How to Choose the Right Security Camera System for Your First Home

How to Choose the Right Security Camera System for Your First Home

Your first home is a huge investment. You’ve worked relentlessly to save a deposit to get your foot on the property ladder. Hours have been spent finding the right neighbourhood and filling out tedious paperwork. The last decision you want to make is choosing a security camera system – you want to start moving in and picking out the furniture!

But choosing the wrong security system not only costs you more money down the line but puts your new investment (your first home!) at risk. Blind spots, cheap alternatives, and dummy alarms all leave vulnerabilities that experienced criminals will exploit.

With over 24 years of experience in the trade, we’ve worked with homeowners and businesses across the West Midlands to secure their properties. In this guide, you’ll learn from our experience how to choose a security camera system for your home. The advice is subjective, as every property is different, but it will help you cover all aspects of a security camera system.

What are home security systems?

Home security systems protect your home from being damaged and your possessions being stolen. It’s like having your own security guard, except it doesn’t sleep and costs half as much. Security systems go beyond the typical burglar alarms and CCTV systems we’re used to. With smart alarm systems like Ajax, you can integrate fire and water alarms to offer complete home protection. 

Why do I need a home security system?

For burglaries alone:

Whilst fire and overfilling the bath happen less often, the cost multiples considering the cost to replace and the emotional effort to process the event. Having a home security system can bring down your home insurance premium – it’s not a guarantee, and it’s always worth checking with your insurer.

How many security cameras do I need?

There are many varying factors when deciding the number of cameras your home needs. It’s why we offer a free initial survey to provide an accurate quote tailored to your property. But, to help you with an estimate, here are the factors we consider:

  • The areas you want to cover – if you want to cover every room and corner of your house, you’re going to need more cameras
  • The size of your outdoor space – if you have acres you want to cover, you’ll need more than a terrace house with a patioed garden
  • The type of cameras you’ll use – choosing wired will limit how far you can cover
  • Your network’s bandwidth limit – if bandwidth isn’t great, you’ll be restricted on how many cameras you can have recorded at once (wireless only)

Where will your cameras be located?

Still got your floor plan? Make a copy and mark locations where you’ll need a camera or sensor. Here are the common areas to cover:

Entry points

For all rooms, you want to consider the entry points a burglar can use. These are the areas you want to be covered by a minimum.

  • Doors (front, back, and side doors)
  • Windows
  • Garden gates


The focus of indoor cameras is to identify criminals, bring them to justice, and retrieve your stolen possessions. Think about where your most valuable possessions are kept and ensure a camera is installed there. Common areas include:

  • Living room (where TV, games consoles, and PCs are kept)
  • Bedrooms (jewellery and cash)
  • Garage and Sheds (cars, bicycles, and tools of high value)

If you’re using CCTV to monitor vulnerable family members (like children and elderly relatives), you may want to focus on installing cameras where they spend most of their time. For example, your child’s bedroom or the dining room.


In addition to identifying criminals, cameras installed outside also act as a deterrent. 60% of thieves avoid a property that has an identifiable active alarm. Don’t be tempted to use dummy alarms. Thieves can easily identify them and increase your likelihood of being burgled compared to not having any protection whatsoever.

The most important places for cameras outside are:

  • Front door
  • Driveways, garage doors, and any side paths
  • Back gardens (especially if they back onto alleyways)

Video doorbells

With the rise of smart devices in the home, smart video doorbells have grown in popularity. Simply, they’re wireless doorbells with a built-in camera. When linked to your phone (or smartwatch), you can see who’s at your door anywhere in the world. With some doorbells, you can talk to the ringer – it’s useful for when you’re expecting deliveries.

These doorbells can offer some security to your home. You get notifications whenever there’s a motion outside your house and if you spot someone who shouldn’t be there, you can deter with your voice. With some doorbells offering cloud recording, you can keep the video for a set period if you need to report it to the Police.

Video doorbells are great as a part of a complete security system for your house. However, we recommend not relying on them as your only protective solution.

What power source do you require?

How you’ll power your cameras is a big factor in what security system you choose. Let’s explore their pros and cons.

