Over time, it’s only natural that something in your house will need a repair; it’s just one of the joys that comes with home ownership. But for many home items, you don’t need to buy expensive replacements that can cost you hundreds of dollars. Instead, take the DIY route, unleash your inner handyman and fix these items yourself.
Doing small repairs around your home can save you tons of time and money. Trust me; I have had my fair share doing them; like this one and this. But there are some repairs that I refuse to tackle myself. One such repair is a lose air duct. Why? Because it’s under the house in a tight crawl space that can be full of animals and bugs. I have this fear of being stuck in a tight space surrounded by creatures.
On a recent hot summer day, my house felt unusually warm and stuffy. What happened to my air conditioner keeping the house cool? In houses with forced-air heating and cooling systems, ducts are used to distribute conditioned air throughout the house. But sometimes the ducts have leaks, holes, or are poorly connected. The result is higher utility bills and difficulty keeping the house comfortable, no matter how the thermostat is set.
How do you know that your home has poorly performing ducts?
My home had all three problems as well as a loud thumping sound coming from the crawl space.
I got on my computer and googled things like “home repairs Nashville” only to discover dozens of companies. How do you choose? How can you find a good repairman who will be honest, economical, intelligent and capable?
Here’s my advice and what I’ve learned since becoming a homeowner eights months ago:
A good place to start is by asking friends and neighbors. In my case this advice wasn’t helpful since my neighbors do their own repairs. Reviews on Yelp can be misleading since some companies pay people to post favorable reviews for them. A good idea is to call a major real estate firm and ask who they use for repairs. Real estate firms have repairmen on retainer.
It’s also a good idea to look for a home repair company that accepts credit cards. Small business owners have to jump through a few hoops to accept payment by credit cards. The business owner’s credit history must be satisfactory to a bank before they approve a merchant’s application for accepting major credit cards. And credit cards offer the consumer some recourse for crappy repair work. If your appliance, roof, air duct, etc., is not repaired to your satisfaction, you can contact your credit card company and request that the cost of the repair be charged back to the merchant. You’ll get a credit – the repair shop will get a debit. This offers a degree of protection to the consumer who’s worried about getting ripped off.
It’s good to ask specific questions. For example, after we moved to the current house, our water pressure vanished. I called the water company and had one of their employees come out (free of charge). He explained to me the reason for the sudden water pressure drop. He also told me what part needed to be replaced. My next call was to a local plumber which the water company recommended. I was now able to ask how much this particular repair would cost since I knew what part I needed.
Don’t assume anything. Ask what would be the bottom-line total bill for this repair, including any service charges, trip charges, parts and labor? Since mine was a very common repair, the plumber was able to give me a price pretty quickly. A specific repair is a good way to compare true costs and uncover any hidden “gotcha” fees.
Don’t shop price alone. You don’t want the cheapest guy in town working on your electric lines or plumbing. Saving $20 on a repair that wasn’t done correctly just doesn’t seem like a good value. And then when you call that guy back, you find out he is no longer in business. Find someone in the middle.
When you call the home repair company, ask some questions:
Ask if the owner still does repairs. This may be challenging to find, but you’ll usually get superior quality work.
Final piece of advice: Don’t wait till you have something broken –establish a relationship with a local home repair company before something breaks.
A man is only as good as his word, right?
When you’re dealing with a contractor, repair man, plumber, electrician, etc., he’s as good as his former clients say he is. The company I called to look at my air ducts did an excellent job. Nashville’s Stellar Building Group is a husband and wife owned company that does all kinds of work, including roofing, remodels, plumbing, electrical repair, etc. They offer reasonable rates, quality work, and great customer service. They made a second trip out here at no charge – just to make sure that the air ducts were still firmly secured. They also called a couple of times to make sure that the air in the house was cool. If you live in Nashville, I would highly recommend Stellar Building Group.
As a single mom, having a broken appliance or other non-working things in the house is very upsetting and frustrating – it’s just one more thing to add to my never-ending To-do-List. Therefore, I truly appreciate an honest home repair company that still cares about the quality of their work as well as their customers. If you’re lucky enough to find one such company, you’re in good hands.
***I was not compensated in any form or shape to provide my opinion. I simply wanted to recognize an honest, professional, and courteous team of people.