Don't Let Heating Costs Affect Your Holiday Budget

.

 

Imagine you had lots of extra cash stashed away to spend on holiday gifts, food and experiences this year? Instead of spending hundreds to heat your home, wouldn’t it be nice if you could spend that money on your friends and family or treat yourself to something nice? Well, it’s time to start making some changes and trust us when we tell you you’ll be quite happy this holiday season!

Don’t Heat The House When Nobody’s Home

Sure, you want your home to be warm and cozy while everyone’s home, but why keep it warm while it’s vacant? A simple solution for this is to install a programmable thermostat. This way, you can set a desired temperature for the hours you’ll want the heat to come up and then have it drop down a few degrees while your family is away.

It’s Closed-Flue Season

There may not be anything better than relaxing by the fire on a cold winter day. With that said though, an open flue lets out about as much warm air as a wide-open 48-inch window. Be sure to close the flue as soon as the fire goes out and the inside of the fireplace cools off.

Drapes Are For More Than Just Privacy

If you haven’t done so already, we recommend swapping out your lighter summer drapes for heavier materials. Why? Well, drapes shouldn’t only be used to keep the light out or for privacy - they can actually be used to keep warm inside and cold air out.

Layer Up

We’re talking about your clothes and your bed. There’s harm in wearing a few layers while you’re hanging out at home. Don’t be afraid to throw on a sweatshirt and warm pants if you feel chilly. It’s also a good idea to pack away your “stay-cool” sheets and break out the flannel.

For a simple solution to aid in increasing energy efficiency without lowering comfort levels in your Minneapolis - St. Paul home, consider the benefits of a digital programmable thermostat professionally installed by the team at Uptown Heating. Call us today at 612-284-5789.

4 Festive Ways To Spruce Up The Bathroom For Thanksgiving

.

What colors come to mind when you think of Thanksgiving? We think of oranges, golds and browns and when you incorporate all three, the results are stunning! So, if you’re looking for ways to spruce up the bathroom since you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, we’ve got a few foolproof decorating tips that’ll leave your guests in awe.

  1. Break Out The Festive Fabrics: fall is the perfect time of year to give your bathroom a reasonable makeover. Swap out the nautical-themed shower curtain and window treatments for your favorite palette of fall colors. We recommend oranges and whites for the shower curtain and darker colors like gold or brown for the windows.

  2. Light Up The Night: sure, it’s rather tricky to swap out your lighting fixtures, but it’s quite simple to add things like pumpkin-themed night lights, colorful string lights or fall-scented candles. We do however, suggest leaving the candles unlit so you don’t forget about them while you feast!

  3. Bring Nature Indoors: it’s no surprise fall offers some spectacular foliage and gorgeous colors to go along with it. Fill a vase with fresh seasonal flowers or create your own potpourri with leaves, sticks and acorns.

  4. Soften The Look: keep non-fall colored towels in the closet and stock the shelves with oranges and browns. You can even create an elegant feel by rolling them up like you’d see in a spa.

Need a plumbing or heating company this holiday season? We’ve got you covered. The experts at Uptown want you to enjoy a stress-free, care-free time with your friends and family members so let us take care of the dirty work. Give us a call at 651-315-7995 to schedule an appointment and don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook!

Don't Ignore This Furnace Sound or Smell

.

 

You hear some strange noises coming from the furnace but it doesn’t sound like anything too bad, so you leave it alone. You smell a strange scent coming from the furnace, but again, it doesn’t seem too bad, so you leave it alone. “Everything will be just fine,” right? Wrong. See below for one particular noise and one particular smell you should NEVER ignore:

Screeching Sounds

If you’ve ever heard a screeching noise, you know it’s not particularly easy on the ears. Well, it’s definitely not a good sound when it comes from the furnace either. Screeching could mean there’s something wrong with a certain bearing, the belt or the motor. In any case, a technician should be called in to make some adjustments or apply lubrication where it’s needed. Otherwise, you could be left without heat in the dead of winter.

Smell of Gas

Notice a gassy scent coming from the furnace? It could be the systems exhaust not venting properly or it could be the result of a leak in the heat exchanger which can be a very serious problem. Just like a gas leak anywhere else in the house, it can cause possible fires, explosions or even carbon monoxide poisoning. You’ll want to call in a professional right away to diagnose the problem and get it fixed before it’s too late.

That’s where we come in! If you experience any issues with your home’s heating system this season, don’t hesitate to call on the experts at Uptown Plumbing, Heating & Cooling. We’ve been serving the Minneapolis - St. Paul area for over 100 years so you know you can count on us!

Are HEPA Filters Really Worth It?

.

 

Do you suffer from allergies? If not, do you have a family member who does? If you answered “yes” to any of the above, the simple answer is yes, High-Efficiency Particulate Air filters are worth every penny. Why? Find out, below:

 

Your Indoor Air Is More Polluted Than You Think.