Wired powered cameras


  • Never have to change a battery
  • Little or no network interference
  • Better protected from attacks than wireless


  • More wires in the home.
  • If power or Wi-Fi goes down, access to the camera is gone
  • Wires have to be completely hidden to stop burglars from cutting them

Wireless powered camera


  • Easier to install than wired cameras
  • Some outdoor cameras don’t ever need a battery change (come with solar panels)
  • More flexibility on where they can go


  • Battery change needed every year
  • Some batteries aren’t rechargeable

WiFi – 2.4ghz and 5ghz

If you’re choosing wireless, check if your router is compatible. Most new routers broadcast 5ghz. If your camera only works with 2.4ghz, you will either need to:

  • Purchase a dual-band router (where it broadcasts both 2.4ghz and 5ghz)
  • Enable the 2.4ghz channel on your router

Having two separate channels (one for 2.4ghz and one for 5ghz) can cause connectivity problems if you’re wanting to view the stream from your mobile phone. A normal easy fix is to switch between the WiFi channels, but it depends on the case.

Where do you want your footage to be recorded?

Deciding where you store your recorded footage can make a difference in which security system is right for your new home. There are three kinds of storage solutions:

  • Digital Video Recorders (DVR)
  • Network Video Recorders (NVR)
  • Cloud

Digital Video Recorders

DVRs record raw footage to a physical hard drive located in your home. Analog cameras are connected to the DVR through coaxial cables that transfer the raw footage for the DVR to digitise. They’re not Wi-Fi connected, and the footage can only be accessed from wherever the DVR is stored.

Network Video Recorders

NVRs still require a physical hard drive to record footage. As the data is digitised through the camera first before being transferred to the NVR for storage, they’re quicker at processing and handling data traffic than DVRs. Most NVR cameras are Wi-Fi connected and often referred to as IP cameras, although some can be wired through an ethernet cable.


Some IP cameras come with cloud storage. Usually, the camera manufacturer or third-party will store the recordings of your camera on the cloud for you to access whenever. Depending on your plan, they’ll hold the previous 30-60 days’ recordings for you to download if needed. You normally pay extra for this service, but it means you won’t ever lose your data, even if your camera gets destroyed.

Note: There are some workarounds to get a DVR or an NVR to upload to the cloud. Through services like Google Drive and Microsoft’s OneDrive, you could have the footage automatically uploaded from the hard drive. This offers the same experience as Cloud, but more maintenance may be required. For the more tech experienced, you may enjoy this project or at least find it easier to integrate into an entire smart home system.

Storage to record 720p -> 4K

Your storage requirements depend on the quality and length of your recording, as well as your compression type. If you’re planning on recording 12 cameras, 24 hours per day for 15 days, we estimate you’ll need:

  • 2.5 TB for 720p resolution @ 30fps
  • 6TB for 1080p @ 30fps
  • 23TB for 4K

These are only rough estimates and will scale depending on the number of cameras and how long you want to store your data. You can reduce the space needed if you only record when motion is detected. This is part of our initial survey with clients – it’s an important factor when purchasing.

Features to consider

Depending on your budget, you may want to consider some additional features for your cameras. They’re not a must-have but can offer better coverage and protection.

Night vision

If you require to see in the dark, you’ll need night vision. A camera accomplishes this with either a white spotlight (for colour) or using an infrared LED to offer black and white footage. The spotlight is more conspicuous but acts as a better deterrent.


If you’re covering a large area of land (like a back garden), some cameras can provide zoom. If you’re using an app to view your CCTV, you can pinch the screen to zoom in. Optical zoom offers better details but can come with a higher price tag.

Field of view (+ privacy for neighbours)

Field of view refers to how wide the camera can capture. A 180-degree field of view captures everything in front of it. With more area captured by one camera, the fewer cameras you need.

However, be wary not to capture footage outside your property boundaries – including neighbours! If this is unavoidable, you can install privacy masks that cover part of your recording. Remember, if your CCTV points outside your private property, you must display signs that are visible to the people affected.

Pet-friendly alarms

Pets aren’t the most sedentary animals in the world. Especially when the postman is at the door. Whilst you want your cameras to alert you when an intruder is present, you don’t want a ding every time your dog or cat moves. When looking for cameras or sensors, it’s worth looking for those that are pet friendly. These alarms only activate when they detect larger motions of 25kg and above, leaving your pet to do what they enjoy without bothering you when you’re out of the house.

Do you need any smart integrations?

If you’re planning on integrating your home security system within your home smart setup, you need to make sure the cameras are compatible. Some systems support Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, with both now rolling out their own official cameras, such as Google Nest.

