Excerpts from a blog post courtesy of AHAM, The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers. For more information about AHAM, visit https://www.aham.org/
With millions sheltering at home while they work to slow the spread of COVID-19, households are relying on their appliances more than ever. And that is true for all appliances, from the refrigerator to the clothes washer to the stand mixer.
It is never convenient when an appliance breaks down. But COVID-19 has added another layer to the usual routine of arranging a time to meet an appliance technician and maybe rescheduling part of your day. What steps do we need to take to get the repairs we need to ensure our appliances are still there to help us through this difficult period while still doing our part to flatten the curve?
Bringing anyone into your home increases your chance of exposure, but some repair businesses are taking precautions to help reduce the risk. Call ahead and ask about their procedure. Questions you should ask are:
A.J. James, owner of Pegasus Appliance Repair, has implemented strict protocols, ranging from mandatory handwashing to keeping 10 feet – further than the recommended six — between customers and technicians for the duration of the visit. Handshakes are out.
“It all goes back to the guidelines set forth by the CDC,” James says. “Social distancing is a key factor. We’re asking customers to stay in another room. Any coughing, an accidental sneeze, is kept in that other room.” So far, customers have been understanding. “It’s the new norm, and people get it. We aren’t going to put anyone in a situation where they put themselves or others at risk. I need to make sure we’re not taking something from house to house.”
Customers can prepare for the visit by providing a readily accessible place for handwashing. “It should be done immediately when the technician gets in the house,” James says. “We ask that they provide the technician a place to wash their hands with hot soapy water and disposable towels. At minimum, it is done before and after the repair. Some will wash their hands several times. Customers have been very good at making sure they have that available for us.” Technicians wear masks, gloves and booties and carry disinfectant, but rely on handwashing as their primary defense.
There’s nothing wrong with peace of mind. If a customer is uncomfortable in any way, the best advice we have is not to get service until the stay-at-home orders are lifted.
Customers should set the ground rules before the technician arrives but if anyone in the home is experiencing symptoms, reschedule the appointment.
While service is up and running, the type of calls technicians answer may be prioritized. Somebody calling about a nonessential service, like a broken refrigerator handle, might be asked to defer the call until after the pandemic passes. However, be clear about why the repair needs to be made. A wine refrigerator might not normally be considered a priority, but that could change if it is used to store medications.
If your appliance is not repairable and you need delivery and installers, now might be the time to consider other appliance items to reduce the number of trips into the house. Water filtration can help with safe and convenient hydration, barbecues for outdoor cooking, or additional refrigeration units to supplement what you already have. For ideas visit Conducted Sales