Published on April 15, 2020

Hunkering down at home has its perks (perhaps you’ve finally gotten around to organizing the linen closet), but it also has its downsides. The more time you spend wandering around your space, the more likely you are to notice things like noisy pipes and backed-up drains. While these typical issues may have been easy to solve in the past, they’re a lot trickier to remedy when you can’t have a repairperson come into your house. Fortunately, there’s a new hotline you can call the next time something goes awry. 

San Francisco–based home maintenance startup Sheltr has shifted its service to help people remotely by offering them access to free guided video calls to resolve plumbing, electrical, and HVAC difficulties. Once you set up an appointment online, one of the company’s experts will help you troubleshoot the matter virtually. As long as you have a hammer, a set of Allen keys, an adjustable wrench, and a cordless drill set in your toolbox, Sheltr cofounder Andrew Wynn says you should be able to tackle most jobs on your own. Here’s how to deal with three of the most common problems. 

For Banging Pipes

Hearing a prolonged rattling coming from the sink? It’s most likely because there’s air trapped in there. The brand’s experts recommend turning off the main water valve and clearing out the pipes by opening all the faucets in your home (outdoor spigots, sinks, washing machine, shower). Then turn the primary water supply back on and let the faucets run until its no longer sputtering. 

If it’s your water heater that’s making loud noises, it’s probably because the circulation pump is starting to fail. These systems get hot water into your pipes faster but aren’t critical to the function, so Wynn says you can turn it off for the time being until it’s safe to have someone come in and look at it. 

For Faulty Breakers

Whether you’re working remotely or homeschooling, odds are your electronic usage is through the roof. This overload can eventually lead to the breaker tripping. Simply unplugging appliances and other devices when not in use gives your circuit a breather and will save you a few trips down to the basement.  

For Clogged Filters

Another trick for staying ahead of the game: Check and clean the filters in commonly used appliances regularly so they don’t get clogged with debris. To access the one in the dishwasher, you’ll have to remove the lower rack to find the part. Rinse the tool off in warm water, but be sure not to scrub it with a wire brush or anything rough that could potentially damage it. Put it back in and continue on cooking, worry-free. 

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