With only a few weeks left before summer is in full swing, there are things you can do to prepare your home for the coming heat wave. There’s a lot to think about as this sunny vacation season comes our way. Practical questions such as, “How will I keep my utility costs low?” and, “How will I entertain the kids during the day?” are being asked by parents and homeowners across the country.
As a BBB A+ rated heated, cooling, plumbing, and electrical service company in New Jersey, we want to share a few ideas on how to prepare your home for summer.
How to Prepare Your Home for Summer
1. Ceiling Fans
Your ceiling fans may have been collecting dust all winter long. Time to properly dust them off for daily use during the upcoming months. Using your ceiling fans this summer alongside your air conditioner will help you stay cool without overrunning your HVAC system. Turn your thermostat to 78-degrees and your ceiling fan on high for energy-efficient comfort.
Be sure to switch the direction of your ceiling fan to the counter-clockwise setting. You’ll know it’s on the right setting if you immediately feel air blowing down on you. A clockwise fan setting is only used in winter as it blows the air up towards the ceiling.
If there are ventilation leaks, then heat will creep into your home while your air conditioned air will flow out. This occurs mainly through small cracks in windows, doors, and walls. Checking up on the condition of your home’s insulation is one way to ensure an energy-efficient home this summer. If you notice anything, call in a professional for sealing and weather stripping services.
3. Window Coverings
Along with checking for ventilation leaks, your windows play another role in temperature control during the summer. One of the best ways to keep out the heat is to close and cover your windows during the daytime. If you currently do not have shades or overhangs for your windows, we recommend installing these natural shade solutions.
4. Reduce Humidity
If your home is already struggling with moisture and humidity, consider indoor air quality solutions such as a dehumidification. Portable dehumidifiers in many sizes are available in home stores. A professional technician can set up a whole-home dehumidification system. Put on a ventilation fan while showering to decrease condensation and humidity in the home. Standing fans in high-humidity areas such as the basement, attic and kitchen will increase circulation and reduce humidity. Purchase a dehumidifier, standing fans, or a ventilation fan before the temperature and relative humidity rise to unbearable heights.
5. Pre-Season Tune-Up
Your HVAC system performs best with bi-annual maintenance. Tune-ups by a professional HVAC technician are recommended once in fall and once in spring. This guarantees that everything will be functioning in the more weather-severe seasons.
“We only have another month to go before the real hot weather hits,” says Mike Agugliaro, co-owner of Gold Medal Service. “You don’t want to be stuck on a hot summer’s day without an air conditioning system. Having a pre-season tune-up of your cooling system will prevent unnecessary and costly repairs later in the season when you really need it to work.”
Even with your best efforts, your air conditioner may decide to malfunction. If something does happen this summer, maintenance and repair services are available on any day, especially the hottest ones, from Gold Medal Service.
Unless you’re a musician, a roadie, or work on a television crew, you may not have proper experience handling and storing cords. But you don’t have to be in the Industry to learn how to tackle tangled cords. Electronic cables are expensive; extend the life of your cords with these simple solutions.
Every home depends on countless electrical cords everyday — appliances, technological gadgets, televisions, desktop computers, phone chargers, stereo equipment, and on and on. According to the Consumer Electronics Association, the average American household spends $1,400 annually on new electronics. We’re constantly adding more cord confusion to our lives. And until technology advances us into a cordless world, homeowners need to find a way to cope with the cords.
Gold Medal Service always keeps the safety of our customers in mind. Avoiding frayed wiring and overloaded outlets is a big part of electrical home safety. That means knowing what and when to unplug and how to maintain cord quality. This guide will help you do more than just avoid trips and tangles. It will help you maintain electrical system safety and get organized.
How to Wrap Them
The Over-Under method –
This is the most popular method for musicians and sound junkies alike. Smaller or thinner cords will benefit from this cord solution. You can even apply this method to your headphones, another cord that’s constantly tangled!
If you work in HVAC like we do, this is the go-to way to coil our cords. The Contractor’s Braid allows for seamless unraveling of longer, bulkier cords and the braiding technique looks quite aesthetically pleasing, for a bundle of cords!
