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Category: Blog

How to Use a Plunger to Unclog a Sink

Friday, July, 21st, 2017 at 6:00 AM by Mike Agugliaro

How to Use a Plunger to Unclog Sink

Plungers are known for their relationship with one particular plumbing fixture: the toilet. We do not associate plungers with sinks, but amazingly enough, this tool can be used to help you unclog kitchen and bathroom drain pipes. Find out how you can unclog your sink drains without pouring any chemicals down them, by reading our step-by-step instructions below.

What you’ll need:

  • A standard cup-style plunger – there are multiple types of plungers. The best plunger for unclogging drains is a cup-style.
  • A rag
  • Optional: petroleum jelly

How to Unclog a Bathroom Sink with a Plunger, Step-by-Step:

  1. Pull the pop-up out from the sink drain
  2. Use a wet rag or cloth to seal up the sink overflow drain
  3. Optional: Apply petroleum jelly to the bottom lip of the plunger
  4. Run water in the sink
  5. Place plunger over the drain, and cover the drain opening fully
  6. Plunge up and down several times, quickly and repeatedly
  7. Run more water in the sink, and repeat as needed

What about a Kitchen Sink?

The steps are similar to unclogging a bathroom sink with a couple minor differences. By plunging both sides of the kitchen sink you should be able to clear the stoppage. Kitchen sinks often contain another piece of equipment, the garbage disposal. If you are attempting to unclog a kitchen sink with a garbage disposal, there are a few more steps you’ll need to follow.

What you’ll need:

  • Baking soda & White Vinegar
  • Flashlight
  • Cup-style plunger
  • Tongs or Pliers

Kitchen Sink with a Garbage Disposal, Step-by-Step:

  1. Baking soda & white vinegar: Take a ¼ cup of baking soda and pour it into the kitchen drain with the garbage disposal in it. Then pour in ½ cup of white vinegar. Let those two ingredients fizz for several minutes and and then run hot water for a few more. This might be enough to clear the drain. If not, continue to the plunger.
  2. Unplug the garbage disposal: Once unplugged, use a flashlight to look down the drain and see if you can see a distinct object blocking the drain
  3. If applicable: Go beneath the sink and clamp dishwasher drain pipe
  4. Plunge: Place the cup-style plunger over the sink drain; be sure the seal is tight around the drain basket. Then run a couple inches of water over the plunger. From there, plunge with force for about 30 seconds or until you feel loosening. Lift the plunger and determine if you need to repeat this step.
  5. Run some water: Running hot water down the drain will help clear out residue and help you determine if the drain is clear or not.

Can I use a plunger to clear the bathtub, too?

The answer is, yes. The drain of your bathtub takes a lot of abuse. Hair, soap, and other products are pushed down the drain, eventually leading to a clog. Showering can become very uncomfortable when you have to stand in clogged dirty water trying to get clean. The only way that you can clear a bathtub/shower drain with a plunger is to seal the overflow drain first.

Here are the steps for clearing bathtub drains using a plunger:

  1. Seal the Overflow Drain: The overflow drain is the one under the faucet fixture and above the bottom drain. It keeps the tub from overflowing by regulating how much water can be filled in the tub. Use duct-tape toseal the opening in order to move on to the next steps of unclogging the drain.
  2. Remove the stopper from the bottom drain
  3. Fill the drain with a bit of hot water: Hot is better than cold because it dissolves certain substances, like soap, that could be contributing to the clog.
  4. Use a cup-style plunger: Place the plunger over the drain in order to seal it. It’s important the plunger is tightly sealed over the drain.
  5. Plunge forcefully: This could be harder than plunging a bathroom or kitchen sink, so do about 5-10 strong plunges and then see what has loosened and how much more effort will be needed.
  6. Repeat as needed
  7. Final steps: Once the drain is unclogged, remove the duct tape from the overflow drain and put the drain stopper back in the bottom drain

 If you need drain services at your home, contact the professionals at Gold Medal Service. We can handle any clog, bathroom, kitchen or shower with ease.

Related Resources:

To help keep you safe and save you money, Gold Medal’s Total Care Club ensures that your home’s plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems are safe and up-to-code.

We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (holidays included) to assist you with any problem you may have (electricalplumbingwaterproofingHVAC, and more).

Stay connected with us on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for more useful information and advice for your home.

