Home-service companies stay busy, but cautious as they visit homes

Published: May. 7, 2020 at 10:25 PM CDT
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COVID-19 hasn't slowed the pace of work for some local home service businesses, including those called when a home's air conditioning unit needs some TLC.

"We're actually really busy; we're booked up quite a ways. We have a lot of preventative maintenance, prepaid maintenance," said Hanna Heating and Air Conditioning Service Manager Johny Combs.

Or there are some guests, you'd rather not have.

"It's getting really busy," said Patton Termite and Pest Control President Gerry Marsh. "Ants and spiders are moving and termites. This is hitting kind of on the tail end as people are starting to go back to work, but it's been really busy with all the rain and warm weather."

Between routine maintenance and emergency repairs that can't wait, HVAC, pest control and plumbers are keeping a full schedule. Some of that is credited with more people at home noticing issues sooner, but as they head to calls, it's not without some added precautions on their part.

"It all starts with the phone call," said Combs. "When customers call, the ladies are making it aware to tell the customer we're not coming into the home unless we need to. We're trying to get the customer to change the filter themselves if they'd like."

If the call requires going inside the home, Combs with Hanna Heating and Air Conditioning and Marsh with Patton Termite and Pest Control said they go in wearing personal protection equipment (PPE).

"Wearing masks, gloves -- a new pair of gloves at every service -- shoe covers. Having the homeowner turn on lights and open doors for us so we don't have to touch anything. They're not signing our phones like they normally would," said Marsh.

These measures are in place to protect not just technicians going into the house but those who live inside.

"Peace of mind," Marsh said. "I think they appreciate us thinking about their well being and making sure they stay protected, but we also understand what we do is also essential, so we want to make sure we're keeping them safe."

"We go to a lot of homes a day," said Combs. "We run seven to nine calls a day depending on the situation, that's a lot of homes we're going in, times all the service guys we have."

There are also steps homeowners can take.

says before a service call visit, clear a path and clean the area where the technician needs to work. Also, make sure soap, water and other cleaning supplies available.

During the appointment, maintain social distancing. And after it's over, clean again.

"They're wearing their masks," said Combs of some of Hanna Heating and Air Conditioning customers. "I've noticed some follow me on the way out of the house, wiping the door handles and stuff, but we're trying not to touch everything. Typically, the homeowner is turning on all the lights for us, opening the doors."

Both services say they have so far been lucky, with suppliers keeping them stocked with most of the PPE they need.