Although you may have put many things on pause lately, your home still needs maintenance and care. 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 to discuss project details as much as possible. Since you’re not meeting them in person, be as descriptive as possible about your project and share photos if you can to help pros understand your needs and get an accurate quote.
2. Clean surfaces 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 clean before and after their visit. In particular, be sure to clean the work area and frequently touched surfaces like doorknobs, faucet handles and light switches.
Cleaning surfaces regularly with a household cleaner containing soap or detergent is typically adequate enough to protect against the spread of COVID-19, but the CDC notes you can also choose to disinfect surfaces with an approved solution from the EPA’s List N.
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. The CDC recommends wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth when interacting with anyone from outside of your household. 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 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 recently 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 Angi App to pay pros.
Paying pros through the Angi 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. To pay pros through Angi, download the mobile app from the . If you do handle money, just be sure to wash your hands after.
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 that have been affected by community measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Despite any local restrictions still in effect on some businesses, providers including plumbers, exterminators, electricians and the like are considered essential workers, meaning they are ready and able to provide 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, as well as liking them on social media if applicable.
- 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 in warmer months.
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.
- 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.