Air pollution doesn’t just come about in the form of car exhaust or factory smoke. Believe it or not, most of the air you breathe every single day is polluted in one way or another. Dust mites, pollen, pet dander and mold are all things that can be found in the air that can cause serious health problems.

How Do HEPA Filters Work?

These are types of mechanical air filters that force air through fine mesh. The mesh acts by trapping the harmful particles we mentioned above, so you don’t breathe them in.

Why HEPA Filters Are Worth It:

Any air that passes through your home’s HVAC system will pass through the HEPA filter, if you have them installed. With that said, most of the air you breathe passes through your home’s HVAC system which means it’s being cleaned as it passes through. The result? You’ll breathe in fresher, cleaner air that will help alleviate some of your worst allergy symptoms.

Still not convinced? Give the heating and cooling experts at Uptown a call today to learn more about the benefits of HEPA filters. After all, we’ve been serving the Twin Cities for over 100 years so you know you can count on us!

The Scary Truths About Halloween and Shower Drains

.

 

Celebrating Halloween? That pretty much goes without saying, right? Whether you’re going all out on your costume this year or simply carving a pumpkin or two, there are a few things you should know when it comes to your shower. What do we mean by that? We mean there are lots of Halloween items that can cause some serious damage in the bathroom if you’re not careful.

 

Makeup

Turning yourself into your favorite, or least favorite, celebrity? Trying to convince your friends that you’re a real life witch? Each Halloween, millions of homeowners load up on the makeup for the day and hop into the shower to wash it all away at the end of the day. Little do they know, there are lots of products that contain harmful chemicals that can damage your shower’s plumbing system. It’s best to try to get most of it in the trash rather than down the drain.

Pumpkin Guts

Going for this year’s best jack-o-lantern? We’re rooting for you! Just remember to discard all pumpkin guts into the garbage can, not the garbage disposal or the shower drain. The thick strings, strands and seeds can cause major clogs.

Hair Spray

Not only do some hairsprays contain harmful chemicals, just think about how much hair will get sucked down into the drain while you try to wash away those stubborn streaks. We strongly encourage the use of drain strainers to prevent as much as possible from doing down the drain.

For expert shower and bath plumbing solutions in Minneapolis–St Paul, rely on the plumbing professionals from Uptown Plumbing. Our quality plumbing and dedicated team have helped us become the trusted choice in thousands of homes in your local area.

Halloween Events Near The Twin Cities

.

 

Is it really Halloween if your day wasn’t filled with corn mazes, pumpkin patches, spooky costumes, tricks and treats? We couldn’t be more excited to celebrate this year and that means it’s time to get outside and enjoy all that the Twin Cities have to offer. See below for a list of top Halloween events taking place in our neighborhood:

 

Shafer Corn Maze

How does a 12 acre corn field sound? Sounds like the perfect place for a corn maze, right? The Shafer Corn Maze has plenty of options to choose from and it’s perfect for all ages. You and your family can also enjoy a petting zoo, corn bag toss, a straw bale obstacle course and more!

The Great Pumpkin Fest

Join Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts gang for some not-so-scary Halloween activites! This is a great event for your very own peanuts - they can enjoy their favorite rides, live entertainment and other classic fall activities.

Afton Apple Orchard

Come reap the benefits of the fall harvest at Afton. Check out over 200 acres of apple trees, pumpkin patches and more! You can also venture into the corn maze or take a hayride through the orchard. Tickets are $5 for everyone ages 5 and up and $4 for those under 4 years old.

Zombie Pup Crawl

Looking to get your pet involved this year? Check out the Zombie Pup Crawl at Bauhaus Brew Labs. You can enter your dog in the canine costume contest or simply come and watch the other adorable dogs strut their stuff. What’s better than spending the day with furry friends while sipping on a pint of craft beer?

Wishing all a very safe and happy Halloween from your friends at Uptown Plumbing, Heating & Cooling!

The Scary Truth About Bathroom Leaks

.

 

You hear what sounds like water dripping. You head into the living room on the main floor of your house. You notice water spots on the ceiling. You think to yourself, “what the heck could this be?” This is a common situation for hundreds of homeowners who experience plumbing leaks, so trust us when we tell you you’re not alone. Where is the leak coming from and what else could be damaged? Find out below:

Where Do Bathroom Leaks Originate?

  • Pipes behind the walls

  • Pipes in the ceiling

  • Shower head

  • Shower faucet

  • Sink faucet

  • Sink trap

  • Cracked toilet bowl

  • Water supply valves

What Are The Hidden Costs of Leaks?

As you can see above, leaks can originate just about anywhere. The list covers a few of the most common spots, but leaks are not limited to just those areas. So, why is a bathroom leak such a headache? Well, aside from the obvious - cleaning up the water and repairing any water damaged walls or ceilings - water travels quite quickly.

If the leak originates behind the wall or in the ceiling, it can easily travel down pipes and the “express train” down into other areas of your house. It’s quite common for homeowners to find a leak somewhere in the house and think that it’s the spot of origin, when in reality the leak is coming from a completely different area of the house. You can probably imagine how this phenomenon can lead to hundreds or even thousands of dollars in repairs.

