9 Home Improvement Products to Protect your Home for Less

By Mike Holmes

Mike’s Advice / Home Safety & Maintenance

Thursday, February 6th, 2020 @ 10:57am

I talk a lot about what it takes to make your home safe and secure. There are products we use when we’re building from the ground up – or doing major retrofits to our existing homes.

These products make sense when you’re taking things down to the studs and renovating, but not every home is ready for renovation, and not every homeowner has the funds necessary to renovate this year.

Often I think people have this misconception of me that I always say you should yank everything down and start again – but I recognize this isn’t possible for every person. So what are some ways a homeowner can protect their home without knocking down walls, and without breaking the bank?

Here are my favourite home improvement products that help protect your home with products that cost under $1,000. These products are what I use in my own home – and when installed correctly, can prevent a disaster that requires major repair.

9) Sewage Backflow Protection

If the sewers ever backup because of heavy rainfall, this could really save your bacon. Installing sewage backflow protection in your basement drains allow water to only travel in one direction: and that’s away from your home.

Should the sewers back up and start creeping towards your home, this device will activate, preventing water from flowing back through your drains.

I really think this is something that every homeowner should invest in – and you can even install it yourself.

8) Concrete Repair

When left alone, cracks in your concrete or walkways can cause big damage. When water seeps in, and that freeze-thaw cycle happens, the concrete can start to heave and break, creating a hard to navigate walkway in need of big repairs.

But if you tackle the cracks quickly, you can usually seal them on your own, saving yourself time, money, and a more expensive repair job.

Sika Crack Fix

I recommend: Sikadur Crack Fix – $21.40

7) Humidifier for You and Your Home’s Health

During the winter, especially, running the heat can really pull the moisture from our homes creating a home full of dry, hot air. If you suffer from dry skin or asthma, you know how much of a help a good humidifier can provide. But did you know that it can provide some beneficial effects for your home as well?

Maintained humidity levels in the home can help protect your hardwood floors, help your furniture last longer, keep wallpaper from peeling, and stop the build up of static electricity causing a surprise shock. It can even bring some life back to the plants around your home, making them greener and more vibrant. I don’t have much of a green thumb, but I know I can handle that.

You can get a small humidifier to help provide some extra moisture to specific rooms, or have a humidifier connected to your HVAC to bring a little moisture to the entire home. The ideal level for your home is about a 45% humidity level.

RELATED: Understanding Humidity In The House

6) Leak Detectors to Protect against Water Damage

When a leak happens, how quick are you to notice and spring into action? What if you aren’t home? Well, that could mean coming back to a burst pipe, a flooded basement, or worse.

When you’re gone for vacation, I like to recommend shutting off your water, just in case. But what if you’re only gone overnight? Or just leaving the house for an hour to run errands? It doesn’t take a lot of time for a small leak to turn into a big emergency.

Installing a home water controller can alert you to small water leaks, or in the case of a big problem, automatically shut off your water, keeping any leaks small and contained.

But it can also help you monitor your home’s water usage – and find out where you can conserve, and protect one of our most valuable resources.

5) Whole Home Surge Protection

Tally up the cost of all the electronics in your home. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Did you settle on a number? It’s probably upwards of $10,000 or more, right? So what if I told you that if one power surge hits your home, you could be at risk of losing all that gear? It’s happened to me.

How does it work? When a surge hits, the voltage hitting the appliances exceeds its peak voltage amount, which can damage its circuits and other electrical components. Tons of little surges can add up over time to do lasting damage, or one big one could wipe the whole thing. It’s what happened to me. I once lost a whole home’s worth of electronics INCLUDING a brand new television set.

After that happened, I learned about whole-home surge protection – a surge protector that connects right to your electrical panel, diverting excess voltage through your home’s grounding path – preventing that harmful surge to your appliances.

Eaton Surge Protector

I recommend: Eaton Whole Homes Surge Protector – $94.99 plus professional installation by a licensed electrical contractor.

4) An Antidote to Limescale Buildup

I have a lot of calcium in my home’s water supply, which in turn leads to a lot of limescale buildup. When calcium comes into contact with magnesium it creates scale and it corrodes everything in my plumbing ecosystem and in no time plumbing and appliances won’t function like they used to, or outright break down.

I had to replace my home’s water heater after four years because of excessive scale buildup. That’s way too soon!

The best way to tackle scale buildup is where the water enters your home, meaning that anything that comes in contact with water can be protected from limescale buildup.

I recommend: Scalesweeper – $140.00

3) A Wi-Fi thermostat for Energy Efficiency

I love smart thermostats because they give you total control over your HVAC system. You can adjust the temperature from anywhere, using your smartphone – even sending you alerts if the home is too hot or cold while you’re away. If it costs an arm and a leg to keep your home comfortable, smart thermostats can go a long way to curbing those monthly energy costs.

Some on the market can even detect when people enter a room and adjust the temperature accordingly.

2) Radon Test Kits

Did you know that exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer? You might not have heard of this colourless, odourless gas – but it’s created when uranium breaks down in our rocks, soils and water. When radon is in the outside air, it’s diluted and not a concern. But the problem is that radon gas can enter our homes – and without the proper solution in place, it can rise to dangerous levels making us sick.

Since you can’t smell, taste, or see the gas, the only way to know if your home has elevated levels of radon is by testing for it.


I recommend: Radtrak2 Alpha Track – $40.00 from Radon Environmental Management Corporation

1) Safe Outdoor Lighting

Safety starts outside the home. Creating a safe pathway up to your doorway is key – because navigating your home in the dark can be awkward, hard, or even unsafe. You may be used to moving around your yard in the dark – but a guest won’t be. Solar-powered pathway lights can provide safe passage for any visitor, while also adding some nice curb appeal to your property.

I recommend: Phillips Hue Lighting products

Outdoor lighting by Phillips Lighting

Outdoor lighting by Phillips Lighting

Home renovation projects don’t have to break the bank. Paying a small cost NOW to add these home improvement products can save you a bigger cost LATER.

Make It Right®