Put your hand through the loop of the overhand knot that you just made and grab the two strands of cord beneath it
Pull the two strands through the loop and form another loop
Put your hand through the loop that you just made. Grab the two strands of cord beneath it, and pull it through the loop to form another loop. Repeat until you get to the end of the cord.
Tie off the end
Voila! Hang up your contractor’s braid coil to store and access neatly.
Quick tip: If your cord is longer than 50-feet, double-up your cords and perform the same steps. Your braid will be shorter, as will the braiding process itself.
This is an old school way, and it is recommended that you do not use this method due to the kinks that can form in the cords, thus decreasing their lifespan and damaging their natural coil. Also, the bundle will not seamlessly unravel as with the above methods.
How to Store Them
1. Tie it up! – When you are done coiling your cord, tie a Velcro cable tie, or a sturdy string, around one chunk of the coil, perhaps best near the plug. Cable ties even come multicolored to organize your cords by category. You can stack many tied-up coils on top of each other and they will store neatly. When it’s time to use the cord, you undo the tie. Any tie can be used, but it’s best to opt for a reusable option, although a zip-tie will do the job as well. If you have hooks or tool hangers on your garage wall, you can hang your cords in this method.
2. A 5-gallon bucket – Already the shape of your coiled cords, storing them in a 5-gallon bucket will keep them from unraveling. You can cut a fist-sized hole on any side near the bottom of the bucket in order to better access a desired length of cord. You can store many bundles in one bucket – this is a compact and convenient solution.
A mudroom is essentially a super-functional entryway. As the kids and family head in and out all day everyday things can quickly get, well, muddy. Keeping your home clean and organized from front door to back yard begins with your mudroom. A welcoming entrance, structured to benefit you and your family’s daily routine, will help keep everyone tidy and on time.
Not only does a mudroom keep out the dirt, it also helps contain the allergens and pollutants that taint indoor air quality and irritate respiratory health. Indoor air quality is one of the top 5 health concerns in America. In fact, indoor air is often worse than outdoor air due to modern tight-homes that recirculate air without enough proper ventilation.
If you’re newly interested in this trend, or want to upgrade your current entry and exit routine, read our tips for building and maintaining a mudroom. Having this area is one of the best defenses against tracking pollutants through your home and into your lungs. Don’t bring the outdoors home with you. Here’s how:
Consider the layout
You’ll want to think about your day-to-day activities. How many bags and backpacks will you need to hang? How many coats? This will help you hang the right amount of hooks and consider appropriate shelving. Where will you place the shoes? Will you put a bench in your mudroom nook to sit and remove shoes upon entry? These are all fun and functional points to consider when you are building your custom mudroom.
Your needs may be different in the summer than during the school year. And different in winter and fall than in warmer and less wet months. A mudroom is multifunctional, transforming itself to you and your family’s needs. Based on the layout of your entryway, you can add shelving and storage to organize accordingly.
You may choose to build your mudroom through your garage instead of your entryway. It’s up to you. Regardless, it’s best to have the basics. These are some of the things to have in your mudroom:
Space for shoes
Distinct area for each need
Durable fabrics and paint
A mat, or two!
Pillows or personal touches
Storage & Setup is key
You don’t need to sacrifice style for the convenience of a mudroom. You can structure the storage anyway that best fits your home and it’s aesthetic. A mudroom can technically have all white cabinets – the word ‘mud’ in its name doesn’t necessarily mean anything will get ruined!
The idea behind building a hyper-organized mudroom is that you’re instantly greeted by a mat to wipe your shoes, a place to set your shoes, hangers to place your bags and helmets, and baskets to throw keys, mail and other miscellaneous necessities. It’s a relaxing and sanitary way to begin and end your work or school day.
The more obviously things are organized, the easier it will be to keep it organized over time. Label compartments, color code, and evenly space. Finding things quickly and storing them neatly are two of the biggest perks of a mudroom. When you are considering types of storage, shelving, and cabinetry, think simple, sturdy, and stylish.
If you are placing pillows or other fabric items in your mudroom, use materials that are stain and water -resistant. Laminate, for example, is very easy to clean and a smart option for cabinets. When it comes to paint, there are options that are better at resisting scuffs and dirt. Investment in these details up front will prevent excess cleaning and retouches.