How to Adjust the Water Level in Your Toilet Bowl

Friday, July, 14th, 2017 at 6:00 AM by Mike Agugliaro

How to Adjust Toilet Water Level

One or all of these situations will happen to you at least once: The toilet won’t flush, it will get clogged, it will overflow, it will run constantly, or flush insufficiently. At some point an issue with the toilet will arise. We want our customers to be as prepared as possible when something does come up.

If the issue is that there isn’t enough water, we’re here to tell you how to fix it. What does it mean that there isn’t enough water? There is an issue with low water when the toilet flushed, but for some reason there isn’t sufficient water in the bowl. Maybe significant water appears to have just left the bowl or it’s a low flow toilet that just doesn’t operate to your needs.

Plumbing can be costly, but with these toilet tips, you should be able to troubleshoot bowl water levels dropping without a professional. If it turns out you need support in fixing the toilet in your home, call Gold Medal Service for 24/7 professional plumbing services.

How to fix a toilet that doesn’t have sufficient water in the bowl:

Adjust the fill valve – Make sure the water level in the tank is correct. When it’s a low flow toilet issue, check the manufacturer’s instructions and set the fill valve accordingly. A lot of tanks have a fill line that is marked for you. If not, it’s best practice to leave about a half inch below the tank’s overflow tube.

Readjust float ball – A lot of people get grossed out by having to touch anything in their toilet. But the tank is essentially sanitary, and of course you can wear gloves. You’ll need to look inside the tank and readjust the float ball. That’s the thing you see floating in the water when you take the lid off the back. If the ball is floating too low, then not enough water is entering the tank. If the low water can be fixed by readjusting the float ball, then you do not need to call a professional.

Is it clogged? – The pipes could be clogged, making a full flush impossible. There could be a partial clog of toilet paper or some other item up in the ‘colon’ of the bowl. You can always empty the bowl of water and check up into the toilet’s colon with a flashlight and mirror. Or, if you think it’s a clog, a professional can easily get that sorted.

Low water pressure – It might be that it’s not low water level but low water pressure. This can be a sign of old rusted pipes or leaking pipes. These issues would affect a toilets ability to fill properly.

It could be a crack – On the more serious end, there could be a crack. If the low water level isn’t due to any of the above issues, then there could be a crack in the bowl and the toilet would need to be replaced. You can see evidence of a crack in the bowl if there is water on the floor around the bass of the toilet bowl. 

When to go with a pro:

There are some plumbing jobs a homeowner can do on their own. When that isn’t the case, don’t hesitate to call your local plumbers at Gold Medal Service.

If there’s a leak – If there’s a water leak, call on a professional for immediate repair services and avoid damage to your home’s structure.

A raw sewage back up – If there is a sewage issue, you need a licensed plumber to address the issue before anything backs up into the home.

If you can’t find the root of the issue – If there’s a leak or some other issue that you cannot diagnose or pinpoint on your own, work with a professional plumber. A certified plumber will perform an inspection and be able to repair the source of any leaks.

You lose water supply to your home – If you are struggling to restore water to your home, this is a serious issue that needs to be addressed immediately.

Related Resources:

To help keep you safe and save you money, Gold Medal’s Total Care Club ensures that your home’s plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems are safe and up-to-code.

We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (holidays included) to assist you with any problem you may have (electrical, plumbingwaterproofingHVAC, and more).

Stay connected with us on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for more useful information and advice for your home.

Are My Air Ducts Making Me Sick?

Friday, July, 7th, 2017 at 6:00 AM by Mike Agugliaro

Are Your Air Ducts Making Your Sick?

Your home is supposed to be a sanctuary — a safe space. But without proper HVAC maintenance, your home can make you sick. A home or commercial property can come down with what is sometimes referred to as “sick building syndrome.” How can you be sure you’re keeping your home and your family healthy?

Indoor air quality is directly connected with home and resident health. One cause of a home with dirty air is dirty air ducts. Annual cleanings and maintenance by a professional company are part of a homeowner’s HVAC care checklist. But yearly upkeep isn’t always a priority or in the budget. Lack of maintenance causes an accumulation of harmful airborne contaminants that in turn enter our lungs.

If you’ve been feeling symptoms similar to allergies, then there may be dust, debris, or even mold building up in your pipes and ducts. Gold Medal Service offers annual maintenance, professional air duct cleanings, and indoor air quality services. We’re here to tell you about how your home can make you sick, and give you solutions to poor indoor air quality, a common health issue in America’s tightly insulated homes.

