Why Lose Time Waiting for the Cable Guy? 5 Ways to Take Back That Time

Keep busy while waiting for the cable guyAmerican spend about five hours of every year waiting for the cable guy to show up. Why not do some simple home maintenance tasks with that time? Image: shaunl/iStockphoto

Americans waste almost five hours a year waiting for service people to show up. Use that time wisely by tackling these home maintenance tasks.

It seems like forever when you’re stuck at home waiting for the cable guy to show up. In fact, Americans on average cool their heels for 4.5 hours and waste $250 in wages annually waiting for service appointments, according to TOA Technologies’ 2011 Cost of Waiting Survey.

Instead of thrumming your fingers during long waits, take back that time by giving your home a little love and care. We’ve got five ideas that take five hours. Or come up with you own tasks. The goal is to be productive — tackle those home maintenance projects you’ve been putting off — and not let the cable guy send your blood pressure racing. And if your projects take a little longer, well, the cable guy can just wait for you.

  • Replace cracked caulking. Prevent mold growth and drywall rot by digging out old caulking around sinks and tubs with a utility knife, and piping new caulking with a caulking gun. Smooth with your finger or a sponge.
  • Seal air leaks. Scout and seal costly air leaks through doors, windows, attic access, and outlet covers. A candle can help you find those pesky air leaks — if it blows, there’s a breeze. Don’t forget to check recessed lighting, too.
  • Deep clean. Get in the cracks, move the fridge, take apart the sofa, and get all the dirt and grimethat keeps your home from sparkling. A microfiber cloth works well for dusting and washing.
  • Clean gutters. Clogged gutters can cause water problems inside your home. You should muck out your gutters at least twice a year — in spring and fall. Stormy weather could require more frequent cleaning.
  • Mulch landscape. Spread mulch and generally prepare your yard for winter on your plant and shrub beds to hold down weeds and protect your landscape from dying of thirst in summer.

What’s the longest you’ve waited for a service person to show up?