Add a mat, combat moisture
A mudroom that keeps moisture and pollutants out is not complete without a mat. The reason that a mat (or two) is important is because it’s the first thing your shoes meet when you get to the door. Place one mat outside the door to wipe the dirt off your shoes, and one right inside the door to absorb any extra debris and wetness. Mats combat moisture and ensure better indoor air quality. They’re an important edition to any mudroom and home.
Choosing the right mat is really just about being realistic about how dirty the mudroom will be getting. Do you have kids coming home from soccer practice with soiled cleats? Or do you live solo and just need a simple place to put your coat, keys, shoes, and work bag?
For a dirtier daily routine, consider a heavy-duty scraper mat. They’re so durable, you and your pets can wipe off mud and snow and you can hose it off when a clean is needed. This is best for the outside doormat. If that’s not necessary grab a mat made of natural fibers. A coir fiber mat, for instance, is ideal for absorbing water, and best prevents mold and mildew caused by moister damage.
When you are constructing your mudroom, consider putting in a built-in-bench or some form of seating near the door. Then once shoes are wiped, they can be easily taken off and stored underneath. A mudroom prevents the tracking of debris and other pollutants through the home, keeping everyone healthy and busy moms happy. Having a routine for entry and exit into the home makes every day a whole lot cleaner and less chaotic.
For more information on indoor air quality solutions and mudroom design with the best moisture defense, talk to the home service experts at Gold Medal Service. We help keep your home and your air healthy from season to season, just like your mudroom.
Oh, hey, it’s May! Here at Gold Medal Service we’re especially excited because May is National Electrical Safety Month. This annual campaign was created by the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), a non-profit organization devoted to promoting electrical safety in all homes, schools, and workplaces across the nation. This year’s theme is “Decoding the NEC to Prevent Shock and Electrocution.”
All electrical safety initiatives by ESFI are designed to prevent injuries and fatalities through education. The more you know, the less likely you’ll are to experience an electrical emergency or suffer electrocution. In order to make sure your home is up-to-code (National Electrical Code), it’s important to have a certified electrician inspect your home every year. One of the first things your electrician will check is your breaker box or electrical panel.
When it comes to your home’s electrical panel, it’s important to understand how to safely access the breaker/fuse when necessary. Other elements such as knowing the age of your home’s electrical system and adding surge protection are important for electrical safety in your home. What is your level of protection from electrical damage or injury?
Types of electrical systems that are ready to be updated:
Panel replacement services are recommended if your home still contains a much older, outdated, or off the market electrical panel. Know what type of panel is in your home, and find out the safety solutions. Panels of the past leave your property much more susceptible to electrical fires and blown fuses.
Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) Panels – This was the most popular panel in the U.S. from about the 50’s to the 80’s. If there is an FPE Panel in your home, you are at a much higher risk of circuit overload, electrocution and electrical fires. These panels have been outlawed for a reason. Consider replacement services as soon as possible to a more modern design. Learn how to identify FPE panels.
Zinsco Panels – Zinsco panels were popularly installed mainly in the 70s. They are no longer in use due to their high vulnerability to power melts and electrical fires. Instead of tripping the breaker when there is a power surge, Zinsco panels are much more likely to literally melt. An electrical inspection and replacement services are necessary for this type of panel as well. Learn how to identify a Zinsco panel.
Split-bus Electrical Panels – These panels are not unsafe as a piece of equipment. The reason they are on this list is because they tend to be reaching the peak average age of about forty years. When a panel turns this age in any home, it is time to inspect and potentially install a new panel based on the condition. In its place you may want to consider a modern circuit breaker with only one metal bus and a single disconnect breaker.
Fuse Box – The most typical electrical panels you will hear about are circuit breaker or fuse box. A fuse box gets its name because it uses fuses instead of circuit breakers. Many homes still use fuse boxes and are perfectly safe, although regular electrical inspections and maintenance are highly recommended for this older panel model.
If you have any of the above types of electrical panels in your home, contact a professional to perform an electrical safety inspection and ensure your home is up to code.
Use this useful chart from ESFI to determine what’s inside your electrical panel and whether you should call an electrician for an upgrade:
If you notice any burn marks, rust, corrosion, melting plastic, or anything else that looks or smells suspicious, contact your local electrician right way. When it comes to electrical, it’s much better to be safe than sorry.
