'Tis the season for trick-or-treating, turkey dinners and caroling. It is also the time of year for tripped breakers, clogged pipes and computer malfunctions. Kelli Grant, Senior Consumer Reporter for SmartMoney.com gives tips on how you can save money on an emergency call for help.
Don't wait until something happens, shop around when all is well. You can usually expect to pay double a tradesman's usual rate for an after-hours or emergency call. But there's usually more wiggle room if the same plumber or electrician you're calling is one you've reached out to for more mundane repair work. Talk to a few now so you know who has reasonable rates.
Avoid plumbing problems by taking care of small clogs or slow-draining water before they develop into more dramatic problems. Know where the water shut-off valves are for each fixture, and the home's main water line. Shutting off the water can help you avoid calling a plumber until the morning.
Cutting power during the holidays is easy with so many appliances and holiday lights plugged in. Use your power strips and extension cords responsibly. Also learn how to reset a breaker yourself. It's easy, and there are plenty of guides online. That will fix most problems, but if it trips again immediately, call an electrician.
Electrical storms can fry your hard drive. Avoid the problem by unplugging the computer and modem during a storm, and keeping your files and photos backed up. If there is a problem, it might as well wait until morning. Computer damage doesn't usually get worse with waiting.
For more information on saving during a home emergency and other consumer tips click here.
Kelli Grant & Erika Wortham
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