How To Close Up Your Vacation Home For The Season

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It’s just about that time of year - that dreaded time where you have to close up your vacation house for the season, get back to work and get the kids back to school. Summer is coming to an end and it’s time to get ready for cooler temperatures - your summer house is no exception. So, here’s what you need to do to prepare for fall:

  • Turn off the main water line to prevent pipes from freezing as temperatures drop. This includes flushing out water lines and disconnecting hose bibs on the outside of the house.

  • Turn off the gas supply to eliminate the risk of leaks or explosions.

  • Unplug all appliances including telephones, televisions, the dishwasher, washer and dryer and so forth. They can all undergo severe damage if lightning happens to strike.

  • Empty out the refrigerator and cabinets. We recommend donating leftover food rather than throwing it in the trash.

  • Put away outdoor furniture and tidy up the outside living areas. Remember to cover the grill and put the garbage cans in the garage or shed.

  • Take out the trash. Trust us when we tell you it won’t be pleasant to come back to a rotten bag of garbage next year.

  • Lock up! Don’t forget the windows, doors and shed and garage doors.

Need a plumber to help make sure your plumbing system is shut down properly? Call on the experts at Uptown! We’ve been serving the Twin Cities for over 100 years so you know you can count on us!

5 Drain Mistakes You Don't Want To Make

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Summer is winding down and Labor Day Weekend is on the horizon. For most of us, this will be the last weekend of the year to throw an outdoor party for friends and family members and with that said, it’s important to make another attempt at keeping your drains clear. Avoid making the mistakes below so you don’t wind up with a serious plumbing problem this holiday weekend:

 

  1. Coffee Grinds: whether you’re making a pot in the morning to kick off the day or providing your guests with a cup to accompany their dessert, keep the coffee grinds out of the sink. They expand in water and can create a sludge-like substance that could stop up the drain.

  2. Grease and Oil: whether you’re using it to cook or it’s a byproduct of what you’re cooking, grease and oil do not belong down the drain. Even if they’re liquids while they’re hot or while they’re at room temperature, they can solidify after they go down the drain. Pour it into a glass bottle when it cools and toss it in the trash instead.

  3. Fruit: washing fruit? It’s common for a few pieces to fall out into the sink and maybe even into the drain. If this happens, it’s important to grab it right away and toss it in the trash. Fruit skin and fibers don’t break down easily and therefore, can cause clogs.

  4. Syrups: there’s nothing like hot fudge or chocolate syrup on top of your ice cream and lots of great barbecue recipes call for honey and ketchup. With that said, all of these syrupy liquids belong in the trash, not in the sink. Since they’re so thick, it can be difficult to wash them down the drain.

  5. Melted Cheese: this one is similar to grease and oil - just because melty cheese can almost resemble a liquid, it’ll turn back into a solid when it cools. Keep it out of the sink.

For a rapid service and expertise for your drain and sewer cleaning and repairs in Minneapolis–St Paul, rely on the specialists at Uptown Plumbing. We've provided quality service and solutions and are already the trusted choice in thousands of other local resident's homes for their home service needs.

Stock Up At The Farmers Market This Weekend

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The end of summer is fast approaching, but we can assure you the local farms and culinary connoisseurs are working hard to bring you the freshest foods in town! Two of our favorites, Kingfield Farmers Market and Fulton Farmers Market, will be up and running Saturday and Sunday this weekend so be sure to pay them a visit!

Fulton Farmers Market

Saturdays from 8:30am - 1pm

Through October 28th

4901 Chowen Ave. S, Minneapolis

At the market Saturday: everything you need to brighten your day! Fresh cut flowers, heirloom tomatoes, & sweet corn. Plums, apples, & melons. Goat cheese, breads, maple syrup, marinades, & granola. A free drawing for a $50 gift card to Pact Apparel, too! See you there, rain or shine.

Kingfield Farmers Market

Sundays from 8:30am - 1pm

Through October 29th

4310 Nicollet Ave. S, Minneapolis

What began as a pickup truck full of vegetables parked behind Anodyne Coffeehouse has since grown into bustling market with thirty vendors every week and thousands of customers attending every Sunday.  They are a produce-focused market offering a wide variety of fruits and vegetables along with prepared foods, coffee, handmade crafts, music, kids activities and more.

At Uptown, giving back to the community is a top priority and there’s no better way to say “thanks” than by stocking up on local fare.

10 Items That Weren't Meant To Be Flushed

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Ever been in a bathroom where the trash can was already overflowing or there was no place to throw garbage at all so you decided to toss it in the toilet instead? You’re not alone. Instead of emptying the trash or walking to another room of the house to throw out your item, it’s easier to just toss it in the bowl, flush it and watch it disappear, right? While that might sound easier, it can cause a world of trouble.

Trust us when we tell you the following items were not meant to be flushed. It may take a bit more effort to get them into a garbage can, but it’ll be well worth it in the long run:

  1. Food: this includes grease, oil or fat. Even though it might be a liquid at any given time, it will cool down and congeal and clog up your pipes.