Don’t forget to label your electrical panel so that you can quickly turn off and restore power the the correct circuit when you need to.
Whole-home surge protection takes preventative action against the damage of a power surge. A power surge is a dangerous increase in voltage that leads to the damage of electrical devices plugged into the walls. It cost a lot of money to buy that stereo and television and every other electrical appliance in your home.
Add piece of mind with point-of-use surge protection, or better still, whole home surge protection, to keep both your family and your expensive electrical equipment safe and sound.
Point-of-Use Surge Protection – This type of surge protection is for individual plug-ins. Although they will need to be replaced more often than a more permanent surge protection installation, they provide immediate and select protection for anything plugged into that specific device. If you do purchase a point-of-use surge protector, look for the UL (Underwriters Laboratory) label or a similar independent testing laboratory marking.
Whole-Home Surge Protection – This covers every single outlet, switch, and appliance in your home. Whole home is the most comprehensive surge protection available. Installed by a certified and skilled electrician, whole home surge protection is long-lasting and effective.
Gold Medal Service provides full surge protection services. If you’re interested in whole home surge protection, contact your local professional electrician. We’ll figure out the best solution for your home’s unique safety needs.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI)- According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), about 50% of home electrocutions could have been prevented with the introduction of GFCIs. They should be installed on all outlets, especially in high usage area such as the kitchen, bathroom, and even outdoors based on need.
Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCI) – The CPSC also estimates that above 50% of the almost 50,000 electrical fires that occur every year that could have been prevented by Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters. An arc fault is considered a very dangerous electrical issue because it is caused by aging, damaged or frayed wiring that has become overheated. An AFCI is your best defense against residential electrical fires. Get enhanced fire protection with the introduction of AFCIs in your home.
Gold Medal Service can offer extensive knowledge about both GFCIs and AFCIs. We can also install them directly into your electrical panel. Let us know your electrical concerns, and we can help you achieve a higher level of safety and comfort.
Want more info? For additional safety tips and electrical guidelines, visit the official website for the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) and find out how you can celebrate electrical safety every day of the year, and not just in May.
Information on how to spread the word about National Electrical Safety Month 2017 and what you can do in your home this spring to up your electrical protection can be found here.
Work with Gold Medal Service to keep your home’s electrical system flowing smoothly and safely. We offer comprehensive electrical services and expert advice.
If you are tired of spending exorbitant amounts of money on home maintenance costs for your heating, cooling, plumbing, and electrical systems, there’s a better way. Sign up for a Home Maintenance Plan!
Stay cozy and safe all year long while saving big bucks on repair, maintenance, and installation costs by signing up for a home maintenance plan. If you have a home, it’s highly recommended that you subscribe to a home maintenance plan. There are a lot of benefits, including front of the line scheduling and discounts on repairs and installation services.
By signing up for the Total Care Club, Gold Medal Service will take care of all four fronts for you. You’ll get automatically scheduled home maintenance inspections all year long from your friendly neighborhood home service company
Why Sign Up for a Home Maintenance Plan?
Most homeowners wait until there is a problem with one of their crucial systems in order to call a professional to come fix the problem. If you are that type of homeowner, you are wasting a lot of money and causing a lot of inconvenience for yourself. If you want to the know the better way to improve and maintain your home before you have to spend lots of money on large repairs, it’s best to sign up for a home maintenance plan so you never have to remember to schedule your annual service appointments.
To ensure you NJ home is performing at peak condition, ask us about out Total Care Club, which includes regular service appointments for your plumbing, HVAC, and electrical systems. Not only will you get automatically scheduled home service appointments, you’ll also receive VOIP service, discounts, and much more.
Heating & Air Conditioning Maintenance Plan
When you sign up for Gold Medal’s Total Care Club, you’ll receive exclusive benefits to ensure your HVAC system is working safely and efficiently.
Part of your membership includes an automatically scheduled HVAC appointment every spring and fall to ensure your entire system is working flawlessly.
