5 Easy Ways To Add Storage Where You Need It Most

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Now that the snow is tapering off and we’re looking at warmer temperatures toward the end of the week, it’s time to tackle those projects you’ve been putting off all winter. This weekend, you can start by adding storage solutions throughout the house. Grab your tool belt, grab a helper and let’s get to work!

Multi-Functioning Bed

In the old days, a bed was strictly for sleeping. But times have changed and now you can use it as a storage solution as well. Create 2-3 cubbies that span the length of the bed and place them on either side underneath your bed’s platform frame.

Bring Back The Coat Rack

Running out of space in the closet? Hate seeing coats hanging on the back of chairs or sprawled out on the couch? A coat rack is the perfect solution for you. Keep hats, coats and scarves out of the way so you have more room for activities.

Cocktail Hutch

Why battle for space in the kitchen when you can build a tall slender cocktail hutch in the living- or dining room instead? Add a place to hang glasses at the top, a shelf for liquor bottles in the middle and a an area to store wine bottles at the bottom. After your long weekend building, this may be the first thing you put to use.

Retire The Canvas Laundry Sack

There’s no reason to keep using that old laundry bag. With a few pieces of wood, you can create a modern-looking hamper in the bathroom.

Repurpose Old Door Knobs

Looking for a new place to keep bath towels? Why not keep them right in the bathroom itself? You can build a towel rack using old door knobs as the hooks - this way you can keep the vanity clear and free up space in the closet.

Notice you need plumbing, heating or cooling service during your DIY projects? We’re here to help! Call on the experts at Uptown today - we’ve been serving the Twin Cities for over 100 years so you know you can count on us.

Why Perform a Home Energy Audit?

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There are lots of things you can do around your home to save money - that is no secret. But did you know that you can save between 5 and 30 percent or more on home energy bills by making just a few efficiency upgrades? Performing a home energy audit is the key to saving this year and here’s what you need to look for:

  • Take note of the number of registers, or air vents, you have in your home as well as where they are located.

  • Check windows and doors for excess window condensation. This could mean the seal inside your windows is no longer working like it’s supposed to and could be the reason you have drafts.

  • Check for air leaks around outlets, fixtures, windows and doors.

  • Inspect the fireplace and make sure there are no structural cracks or gaps on interior or exterior walls.

  • Write down the name and model number of your thermostat. Also note the heating and cooling settings.

  • Check for insulation in your walls, attic and ceiling.

  • Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

If you notice anything out of the ordinary, or that certain areas of your home seem to be damaged or broken it’s vital to call in the professionals right away. Why go another day, week or month spending more than you need to on energy bills?

When you need help with your home's plumbing, heating and cooling, the expert technicians at Uptown are available on-call to get to you fast with the tools and parts to perform repairs and installations. Call us today at 612-284-5789.

Fight Back Against Allergies With These Houseplants

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Allergy sufferers brace yourselves! Spring is just a few short weeks away and that means itchy eyes, coughing and sneezing will be here before we know it. But this year you don’t have to succumb to the symptoms - find out how you can fight back by placing a few houseplants around your home.

Golden pothos: also known as the devil’s ivy, this plant is great for getting rid of formaldehyde, xylene, toluene, benzene and even carbon monoxide. It is however, toxic to animals so keep them away from dogs and cats.

Bamboo Palm: this plant requires a bit of maintenance, but it’s well worth it. Keep the soil moist, but not wet, and place it in area that receives indirect sunlight to bring out its air purifying capabilities.

Dracaena: some people refer to this one as “Janet Craig,” a nickname derived from a prominent nurseryman’s daughter. This plant’s shiny deep-green leaves are renowned for trapping allergens.

Peace Lily: it’ll add a sense of decor and create an ambiance in any room of the house and this plant will help keep allergic reactions to a minimum.

In addition to placing these houseplants around your home, we also recommend considering a permanent indoor air quality solution. After all, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claims low indoor air quality as being a major potential health risk factor with the effects posing a number of potential health issues such as colds, sore throats, headaches, nausea as well as potentially aggravating the symptoms of people who already suffer from asthma, allergies and breathing difficulties.

Don’t suffer this season! Contact the indoor air quality specialists at Uptown Plumbing, Heating & Cooling today.

The Safe Way To Use A Nail Gun

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While it may not feel like it just yet, spring will be here before we know it. And that means homeowners across the country will set out to complete thousands of DIY projects around the house. Sure, doing it yourself is a great way to save a few bucks, but when it comes to power tools and gadgets that you may not use every day - things can go south rather quickly if you’re not careful.

