How might I make decisions about home repairs and maintenance in the age of social distancing?

Staying Safe

A: Even if that leaky faucet or chipped paint wasn’t bothering you before the pandemic, chances are your extended exposure to these major and minor home issues is getting to you now. When making choices about how to approach home repairs and regular maintenance, here are a few guidelines.

1) What happens if this waits? Some projects will cause damage to your home if not corrected. Projects addressing leaks or safety issues should be handled promptly. Cosmetic things, especially in enclosed spaces, should probably wait.

2) Who is doing the work? Now may be a perfect time for DIY home projects if you have the necessary skills. This probably isn’t a great time to “experiment” with high risk DIY projects involving things like plumbing or electronics. When hiring outside contractors, it’s important to know their qualifications for the job as well as their exposure to others. Questions to consider include the size of the crew, the timeline of the job, the number of concurrent jobs with the same team, and the capacity to maintain masks while working.

3) Will you be home during the job? If possible, it’s best to have as few people as possible in an enclosed space. Arrangements that maintain social distance between all individuals in the setting are best. Open windows and limit the length of close contact as best you can.

4) What are the risks to the repair or maintenance team? While many are hurting for work, attending to the safety of service teams is imperative. Stay out of the way, ensure access to masks and hand hygiene, delay work if household members become ill, and do not ask of others something you would be unwilling to encounter yourself. If you are able, tip generously!

This New York Times article offers an interesting perspective on tele-home repair options.

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