Your Professional HVAC Maintenance Checklist Includes:
Checking and cleaning condenser coils
Checking and cleaning evaporator coil
Measuring the amperage and voltage for proper blower operation
Testing the proper operation of your thermostat
Inspecting wear and lubricating parts as necessary
Flushing the condensate drain line and treat with anti-algae
Inspecting and cleaning the condenser coils
Monitoring the operating pressures of your refrigerant
Inspecting proper operating of safety devise
Inspecting proper operation and installation of electrical disconnect box
Inspecting and tightening electrical wiring and connections
Testing and inspecting contactors for burned, pitted contacts
Inspecting and fixing any exposed wiring
Inspecting and testing capacitors
Inspecting and testing fan blades
Measuring the supply and return temperature differential
Inspecting ductwork for air leaks and proper operation
Monitoring and measuring your amperage, colt draw, and wiring connections.
Checking and labeling emergency shut off switches
Checking relays and contactors for proper operation
Checking airflow levels
Checking and testing humidification system
Starting and testing the operation and cycling of the unit.
Benefits of Regular HVAC Maintenance
SAFETY – probably the biggest benefit that you receive from regular HVAC service appointments is safety. Your furnace, like any combustion process, emits harmful gases, most notably carbon monoxide. In order to keep your family sage from the potentially lethal CO gas, it’s highly recommended that you schedule furnace maintenance in the fall and air conditioning maintenance in the spring.
PROLONGED LIFESPANS – AS you probably already know, preventative maintenance is the best way to extend the lifespan of nearly any complicated piece of machinery, such as your car. You wouldn’t go years without taking your car in for a tune-up or oil change, so why would you neglect HVAC maintenance? With the passage of time comes regular wear and tear, dirt, debris, and other problems, such as drain pan and refrigerant leaks. While changing your air filters very 30-60 days is a great way to keep your HVAC system clean and efficient, it needs to be supplemented with professional maintenance at least once a year. In addition to checking the mechanical parts of your HVAC system, your technician will also conduct professional cleanings and test ductwork, humidity, and airflow rates.
ENERGY EFFICIENCY – It’s estimated that you can save around 30% on your heating and cooling costs by remembering to schedule professional maintenance twice a year. Not only will you make your money back within one season, you’ll also experience less repairs and longer lifespans.
MAINTAIN WARRANTIES – Most manufacturers’ warranties require regular professional maintenance of your heating and cooling system in order to keep any attached warranties valid.
There is no good reason why you shouldn’t schedule professional HVAC maintenance twice a year, however, there are good reasons for forgetting to do so. That’s one reason why we highly recommend signing up for a home maintenance plan—you’ll never have to remember those home maintenance appointments again. We’ll give you a friendly reminder that your HVAC maintenance is due and then we’ll schedule a time to arrive (on your schedule, of course).
Plumbing Maintenance Plan
Did you know that over 10% homes in the United States waste more than 100 gallons on water leaks every day?
Gold Medal’s Total Care Club provides homeowners with exclusive benefits to ensure your plumbing, heating, cooling, and electrical systems are working flawlessly and efficiently. Included in the membership is our exclusive plumbing tune-up, which includes:
Your Professional Plumbing, Drain & Sewer Maintenance Checklist Includes:
Tune up mechanical parts
Check water pressure
Test drinking water
Check washing machine hoses
Check all faucets for leaks to insure proper operation
Dye test toilets to check for leaks to insure proper operation
Check all drains for proper flow
Provide Bio Clean treatment to all drains and toilets
Check garbage disposals for proper operation
Check all emergency shut off valves for proper operation
Label all shut offs at locations
Check all under sink traps and shut offs
Check main water meter
Check all outside spigots
Benefits of Regular Plumbing Maintenance
PROLONGED LIFESPANS – Have you ever had a huge plumbing emergency where a pipe suddenly exploded? If you remembered to schedule annual plumbing maintenance or you signed up for a maintenance plan, your risk for plumbing leaks and explosions are greatly reduced. This is because your plumber can examine your pipe system in order to tell if you have weak or cracked pipes. One of the main benefits of preventative maintenance appointments is the ability to catch problems early on and fix them before they turn into major emergencies. With annual plumbing tune-ups, all small repairs will be done on the spot, potentially saving you thousands of dollars in repair costs and tens of thousands of dollars in property damage. When you schedule annual plumbing inspections, the small fixes and repairs to your plumbing system will greatly extend its useful lifespan.
MONEY AND ENERGY SAVINGS – Preventative maintenance and savings go hand in hand. When you have a professional plumber on your team, you’ll be able to detect and fix any plumbing leaks you may have, in addition to much more serious concerns.
