Construction and Renovation Recommendations

The best (and most convenient) time to install protective devices or materials in your home is during a renovation, addition or new construction. 

Consider the following recommendations early in your planning stages to help you increase safety, lessen the likelihood of damage and help minimize installation costs. Some proactive measures may even result in savings on your homeowners insurance premium.

Protection against water damage from plumbing/appliance failure

  • Install a whole-house automatic water shutoff system to sense excessive water flow or water in the wrong places. It can shut off the water to the house, preventing major water damage.
  • Place individual moisture detection devices that are connected to your alarm system beneath your humidity/HVAC units, wet-bars, washers, sinks, skylights and next to terrace doors to immediately alert you of a leak.
  • Use durable flexible steel-braided hoses or Floodchek hoses instead of rubber hoses at all water supply points, such as washing machines, toilets, sinks, wet bars and ice makers, to prevent water damage from hose failure (all hoses should be replaced every five to seven years).
  • Prevent damage from appliances or connection failure by installing point-of-use water shut-off systems at individual water supply points and HVAC units.
  • Place floor drains in the laundry room and all mechanical areas to prevent flooding in case of a pipe, tank or appliance failure.
  • In cold weather climates, low temperature sensors connected to your alarm system can alert you to a drop in home temperature and help prevent frozen pipes.
  • Install washing machines on the lower level to avoid extensive damage if a leak occurs.

Preventing flooded basements

  • Ensure your home is equipped with a properly sized sump pump or dual sump pump to help eliminate water runoff from snow melt or heavy rainfall coming into the basement.
  • Install an automatic back-up generator at your home to ensure that power remains active to your sump pump (and the entire house) in the event of power failure.

Fire protection – detection, suppression and alarms 

  • Install a full or partial residential sprinkler system with a water flow alarm, especially in areas with no municipal fire hydrants. After installation, arrange for annual inspections/tests of the system and alarms to ensure they’re functioning properly. 
  • Install additional central station alarm components, such as multi-criteria detectors that detect smoke, heat, carbon monoxide and combustible gas, instead of traditional single-criteria smoke or heat detectors. Combustible gas leak detectors detect if there is a propane or natural gas leak in the home. 
  • When installing fire detection, always install centrally monitored units in kitchens, laundry rooms, mechanical rooms, garages and attics. 
  • Use fire-retardant additives for water-based latex paints, stains, polyurethane and acrylic-type coatings. 

Additional precautions

  • Consider whole-house surge protection whenever possible. Most modern appliances have delicate electronic components that can be damaged by power fluctuations or surges, and AV systems are particularly vulnerable and require redundant protections. 
  • Install a waterproof underlayment (ice shield) on the entire roof to help prevent water damage due to ice damming. 
  • Paint unfinished basements with an anti-microbial paint and seal basement slab to eliminate or reduce mold.