There are professional security systems that encompass the entire house. Ajax allows you to control your house under one hub. When your detection motions are blocked, you’re alerted instantly. If you leave the oven on too long and the smoke detector is activated, Ajax will cut the electricity and let you know. Left the bath running for too long? The hub will stop the water supply. If you have a Grade 3 property (substantial threat of experienced intruders due to high-value contents), a system like Ajax is a great way to protect your home.

Do you require audio?

Nearly all cameras include a microphone. You can record audio for personal and household activity, but when recordings include public spaces (such as your neighbour’s garden), you can be breaking the law. In these cases, you must have good reason to be recording audio and notify all persons affected. We recommend verifying with the ICO if you feel you need to record audio.

Video doorbells have normalized two-way audio (the ability to converse with someone through the camera). Recording these conversations is normally fine and doesn’t need to be applied to the wider household.

Do you need professional monitoring?

Some alarm systems offer professional monitoring from as low as £12.99/month. Whenever your system is alerted, someone from a monitoring centre will respond to your property on your behalf to address the issue. This is handy when you’re on holiday or away from home. With false alarms being common, it saves you trekking all the way home when nothing is wrong.

If the alarm is serious and needs addressing, the centre will alert the Police and relevant forces. In most cases, the Police place a higher priority on incidents reported by professional monitoring centres. If your property is at higher risk, or you’re away from home most of the time, consider professional monitoring.

Installing a home security system

You can install home security yourself. If you opt for solutions like Google Nest, you can buy security packages that are easy to install. However, if you’re after absolute security (more than 5 cameras and an intruder alarm), it’s cheaper to get a system installed by a professional.

With years of experience, a professional security installer can recommend the best system for your needs and your property. They’re able to spot potential blind spots and offer solutions which encompass every angle. You don’t want to learn about your blind spots when someone has exploited them.

Your next steps

If you’re planning to install the system yourself, here are some starting points:

  • Visit each room and list the possible entry points.
  • Draw a floorplan and mark where cameras and detectors should be
  • Walk around the perimeter of your property and conduct steps 1-2 again

Now you should have a list of hardware you need. Depending on how you want to record your footage, you can start searching for a system that works for you.

If you have no time and want a professional survey, contact a security systems expert to book an initial survey. Our surveys are free-of-charge for any household or business in the West Midlands. If you’re outside our area, try CheckaTrade for your closest professional.

Home Security Essentials Explained

Home Security Essentials Explained

Home security definition

Home security is defined as both the security hardware placed on a property as well as personal security practices.

Security hardware may include: doors, locks, lighting, motion detectors, alarm systems, and security camera systems.  

Personal security involves practices such as: making sure doors are locked, alarms are activated, windows are closed, extra keys are not hidden outside, and owning a dog.

Why is home security an issue in the UK?

Since the dawn of time, there are humans out there who steal and thieve in order to gain. In modern times, this is no different. There are some shocking statistics in the UK currently, that sheds light on the severity of the issue.

There were 296,150 burglaries in the UK from March 2019 – March 2020. A burglary takes place every 106 seconds in the UK, which equates to 817 houses broken into daily. In total, £181 million is stolen from homes in London every year, with 58% of those happening while the residents were at home. The statistics are scary, but unsurprising, considering 77% of people with at least a basic home security system are not burgled.

This blog shall outline the best ways in which you can prevent home intruders with home security essentials, such as smart home security, to best protect your home.  

Solutions for improving home security

Visible burglar alarm

If you have a burglar alarm system, make sure the external sounder is clearly visible on the exterior of your property, as it communicates to potential intruders that you have an alarm. Burglar alarms are the first line of defense for many property owners and serve as a visual deterrent before an attempted break in.


Door security

When fitting a lock to a window or door, use the strongest screws available, not necessarily the ones supplied. The UK set a British Standard for screws that can help you to quality check, to check if they fit, look for a ‘British Standard BS7950’ mark.

Ensure that your doors and door frames are solid, at least 4.4cm thick and hung with 10cm hinges. Wooden doors can be strengthened with steel strips that fit to the frame and around the lock of the door. Glass panels are also less secure, but can be fitted with laminated glass or plastic glazing film as a means of providing extra protection. Fitting a chain or latch to the door improves your security further. It is advised that you get a door with a viewer, as it enables you to check who’s there before letting them in.