Air Tight Homes

What do we mean by “air tight homes”? Modern homes, concerned with being energy-efficient, are built to keep your air-conditioned air inside and the outside air out. This might be great for your heating and cooling bill and comfort level, but not so great for your respiratory health. That is, if the HVAC unit is not properly and regularly cleaned and inspected.

If there are things lurking in the system, such as mold and other contaminants, then they are trapped in your home, re-circulated through your air ducts over and over again. The issue of indoor air quality and what we can do to keep the air we breathe in our homes safe is relatively new.

People have always been concerned with the environment outdoors and the pollution of air when we are on the go. Indoor air, however, is often many times more polluted than the air outdoors. Keeping your air ducts cleaned and your system maintained goes a long way to preventing indoor air pollution.

Health symptoms caused by dirty air ducts

If you think of air ducts as the lungs of the home, it gives you a proper visual of their purpose. They take in what’s around them, and push it back out into the home. Then, we take what is pushed out into our own bodies and lungs. That’s all well and good, if the air is healthy. If not, then respiratory issues, especially for people with pre-existing asthma and allergies, will be irritated or exacerbated by the indoor air.

Besides complications with nose and throat, headaches and even dizziness are reported, especially if there is mold. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms in the home, call a professional for immediate HVAC inspection and air duct cleaning. The problem is much simpler to cure than the symptoms.

Main symptoms include:

  • Sinus Problems
  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Respiratory Infections
  • Headaches

Why Duct Cleaning is Important 

If it has been more than a year since you have had HVAC maintenance and cleaning, then it is time to book an appointment. The systems in our home need upkeep to perform their duty in a healthy way. Every system in the home, from electrical and plumbing to heating and air conditioning needs to be treated with care.

If we want a long lifespan for our costly HVAC equipment, then its air ducts must be clean. The same goes for our own health and happiness. If we want a long, healthy life, we need to maintain our agility and bodies with exercise, food, and clean water and air.

Reasons duct cleaning is important:

  • Energy-efficiency for heating and cooling system – A clean system can function at full performance, using less energy to achieve the same temperature and comfort.
  • Lower monthly utility costs – A system that is energy efficient is cost effective.
  • Longer equipment lifespan – A well-cleaned and maintained system will live up to its warranty, and keep you from costly early replacement and repairs.
  • Reduction in repair costs – Better maintenance equals fewer repairs over time.
  • Healthy lungs, healthy family – Nobody wants to breathe in polluted air, especially when they are indoors! Ensure your family and home is healthy with air duct care.

What can I do?

For more information on Indoor Air Quality and Duct Cleaning services in NJ, contact Gold Medal Service: 1 (800) 553-6060.

Our live, 24/7 call center is there for you day and night.

Stay connected with us on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for more useful information and advice.

How to Remove Mineral Buildup from Drains and Plumbing Fixtures

Friday, June, 30th, 2017 at 6:00 AM by Mike Agugliaro

How to remove mineral buildup from drains, faucets, and plumbing fixturesIf you are experiencing low flow or a water pressure issue, this could be due to mineral buildup in your pipes. Minerals refers to lime or calcium buildup in drains and plumbing fixtures. Lime buildup can occur in shower drains for example due to the sodium, magnesium, and other chemicals found in hard water.

Overall, vinegar is the best solution to mineral buildup. Cleaning certain fixtures in your home is a DIY afternoon project with big payoff. An overnight soak in vinegar could be the answer to your low flow problems.

However, things can become more complicated depending on the extent of the buildup and its location. Try these at-home solutions, and if they do not improve your situation, call Gold Medal Service for drain and plumbing services.

Signs of Hard Water and Mineral Buildup

  • Clogged water pipes
  • Damage to appliances or plumbing fixture
  • Spots and streaks on dishes
  • Skin irritation
  • Soap scum
  • Difficulty cleaning clothes
  • Lime scales (hard deposits left behind by dried hard water)
  • High water heater energy use

Mineral Buildup in Drains

This process can be used on sink or shower drains. White vinegar is a natural solution for cleaning. Sitting overnight, you will be able to remove lime buildup from the drain while avoiding the harsh chemicals in traditional drain cleaners. Avoid putting any store bought chemicals down the drain. If you are having issues with your drains, pressure, or pipes, do not attempt a DIY solution and call a professional plumber.

