How to Handle Emergency Repairs
Hopefully you’ve already compiled a list of reputable service providers and contractors from the previous owners of your home, friends and relatives, or through your builder. Securely storing your Service Provider contact list online with DomiDocs ensures you’ll have quick and easy access to what you need, when you need it. You’ll be able to add personal notes so you’ll never forget a thing.
Use your already established emergency fund to finance whatever repairs need to be done. Statistics from the HomeServe Biannual State of the Home survey shows 33% of homeowners have under $500 saved for unforeseen home repairs, so be sure to contribute regularly to your fund. The survey also noted that young homeowners mistakenly believe that most sewer pipe and broken water lines would be covered by their homeowners’ insurance, utility company or by their municipality/city, which is frequently not the case. In most cases, if the issue with a sewer or water line occurs between the street and the house, the repair is the responsibility of the homeowner, not the utility or municipality.
Heating: If your heating system is not working, it could be either a minor or a major issue. If your system is fueled by natural gas, refer to the manual to see how to check to see if the pilot light has gone out and if so, how to safely relight it. If your system is electric, check to see if a circuit breaker has tripped and if so, reset it. If it trips again, contact a licensed electrician or heating system repair contractor. If your system is fueled by heating oil, check to be certain that there is oil in the tank. Then refer to the manual for other troubleshooting ideas and if necessary, contact a licensed heating system contractor. If your system is fueled in another way, refer to the owner’s manual for troubleshooting ideas and if those listed do not get your system working again, contact a repair contractor who has experience in working with systems like the one you have.
Pest Control: If you have an ant problem or rodent issues that are confirmed by droppings, you can set traps around the area to try and stop the issue, but in many cases, it’s well worth consulting a professional as pest populations can quickly get out of hand and the damage they can do is significant.
Plumbing: If you experience a broken or burst pipe, you’ll need to shut off the water main. If there’s a clogged or overflowing toilet, immediately turn off the valve behind the toilet. If you cannot easily clear the clog with a plunger, a chemical product may help or you may need to call a plumber.
Roofing: If you’re experiencing water damage or a ceiling leak, see if you can easily track down the source. Cover the leak with plastic and/or use buckets if necessary to try and minimize the damage. Once you have isolated the problem and done what you can to minimize the damage, your best option is to contact a professional. If the leak is being caused either by damage to your home’s exterior from a storm, falling tree, etc. or by a leak from a pipe in your wall or ceiling, you’ll also want to contact your homeowner’s insurance company, as the repair may be covered by your policy.
Utilities: If your emergency involves a utility provider, leave your home and call them immediately for instructions on what you’ll need to do to keep you and your family safe. Your main shut-off valve for your gas company will be located at the meter. If the electricity or the Internet goes out, it’s generally quick to establish if it’s affected your entire neighborhood or just your own home.
Windows: If a window in your home gets broken, ensure you wear gloves before picking up any bits of glass or debris. You can temporarily seal up the window with cardboard or something like a plastic garbage bag while waiting for a glass repair professional.
Call your insurance provider to see what your homeowner’s policy or warranty will cover.
While it may seem impossible, do your best not to stress, as even the most urgent of urgent emergencies to you, may still take hours, days or even weeks to be repaired.
Emergency Repair Contacts List
Your emergency contact list for repairs and service providers can include everything from awnings to windows, and whatever can occur in between. Consider compiling info for the following professional categories:
- Air conditioning
- Brick and Stone
- Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning
- Cleaning and Maid Service
- Disaster Recovery
- Glass and Mirrors
- Heating Fuel
- Home inspection
- Insurance Services
- Lawn and Garden Care
- Pest Control
- Real Estate Services
- Septic Tanks and Wells
- Swimming Pool
- Tree Services
- Waste Material Removal