Window security

There are a few things that you can do to improve the fortification and protection of your windows. For one, make sure you don’t leave windows open or unlocked anywhere in the house when you are leaving your property. Make sure easily accessible windows are fitted with double glazing. Laminated glass or plastic glazing film is harder to break, so consider this for easily accessible windows. When replacing your windows, make sure they are in-line with the British standard 7950 or PAS 24. It is advised that you get locks that secure the window to the frame, as opposed to ones that just secure the handle.


Security lighting

Outdoor lights, either ones that you can switch on manually, or those that turn on in response to motion, are a good way to ensure a burglar is more visible, which will help you to deter home introducers, whilst also ensuring that your security cameras can capture them in full detail. Make sure they are facing downwards so as to not annoy neighbors and distract drivers if your home is located near a road.

For indoor lighting, it is key to deter intruders by creating an impression that people are in the house, even when you’re not. Timers can be bought to turn lights on and off around the home.


CCTV and wireless home security cameras

CCTV installation and wireless home security cameras both contribute highly to deterring home invaders. Some differentiate in function and may be specialized to record outside or inside the house depending on your personal preference.

The ones we offer at Countrywide Security are Full 1080p HD cameras and can be operated remotely – ensuring that you are able to capture and record every detail possible; allowing you to find and capture a perpetrator should you need to.

Burglar-proof your garden

Often overlooked, there are things you can do even in your garden as a means of preventing a burglary. One way to do this, is to input gravel around your home, as it makes it harder for burglars to approach without alerting the resident. Secondly, it is advised that you make sure your hedges are trimmed back so that your property is not hidden from view. Some plants can act as defensive weapons, such as plant shrubs with thorns, as they prevent burglars from being able to hide in them.

Make sure you put in strong gates and fences around your borders with 40-45cm of open-ended trellising at the top, as if robbers were to attempt to jump the fence, then they would most likely break the fence, which will be heard.

Finally, if you’ve been buying valuable items, make sure to not leave the packaging out for an extended period of time, as it may attract the wrong attention, as well as giving clues towards the value of your possessions.


Fire alarms, smoke alarms and carbon dioxide monitors


As well as installing burglar alarms, and complying with all of the aforementioned security measures, it is wise to consider installing a fire alarm and carbon monoxide monitor too, as it ensures you are protected from other hazards. It is worth noting, that as beneficial as it is to make sure your home is as secure as possible, you need to make sure this doesn’t prevent you from being able to escape or be rescued in an emergency such as a fire.  


Identity theft

Nowadays, it is just as common for a person to be robbed online as it is to be robbed in person. In order to combat this, it is important that you keep all of your information out of sight. Don’t leave letters or bills with lots of personal information just lying about. And keep important documents, such as passports hidden away as much as possible.

As well as information inside your home, it is important to also be mindful of your online presence, including social media accounts.


Benefits of improving home security

  1. Protect valuables
  2. Deter crime
  3. Remote access to your home
  4. Lowers home insurance
  5. Notifies fire/gas issues
  6. Monitor children at home
  7. Improve electricity management
  8. Peace of mind


1.      Protects valuables

It’s quite common to know of someone who has lost jewelry, electronics, or other high-value items due to a home invasion. The misfortune is compounded when the item stolen has sentimental value or is an irreplaceable family heirloom. While a home safe can help to protect irreplaceable items – a home security system has an alarm that can scare off many potential thieves, and can notify the local authorities if someone does attempt to break in.

2.      Deters crime

A study conducted by Rutgers in 2009 discovered that as the number of home security systems in an area increased, the number of residential robberies in that area decreased – even for the people who didn’t own a security system in such areas. Having a smart home security system, not only protects you personally, but helps to deter crime and create a safer neighborhood for everyone involved.

3.      Allows remote access to your home

Modern alarm systems, such as our Ajax alarms, now allow you to remotely monitor what’s happening in your home, even when you’re not there – simply by checking your phone.  

With the Ajax app, you’re able to arm and disarm your wireless alarm system from a distance. There’s a virtual panic button, so that there is a notification on google maps, and people can come to the rescue. A notification tab will help you to keep a log of what has happened in your house and when, as well as providing you with instant alerts if something was to seem suspicious. As the Ajax alarm system is ‘smart’ operated, you are able to get detailed device information, such as battery levels, room temperature and settings. The app and security system are regularly updating their services, providing you with new functions and facilities on a constant basis.

