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Whether a recent storm wrecked your roof or the air conditioner or furnace just decided to give up the ghost, emergency home repairs are never fun or cheap to handle. While it’s great for the environment and a creative thing to do, the ability to upcycle old appliances doesn’t help you get through the home repair emergency, it only helps after you’ve replaced the offending appliance.

While it’s great to turn that old fridge into a work of art instead of tossing it in the landfill, you also need to be able to handle the emergency that’s sitting in front of you. In this article, you’ll find a few tips for navigating emergency home repairs so they don’t frustrate you beyond belief and break the bank when they happen out of the blue.

1. Have a list of contractors at the ready.

You should locate the names of several contractors and repair services, and hang their names and numbers on the side of your fridge. You never know when an emergency is going to happen—such as your furnace or HVAC unit going out—and you never know when you’ll need a technician to come to inspect and fix the heating system or air conditioning. The last thing you want is to be left for days in sweltering heat or frigid cold waiting on an HVAC repairman that is busy and can’t get to you for days. If you have the technician already inspecting your units for you on a seasonal basis, then they’ll be easier to contact when an AC or heating emergency arises. The same holds true for other contractors and repair services such as plumbers and electricians.

2. Check out your insurance options.

One of the first things to do when preparing for the eventuality of a home repair emergency is to check out your insurance options. While you may have the overall home insurance you need, you may need more than one policy in order to cover repairs on the home. Some insurance companies will recommend a local contractor to help with your problem, but remember that, ultimately, the choice of repair service is yours.

3. Get more than one estimate.

As with anything else in the world, different repair services and contractors charge different prices for their work. Don’t go with the first contractor you run across in the yellow pages, instead contact several, have them come out and assess the damage to your water heater, HVAC unit, or roof, then go with the one who gives you the best price.

4. Keep a list of upgrades that are needed.

To keep from the water heater or the furnace going on the fritz and completely being a surprise to you, keep a list of upgrades and repairs you need to accomplish to keep that from happening. If you know that the water heater is old and going to need replacing, write it down and start working it into your home repair budget. That way you can get the renovation done before the water heater goes out completely. This will help you be prepared for any costly repairs to your plumbing or AC unit ahead of time.

5. Budget for repairs and renovations.

The best advice out there is to budget for repairs and renovations before they happen. It’s better to have a savings account set aside just for repairs and renovations on your dream home. As a homeowner, you already know that these things are going to happen, so budgeting for them makes you smart and ahead of the curve as well. You may even save a lot of money by being prepared ahead of time.

These are just a few of the best tips for navigating home repairs that crop up out of nowhere, and a few tips for preventing them from flooring you when they do.

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