What’s the best way to set up a consultation or an appointment with a HVAC technician during the COVID-19 pandemic?
To set up a safe consultation or appointment with an HVAC technician during the COVID-19 pandemic, start by comparing technicians in your area in an online search. Message or call technicians to ask whether they can perform a consultation over the phone or even over a video call. This way, they can assess the problem without increasing the risk of virus transmission by visiting your house.
If it turns out the service is essential, you’ll need to follow CDC guidelines as well as local government guidelines to ensure everyone’s safety.
Currently, governments on both the federal and local levels are updating guidelines on what qualifies as an essential service. To see whether an HVAC technician is considered an essential service during the COVID-19 pandemic, check your city or state’s government website.
For federal guidelines, check CISA’s Identifying Critical Infrastructure During COVID-19 page, which identifies 16 critical infrastructure sectors during the crisis. But note that not all jurisdictions follow CISA’s definitions of critical infrastructure.
If you decide to hire a technician for an HVAC repair or installation project, practice current social distancing guidelines. This may require remaining outside while the technician works or ensuring the technician can work in a sectioned-off area or outbuilding.
Comply with social distancing guidelines while the technician is performing work. Do not make physical contact with technicians, maintain at least 6 feet of distance between you at all times, sanitize all involved spaces and surface and pay using a digital platform instead of cash or a check.
The use of digital payment platforms -- like Google Pay, PayPal, Zelle, Venmo and Square Cash -- is common among air conditioning technicians. Currently, the COVID-19 pandemic is improving the adoption of these platforms as a means of helping social distancing.
As you compare local air conditioning technicians online, contact them to see if they’ll accept digital payments. Also, discuss strategies for completing the job while complying with safety guidelines for reducing the risk of exposure.
What’s the best way to set up a consultation or an appointment with an appliance specialist during the COVID-19 pandemic?
The best way to set up a consultation or appointment during the COVID-19 pandemic is virtually, with no in-person contact. After messaging the appliance repairman, you can ask to set up a video chat or phone call to discuss what work needs to be done. Make sure to ask them how they handle payments, keeping in mind that paying in advance may be safer than handling cash or credit cards until the pandemic is over. Ask the professional what procedures and precautions they have in place to ensure safety during this time.
If you decide to hire an appliance service specialist or repairman, check your local news for community guidelines and follow the CDC’s guidelines for social distancing. Discuss safety protocols with the appliance repairmen before they enter your home. And when they enter your home, stay at least 6 feet apart, don’t shake hands, sanitize all involved surfaces and use digital payments instead of cash or a check.
If you decide to postpone the work, consider buying a gift card from them or paying for future work. This is a great way to give back to the community, as many small businesses and individual contractors are feeling the economic effects of social distancing.
How can I find out if an appliance repairman or specialist is considered an essential COVID-19 service provider?
The definition of an essential provider varies based on state, city and local guidelines. Visit the official government website of your state or city to see which services are considered an essential in your area.
For more information on a national level, read CISA’s publication on critical infrastructure workers. However, note that not all jurisdictions follow CISA’s definitions of critical infrastructure.
If the faulty appliance is located in your home (e.g., a washing machine, refrigerator, toilet, dishwasher, etc.), the appliance repairman will most likely need to come inside to complete their work. However, if your appliance is outdoors (e.g., a grill, outdoor kitchen, etc.), it may be possible for them to complete the work without entering your home and with limited person-to-person contact.
Many appliance professionals accept digital payments through Venmo, PayPal, Square Cash, Zelle and other online platforms. You should contact the business or individual before hiring them for the project to see how they handle payments, especially during this time of social distancing. Many businesses also list their methods of payment in their profiles.
Because most HVAC systems are located in the home, it’s likely that an HVAC technician would need to enter yours when working on the projects. However, there might be exceptions. Some HVAC systems are located in garages or in areas of the house that are sectioned off. During the consultation, ask your technician if they'll need to enter your home.
When you contact local technicians, ask if they’ll perform a video call in place of a traditional consultation. Be sure to send all materials like photos and documents digitally, and comply with all relevant guidelines.