What you’ll need:

  • Pot of Water
  • Cleaning rag
  • ½ Cup Baking Soda
  • ½ Cup Vinegar
  • Sponge


  1. Boil a pot of water
  2. Pour ½ cup of vinegar and ½ cup of baking soda into the drain
  3. Put cleaning rag over the top of the drain to cover it
  4. Wait 5 minutes or so while the mixture eats away at the buildup
  5. Remove rag; pour boiling water into drain
  6. Put some vinegar on the sponge and wipe down the drain fixture

Soak the Showerhead

Cleaning the showerhead in the bathroom is a simple DIY project. Remove hard-water mineral buildup that causes clogs and pressure issues over time with these simple steps.

What you’ll need:

  • Pipe wrench
  • Pliers
  • Rags
  • Vinegar
  • Plastic bag or Tupperware container


  1. To protect the finish of your fixture, wrap the showerhead with a rag before using the pipe wrench and pliers.
  2. Unscrew the showerhead with a pipe wrench and pliers.
  3. Soak the showerhead in a vinegar bath (you can use a Tupperware container filled with vinegar for this)
  4. Soak it overnight
  5. Rinse in tap water
  6. Screw back on

Another Way: If you don’t have a pipe wrench or pliers, you can still clean you showerhead. Try putting vinegar in a plastic bag. Then tie it around your showerhead, keeping the showerhead fully submerged in the vinegar overnight.

Other Projects:

  1. Dishwasher – Add a cup of white vinegar to your dishwasher and run it through one cycle sans dishes. Do this monthly for best upkeep results.
  2. Washing Machine – Add a gallon of white vinegar to your washing machine. Run it through one cycle with hot water — no clothes!
  3. Coffee Maker – Fill the water reservoir with white vinegar. Run it for one brewing cycle. Then run two more cycles with water to make sure the smell and taste of vinegar doesn’t linger.
  4. Shower Doors – Simple spray the glass shower doors with white vinegar. This will remove lime scales and hard water stains from the glass.
  5. Faucets – Wrap a rag soaked in vinegar or a plastic bag filled with vinegar around the fixture overnight. You can always opt to unscrew the fixture and soak it in a vinegar bath instead. Both ways should do the trick.

Water Softeners

Water softening equipment is the most effective and long-term solution to hard water. This will prevent mineral buildup over time and make your water more comfortable for showering and cleaning. There is not need to clean anything if your water is already soft. Talk to Gold Medal Service about water softening solutions. We install water softeners and have other water services available for your health and safety. Find out about the wonders of water softeners, here.

Professional Drain Cleaning

If you’re experiencing drain clogs, call a professional cleaner. We have drain cleaning and High Pressure Water Jetting services that clean pipes effectively and precisely.

Warning: Do not use harsh chemicals that come from the store to clean your drains. They can cause more damage than they are worth. Learn about Bio-Clean, the best all-natural drain cleaner.

Contact the experts at Gold Medal Service for more information on drain cleaning and preventing mineral buildup.

Call 1-877-803-0511 or schedule an appointment online

We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist you with any problem you may have (electrical, plumbingwaterproofingHVAC, and more)

Stay connected with us on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for more useful information and advice for your home.

How to Prep Your Yard for Fourth of July Celebrations

Friday, June, 23rd, 2017 at 6:00 AM by Mike Agugliaro

How to Prep Your Yard for Fourth of July CelebrationsHappy Fourth of July! If you are hosting a backyard barbecue or a firework viewing party at your home this year, learn how to celebrate America’s birthday in style with these preparation tips.


When it comes to Fourth of July lighting, there are so many different options to choose from. From red, white, and blue icicle lights and LED rope lights to more kitschy American flag and starlight sphere shaped lighting décor, add some novelty and patriotism to your property using these lighting options.

Use patriotic red, white and blue icicle and string lights. Sticking with typical holiday theme colors and accents will elevate your casual backyard barbecue and create an inviting atmosphere. Certainly all of your guests will know which house is hosting the party!

Red, white, and blue rope lighting is another great option for Fourth of July this year. You can buy over one hundred feet and get as creative as you want! You can use the rope lights to create your own custom shapes, such as spelling out U-S-A or creating the outline of a flag on the fence or wall. Durable for the outdoors, rope lighting is fun and functional.

Color-changing bulbs and string lights that cycle from red and blue will add a different take on traditional icicle flair. They add a lively touch, shifting from red to blue throughout the night.

String lights in the shape of stars and flags are super cute. These can be put inside or outside to create instant theme-worthy displays.

Patriotic paper lantern string lights are always a hit. They have a homey feel that also provide comfortable lighting. String them up in the backyard over the outdoor table and seating area.

