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How Do I Keep My Ring Camera & Doorbell From Fogging Up?

Lenses fogging up has been a problem for photographers for over a hundred years. As cameras have been an increasingly common feature for our smart tech, the problem of fogging now applies to our security systems and even our doorbells. The same problems that pesters photographers the world over is now an issue for smart home cameras.

The Ring Doorbell and Ring cameras both have lenses that deal with fogging issues from time to time. There are a lot of factors that go into whether or not a lens is going to fog up, but there are a few steps you can take to make sure they are more fog-resistant.

Your Ring camera or Ring Doorbell is fogging up because of humidity and temperature. As humidity rises, water collects on cool surfaces and this includes the lens of your smart camera. You can reposition your Ring device, apply an anti-fog coating, or dry your gear out to prevent fogging.

What Are Ring Cameras and Doorbells?

A Ring Indoor camera removed from the box, but still with the protective plastic films on it.
My new Ring Indoor camera, just removed from its box.

Ring is one of the most prolific manufacturers of smart technology. Their smart doorbells and camera systems are easy to use and easy to integrate into your smart home ecosystem. Ring’s cameras can be integrated into your smart home. They offer indoor options as well as outdoor cameras that have onboard lights.

The Ring Doorbell line-up is feature packed. It allows users to hear, speak with, and monitor their home’s entryways. This doorbell has a built-in camera that provides you with a live video feed.

While the proliferation of smart cameras allows us to make sure our homes are secure, they also come with the ever present problem of fog.

Starting With the Basics: Why Does Tech Fog Up?

Let’s talk science.

Don’t worry, it’s not organic chemistry. It’s just a quick chat about why lenses fog up. There are lenses in your Ring devices that are, essentially, the same as the lenses on a camera. These lenses are made of glass and tend to be very cool at least when compared to the surrounding air. They are also, at least ideally, very dry.

This means that they are pretty much magnets for water vapor in the air. As the humidity rises, there is more moisture in the air that can get attracted to these lenses. Big temperature swings also raise the risk of fog.

This is the basic science behind lenses fogging up. The cool glass of the camera lens combines with available moisture in the air to generally ruin your ability to use your cameras.

Let’s fix that.

Why Does My Ring Camera or Doorbell Keep Fogging Up?

Ring camera footage with fogging obscuring the view in the middle
Ring camera footage with fogging obscuring the view in the middle

All of that science is why your Ring camera tech keeps fogging up in the morning, but clears up by midday. The early morning not only has dew all over the place, but tends to be cooler which is a better climate. Well, at least better for fog. This is one of the more common, and harder to control, causes of fog.

Ring cameras tend to get foggier when they are placed poorly, have too much internal moisture, or have a damaged lens. It’s pretty easy to get a handle on fog prevention. Your Ring device can be fog-free with a few easy steps.

While fog might be a natural phenomenon that we can’t do much about, what we can control is our camera lens.

Let’s Defog Your Ring Camera

Let’s get rid of fog once and for all.

We’re going to go through common causes of Ring devices fogging up. These fixes start with the easiest and work our way up to more intense solutions for more stubborn fog-related problems.

Ideally, the first easy fix (double checking your camera placement) will take care of the issue with your Ring device, but if the fog keeps clouding your vision, you might need to move upward to a more potent solution.

The good news is, your Ring device is probably fine even if it has been fogging up all the time. It’s just a matter of troubleshooting and picking the solution that works for you.

1. Check Your Placement

Ring Floodlight Cam wall mounted - front view
My wall mounted Ring Floodlight Cam.

The location you have placed your Ring device is the leading cause of fogged up cameras. A poorly placed camera can be accidentally placed in fog central. When it comes to finding the right spot for your Ring Doorbell or camera, your options might be a little limited.

We want our smart home tech to make our lives easier, right? That means having cameras placed ideally for security and doorbells placed, well, near the door. However, you might need to refine your placement to dodge the fog.

If you’re looking to evade morning fog and dew, consider moving your tech out of shaded areas. Getting some early morning sun will warm up your camera quicker and help get the dew and fog off of your lens.

You’re also going to want to avoid dryer vents, HVAC equipment, and other potential sources of heat or moisture. Even moving your Ring device a few inches in a new direction can have you high and dry.

Here’s a recap of some common placement issues:

  • Get out of the shade to avoid early morning dew.
  • Avoid heat sources like dryer vents and HVAC equipment.
  • Watch out for sources of moisture like pooled water, plumbing, and landscaping systems.

2. How to Dry Out Your Ring Doorbell or Camera

Water and smart home tech aren’t usually good friends. Ring Doorbells and cameras are no exception to this rule.

Your cameras can fog up from moisture that is inside of your device. This works the same way as normal fog, but the water is coming from inside of the Ring Doorbell. This is how you can get rid of fog caused by internal moisture.

Don’t worry, if all that’s happening is a little fog, you’re probably fine. But if it’s more serious, this is one of those situations where you want to fix things sooner rather than later. Water lingering in your Ring devices can lead to permanent damage and something a little grosser—fungus.

That’s right. If your camera stays damp for too long, your lens can fog over with mold and not water. It’s a rare occurrence that can usually be cleaned, but you still want to stop it before it starts.

The first step is to bring your Ring device back inside. This takes it out of a volatile climate and into a mostly stable one. The next step is to place your Ring device in a zip top bag or larger plastic bag. The moisture will naturally begin to collect on the exterior plastic bag. You can also add some moisture-absorbing silica beads for faster results.

What if you wanted to stop water before it ever started?

3. Waterproofing Your Ring Tech

In engineering there is an old saying that goes something like this: “Everything leaks.”

Ring cameras are pretty sturdy, but they are totally exposed to the weather. Even the best made devices will, eventually, develop a leak here or there. You can’t make the Ring camera stronger, but you can give it a fighting chance against the elements.

There are silicone sleeves you can purchase that provide an external cover for your Ring devices. These range from close-fitting wraps to purpose-built housings that look something like a birdhouse for your smart camera. They also come in a wide range of colors and styles to match your home decor goals:

These silicone housings help keep the water out of your Ring device. They can also help keep the temperature a little more stable which lowers the odds of fog developing in the first place, but it’s the waterproofing we’re after here.

Still have fog problems? Let’s bring out the big, no turning back, solution.

4. Anti-Fog Coatings

The lenses on Ring devices are pretty solid as far as smart doorbells and home security goes. These aren’t bargain plastic lenses we’re dealing with, but they also aren’t on the same level as a high-end photographer’s lens.

We can give them an advantage in the battle against fog with an anti-fog coating. These sprays apply a thin coating of hydrophobic chemicals to your lens. This means that your lens will now repel water and resist fogging.

The trade-off here is a little buyer beware warning. That anti-fog coating will probably void your warranty falling under the “unauthorized service or modification of the product” clause. However, if you’re not super concerned with your warranty, or you’re already out of the warranty period, the risk is minimal.

Just make sure you properly research the brand of anti-fog coating you are going to use. They’re not all created equal. Look for something that is purpose-built for camera lenses and is backed by plenty of good user reviews.

Apply a coating to the lens and your Ring tech will be ready to stand up to even the foggiest of conditions!

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