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.

Want To Save Money On Heating Bills This Season? Now You Can!



There are lots of things in life that contribute to your dwindling bank account - heating your home shouldn’t be one of them. Fall is among us and with it comes cooler temperatures and the need to fire up that furnace, or so you thought! See below for a few ways to heat your home that aren’t so “run of the mill.”


  1. Change Your Sheets: we’re not talking simply washing the sheets that have been on your bed for a few weeks now, we’re talking about switching them over from your cooler summer materials to warmer fabrics like flannel sheets and down comforters. You’ll be amazed at how low you can set the thermostat while still feeling warm and toasty at night.

  2. Utilize Free Solar Heating: as long as the sun comes out, you can use up its energy for free! All you need to do is open up the curtains and let the warm rays fill your home.

  3. Keep Those Ceiling Fans Spinning: you may think ceiling fans are only good at keeping you cool during warm days. If that’s the case, think again. Flip this switch on the fan itself to have the blades spin in reverse. This will bring warm air that has risen, back down to the living space.

  4. Keep Your Vents Clear: notice that you have furniture or carpets blocking air vents? Free them up to allow warm air to flow freely through your house.

  5. Bring The Cooking Indoors: we’re sure you got plenty of use out of your grill during the summer, but now it’s time to bring cooking back inside. Sure, it’ll cost a few bucks to run your stove or oven, but it’s a great way to multitask: cook a nice warm meal and heat some of your house at the same time!

For the best in service, advice and expert installations for your new heating system in the Minneapolis - St. Paul area, call and speak with the heating professionals at Uptown Heating today.

4 Not-So-Obvious Signs It's Time To Replace Your Furnace


Winter is coming. That means cooler temperatures will be here to stay before you know it and if your furnace isn’t ready for a full season, you could be in for a rude awakening. While some signs are quite blatant, there are lots of things that could be going wrong inside your furnace the average homeowner would never even notice.


  1. Your furnace has been around for more than a decade. It may not show signs of wear and tear, but furnaces aren’t made to last forever and most of them only have a 10-15 year lifespan. After that, things inside begin to wear out and the equipment doesn’t work as efficiently as it once did.

  2. Your family is noticing extra dry skin and static shock. Back in the day it was common for home heating systems to strip the air of moisture. Today’s systems however, work to add moisture back into the air to prevent symptoms of dry skin and to eliminate static shock.

  3. You’ve been noticing steady spikes in repair costs. As heating systems get older, they tend to require more frequent maintenance and a lack thereof usually leads to more frequent repairs. If you find yourself constantly dishing out cash for repairs, it’s probably a good idea to replace your heating equipment.

  4. You’re noticing different rooms of the house are different temperatures. Uneven heating is a common result of a furnace approaching the end of its lifespan. If you notice is colder in some rooms and warmer in others, it means your heating system losing its ability to distribute heat evenly, and it will only get worse.

If you are looking for a new heating system for your Minneapolis - St. Paul area home, then trust the experts with over 100 year proven track record and speak to Uptown Heating. Call us today at 612-284-5789 to find out how we can help!

Maintaining Your Water Heater in 3 Simple Steps



Believe it or not, you can perform maintenance on your own water heater. Why perform maintenance? Well, it can help you prevent fire hazards, clean the water heater and extend the lifetime of your system. Put simply, it’ll help save you lots of money in the long run.

Let’s get started…

Step 1: keep the area around the water heater clear. This will help prevent it from gathering dust, dirt and debris that can get into the system and clog it up or cause major fire hazards.

Step 2: wipe down the exterior of the tank and vacuum up around the system. Pay close attention to the screen at the bottom which tends to suck in lint, dirt and debris. When it gets plugged up, your water heater can’t breathe and it won’t function properly.

Step 3: flush out the sediment that accumulates over the course of the year. Take a bucket and place it under the drain at the bottom of the heater. Open it up and pull about a gallon or two of water out of it. This will help extend the lifetime of your system.

