Home repairs in a pandemic

Dated: March 10 2021

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In the age of COVID-19, it can be difficult to navigate routine chores, particularly those maintenance tasks required of homeowners. With some restrictions going back into place we all have questions. Is it permitted under your state’s stay-at-home orders to allow a plumber to visit your home? Are home repair services socially appropriate purchases to make at the present time? Answering these and similar questions feels increasingly difficult as some states lift stay-at-home orders and the news and social media sends mixed messages about what’s okay and what isn’t. The fact remains, though, that your home’s needs won’t wait. Provided it’s permissible where you live, you shouldn’t avoid routine repairs like plumbing or electrical work.

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Which Repairs are Necessary?

Ideally, you would stick to only truly essential repairs during the current global pandemic. If you have a leaky pipe, you should call your plumber. If you’ve noticed your hallway light is flickering or you smell smoke emanating from an outlet, contact your electrician. Is it time for your regularly scheduled septic appointment? That’s probably not something to skip. As winter cools off much of the country, getting your heating system looked at is a smart move, too. If, however, your repairs are not urgent, you might consider waiting. Replacing flooring in an upstairs hallway? See if you can hold off until there is more clarity on how to stay safe from COVID-19. Were you arranging a renovation project with a general contractor before the pandemic broke out? If they are willing to put your contract on hold for the time being, it’s probably best for all involved to press pause. Be aware that materials may cost slightly more when you resume, but most otherwise, you can probably expect a similar price quote down the line.

Outdoor Fixes are a Go

If you work with a landscaper, it’s okay to have them perform services in your yard. Need maintenance to your pool or to small engines you use for the lawn or garden? Onsite and outdoor repair services should be fine, provided they’re permitted by your state.The same can be said for work on decks, porches, gutters, or windows--if the work will largely be completed out-of-doors, you won’t really be in contact with the service providers. This should keep both the workers and your family from infecting one another.

Staying Safe During Repairs

Social etiquette has a whole new look now that Coronavirus is a factor. Whereas in the past it might have been considered rude to ask a home service provider to don a mask or wash their hands, it’s now gaining widespread acceptance. Fortunately, you have the right to make these requests regardless. If you are planning to call for service, ask your technician if they or their workers will be wearing a mask. Most will say yes. If they do not, ask them if it would be possible while they work in or around your home. If they aren’t willing, a polite thank you will suffice. 

Hold off on scheduling any work until the pandemic has passed, or see about using another provider. On the day of your scheduled service, be ready to answer the door. Wear a mask yourself to protect the repairperson, as well as to set the tone for the visit. If the technician will need to access parts of your home like your kitchen sink or light switches, it’s okay to courteously ask that they wash their hands. Stay in the vicinity (but at least six feet away) during the repair and note what things the tech has to come into contact with. 

If you are concerned about the spread of germs, you can use disinfecting wipes to clean those areas once the repairperson has left your home. Don’t forget about doorknobs and the doorbell. When you pay for your repairs, ask about contactless payments. If this isn’t a possibility, request to swipe your own credit card, if that is how you’ll be paying. If writing a check, fill out the information at least six feet away from your service provider. Limit the time you have to stand closer than that and disinfect any pens or payment methods that you both touched once your service appointment is over.

Taking precautions of this nature may feel unnatural and uncomfortable. However, we are all navigating these strange waters together, so it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Your service providers have likely seen very similar requests from other customers in the recent past, so your polite adherence to social distancing will be no trouble at all. 

The Stephanie Woods Team Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate BloomTree Realty 928-237-4455 prescottazhomefinder.com 

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