IMPROVED WATER QUALITY – You may not know it, but you and your family could be washing, drinking, and bathing with dirty and unhealthy water. The experts at Gold Medal Service will make sure to test your water supply and recommend any easy repairs to fix the problem.
IMPROVED INDOOR AIR QUALITY – In addition to water quality, regular plumbing inspections will also help improve your indoor air quality. If you have plumbing leaks and other moisture issues, you could be breathing in dangerous amounts of mold and mold spores. In order to keep your home dry and healthy, make sure you consult with a professional plumber every year to ensure there are no water leaks or cracked pipes in your home that are contributing to poor indoor air quality.
Electrical Maintenance Plan
Did you know that electrical equipment is the third leading cause for home fires?
In order to keep your home and family safe from electrical dangers, make sure you schedule an annual electrical safety inspection from a licensed electrician every single year.
Your Professional Electrical Maintenance Checklist Includes:
Tune up main panel
Check all wiring in main panel for proper sizing
Check breakers and fuses for proper operation
Check all aluminum wiring in service panel for oxidation and apply de-oxidation compound as needed
Check outside meter and enclosure
Check outside main feeders
Outside meter/service cable inspection
Check ground fault protection for proper operation
Check surge protectors
Check attic fans for proper operation
Check exhaust fans for proper operation
Testing and labeling of circuit breakers
Check all accessible lights, switches, dimmers, receptacles, ceiling fans
Check all connection to major appliances
Check all main service grounding and tighten as needed
Check any exposed wiring in attic, basement and garages
Check any outside and inside disconnects
Benefits of Regular Electrical Maintenance
SAFETY – The main reason to schedule annual electrical maintenance is home safety. Electricity can kill. That’s why it’s important to make sure everything is working safely and efficiency. Any problems with your AFCI/GFCI outlets, wiring, and other electrical issues can spell doom for you and your family. Not only do you have to worry about electrical fires, you could also be vulnerable to shocks and electrocution.
PROTECT ELECTRONICS – You spent a lot of money on your TV, computer, and entertainment system. Why don’t you spend a little more in order to ensure that they are safe for years to come? Electrical faults, blown fuses, overloaded circuits, and electrical surges can all do damage to the electronics plugged into your electrical system. Routine maintenance makes sure that your electronics aren’t receiving damaging amounts of electricity that could fry the machine. If you really want to protect all of the electronics plugged into your electrical system. It’s highly recommended that you install a whole-home surge protection system. While surge protectors can help protect any devices plugged into the surge protection strip, everything else is still susceptible to powerful electrical surges If you want to protect your entire system, a whole-home surge protection system is installed directly into your electrical panel to make sure that all of your circuits are protected against harmful surges.
MONEY AND ENERGY SAVINGS – Any electrical problems in your home mean greater expenses for you. When you schedule an annual electrical safety inspection from Gold Medal Service, our expert electricians will not only fix any easy problems on the spot, they will also recommend ways that you can cut your electricity bill. Some tips include turning off lights and electronics when you leave the room or go to bed, as well as using power strips to deal with “vampire energy.” All devices plugged into your outlets are consuming some energy even if they are powered off. In order to fully cut off the flow of energy, you either have to unplug the devices from the wall or you can also flip the power switch on your power strip. Ask your Gold Medal Service technician for more tips on cutting your electricity bill. We’re more than happy to provide our expert advice.
In addition, you will experience the other valuable Total Care Club benefits:
15% member rate discount
Up to $2,600 in coupons that never expire as long as you are a member
Preferred customer service hotline
High performance check ups
24-hour emergency service discount
Fast, free financing
Live technical assistance
Loyalty credits dollars – Our goal is to reward your loyalty. You earn $50.00 in loyalty credits for each conservative year you’re a member of the Total Care Club. These loyalty credits can be applied to any mechanical replacements listed on the Total Care Club contract.
The key to a long-living and healthy home is preventative maintenance. Call Gold Medal Service for professional solutions to all your electrical, plumbing and HVAC needs. Join our Total Care Club to ensure your home function as safely and efficiently as possible.
You can reach a live, friendly representative 1-877-803-0511 (24/7).