Getting your plumbing fixed? Here are some ways to keep your home safe when having plumbing repairs during COVID-19. 


As with any home repair contractor, it is good practice to thoroughly research and vet candidates first before signing a deal. Your home is your biggest investment so you want the plumbing job to be done only by capable plumbing contractors. But now that we are transitioning to the new normal with COVID-19, it is important that homeowners be proactive in screening plumbing professionals. Being concerned about letting a complete stranger into your home to take care of needed plumbing repairs is a valid state of mind. After all, it is better to be safe than sorry. 

Aside from the usual ways of screening contractors such as asking for licenses and references, you may also ask questions about how their plumbing companies handle the COVID-19 situation. For instance, you may ask if they are screening their employees for COVID-19 symptoms and if they are restricting them from work if they are suspected of being infected. You may also ask about measures that they have in place to prevent the spread of the virus. 

Once you are satisfied, make sure you talk to them clearly about your plumbing issue and ask if it is possible to minimize direct contact between you and the contractor over the course of the project. If there is a way to pay for the service without having direct contact with the contractor, clarify it to avoid payment issues in the future. 


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have identified the groups that are at a high risk to contract COVID-19, who include those that have underlying medical conditions such as chronic lung disease, serious heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and liver disease. In addition, people who also have diseases that cause their body to be immunocompromised such as those that had recent organ transplants, those that currently use immune weakening medicines, and those that have HIV are also at risk. Finally, older adults especially those 50 years old and above are highly susceptible to the virus. 

If any of your family members belong in any of these groups, they need to avoid entering the repair area as much as possible. There is no vaccine or cure for COVID-19 yet as of this writing. The best way to minimize the risk of getting the disease is through social distancing. 


The CDC recommends wearing protective clothing such as masks and gloves when going out in public. The science behind wearing masks is persuasive. Wearing a mask not only prevents you from getting the virus but it also keeps you from spreading the virus in case you already have it but do not experience any symptoms. The risk of transmission is drastically lower when wearing a mask compared to not wearing at all. 

As you and the contractor go through the home inspection and the repair project itself, always wear masks and gloves throughout. The mask doesn’t have to be the N95 type as they are usually reserved for medical front liners. You may use surgical masks and even cloth masks as long as you use them properly. 

When it comes to home repair such as plumbing, it is still advisable to weigh the need to get the fix versus the risk of possible transmission. Some repairs are really necessary so with these cases, it is important to take the necessary precautions to ensure the risk of getting the virus is very close to zero.

About the Author:

Kevin Rabida is a content marketing specialist writing in-depth articles and guides about new technology, small business challenges, and blue-collar industry issues and has been featured in several US, UK, and Australian trade publications. He’s worked with companies like UPrinting, PrintPlace, and Handle.com

Guest Contributor: Kevin Rabida


Whether you have a leaky faucet or want to renovate your bathroom fixtures, your best option is to hire a professional plumber. But among the available plumbing contractors in your area, which one should you choose? 

There are certain characteristics that make some plumbers exceptional at providing their professional services. These people are passionate about the job and will go out of their way to provide excellent customer service. So if you are looking at getting the services of a plumber, you need to look for these five characteristics that mark a reliable plumbing contractor.


Plumbing is a regulated profession, which means almost all U.S. states require them to have a license to practice in their respective states. Requirements vary across states, but in general, a plumber can obtain the certification if they possess the necessary knowledge and skills to pass a state-approved exam. 

Having a license is a good indication of the expertise of a plumber, so if you are planning to hire one, ask if they have a license to work in the state. Most states have a website where you can verify their license number. Not having a license is a huge red flag and you should think twice before hiring them. 


Before getting the job started, one of the first steps of the process involves the plumber examining your plumbing system and providing a quote. This is an opportunity for you to judge the reliability of a plumber. You can tell that the plumber is an expert by the estimate that they provide. 

The job quote should be clear and detailed and should include a breakdown of the cost estimate of the materials needed. It should also include labor costs. Finally, the plumber should also specify how they want to be paid and how they will address extra time or materials needed. 


As with all home improvement and repair projects, plumbing jobs pose a risk of injury not just to the contractor but to other parties as well. Reliable plumbers will always prioritize safety and will strictly follow safety procedures. They will follow safety guidelines to the letter to prevent damage to life and property. They will also have the right tools and equipment to do the job safely.

In addition, reliable plumbers carry two types of insurance—liability and worker’s compensation. The former protects the contractor in case something is damaged or someone is injured as a result of the job, while the latter provides medical benefits to the contractor in case of injuries. 


A professional plumber provides a precise time of arrival and sticks to it. They respect the time that you have and will call immediately in case they are running late or coming in early. When they arrive, they will apologize for their tardiness, even if it is just by a few minutes. Punctuality is a reflection of their work attitude and ethic, so if the plumber you are planning to hire arrives on time for the appointment, it’s a sign they value your time and your work. 


