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.

Fun Summer Events in the Twin Cities

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Summer will be over before we know it, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to break out the sweaters and boots just yet. We still have the entire month of August to enjoy warm weather and everything summer has to offer. See below for a list of events taking place in the Twin Cities over the next month that you definitely won’t want to miss:

Uptown Art Fair

Let your creative juices flow at the Uptown Art Fair taking place Friday, August 4th through Sunday, August 6th. Over 350 artists and 25 food stands will be making their way into town to set up for the massive 3-day art fair. Don’t forget to check out the Kitchen Window Culinary Arts Competition while you’re there!

Minnesota State Fairgrounds

Would it really be summer if you didn’t plan a trip to the fair? With fried food, baby piglets and live music, you can’t go wrong. Check it out from August 24th through September 4th.

Run a 5k at Night

This year, the Glo Run will be taking place on Saturday, August 26th. While most 5k races take place in the morning, this one is geared toward the night owls. The course will be filled with black light zones, glow sticks, lasers and live DJs.

At Uptown, we revolve our business around the community. After all, we wouldn’t be where we are today without the amazing people, places and culture that surround our great cities. Show your support by attending some of these amazing local events this summer and remember, when it comes to your home’s heating and cooling, we’re always here to help!

Beat The Heat at These Local Twin Cities Establishments

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It’s hot outside - there’s no way around it and it’s common to experience temperatures well into the 80s and 90s during the summer months in the Twin Cities. For most homeowners, the heat means higher energy bills as air conditioning systems become an absolute necessity. But that doesn’t have to be the case - there are plenty of public establishments you can frequent in our very own neighborhoods in order to keep cool while giving your air conditioning system a much needed rest.

The Library

Minneapolis has three major libraries (Minneapolis Central, Walker and Southeast) that you can take advantage of. Sit down with your favorite book or magazine, surf the web or take some time to learn about something new. It’s also a great place to meet and interact with friends and neighbors.

Coffee Shops

You don’t necessarily need to crave coffee to frequent a local coffee shop. They are great places to grab a snack, take a date or get some work done in a comfortable and relatively quiet atmosphere.

Movie Theaters

Take some time to catch up on those flicks you’ve been meaning to see. The movie theater is a great place to hang out while keeping out of the sun. Whether you prefer to bring the entire family or take a solo trip, grab a soda and a fresh popcorn, sit back, relax and enjoy!

And remember, when you need your air conditioner serviced or repaired this summer, you can always count on the professionals at Uptown. Your friends and neighbors in the Twin Cities have relied on us for over 100 years.

How Did People Stay Cool Before Air Conditioners?

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Imagine a world without air conditioning. That’s right, none of those big power machines that help keep your home cool during the dog days of summer. Imagine tossing and turning in bed as the sweat drips down your forehead. Imagine coming home after a long day’s work to a house where the thermostat read “88°F” - sounds like a horror film, right?

Well, air conditioning is in fact a relatively modern invention and people actually lived normal lives well before AC. So, what did they use to keep themselves from overheating? Believe it or not, there are a few tried and true alternatives to air conditioning:

Qanats - these were systems of underground tunnels used by the Persians roughly 3,000 years ago. Hot air traveled downwards through an air shaft to the water-filled qanat below. Here, air cooled and escaped back up into the air shaft to cool off lower levels of the establishment.

Aqueducts - this was the Romans’ take on qanats. Aqueducts were used to transport cool water and were routed through walls in homes to cool the brick or stone used to construct the building.

Ice - believe it or not, people did use ice to cool down. You can create a “poor man's” version of an air conditioner by placing a fan in front of a bucket of ice.

Damp Sheets - combining air with sheets submerged in cool water was president James Garfield’s take on the modern day swamp cooler.

Luckily, we don’t have to rely on these methods to stay cool today. Instead, you can call on the air conditioning experts at Uptown to keep your home cool and comfortable all summer long. Call 612-284-5789 to schedule an appointment.

How To Dry Out a Wet Basement

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Does your basement feel damp and musty? If so, you’re not alone. This is an area of the house that is  often dark and humid on its own and if you throw in a severe summer storm, things can quickly go south. In order to avoid the nuisance and keep carpeting, drywall and framing from being damaged, here’s how you can dry out a wet basement.

Condensation

You can check for condensation by taping foil over damp spots in the basement and checking on it the next day. If moisture forms on the outside of the foil, it’s coming from the air.

You can tackle this problem by airing out the basement. Open up windows and doors leading to the outside while running a fan simultaneously. Additionally, we recommend installing a dehumidifier. For a more permanent solution, consider damp-proofing walls with a waterproof coating.

Runoff

Damp crawl spaces and wet walls and floors are good indications that the water is entering as runoff from a storm.

Check to make sure your gutters and downspouts are working properly and that they are carrying water far away from the foundation of the house. It’s also important to check for cracks or gaps in the foundation as well as the driveway and walkway.

In need of a home dehumidification system? You’ve come to the right place. The home comfort experts at Uptown can visit your home to assess your humidity levels and provide the perfect solution to suit your needs and budget.

Why You Shouldn't Count Old Homes Out

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Purchasing a home? It can be very appealing to look for something move-in ready that consists of new construction, new appliances and the like. But there are lots of great reasons to keep a few older homes on the list. Why? Find out below:

  1. “They Just Don’t Build ‘Em Like They Used To.” You’ve probably heard that saying before and most of the time, it’s true. Lots of established houses on the market are built to last and many aspects of the construction simply cannot be duplicated today. With that said, it is a good idea to replace older heating and cooling systems as they can cost you much more over time.

  2. They’re Situated In Established Locations. Take the Twin Cities for example - we’re known for older harms with unparalleled charm, our school districts are magnificent, and the crime rate is relatively low compared to other cities. If older homes are still prevalent, it’s a good sign that the area is stable.

  3. They Have Unmatched Character. Mature trees don’t form overnight and original crown moldings are hard to come by. While some new homes try to copy older styles, you may opt for the real thing instead.

At Uptown Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, we’re the old home specialists. From repairs and service to installations and maintenance we’ll help keep your older Minneapolis - St. Paul home in tip-top shape. Call us today to find out more about our services or to schedule an appointment. 651-315-7995.