Today, we’re focusing on the nail gun. Whether you’re tackling a project in the bathroom, putting up moulding in the kitchen or sprucing up the backyard, the nail gun is quite the versatile tool. With that said, roughly 14,800 incidents are reported each year revolving around nail gun injuries by nonprofessionals. See below for some safety tips so you can avoid becoming another statistic:

Nail Gun Safety Tips

  • Immediately after you’ve driven a nail into the target, take your finger off the trigger. Nail gun triggers are quite sensitive and the slightest touch, tap or jolt can cause the machine to fire.

  • Look for models with safety features. Nail guns with sequential-trip triggers only fire a nail if the nose is pressed firmly against the workpiece.

  • Keep hands and other body parts clear of where the gun is pointed. Even if you have your hand on the other side of a piece of wood, the nail can go through and hit you.

  • Avoid getting fish hooked. Sometimes, a nail can hit the target and the force can cause it to poke through and curl. Keep your fingers at least 10 inches away from either side of the workpiece.

  • Need to reload the gun or clear a jam? Before doing so, it’s vital to disconnect the power source. This way you can do what you need to do without the gun firing.

If you’re uncomfortable working with power tools, feel free to call on the experts at Uptown to take care of your plumbing, heating and cooling needs. Our technicians have years of experience under their belts and would be more than happy to lend a hand. Call us today at 612-284-5789.

The Severe Dangers of Chemical Drain Cleaners

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Think twice before you pour that bottle of chemicals down your drain! Most liquid drain cleaners claim to be a cheap and powerful way to get rid of clogs, but saving a buck upfront can lead to costly problems down the road. See below to find out why you should never rely on liquid drain cleaners:

  • They’re Toxic: ever take a look at the ingredients of a drain cleaner sitting on the shelf at a grocery store? Chances are it contains chemicals that have very high toxicity levels. The fumes are unhealthy to breathe in and can cause damage to your eyes and nose.

  • They Can Damage Your Pipes: in most commercial drain cleaners, the number one ingredient is hydrochloric acid. While it might get rid of that stubborn clog, it can gnaw away at your pipes and chew off the enamel of the expensive fixture finishes in the kitchen or bathroom.

  • They’re Bad For The Earth: think about where things wind up after the go down the drain and out of your home. The chemicals from commercial cleaners can wind up in our drinking water and in landfills.

  • Sometimes, They Don’t Even Work: the root of the problem may not even be in the drain pipe itself - it could be a problem with the sewer line or a broken pipe. In either of these cases, dumping chemicals down the drain won’t solve the problem.

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.

Banish Your Winter Blues With Beachy Bathroom Accents

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Lets’ face it - we’ve been dealing with a long, cold winter here in the Twin Cities, but there’s hope. With spring just around the corner we have our eyes set on warmer temperatures and lots of daylight. However, you don’t have to wait until March 20th to start reaping the benefits of warmer weather. Give your bathroom the following beachy accents today!

Aquatic Shower Curtain

It’s time to get rid of that old, crusty shower curtain anyway so why not replace it with fish and ocean creatures? If that’s not quite your style, you can go with nautical stripes or palm trees.

Mermaid Wall Hooks

Need some more space to store your towels or hang your bathrobe? Hang multi-colored mermaid hooks on the wall. It’s a cheaper alternative to adding expensive shelving or additional cabinets.

Swap Out The Photos

Have winter landscape pictures hanging on the walls? It’s time to swap them out with photos of beautiful beaches, shells or the ocean. You can accompany the photos with nautical mirrors for a more dramatic look.

Soap and Hand Lotion

We love the smell of pine needles and evergreen trees during the winter months, don’t get us wrong. But, now it’s time to swap out these scents with cucumber, watermelon or coconut. Nothing rejuvenates our senses like the smells of summer!

While you’re sprucing up the bathroom, if you notice any leaks or plumbing issues with your bathroom fixtures, you know who to call! The experts at Uptown have been serving the Minneapolis - St. Paul area for over 100 years.

Sportsology at the Science Museum

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Have you or your children ever really thought about the science behind sports? Think about the body movements that go into being an athlete. Think about swinging a racket. Think about scoring a goal. There’s lots more to it than what meets the eye. Now you have the chance to dig beneath the surface to uncover the science of sports.

Become a part of Sportsology at the Science Museum of Minnesota this weekend! This is where every field, court, track and gym becomes a science lab! With admission, you’ll have access to:

Motion Lab

Throw a football, complete a goal kick, do a cartwheel, and more. Then, play back your video, analyze your movements, and compare them to professional athletes.

Born To Run

Race against a T. rex (spoiler alert: you won’t win!), professional athletes, or Minnesota Twins mascot T.C. Bear (spoiler alert: best start).

