Updated: June 12, 2020

Much of our lives may be on pause, but our homes still need care and maintenance—especially while we spend more time at home this spring and summer. You may need help with an emergency plumbing problem or electrical fix. But, how do you get your air conditioner fixed or sink unclogged while social distancing? Here are eight steps you can take to protect yourself, your family, house, and pro when you need home services now.

1. Use technology to connect with home service pros.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), avoiding exposure to the virus (which is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person) is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and others. Connect with contractors via phone, video, email and the HomeAdvisor app to discuss project details as much as possible. You can also share photos to help pros understand your project needs and get an accurate quote.

2. Sanitize according to CDC guidelines.

The CDC offers cleaning guidance specific to protecting against COVID-19. If a pro is coming to work on your home, be sure you’re following this guidance to sanitize before, during and after their visit. In particular, be sure to clean and disinfect the work area. Also, be sure to disinfect frequently touched surfaces like doorknobs, faucet handles and light switches.

3. Communicate precautions (both yours and theirs).

Let pros know about the precautions you’re taking to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in your home. Ask that they take precautions as well. You might ask the pros to carry their own cleaning supplies, towels and hand sanitizer. You might also ask that they remove their shoes and wear protective gear like face coverings and gloves.

4. Maintain the recommended 6-foot separation

The CDC recommends keeping a distance of 6 feet from others, and avoiding gatherings to minimize the spread of COVID-19. So, be sure to keep a safe distance from pros working inside your home. And never invite a pro into your home if you’re feeling ill or have been ill. If you have been diagnosed with or exposed to the virus — or if your contractor has been diagnosed or exposed — it’s important to discontinue in-person interaction for the period recommended by the CDC.

5. Use the HomeAdvisor App to pay pros.

Paying pros through the HomeAdvisor App or another secure digital payment system reduces the need for in-person contact. It also helps you avoid physically handling cash, checks and credit cards, which can harbor and transfer the COVID-19 virus. To pay pros through HomeAdvisor, download the mobile app from the App Store or Google Play.

6. Combine multiple projects into one visit.

If you need to hire a pro for essential home maintenance or repairs, see if they can tackle other projects at the same time. These projects may be additional repairs or improvements to enhance your health and wellbeing during your time at home.

For example, If an HVAC pro is coming out to repair your air conditioning unit, they may also be able to help with projects to improve indoor air quality, like installing a humidifier, installing new air filters or clearing out your home’s ventilation system.

Be sure to ask your pro ahead of time if you’d like them to look into other projects. Combining jobs will reduce the number of visits and entries into your home.

7. Support local home service businesses.

Many home service professionals are small local businesses who have been affected by community measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Despite state and city orders enacted to regulate business operations, service providers including plumbers, exterminators, electricians and the like are still ready and able to provide essential services at your home.

How you can support your local home professionals:

  • If pros have done good work for you on past projects, consider giving their business a boost with good ratings and reviews.
  • Where possible, consider home projects that require little or no direct contact. Exterior projects, such as gutter cleaning, are low-contact and great things to tackle as we head into spring.

8. Approach hiring with the same care you normally would.

When it comes to hiring home service pros, it’s still a good idea to:

  • Check that they’re licensed and insured to do the kind of work you need done.
  • Compare quotes from at least three pros to ensure you’re hiring the right pro for your project and budget.
  • Stay patient while staying home. Keep in mind that home pros are dealing with the same kinds of challenges you are.

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