There is no better time to work on your home than when you are forced to shelter at home. Nothing like continually seeing all the issues you have meant to deal with for ages to get you inspired. While we’d all like to get our home in tip-top shape, considering we are spending all day inside, it’s important during this crisis that we consider what is truly “essential” and what we should save for another day.
With many home improvement and hardware stores remaining open, it can certainly send us mixed messages. It’s important for us to remember that those stores provide essential goods for fundamental home repairs that are necessary for the health and well-being of the people dwelling there. As with most issues, there is always some gray area. For example, replacing that ugly faucet has been on your to-do list for months and now seems like a great time to tackle the project. Unfortunately, replacing an ugly functional faucet is very different from the need to fix a broken, unfunctional bathroom faucet needed for proper hand sanitation. As homeowners, we have to put our needs ahead of our wants. So how do we deem what is essential?
ImproveNet can help connect you with essential service providers in your area. Connect with a contractor today for free.
What Is An Essential Service?
An essential service by most state definitions are services that are deemed absolutely necessary to “maintain the health and welfare of the municipality and its people.” That can be pretty broad and interpreted in a number of ways. But, in reality, it is quite simple; it is a service that is needed to maintain people’s good sanitation practices, provide safe shelter, promote proper food safety and preparation and bolster positive mental health. While one might argue that getting his or her deck stained is good for your mental health, it probably isn’t essential.
When it comes to home maintenance, it’s important to determine whether or not the contracted projects are imperative to a household’s well-being. Clogged plumbing, broken locks, nonfunctioning water heater, and furnace defects are all examples of issues that are deemed essential. Even a current kitchen remodel may be essential if there is no way for the family to complete basic cooking tasks while sheltering in place.
Because every state and even some cities have unique shelter-in-place guidelines and essential infrastructure definitions, please be sure to consult regional and local sites for clarification on precise orders to ensure your safety and compliance.
Safety Precautions For Homeowners & Contractors
If you determine that the service you need is essential, then it is time to search for a contractor. Make sure that the contractor you hire has a good reputation and solid work performance. And, while it may be difficult to do so, make sure that you ask the contractor what protective policies they have in place. Make sure that they are following a strict protocol of temperature taking and wellness checks.
Each state also has standards and guidelines in place for proper safety protocols should you need to hire a contractor for that plumbing or an electrical issue. The Associated General Contractors of America has posted many of the same basics that the public has been hearing for weeks. If work has to be completed inside your home, it is important to ask contractors to wear masks, shoe coverings, and gloves when possible.
When you have to have contact, it is also important that you take safety precautions to protect the contractor, including wearing a mouth and nose covering and staying as far apart as possible. If you can be outdoors during that time they are completing the work, it will protect you and your contractor. Also, be sure to disinfect all surfaces that will be touched by the contractor before they come in and after the completion of the work.
Finally, before the completion of the work, ask to be allowed to pay by phone or through the mail. Having as little personal contact as possible protects you and the contractor.
Order Online For Your DIY Projects
By all means, try to get some of those DIY projects done! Paint if you have paint, design your landscaping, spackle that hole in the wall if you have the tools and the materials needed. But, going to the home improvement store, or ordering materials that you don’t have on hand takes us back to that gray area. There are a lot of opinions about whether to purchase DIY and nonessential supplies online. Of course, we all want to support the economy. But, right now, when delivery and warehouse personnel are inundated with fulfilling orders of essential products, it can raise the question of whether we should be ordering the deck stain that can wait another day. Balancing the need to keep our sanity, and support those in our communities performing essential services is the order of the day. If not, wait for another day and instead, just spend a little extra time outdoors walking your dog, reading a good book, or just plain relaxing without having to do anything. During these times, we could all use that!
Looking To The Future
Now, more than ever, our small businesses are going to need our support. A majority of home service contractors are small businesses who are out of work, making now, potentially the perfect time to plan for some of those projects that you have been thinking about.
The stay at home orders are less than ideal and have us all a little stir crazy, but like the generations before us, we will get through this together. Hire a contractor today for a job and get started looking forward to the future.
Let ImproveNet help you to find the right person for the job in your area, so when the time IS right, you will be able to get that much-needed bathroom remodel completed or the deck of your dreams.
- General Expertise