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Is COVID-19 Overloading Our Homes?

The COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed the way we live our lives in an extremely short amount of time. This sudden and drastic change has caused a seismic shift in much of the world around us. However, while most people pay close attention to major social changes around them, the truth is some of the biggest changes may be those that are confined to simply our lives. For example, the extra time we are spending at home as a result of this pandemic could be placing a lot of additional strain on some of our most important systems devices. In fact, the strain might be so great that some experts are saying that COVID-19 might actually be overloading our homes.

Owner of Steward’s Plumbing, Eric Maxon, recently appeared the “Building Amazing Cities and Towns” podcast with host Jim Hunt, where he discussed this additional load and strain. In essence, the main message was that as our time spent at home has increased dramatically due to social distancing and stay-at-home guidelines, and therefore our dependence on our major systems has increased as well. When this dependence increases, the chances of a problem increase, and in some cases our homes are not prepared to handle all of this extra stress and strain that we’re putting on them.

This is particularly true when it comes to plumbing systems. “Now, if we have a plumbing problem at home, we also have a plumbing problem at work and at school because they’re all the same thing now,” host Jim Hunt said at one point in the episode. In other words, because of the social guidelines that are in place almost uniformly across the nation, many of the things that we used to leave our homes for all the time are temporarily closed. Instead, our homes have now become our offices and our schools as well as our sources for entertainment and recreation. That means we’re now relying on the plumbing that runs through your own walls, beneath your feet, and so much more, and this extra use means additional wear and tear that could lead to bigger and more frequent problems.

Is It Possible to Protect Ourselves from Failure?

Is this to say our homes can’t handle the load of supporting us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week like we demand they do now? Not necessarily—our homes are built to last, but extra use may simply mean they need a little bit of extra love and care. Think of it sort of like driving a car: if your daily commute increases from 10 miles a day to 50 miles per day, you’re going to have to change your oil, brakes, and tires way more frequently than you would have while sticking with your normal commute.

When it comes to your home, you don’t need to change your oil. Instead, what this means is you just need to keep a few things in mind when it comes to operating your various plumbing devices. For example, you may want to consider flushing your water heater more frequently in order to ensure any mineral residue buildup in the tank is properly removed. This mineral buildup reduces tank capacity, decreases water quality, and wastes energy while also contributing to your tank wearing out even faster.

There is also another aspect to the COVID-19 pandemic that makes avoiding any faults in your plumbing system absolutely vital: unemployment. While many people were able to transition into working remotely, a large swath of people were not able to do so. As a result, when businesses closed down, employees were temporarily furloughed or even let go altogether. When someone goes without income, home maintenance or repairs are often one of the first things cut from the budget, particularly if they can be avoided or worked around. However, we know problems that are left unrepaired can often spread or get even worse, and this means it’s vital for those who are unemployed, either temporarily or permanently, to avoid issues altogether during this difficult time.

Eric Maxon was pleased to have the opportunity to discuss this problem with Jim Hunt on his podcast, and we’re thrilled that “Building Amazing Cities and Towns” reached out to him to provide his expertise and first-hand knowledge about how the pandemic has affected those in our community and across the country.

If your plumbing is experiencing issues and you need a repair or component replaced, call Steward’s Plumbing at (505) 906-6777 and schedule an appointment today.