Can Extremes of Temperature Affect Home Security Systems?

Extremes of weather are something we seem to be getting used to in the UK, from heatwaves to sub-zero temperatures, and from harsh storms to high winds, there is a lot to contend with, leaving home security systems potentially at risk.

How home security systems are affected by extremes of weather

Extremes of weather are something we seem to be getting used to in the UK, from heatwaves to sub-zero temperatures, and from harsh storms to high winds, there is a lot to contend with, leaving home security systems potentially at risk.

Various aspects of a home security system can be affected by extremes of weather. From intruder alarms and CCTV to locks, doors and windows, it is incredibly important to be on your guard year-round to make sure the very systems that are designed to protect you are being protected themselves against the perils of the Great British weather.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at which elements of a home security system can be affected by extremes of weather, and how to make sure they don’t let you down when you need them most.

Home security systems and cold weather

Winter can wreak havoc, with strong winds, snow and heavy downpours all having the potential to cause damage to property. Extreme weather can also lead to power cuts, which again can put homes at risk. It’s therefore important to be prepared, especially where your home security system is concerned.

Security cameras

Cold weather can take its toll on CCTV cameras. Whilst most are able to withstand fairly low temperatures, some may stop functioning at zero degrees Celsius or below. Others may be specially designed for extremely low temperatures, even as low as -20, but it is important to be aware that in lower temperatures, batteries may drain faster, fail to charge or hold sufficient power.

Condensation can also be an issue. Whilst it is not usually too much of a problem for moisture to appear on the exterior of the camera early in the morning as it will usually evaporate fairly quickly as temperatures rise, anything more extreme may obstruct the lens and affect the quality of any recordings. At zero degrees Celsius, water droplets hit their ‘frost point’, which means they crystallise and could block the lens and potentially damage the camera’s circuitry if they get inside.

There are various things you can do to keep your CCTV system operating during cold or wet conditions. The following tips should also help keep your camera functioning as the mercury plunges…

  1. Remove any ice or snow from the sensor by wiping with a dry cloth
  2. Use a damp cloth to clean the sensor at least every 30 days
  3. Avoid pointing cameras directly into the sun, as this could overheat the sensor
  4. Change the batteries at least every 12 months, even if the camera is operating normally
  5. Install a weather cover to protect against rain and snow
  6. Back up your CCTV with other home security measures, such as an intruder alarm and high security locks, so that if the CCTV fails in plummeting temperatures, you have other measures in place to protect your home

Finally, the easiest way to protect your CCTV cameras against winter weather is to ensure they are regularly maintained and professionally serviced.

Intruder alarm systems

Strong winds and freezing temperatures can lead to power cuts, so it is important to ensure your intruder alarm backup battery is in working order. A faulty or non-charged battery is usually the reason for an alarm going off during a power cut, and freezing temperatures can affect battery function.

Different types of alarm system will be affected in different ways during a power cut, so it is important to be prepared. As with CCTV, regular servicing is vital if your alarm is to go on protecting your property whatever the weather. The service will involve checking the backup batteries are in working order, ready to keep your alarm operating in the event of a power outage.

Locks, doors and windows

Moisture has a habit of making its way into door locks, which when winter arrives and temperatures drop, can lead to frozen locks. Oiling locks ahead of the first winter frost of the year is good advice, as this will create a protective layer to prevent moisture freezing. If you’re too late and the lock has already frozen, a de-icer spray or WD40 should thaw the ice.

As well as locks being affected by ice and frost, doors and windows themselves can bear the brunt of cold weather. UPVC door and window frames contract when cold temperatures hit, which could affect their alignment and the way they lock.

Door closers can also be affected by cold weather. As temperatures fall, oil can congeal, which can slow the door closing process. Any door closer affected in this way will need adjustment, making regular maintenance and servicing vital.

Home security systems and hot weather

Soaring temperatures during the summer months can take their toll on home security systems, just as plummeting temperatures can during the winter.

Security cameras

As well as a minimum operating temperature, CCTV cameras also have a maximum operating temperature. Generally, this will be around 40 degrees Celsius, although it could be lower or higher depending on the brand and model.

Heat can negatively impact security camera performance. Sometimes, the device may be damaged irreversibly by overheating, which makes protecting cameras during temperature fluctuations vital.

Excessive light can also be an issue. This can damage the camera’s image sensors, which will prevent footage being captured. Too much light could also burn the inside of the camera. What’s more, light reflected from nearby objects could create lens glare. Whilst the camera will continue to record, the images will be obscured to the point where finer detail cannot be distinguished.

Repositioning cameras may therefore become necessary during particularly warm or bright weather.

Intruder alarms

One of the main problems caused by hot weather is false alarms. Passive infrared (PIR) sensors work by detecting heat energy. By identifying sudden changes in temperature, they identify a presence, and set off the alarm.

High sensitivity detectors may mistake temperature fluctuations caused by intensifying sunlight for human presence, as could sensors that have been placed in spaces where it is common for temperatures to rise quickly, such as conservatories or kitchens.

Dual technology sensors are a better choice for rooms like these. These sensors still use infrared, but also have a second detection system working simultaneously on a microwave basis, which isn’t affected by temperature changes.

Battery performance is also significantly affected by high temperatures, with increased heat causing them to drain faster than in ambient temperatures. This will particularly affect systems with wireless devices and back up batteries in locations where there is low ventilation.

To stay safe whatever the weather, make sure your home security system is professionally installed and maintained

If you’re looking to make sure your home security system can weather the perils of winter or survive a heatwave, it is vital to consult an accredited security professional, such as one with National Security Inspectorate Gold status.

They will help you choose a system that suits the typical climatic conditions for your particular area, and ensure it is installed, maintained and serviced professionally for ongoing peace of mind that it will continue to protect you, no matter what the weather offers up.

At Barry Bros Security, we have been taking care of homeowner security needs for over 70 years. Our NSI Gold approved CCTV installation experts are ready to provide you with the tailored advice you need to secure your property, so please do get in touch.

How Can We Help?

Regardless of the type of premises you are looking to protect, Barry Bros Security has the solution. Contact us today for expert advice and the benefit of decades of experience in the security industry.