Services to Help You Fix or Maintain Your Stuff after Divorce
- Plumbing repairs
- Electrical services
- Appliance repairs
- HVAC system
- Structural and roof repairs
- Home warranty
After your divorce, you may be dealing with household maintenance and repairs on your own for the first time. Even if you’re handy, many household responsibilities are too involved – or dangerous – for an amateur and will require professionals to do the job safely and correctly.
So who do you call if something goes awry with your household stuff and you need help?
Household maintenance and you
Check the furnace filter. Unclog the garbage disposal. Power-wash the driveway. Get the water pipes insulated before winter sets in. Fix the running toilet.
Home ownership can be quite a chore.
As a single person, you are now the master of your domain. Most common repairs involve your home’s main systems: structural, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC.
A big part of home ownership is keeping things working properly with periodic maintenance. Another part involves those emergency repairs you might need – like a plumber in the middle of the night when your hot water heater springs a leak.
Before an emergency pops up, do some research. Find vetted service professionals you can call, and place their contact information somewhere handy – like your phone.
The most common service call people make is to their friendly neighborhood plumber. You may need a plumber for help with a clogged toilet, dripping faucet, blocked drain, ailing garbage disposal, leaking water heater, frozen pipes, or myriad other issues.
Tip: Know where each shut-off valve is located, including the whole-house water shut-off valve.
Many plumbers maintain around-the-clock emergency services. But if you can wait, don’t call for an emergency service that can be handled during regular hours. If you can safely turn off the water and wait until morning, do so. You’ll save money that way.
Tip: If you decide to go the DIY route for simple clogs, beware of harmful chemical drain cleaners that could damage your plumbing.
When it comes to electricity, leave the repairs to the experts. You will need a licensed and insured electrician for electrical repairs, rewiring, moving outlets, and some ceiling fan and lighting fixture installations. You may even need an electrician or plumber if you’re installing new appliances.
Attempting your own electrical repairs or installations – or relying on a non-electrician to do them – can have disastrous results. Don’t take the chance of a fire or electrocution. Call a trained professional.
Your major kitchen appliances are essential. If your fridge goes out, you don’t have much time to waste. You’ll want to consult your owner's manual first, especially if your appliance is still under warranty, so make sure you’ve got it in a handy place.
Getting the right service provider is key if you don’t want to void a warranty. Many appliance repair services focus their business on specific manufacturers so they can have parts readily available. Make sure the company you call handles your particular appliance manufacturer.
When you call an appliance repair service, they will want to know the manufacturer of the appliance, its age, and the model number. Many appliances have an estimated life span of eight to 10 years. Depending on the cost of the repair, you will want to be prepared to decide whether it’s worth it to repair or replace an appliance.
HVAC, short for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, encompasses the systems that heat and cool your home. If you need repairs or service for your furnace or AC systems, you will want to have a good and honest HVAC service provider on hand.
The average HVAC system has a lifespan of 10 to 25 years. This varies with climate and how well the system is maintained. Repairs can be expensive – replacements even more so.
Consider your service provider’s bi-annual maintenance contract. That way, a professional will check your system every six months and (hopefully) catch any issues before an emergency.
Structural and roof repairs
Your home’s structure holds it all together and keeps you warm and dry. Keep the foundation, walls, and roof of your home in good condition so you don’t face expensive problems in the future.
If you see wear and structural cracks on the outside of your home or indications of a possible roof leak or missing shingles, contact a structural or roofing contractor to check it out before it becomes a larger problem.
Suggested: Is It Better to Rent or Buy after Divorce?
Should you get a home warranty?
If you already have a home warranty, congratulations! You have some added peace of mind against unanticipated household repair costs. If not, you might consider getting one.
Although these warranties have an annual premium and deductibles similar to insurance, you can rely on this service for most household repairs, from your appliances to your AC.
Make sure you know what your home warranty includes and that you understand its exclusions and deductibles.
Note: A home warranty will typically require you to properly maintain the systems it covers – and “proper maintenance” can be subjective.
When is a handyman enough?
Household services professionals can be expensive. A talented handyman may be your best resource for minor repairs and installations (think gutter cleanings, tile installations, screen and window repairs, and minor structural installations such as handrails or decking).
A good handyman can do most minor repairs and installations at a fraction of the price of a licensed contractor or repair company. An honest handyman will be upfront and tell you when a job is beyond their talents so you can call another professional to do the work.
Keep a list of contact numbers for all your household utilities and services: electric, water, sewer, internet, cable, landscaper, homeowners association, or any other number you may need in an emergency.
Tips for how to find the best service providers near you
Get personal recommendations. If you can’t get a personal referral, you might try your local NextDoor.com site to see who your neighbors recommend. If you’re left to find one for yourself online, consider using a business directory and review portal like Angi, Home Advisor, Houzz, or Yelp.
Exercise caution when hiring individuals with whom you don’t have personal experience. Unfortunately, some online ads aren’t really for repair companies. Rather, they lead you to call centers that farm services out for a fee. Some even pay people to leave fraudulent positive reviews for “the company.” Even checking with the Better Business Bureau isn’t foolproof, as negative reviews can get buried.
Check to make sure each company you’re considering has a local brick-and-mortar presence. Always ask for references. Check those references, and get three estimates to make sure you’re being quoted fairly for work. The business or individual you hire should be licensed, bonded, and insured.
Divorce changes your life in so many ways. At Hello Divorce, we are here with affordable divorce plans, expert services, and plentiful resources to support you in your next chapter. Have questions? Schedule a free 15-minute consultation to see how we can help.