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Taking Care of Your NYC Home During Quarantine

Right now, the COVID-19 coronavirus is still causing a major pandemic, and health experts around the globe are doing their best to find a solution. As of now, there are over 100,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide, and there might be many more by the time the crisis is over. Where do you stand in all of this? It is likely that the pandemic has impacted your finances and living situation, such as if you are not being paid for time off work. But it is also possible that you are in shape to try some home remodeling, and make your home more comfortable during this pandemic. Most likely, you are spending most of your time at home with your family, so naturally, you want your home to be a comfortable place to be. There are all kinds of ways to improve your living space, from giving it a thorough cleaning to tidying up and organizing your inventory to hiring kitchen remodeling crews or HVAC maintenance experts. Assuming you can afford to hire these home remodeling experts, you may end up with a very cozy home, and you can do some DIY projects, too.

Calculating The Costs

You may be tempted to hurry and hire some home remodeling crews or plumbing services right away to make your home fancy, but first, be sure that your wallet can support all this. It is likely that your financial life and job are impacted by this crisis, and now is a great time to audit yourself and see what you can and cannot afford for your home. If you are married and your spouse (or cohabitation partner) is employed, be sure to ask him or her to perform a self-audit, too. Every money earner in the house should have their finances reviewed.

Suppose you are eager to have some home remodeling done, such as for the HVAC utility or roof repair or remodeling the kitchen from the ground up. This is costly in any circumstances, so be prepared to figure out if you can afford that. Add up your expenses and daily spending and note it all on paper or a computer spreadsheet, from your mortgage and auto loan payments to private school tuition payments, medical bill payments, and more. Even small expenses count too, such as ordering fast food or recreational items, video streaming services, and beauty products. Now, you can get a clear idea of what sort of expenses you can afford, and you may end up hiring just one or two types of experts rather than having your entire home remodeled and modified. If you end up having to pick and choose, it is a good idea to have basic repairs done, such as for faulty plumbing or a leaky roof, rather than having the kitchen remodeled.

Your Roof

With or without a pandemic, it is vital that your roof is in good shape, and that roof over your head should not be taken for granted. Although tough, a roof can suffer some faults and issues over time, such as cracks and holes that develop due to cycles of expanding and contracting, or tiles falling out. A faulty roof also allows air drafts to escape, which disrupts the climate control of your home. And of course, the single biggest problem is leaking rainwater or melting snow, which can wreak havoc. If water leaks in through holes in your home’s roof, then it can rot and warp the attic’s wood, spur harmful mold growth, stain the drywall, short out electrical components in the walls, and pool on the floor. All of this (and the air drafts) make the house uncomfortable to live in, and expensive, too (due to all those related repair issues).

On your own, you can get a ladder and inspect your roof and gutters with your own eyes, to diagnose any developing problems early before they get any worse. If you are not physically able, or if you’re not sure what to look for, hire experts who can diagnose issues with your roof, and you will know when it is time to hire roofing services.

When you look up residential roofing contractors online and hire them, you can ask them to perform a variety of jobs to make your roof airtight and waterproof. For example, these roofing experts can replace any missing tiles, and they can pour liquid rubber that will seal up all existing cracks and holes of any size (and help prevent new ones from forming). If any squirrels or similar animals have chewed their way into your attic, then the roofing experts can remove those intruding animals, patch up the damaged attic, and apply paint or glue that will deter any future animals. Bear in mind that intruding squirrels tend to make nests in the air conditioning, chew on electrical wires and plastic pipes, and more. Don’t let them.

Your HVAC System

Even if you do not have the savings or income levels to justify hiring a kitchen remodeling company, you should at least find the money to hire HVAC repair experts when you need them. A faulty HVAC system will not only make the house uncomfortable, but this will also cost you money in the long run due to an out-of-balance electric bill. Bear in mind that around half of a typical American home’s electric bill is dedicated to the HVAC utility, so if your heating and cooling systems are struggling, then that is going to drive up the costly electric bill in a hurry.

What might go wrong? If the system is dirty, such as squirrel nests in the ducts or filthy blower fans, then airflow is too weak and the system has to work overtime to meet its heating or cooling quotas (using up extra electricity). Damaged hardware is also a typical issue, such as holes in the air ducts (thus leaking air), burnt-out components in the furnace, or busted blower fans deep in the system. Alone, you can clean off the wall-mounted air ducts and replace the furnace filter, but more dedicated work calls for experts whom you can find and hire online for a job.