  2. Wipes: there are lots of wipes out there that say “flushable” on the container. Well, they don’t break down like toilet paper does and they’re a leading cause of toilet clogs across the country.

  3. Dental Floss: it’s thin and bendy so there shouldn’t be any problems, right? Wrong. Floss is not biodegradable and it can wrap around items causing severe clogs.

  4. Cotton: this includes cotton swabs (Q-tips) and cotton balls.

  5. Pills/Expired Medicine: these items can contaminate the groundwater and have toxic effects. Throw them in the trash or find a community-based “take back your meds” program instead of flushing them.

  6. Diapers: there’s human waste inside so it should go in the toilet, right? Again, wrong. They’re made to expand in water so just think about what they’ll do to your pipes.

  7. Tissues: they may seem like toilet paper, but the materials used to make them do not dissolve as easily. Throw them in the trash.

  8. Gum: water won’t do much to break down your gum, so it will likely stick around. You don’t want gum sticking your pipes.

  9. Band-Aids: there’s a spot for them in the trash. They won’t break down in the toilet.

  10. Toys: kids like to play with toys in the bathtub? We don’t have any problems with that, just don’t let them find their way into the toilet bowl.

Our experienced plumbers have seen all causes of toilet blockages and have the equipment and skill to remove them for you quickly. For expert toilet plumbing installations and repairs in your home in Minneapolis-St Paul, call and speak with the friendly plumbing team at Uptown Plumbing today.

What Happens When You Don't Clean Your AC Filter?

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What would happen if you never changed the oil in your car? Or if you stopped answering your text messages? How about if you stopped brushing your teeth or taking a shower? Well, it’s quite clear where we’re going here - if you stopped doing any of these things, chaos would likely ensue. So, what does that have to do with your air conditioner filter? If you stopped paying attention to it, just like the scenarios listed above, you’d find yourself in a world of trouble.

Dust Jams

Part of the air filter’s job is to trap dust and dirt. Why? Well, if it gets into the moving parts, like fan motors or valves, it can cause them to jam up and stop working. As a result, the system can try to draw more power which can cause it to burn out completely or use more energy than it needs to.

Freezing Up

If you haven’t cleaned or replaced the filter in a while and your air conditioner just isn’t blowing cold air like it used to, it could mean the system has frozen up. Dirty filters restrict the flow of cold air which can cause it to build up inside the air conditioner. The final result could be the formation of ice on the coils.

Poor Indoor Air Quality

Anyone in your home suffer from allergies or asthma? A dirty filter can make their symptoms much worse. How? Clogged filters can cause allergens to build up in the duct system and then release into the air you breathe each time the system kicks on.

With that said, take this as a reminder to change or replace your air filter. It only takes a few minutes and it makes a world of difference.

Need your air conditioning system serviced or repaired? You’ve come to the right place. The expert HVAC techs at Uptown have over 100 years of experience and there’s no job too big or too small. Call us today at 612-284-5789.

The Most Effective Way To Unclog A Bathroom Sink

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Have a sink that takes forever to drain or one that won’t drain at all? A stoppage in the bathroom sink can become a major nuisance and if you don’t take care of it the right way you can be in for a rude awakening. Not all clogs require a plumber’s expertise, so we’re going to let you in on a few expert tips below:

Why Do Bathroom Sinks Clog In The First Place?

  • Hair

  • Dirt

  • Food

  • Solidified toothpaste

  • Cosmetic items

  • Personal hygiene items

  • Toys

How To Unclog A Bathroom Sink Drain

Loosen the nut on the trap in order to remove the pop-up stem. When you pull it out, it will likely be covered with hair, toothpaste and other sorts of debris so you’ll want to clean it off. However, the stoppage can be below the stopper in the trap. What you’ll need to do is use a drain snake in order to break up the items causing the clog.

How To Prevent Future Clogs

We highly recommend testing your drain stopper to make sure it’s working properly. It should come all the way up and go all the back down so that it creates a seal and nothing can get down the drain. If you don’t have a manual drain stopper, we suggest investing in a drain strainer to catch common clog-causing items from entering the drain.

Having issues unclogging your sink drain? Don’t stress! The expert plumbers at Uptown are always here to help. Just give us a call at 651-315-7995 and we’ll have your sink flowing in no time!

