How to Use a Hidden Camera at Home
Before you consider installing a hidden camera at home, it's best to consult your local laws. There are important legal considerations regarding the difference between audio and video recording, whether the subject has consented to the recording, the expectation of privacy, and whether the camera is placed in a way that captures images from outside as well as inside the home.
While you are generally within your rights to place hidden cameras and capture video within your own house, it is best to review all local laws and regulations and, if necessary, consult with an attorney.
Once you are aware of the legal aspects governing your use of hidden cameras at home, there are many ways to use these technologies to improve your security and comfort at home.
Hidden Cameras for Home Security
The most common use of a hidden camera at home is for home security. In this instance, cameras are usually mounted outside the home, high on the walls, in a way that commands a good view of all possible entrances.
Cameras are also often added inside, particularly at areas of ingress and egress, like the front and back doors, and garage areas. These cameras are usually equipped with night vision capabilities, and may also have motion or sound detection so that they come on and use battery only when activated.
Many people feel that hidden cameras are more effective for home security than big, obvious security cameras. If a potential thief sees a traditional security camera, they may be encouraged to break in, believing the security system is indicative of items inside that have greater value and are more worth protecting.
Also, a visible security system, when noticed, may be disabled or interfered with before a thief commits their crime; a hidden camera, if it escapes notice, has a better chance of actually catching a thief in the act.
Hidden Cameras to Monitor Employees
It's also increasingly common to use hidden cameras at home to monitor in-home workers. So-called “nanny cams” can also be used to monitor the behavior of other caretakers, workers, utility readers, and other people with access to the home. These cameras are often mounted with a wide view of common areas of the home, including living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, and play rooms.
Hidden Cameras to Monitor Conditions in the House
Many people are discovering that having a hidden camera at home to simply monitor home conditions improves their overall peace of mind. If you worry about frozen pipes, appliances or thermostats that may have been left on or off, or other home conditions, a hidden camera system may help you put your worries to rest.
These kinds of cameras are often combined with a “smart home” system, so that you can not only check to see if your thermostat or appliances are set correctly, but you can even control them remotely to ensure that all is as it should be.
Hidden Cameras to Monitor Pets
Many people find it peaceful and enjoyable to check in on their pets during the workday. You can spot bad or unsafe pet behavior, or simply enjoy the daily activities of your pets while you are away from home. Today, you can get at-home pet monitoring systems that let you talk to your pet when you are away, and even give treats and play little games to keep your pets and yourself entertained and engaged during long absences.
How to Choose a Hidden Camera
Unfortunately, while the technology improves all the time, most hidden cameras today come with tradeoffs. The smallest cameras are the hardest to detect, but they have the worst battery life, and they often don't come with companion apps for internet-enabled monitoring and recording.
Other cameras have excellent battery life, and good internet connectivity, but are larger and require more creativity to hide and pass undetected. However, depending on your needs and budget, it isn't hard to get a camera that comes hidden in a lightbulb, smoke detector, or USB charger. Many of these also have motion-detection and audio recording capabilities, and other features that make your home more secure and ensure your peace of mind.
If you want to install hidden cameras in your home, you have many options to choose from, with more capabilities being added all the time. Check your local laws to make sure that your use of a hidden camera is within your rights as a home owner, and protect your security in the way that works best for you.