If an appliance breaks or your internet is down, here’s how to handle a house call during a pandemic

While you’re self-isolating during COVID-19 lockdown, broken appliances or internet outages are bound to occur, which may present the problem of how to ensure the safety of your household while an essential worker visits your home. 

Many internet and cable providers are encouraging use of their online resources as a tool to fix or troubleshoot any issues you may be having. But if the need for a house call arises in order to fix whatever appliance has broken, Consumer Reports has listed a few tips to follow to keep you and the service provider safe during the outbreak.

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Is it necessary? 

With the risk of transmitting the virus still very high, whether or not an actual house call is needed should be carefully considered. Being that a stranger will be entering your home, there’s no telling who that person has been in contact with. 

“You could drive yourself crazy, but it’s a reasonable concern,” Normadeane Armstrong, Ph.D., told Consumer reports. 

Communicate and be as clear as possible

If you do decide a house call is necessary, it is important to be clear as to whether or not someone in your home has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or exposed to someone who has. 

Landlords and renting agencies have sent out notices to their tenants requesting notification if residents test positive for the virus. 

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Prep your household

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that “it is unknown how long the air inside a room occupied by someone with confirmed COVID-19 remains potentially infectious.”

That being said it is incredibly important to prepare your house before and after a house call has occurred. 

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FILE - A Comcast service worker places safety cones next to his truck. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Companies like Verizon Wireless and AT&T are taking extra precautions to protect their workers by making self-installation a more practical option for consumers.Consumer Reports recommends requesting a “touch-free” transaction in order to avoid potentially contaminated surfaces such as money and tools brought into the house. 

When in doubt, ask either a representative scheduling the house call or the technician visiting your home, what steps they recommend taking.

“In certain cases, our technician will have the customer open the door and then walk away from it to maintain social distance,” David Moreno, chairman and co-founder of Liberty Home Guard, a home-warranty company, based in New York City told Consumer Reports. 

Before and after a house call, it is always a good idea to disinfect the area and always maintain a distance of 6 feet from the worker.