Portable vs. Whole-House Dehumidifiers: The Pros & Cons

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If you don’t have any sort of dehumidification system, you’re doing your home’s structure, your furniture and your health a disservice. Too much moisture in your home, especially during the warmer summer months, can cause severe problems. It’s time to take greater control, but which type of dehumidifier is right for you? Find out below:

Whole-Home Dehumidifiers

Pros:

  • Automatically controls humidity in your home

  • Up to 4 times more energy-efficient than portable models

  • No need to empty buckets full of water

  • Most models have better air filters than portable models

  • Much quieter operation

Cons:

  • More expensive up-front

  • Complex installation (requires a professional)

  • Difficult to take with you if you sell your house

Portable Dehumidifiers

Pros:

  • Controls humidity in one large room or area

  • Less expensive

  • Portable

  • Very quick installation

  • Most models are equipped with digital controls

Cons:

  • Loud operation and is visible at all times

  • Only controls humidity in a designated area

  • Have to empty condensate bucket or attach a hose for continuous use

  • Uses more energy during operation

If your home has damp or musty areas (such as in kitchens and basements) or you've noticed condensation pooling on window sills and walls then you probably have too much humidity in your home. A dehumidification solution will help reduce the levels of humidity and provide greater comfort. Call and speak with the experts at Uptown Air Conditioning today!

The Beginner's Guide To Air Conditioner Filters

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You probably already know that replacing the filter is a vital step when it comes to proper air conditioning system maintenance. But what happens when you toss it in the trash and need to purchase a new one? Can you just go to the store and purchase any old item off the shelf? The answer, unfortunately, is no.

Since there are a few types of filters out there, it’s important to find out which one makes the most sense for your system and your home. See below, where we discuss the three main types and explain the differences between each:

  1. Fiberglass Filters: these have been named the most common type of air conditioner filter simply because they’re usually the cheapest option. However, they’re not the most effective. This type of filter uses synthetic fibers to trap small particles and prevent dust from circulating through the air.

  2. Pleated Filters: these filters are very similar in terms of operation as fiberglass, however they typically have a higher resistance to airflow and a much better dust-trapping ability. These are your “middle of the road” filters.

  3. High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filters: looking for the best option on the market? This is your answer. HEPA filters filter out 99.97% of all particles 0.3 microns or larger.

Looking for an air conditioning company you can rely on? You’ve come to the right place. Uptown has been serving the entire Minneapolis - St. Paul area for over 100 years so you know you can count on us. Give us a call today at 651-315-7995.

How To Hide That Ugly AC Unit

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You’ve crossed off so many items on the home improvement checklist this summer, why stop now? Your yard is looking the best it’s looked in 15 years, but there’s still one thing sticking out like a sore thumb - that clunky air conditioning unit. No need to fret, there are some simple and creative ways to hide that big piece of equipment so that your friends and family members won’t even know it’s there!

Plant Greenery

Pick out a few beautiful pots and get those hands dirty. Tall grasses, shrubs or flowers all look much better than your air conditioning unit - just be sure to choose hardy plants that won’t wilt or droop any time soon. It’s also important to remember to keep them far enough away from the unit so you don’t disrupt airflow.

Build A Cedar Fence

With this fence, you won’t need any nails! You’ll simply need a few pieces of cedar planking and some heavy-duty adhesive. You can even add plants to either side to add to the look.

Add A Privacy Screen

If you’re not the DIY type and you’d rather purchase something, set it and forget it, a privacy screen is the best option for you. Look for one made of outdoor-friendly resin and pick a color that matches well with your deck or patio.

Shabby Chic Shutters

Got old shutters in the garage or basement? Don’t throw them away, put them to good use. We recommend painting or staining them to match your flowers or outdoor fabrics.

Construct A Bamboo Screen

Love Asian decor? Take it a step further by adding it to your backyard. Gather a bunch of bamboo reeds and nail or glue them together. You can also grow your own bamboo plants, but it might take some time to fill in.

Having problems with your air conditioning system? We’ve got you covered. For fast, quality, same day repairs cross Minneapolis - St. Paul, call and speak with the air conditioning repair experts at Uptown Air Conditioning today!

Get Rid of Uncomfortable Rooms For Good

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Walk into your bedroom only to notice it’s much hotter than the rest of the house? Relaxing in the living room when all of a sudden you start sweating? Don’t worry you’re not alone. Thousands of homeowners suffer from this problem and there’s a very simple solution - home zoning. See below to find out how you can benefit from hvac zoning:

 

  1. Save on Energy Bills: with home zoning, you can slash your energy bills in more ways than one. Not only will you save on running costs (because independent thermostats control different zones of the house), you’ll consume much less energy overall. Focus on specific areas of the house that require attention while leaving other rooms alone.

  2. You Can Please Everyone: have family members that prefer different temperatures? That’s not a problem with a zoned system. Each room or zone can be set to a different temperature so everyone can be comfortable at the same time.

  3. Less Wear & Tear On Your HVAC System: since your entire home won’t need to be cooled at the same time, your system can catch a much needed break. This means it could potentially require less frequent repairs and could last for a longer period of time.

At Uptown, we provide you with a level of customer service that we back with a satisfaction guarantee for your added confidence. We've had over 100 years in training, so you can be sure of the best there is to offer in customer service.

To improve your home comfort levels and enjoy greater energy efficiency in your home in Minneapolis - St. Paul, call and speak with the home zoning experts at Uptown Air Conditioning today.