Notice a leak in your home? You can count on the experts at Uptown Plumbing to detect the leak fast and put a stop to it before it does serious damage. Give us a call right away at 612-284-5789 to schedule an appointment.

What To Do When Your Plunger Backfires (Or You Don't Have One At All)

.

 

Contrary to popular belief, you can in fact, unclog a toilet without a plunger. This comes as a shocker and a relief to most homeowners, and it’s especially useful in the unfortunate event that a toilet clogs while company is over. So, the next time you cause a toilet to back up and there isn’t a plunger in site, or the plunger simply won’t do the trick, here’s what you can try instead:

Method 1

It’s important to note this method only works if the toilet isn’t overflowing. Grab a bottle of soap or shampoo and pour a generous amount into the bowl. If you don’t have liquid soap handy, you can cut a bar of soap into pieces and dump them into the bowl instead. Then pour hot, but not boiling, water into the clogged toilet and the combination should help break up the toilet paper and help the contents to slide down the drain.

Method 2

When there’s no plunger around and you don’t have time to waste, grab a wire hanger from the closet. Unravel it and use it to poke around and break up the clog. Just be careful not to be too rough or you could damage the pipes.

Method 3

Don’t have soap or a wire hanger? Don’t stress you can also use two common kitchen staples - vinegar and baking soda. All you need to do is pour 1 cup of baking soda into the bowl and follow it up with 1 cup of white vinegar. Wait a few minutes for the mixture to work its magic and then pour a large pot of hot, but not boiling, water into the toilet.

When all else fails, you can always count on the friendly expert plumbers at Uptown Plumbing to take care of all your plumbing needs. Our company has been trusted in tens of thousands of home in our 100+ years of service so you know you can count on us!

Upgrading To A Larger Bathroom Fan: Advice From The Experts

.

 

Imagine having a bathroom where you could keep moisture off the walls and the ceiling without opening a window. That would be great, especially during the colder months of the year, right? Well, contrary to popular belief, it is possible and it really doesn’t take too much effort. See below to find out how you can upgrade to a larger bathroom exhaust fan to keep moisture at bay:

 

First, Check For Dust

You really should never have to open up a window to get rid of moisture if you have an exhaust fan in the bathroom. If it’s not doing it’s job, open up the cover and vacuum it out to get rid of dust and debris that could be preventing it from working properly. If that doesn’t help, it’s time for a new fan.

Do Some Math

In order to find out what size fan you need to get, you’re going to need to do a bit of math. Divide your bathroom’s volume by 7.5 and you’ll get the total cubic-feet-per-minute (cfm) rating you need. It’s also important to keep in mind that you should go with a higher cfm than what you actually need in relation to the bathroom’s volume if the duct run exceeds 20 feet.

The Quieter, The Better

The last bit of advice you should consider is the sone rating. Compare different models because after all, you won’t want to hear the fan while it’s doing its job. The lower the sone rating, the quieter the fan will be.

For quality plumbing solutions and on-time service across Minneapolis - St. Paul, rely on the professionals at Uptown Plumbing. Our company has been trusted in tens of thousands of home in our 100+ years of service so you know you can count on us!

5 Things You Should NEVER Place Near Your Thermostat

.

 

Ever wonder why your home’s heating system kicks on when the house already feels warm? How about when it doesn’t kick on but you’re sitting in the living room shivering? It may not be the heating system that’s the problem, it could be what’s located around the thermostat that’s causing the issue. See below to find out why you should keep these five items away from your thermostat at all times:

  1. Air Vents: it’s your thermostat’s job to detect the temperature in the living areas of your house, right? Well, think about what’s happening if the air vent is blowing warm air right onto the piece of equipment that’s detecting the temperature. It’s going to produce an inaccurate temperature reading so make sure your thermostat is installed out of reach of the air vents.

  2. Windows & Doors: similar to the idea above, if you have drafty windows or doors near the thermostat, chances are it’s going to pick up on cooler air that is entering the house. This could be the reason why your heating system is running even though most rooms feel warm.

  3. Space Heater: Using a portable heating system in a certain area of the house to stay warm? Keep these two things in mind: one, portable heaters are not the safest option so we recommend using them with extreme caution. Two, make sure you’re not placing them near the thermostat because once again, the thermostat won’t produce an accurate temperature reading, especially for the other rooms of the house.

  4. Appliances: even though lots of appliances and electronic devices are made with technology that reduces heat, things like televisions, video game consoles and other appliances still give off heat as a by-product. Keep them away from your thermostat so your home’s heating system can work efficiently and effectively.

  5. Candles: sense any similarities here? Candles are another source of heat that can throw off the accuracy of your thermostat.

Having problems with your thermostat? That’s a problem no homeowner wants to deal with and luckily for you, our friendly technicians specialize in just that! Give Uptown Heating a call today and we’ll make sure you’re comfortable all fall and winter long.