4.      Lowers homeowner’s insurance

Although you may need to pay a monthly fee for monitoring services, having the system in your home can lower your homeowner’s insurance by up to 20%. That, coupled with instant access to police and emergency responders makes an intruder alarm system a worthy investment.

5.      Notifies you of fire or gas problems

It is recommended that homeowners invest in installing a fire alarm that also detects carbon monoxide. At Countrywide Security, we provide fire alarms that allow for 24 hours of monitoring and fire brigade response. Our Ajax smart alarm system will send you notifications if there is any smoke detected, as well as sounding the alarm, allowing you peace of mind when you are out of your property. Not only this, but smoke is detected, then Ajax alarms will cut the electric circuit in your house, to further limit the damage caused.

6.      Helps keep tabs on kids

Another fantastic application of a smart home security automation – is that you can use Ajax’s app to watch what’s happening in your home via video doorbells or other security cameras. This means you get to know who your teens are inviting over for parties while you’re away. If you have electronic door locks, then you can remotely unlock them to let your kids in after school, so that they don’t have to worry about carrying / losing their key to the house.

7.      Improves electricity management

Many security companies, such as the Ajax alarm systems we provide, offer top quality home products such as smart locks, video doorbells, smart thermostats, smart socket controllers, smart relays, and smart light switches as part of their system. They give the user ultimate external control, as from their app they may control their thermostat, or turn off a plug if they think they’ve left a curling iron on. This feature also works as a great tool to turn lights on and off while on vacation, to give intruders the appearance that someone is home.

8.      Makes room for peace of mind

The sense of security and comfort you will gain with a burglar alarm installation, is the greatest benefit that these devices provide. As well as being safe, the confidence of feeling safe will help you to lead a more productive, healthy, and focused life.




As highlighted above, there is a huge concern for home break-ins across the UK in contemporary society – with over 817 houses broken into daily. That being said, 77% of people with at least a basic level home security system managed to avoid being robbed. This indicates that there are solutions out there to help protect you and your home. There are a variety of tips and tricks that can be followed in aid of this, that we have mentioned throughout this blog. It is advised that you consult a professional for your burglar alarm installation and other security measures, as they can ensure that you are getting effective equipment, that adheres to the UK’s safety regulations. For more information of how we can help you with your security concerns, either contact us directly, or visit our website

How to Install CCTV Camera and When you Need One?

How to Install CCTV Camera and When you Need One?

CCTV systems are fantastic for additional security and are used across the UK on as many 4million homes. CCTV is used with the police investigation and the average citizen is caught around 70 times a day on CCTV.

Additionally, experts say that up to 67% of burglaries could be prevented if people had CCTV at home and CCTV is useful in 65% of cases where the footage was available.

For this reason, CCTV cameras are incredibly useful security solutions, especially when they are used in conjunction with a burglar alarm system and working lights. The combination of the three-act as a visual deterrent, as well as evidence in the event of an attack.

When you need CCTV

CCTV can be used to protect your valuables in and outside of your home. Perhaps your car is parked up outside your home at night, or you have valuables in your garage. If you prefer to be safe than sorry, you can get CCTV to avoid potential threats of stealing from you or breaking into your property. CCTV is often used in cases for evidence and therefore you should install CCTV as a means of defense to protect your goods. Whether it be in your home or outside, it can’t hurt to have some additional protection just in case. 

Who can install a CCTV camera?

Anyone can install a CCTV camera system; however, you may want to leave it to your provider as it can sometimes be a time-consuming job. If you install your CCTV yourself, you may come across some issues or install it incorrectly, and therefore interfere with its efficiency.

How to install CCTV

Installing CCTV can be a lengthy task and should be taken on if only you feel confident enough. You can of course get someone else to install your CCTV if you wish, but it may cost you. If you are going to install your CCTV system you can find several guides online on how to do so, however, instructions may vary depending on the CCTV system you purchase. You should consult your provider before installing the CCTV as they may offer a manual on how to install it yourself.

Here is a detailed guide on how to install CCTV, however, note that your CCTV installation may vary slightly and you should research for your specific model before trying to install it.

Can you install CCTV on your property?

You can install CCTV on your property or inside your property.

How long does it take to install CCTV?

It can take between 4 hours and 1.5 days to install depending on how many cameras you’ve ordered and the size of your building