Not everyone is perfect and even the best plumbers make mistakes. There may still be issues with your plumbing after the plumbing contractor has done their job. If you notice some problems with the plumber’s work, feel free to ask the plumber about them. A reliable plumber will be able to explain what looks to be an issue, and if it is indeed a problem, they will also be willing to rectify the mistake. 

Your home is your most significant investment. It makes sense that you want repairs and renovations handled by a true professional. Look out for these top five qualities of reliable plumbers to have peace of mind when having your next plumbing job done. 

About the Author:

Aki Merced is the Content Manager at Handle, where they build software that helps contractors, subcontractors, and material suppliers secure their lien rights and get paid faster by automating the collection process for unpaid construction invoices.

Guest Contributor: Aki Merced


Entertaining outdoors is quite challenging, especially in winter. It’s cold and freezing outside, which is why some homeowners would rather stay inside instead of inviting guests for a get-together. 

It’s not a lost cause, though. There are exciting and creative ways you can entertain outdoors, even if the winter season is in full swing. Your residential patio misting system will now be replaced with a heater, but you can still party and have fun. 

Prepare your patio and backyard, get those party plates ready, and check out these cool tips for entertaining outdoors in the cold wintertime.




A little bit of rearranging and redecorating will be good. So, move things around and find space for an outdoor fireplace or a fire pit. Adding some warmth to your party venue will make it cozy and comfortable. Your guests won’t mind the cold winter air or the snow if they’re all snug and relaxed. 

Use the fireplace as the focal point of your venue. Spice it up by adding some decorations. If you can, find a permanent one so you can use it whenever you need to. If your budget does not permit you to do so, you can always go for portable fireplaces that come with DIY kits. 

If you want a more practical option, buy a portable or DIY fire pit from your favorite home improvement center.

Creating a tabletop fire is your third and most affordable option. Use fire pots and torches and arrange them in such a way that they’ll illuminate the place. They can be your centerpiece, or you can line them up on the edges of the patio.

If you’re entertaining in the backyard, an open space, building a small bonfire is a great idea.

Lastly, adding a patio heater is a good investment, especially if you plan to have more outdoor get-togethers in winter. 



Change your regular cushions, throw pillows, and living room furniture isn’t suited for the cold winter outdoors. It would be best if you leveled up your outdoor furniture. Metal, wood, or plastic chairs should have thick cushions. 

If you have an outdoor sofa, look for big cushions that you can place on top of it. Find as many as you can and cover your couch with these cozy pillows. 

Also, take out your thick blankets and comforters and arrange them around your furniture. Your guests will appreciate it if you prepare one for each of them.

Be sure you have enough tables so your guests won’t have to hold their drinks the whole time.



Even if you have a fireplace or fire pit, your patio floor will still be cold. Sometimes, the floor will be a little moist and damp, too. So, find thick rugs and use them to cover your patio floor. Better yet, if you have an extra carpet, place it on the floor. Add some fluffy floor cushions to make the area cozier and more comfortable. 

Likewise, you can add curtains to cover your patio and generate a little heat. It can be a regular outdoor curtain, or you can use bamboo roll-up shades. Be careful and make sure that your curtain is far from your fireplace, fire pit, or tabletop fire.



Instead of the usual ice-cold drinks, serve warm drinks. There are many options to choose from – hot chocolate or hot cocoa, hot white chocolate milk, hot vanilla cinnamon milk, eggnog, and warm or spiced cider. Don’t forget the marshmallows! 

Brewed coffee is also a good choice, especially if you add some Irish cream or peppermint syrup. Alcoholic drinks like beer and wine are perfect for those who want a little kick. 

To add some fun, try putting up a minibar, one that specializes in warm drinks. Experiment on some drinks for a memorable winter adventure; add some honey or mint on your tea, or sprinkle a little cinnamon on your friend’s coffee.



Warm-up food is food that makes you feel all warm and satisfied. Examples for this are soup (any kind), chili (paired with warm toasted bread slices), and beef or lamb stew. 

If you have enough space, prepare an area for roasting marshmallows and hotdogs. The kids will love this!



The appropriate outfit for a winter outdoor get-together includes a pair of gloves, beanies, boots, scarves, and winter clothes. When you send out the invites, specify that it is an outdoor event so your guests will know how to dress for it. 

Make dressing up more fun for everyone by coming up with a theme or a wardrobe requirement, such as a winter hat, an ugly Christmas sweater, or colorful scarves.



 If your guests have exciting things to do, they won’t feel the freezing winter air. So, be sure to prepare games and some unique entertainment. It doesn’t have to be traditional party games like relays. Go with games everyone is familiar with, like Monopoly or Pictionary, for example. 

For entertainment, bring out the guitar and sing some songs with your guests. Setting up an outdoor cinema is also a cool idea.

Follow these tips and have a fun and memorable outdoor winter entertainment get-together with family and friends!

Guest Contributor: Anna Fox