Faster, Higher, Better

Practice your high jumps, then measure them against other visitors and some of the most famous basketball players in the world.

This is an extraordinary opportunity to have your kids learn in an interesting environment. All in all, it’s an event you won’t want to miss!

Keeping Drains Clear With A Full House

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The kids are home from school, their play date is at your house tomorrow and you’re concerned about the state of your drains. Yes, it is true that more people means more clogs, but not if you are careful about it. Try implementing the following tips to help prevent any possible plumbing disasters:

 

Wipe-Free Zone

If you have small children in your home this week, make sure they weren’t given the wrong information about wipes. Even though the package might say ‘flushable’, there is no such thing as a flushable wipe. They will cause blockages deep in your pipes that require immediate repair.

Drain Responsibly

When there are more guests in the home throughout the day, the chances of a drain clog increase dramatically. There are more meals to cook, more plates to clean, and more strain on your drains. To give them a fighting chance, keep the following items out:

  • Egg Shells

  • Coffee Grinds

  • Grease/Oil

  • Bones

Drain Cleaning Hacks

There are two methods that we would recommend for any in-home drain clog. The baking soda method and the fishing hook:

The baking soda method goes as follows:

  • Take 1 TBSP of baking soda and 1 TBSP of vinegar and pour them down the drain.

  • Let the solution sit and break up clogs for half an hour.

  • Once the time has passed, pour a pot of boiling water down the drain to wash it away.

The fishing hook method goes as follows:

  • Using a pair of needle-nosed pliers, straighten a wire hanger but keep the hook end in tact.

  • Bend the other end to form a small handle or loop.

  • Stick the hook end into the drain and see if you can loop around the item you want to remove.

  • Just make sure you aren’t pushing the clogging culprit further down!

If you find yourself in the middle of a mess this week, call on Uptown Man to save the day! The experts at Uptown Plumbing will arrive with the tools needed to get things flowing the way they should be.

3 Ways to Save Water in the Bathroom

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Most people think that because 75% of the Earth is covered in water, we’ll never run out. But contrary to popular belief, that is definitely not the case. Interested in taking a stab at a green project that can save you lots of water and money? It all starts in the bathroom. See below to find out how you can make a difference with a few small updates:

 

The Toilet

Did you know that toilets are the main water wasters in homes across the country? Believe it or not, they account for nearly 30% of all indoor water consumption, according to the EPA. If you’ve got an old toilet, consider replacing it with an ultra-high-efficiency model. Doing so can save you nearly 18,000 gallons of water and $120 per year.

 

The Faucet

Think that small leak is no big deal? Think again. A small faucet drip can waste up to 20 gallons of water per day. That’s 140 gallons per week and 7,280 gallons per year!

The Shower

You may enjoy taking a long, hot shower after a tough day at work and let’s face it - it’s quite relaxing. But it might not be so relaxing when you consider the fact that you’re wasting lots of water and it’s taking a toll on your utility bills. You can save 8,000 gallons of water or more each year by switching to a high-efficiency showerhead and cutting down on the amount of time you spend in there.

Uptown Plumbing is completely licensed and insured for all your plumbing and repipe requirements in Minneapolis-St Paul. Have a leak? That’s our specialty. Give us a call today at 612-284-5789 and we’ll put a stop to it right away!

Can Thermostat Setbacks Really Save You Money?

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Let’s face it - it’s tough to keep a comfortable home without spending a fortune on energy bills each winter. And with the frigid temperatures that blanket the Twin Cities from November-March it’s no wonder homeowners are looking for some serious solutions.

You may have heard that turning your thermostat back a few degrees is one way to save money, but does it really work? Find out the answer and a few other heating tips below:

  • Temperature setbacks do in fact, help you save energy which in turn, helps you save money.

  • Programmable thermostats allow you to set different temperatures based on the time of day and the day of the week.

  • Smart thermostats learn how you live and adjust the temperature based on your lifestyle.

Why Do Temperature Setbacks Work?

In order to understand the science behind this, you must think about how your home is set up. You’ve got insulation on the inside walls of your home and they’re built to keep warm air inside. Insulation has a given R-value, which is the amount of heat that transfers through the wall, which leads us to something called Temperature Difference.

Heat wants to travel from warmer areas to cooler areas so if you have your heat set to 70°F and it’s 0°F, you’ll lose more heat through the walls than if you set your thermostat back to 60°F, make sense?

Setting your thermostat back a few degrees will give your heating system a much-needed rest and a resting machine means lower energy bills.

Having issues with your thermostat or your home’s heating system? Rest assured knowing that Uptown has over 100 years of experience and whether you need service, advice or installations we’ve got you covered!