you’re done.

Adjust camera sensitivity with Arlo

  • Open the Arlo app and tap Mode.
  • Select the camera you want to adjust. 
  • In the Armed section, tap the pencil icon. 
  • In the Rules section, tap the pencil icon for the rule you want to edit. 
  • Tap the pencil icon next to Motion is detected
  • Move the slider to decrease or increase motion sensitivity.
  • Tap Save
  • Tap Edit Mode. 
  • Tap Done

Adjust camera sensitivity with Nest

Google’s Nest app doesn’t have sensitivity settings, but you can adjust the activity zones. We’ve got instructions for that in the next section.

3. Not adjusting activity zones

An activity zone is an area your camera focuses on. You can set up different zones for each camera. This works great if you have neighbors. You don’t need your camera to record them when they’re out in their yard. You just want to focus on your own property in that case.

Think about the front of your house. Do you want your camera to record every car driving by or person using the sidewalk? Nope.

Once again, adjusting this setting will reduce notifications and save storage space.

Adjusting activity zones with SimpliSafe

  • Open the SimpliSafe app and tap Cameras at the bottom of the screen.
  • Tap the gear icon at the top right of the screen.
  • Choose the camera you would like to change.
  • Choose Motion Detection, then scroll down to Activity Zones.
  • Tap areas on the grid so they are greyed out, and the camera will ignore motion in these areas.

Adjusting activity zones with Ring

  • Open the Ring app and tap the gear icon for a camera.
  • Tap Motion Settings, then Edit Zones.
  • Adjust the camera’s field of view by dragging the points of the colored box.
  • Tap Save when you’re done.

Adjusting activity zones with Arlo

  • Open the Arlo app and tap Mode.
  • Select the camera you want to adjust. 
  • Tap Activity Zones.
  • Tap the plus icon in the upper-right corner.
  • To resize the Activity Zone, drag the corners of the zone.
  • Tap and hold within the Activity Zone to reposition it.
  • To customize the Activity Zone name, tap the pencil icon.  
  • Enter a name for the Activity Zone and tap  Done.

Adjusting activity zones with Nest

  • Note: You must have a Nest Aware subscription to create a zone.
  • Open the Nest app and select your camera.
  • Tap Settings and select Activity Zones.
  • Tap Create Zone +.
  • Turn your phone so it’s in landscape mode. Tap and drag inside the zone to move it.
  • Drag any of the eight points around the edge to change the area’s shape.
  • Tap the pencil icon to give your zone a name.
  • Click the check mark to save, then tap the new check mark to save the zone.

RELATED: 3 secret uses for your home security system

4. Not asking someone for help

It’s nice to accomplish something all on your own, but a helping hand can make setting up your home security system much easier and safer.

If you need to use a ladder to mount a camera, you better ask for help. Imagine being up there using one hand to adjust the camera angle and the other to watch the footage and make adjustments on your phone. That’s just downright dangerous!

Have one person stand on the ladder adjusting the camera while the other keeps an eye on the phone and directs the angles from the ground. Having a second set of eyes is a benefit even if you’re not using a ladder.

Bonus: Not using SimpliSafe to secure your home

So now your cameras are in the right places and recording the right things. Who’s watching out for bad guys while you’re at work or asleep? What happens if you lose power or Wi-Fi? Not to mention fires, floods and other disasters taking you by surprise.

Our sponsor, SimpliSafe, is an award-winning home security system, so you know it’s engineered with the latest technology you want to keep your family safe. But what really sets SimpliSafe apart is its people: Highly trained security experts who are always there for you when you need them most.

When you need them most, SimpliSafe is there 24/7 with experts trained to not only keep you safe but to make you feel safe. It’s one of the many reasons U.S. News called SimpliSafe “the best home security of 2022.”

For a limited time, get a free security camera, 20% off + a free month of monitoring.

You may also like: Home security tip: How to monitor gun safes, medicine cabinets, workshops and more

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