Consider adding some novelty décor. When it comes to holiday celebrations, the more festive the better. Why not add fun lighting pieces, like American flag-shaped yard décor and USA starlight spheres that can be hung from trees for added patriotic bling. Novelty lighting is always perfect to create the ambiance for family and friend get togethers. It’s typical to see lighted snowmen, reindeer and other lawn accessories at Christmas, this could be the year you celebrate with similarly novel spirit for Independence Day!

Beat the Bugs

Most likely the entire party will be outdoors. How do you keep the bugs away? Be prepared to help your guests beat the bugs with sprays, citronella candles, and bug lights.

Although some unsolicited insects may still find their way in, you can reduce the number of bugs with these tips:

Use bug-deterring lights and candles. Most insects are attracted to heat signatures more than light sources. That’s why hot incandescent bulbs attract more bugs than cooler LED bulbs (Battle of the Bulbs). Use citronella candles and torches along with mosquito repellent lights and lanterns.

Get rid of stagnant water. Mosquitoes and other insects LOVE standing water. Before the party, make sure there isn’t any water gathered in garbage pan lids, toys, flowerpots, or any other container. Learn how to improve the drainage around your home to avoid standing water and basement flooding.

Use bug repellent sprays and sunscreen. Bug repellant sunscreen and sprays are probably the best way to deter mosquitoes and other insects. Make sure you follow the instructions carefully and reapply as needed.

Wear strategic clothing. Insects love sweat and bacteria, so consider wearing high-top sneakers, high socks, and lightweight, light-colored clothing that cover your arms and legs.

Pre-treat the outdoor space. A day before the big outdoor soirée, consider pre-treating the outdoor space with a backyard bug repellant spray that connects to your garden hose. Follow the directions carefully as these types of products can potentially damage plants and lawns.

If you are hosting a large get-together, you may want to consider renting tents with mosquito nets.

Learn how to make a heavy duty mosquito trap.

Stay Cool!

The Fourth of July is always hot! While you may have the day off, your air conditioner still has to work. Try giving your A/C a vacation by using these tips for staying cool:

Take a dip. If you have a pool, take a dip to stay cool. If you don’t have a pool on the property, check out all of the community swimming pools, local swimming holes, and public beaches.

Use the BBQ. When cooking hot meals in the summer, use your BBQ over the indoor oven/stove. Not only is it traditional to cook hot dogs, hamburgers, and chicken on the grill for the Fourth of July, it’s also a great way to save money on air conditioning and energy costs. Use the kitchen for cold meals, such as salads, fruit bowls, and antipasti.

Find and create shade. Being in the direct sun makes it feel around 10 to 15 degrees hotter than it actually is. If you are looking for a place to cool off, find a grassy area in the shade. If you don’t have a nice shady oasis for guests and have a garage, consider opening it up and placing some chairs and refreshments in there. Learn how to strategically use blinds and shades to block the sun’s rays from unnecessarily heating up your home.

Make sure the air conditioning is working. Be sure your air conditioner is working inside your home for when everyone needs to escape the backyard heat for a bit. For pre-holiday air conditioning services, contact Gold Medal Service (we’re available 24/7).

If you have not scheduled your annual air conditioning maintenance appointment for the summer, what are you waiting for? It’s the best way to reduce operating costs, improve indoor air quality, and extend the lifespan of your system (sometimes even doubling it).


Any large get-together presents a risk to your plumbing system. In order to prevent plumbing problems during your Fourth of July Party, remember to:

Keep guests away from the garbage disposal. Some people have more powerful garbage disposals than others. To prevent garbage disposal clogs, use paper plates and garbage bins rather than your disposal to get rid of food waste. Consider taping up the garbage disposal switch or displaying a sign to use the garbage instead… better safe than sorry!

Place a sign near your toilet. Instruct guests to only flush human waste and toilet paper down the toilet. Anything else should be thrown in the trash. Make sure the trashcan is available and empty. Find a new place for items that could accidentally be knocked into the toilet.

Make sure propane tanks are full and gas lines are working. Nobody want to be in a situation where the grill or oven is not working.

Learn more plumbing tips for parties and large gatherings.

If you experience any plumbing or appliance problems, don’t hesitate to contact Gold Medal Service. We are here for you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year—including the Fourth of July.

Related Resources:

Happy Fourth of July!

Contact the experts at Gold Medal Service (1-877-803-0511) if you have any plumbingHVAC, or electrical problems.

We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (July 4th included) to assist you with any problem you may have

Stay connected with us on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for more useful information and advice for your home.

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