HVAC repair experts can reach just about anything in your system, to clean off the hardware or fix/replace it. They can clean off the blower fans to restore strong airflow, remove squirrel nests from the air ducts, fix or replace loose air ducts, and more. This will cost some cash on your part, but this work will pay for itself once your HVAC system’s efficiency is restored to normal and no more electricity is being wasted. And if your HVAC system is very old, then it is probably dirty and damaged, too, and more trouble than it is worth for regular air conditioning repair. Instead, this is the time to invest in a brand-new HVAC utility, and while overhauling your home’s climate control will cost a lot, this can prove a good investment in the long run. A new system is clean, in good shape, and built with modern energy efficiency standards in mind, so it will operate at a much lower cost than the old one, saving you money across the years. A new system probably will not need any cleaning or repair work for some time.

Plumbing Repairs

Another utility that is worth your time and money is the plumbing, since any leaking pipes, clogged drains, or damaged old toilets will cause you all kinds of grief. In fact, leaking pipes can cause many of the same problems as leaking roofs, such as drywall stains, shorted-out electric components, and pools of water in the basement. Worse yet, that is your water, meaning your water bill is being padded from all the wasted water on a daily basis. Many American homes with leaking pipes are losing 90 gallons of water per day, and this can add up scarily fast (and cost you money the entire time). Meanwhile, even if your old toilets, sinks, or bathtubs are not leaked or damaged, very old water features were not built with modern efficiency in mind, and they are using up a lot of water during their daily work, so you are padding the water bill from that, too.

Minor DIY fixes include using a plunger on a clogged toilet or tightening a pipe under your kitchen sink, but more serious problems fall for emergency plumbing experts and drain cleaning services. These experts can reach any pipe, drain, or water tank that they need to, and they can unclog, fix, or replace just about anything. For example, suppose your sewer main is clogged, and your sinks and toilets are getting backed up. These expert plumbers can dig up the sewer main on your property, break open the pipe, and remove the clogging material inside and fix the pipe. Other pipes inside the house can be fixed or swapped out as needed, and this will stop water leaks on the spot. And, of course, your home’s very old toilets, sinks, or bathtub faucets can be swapped out for more water-efficient models, which not only save money in the long run but look very nice, too.

Home Remodeling

This is a major topic, and if you can afford to hire home remodeling crews, then it is worth taking seriously. Why spend so much cash to have your rooms remodeled and updated like that? Bear in mind that a remodeled room is not only pleasant for you to live in, but it will increase your property’s value when you put it on the real estate market in the future. Remodeled homes tend to get more offers, and you can set a higher asking price for a freshly remodeled home. In fact, estimates say that remodeling the kitchen and/or master bathroom can yield an ROI (return on investment) as high as 70-80%, so you are getting money back anyway. If you can afford to, getting your home remodeled is a good call.

Some minor DIY projects can help improve a room, such as repainting the walls on your own or fixing a faulty drawer in your kitchen. But a total remodeling job calls for contractors, and you can find good crews online. Look for the websites of remodeling companies in your area, and check out their videos, articles, and photos to see examples of their work and what they are capable of. Decide ahead of time which rooms you want to get remodeled, and remember that remodeling the kitchen and master bathroom will probably be most lucrative, financially speaking. And around 30% of all home remodeling jobs involve the entire house, though you might want that kind of job to coincide with a business trip or vacation so you and the contractors don’t get in each other’s way.

Nearly anything can be refinished, repainted, or replaced when you are getting a room remodeled, and the kitchen is a great example of this. Even the floor can be updated; perhaps you don’t like the current tile layout or linoleum, or the tiles are chipped and dirty. Flooring experts can remove the old tiles or linoleum and put down fresh materials if you ask. Meanwhile, these remodelers can also repaint the walls or put up wallpaper to further freshen up the room, and they can even swap out the lighting fixtures for stylish new ones, too. In addition, plumbers can remove your old sink and fit in a fancy, water-efficient new one, and this should include garbage disposal, too. The dishwasher, stove, and fridge can also be swapped out for a newer, cleaner model that have more features, too, giving you more cooking options.

Surfaces like the countertop can be changed, too, and a new countertop can be a tough and attractive model like granite or marble if you so choose. As for the cabinets, you can have new ones installed, though that is rather costly. If you like, you can ask the remodelers to refinish the cabinet doors and apply new varnish or paint to make them look like new. Perhaps the old cabinets were stained or scratched, for example.

Finally, don’t forget the master bathroom, which can of course have its sink, toilet, faucet, and showerhead replaced. In addition, flooring experts can update the tiles or linoleum, and the walls and lighting fixtures can get some attention, too. This isn’t just a toilet room; a master bathroom is a wonderful place for you to take a nice bath, apply hair dye or makeup, and more, and a freshly remodeled bathroom makes that much more pleasant.

During this pandemic, you are going to spend most of your time at home, and all that spare time at home can give you all kinds of ideas on how to get that living space properly repaired and updated so it looks its best. These investments can pay off later, too, when you put the house on the real estate market. The pipes, roof, kitchen, floors, bathrooms, and HVAC utility all warrant your attention.