Have additional questions about your water heater or about plumbing in general? Feel free to give Uptown Plumbing, Heating & Cooling a call at 612-284-5789 or leave us a message on Facebook!

Top Fall Events in the Minneapolis Area


Fall is officially here and it’s time to get out there and enjoy the beautiful weather before we’re trapped indoors for the winter. With that said, there are tons of seasonal events going on in the Minneapolis area that you won’t want to miss. And for those who aren’t thrilled with the fall staples like pumpkin spice flavor and apples, don’t worry, these events have plenty of other things to enjoy!

SurlyFest 2017 - September 23, 2017

Need an excuse to try some of the best seasonal beers in town? Here it is. Partake in games and activities with fellow beer-lovers and chow down on some great food. Tickets are not required but will reserve your spot at the festival.

Rock River Pumpkin Festival - September 30, 2017

Don’t let the name of the event fool you, there’s a medallion hunt, a 5K race, corn maze, carnival games, hayrides and paintball too! Most of the events will be held on Elizabeth Street in Edgarton between 4th and 5th Avenues.

Zombie Pup Crawl - October 7, 2017

Enter your dog for this canine costume contest or come and watch the adorable pups strut their stuff. Costumes need not be zombie-themed. Root for your favorite doggos while sipping a craft beer!

Stillwater Harvest Festival - October 14th - 15th, 2017

Did somebody say Chili Cook-Off? Yes, they did! Not to mention a Giant Pumpkin weigh-off and live music. This is definitely an event you won’t want to miss.

And remember, when you need a plumbing or heating specialist this season you can always count on experts at Uptown. We’ve been serving the entire Twin Cities area for over 100 years.

Is Your Heating System Ready For Fall?



With temperatures still climbing to near 80°F, it may seem like heating season is months away. Well, fall is almost here and we know how quickly temperatures can change in the Twin Cities. With that said, it’s time to start poking around and making sure your home’s heating system will be ready when temps take a dive. Here’s what you should be doing in the upcoming weeks:

Schedule a Tune-Up: don’t wait until the first few cold days to call your local plumbing and heating company because chances are, they won’t be able to squeeze you in right away. Be proactive and schedule a tune-up now so you’re ready to go ahead of time.

Change The Filter: if you didn’t change the filter at the end of the last cold season, do so now. A fresh air filter will help your system run more efficiently and effectively.

Check The Ducts: for air leaks and any other noticeable damage. Leaky ducts can cause your energy bills to skyrocket this fall.

Test The Thermostat: flip your system over to the “heat” setting and turn up the temperature a few degrees to make sure the heat kicks on. This is also a great opportunity to check up on the programmed settings.

Clean Up: it’s a good idea to vacuum around the furnace and to suck up dirt and debris that may have fallen into the system. It’s also important to clear outside exhaust vents as well as your chimney.

Enjoy improved reliability and efficiency from your heating system when you choose periodic maintenance services from the heating experts at Uptown Heating. We're the trusted professionals of choice in thousands of other homes and businesses over our 100+ years of business.

6 Vital Skills For Surviving Homeownership



It’s all fun and games until a pipe springs a leak or the toilet backs up. Sure, owning a home is quite the accomplishment and it’s nothing to take lightly, but there are a few skills you must possess in order to survive a few common household emergencies. Since most houses don’t come with an owner’s manual, here are the answers to some of the questions you’re inevitably going to have:

  1. Fixing A Leaky Faucet: most of the time, leaky faucets are due to worn out or failed washers inside a handle. In order to replace the washer, you’ll need to turn off the water supply valve, take the handle apart, remove the screw and pull off the handle. Then use a wrench to disassemble the stem and line up the parts in order so you remember how to replace them. Swap out the broken or worn out pieces and return the parts as they were when you began the project.

  2. Locating A Stud: whether you’re hanging a shelf, a picture or anything else that needs to be screwed into the wall, you’re going to need to be able to find the studs. Keep in mind that most studs are placed 16 inches apart from one another so once you find one, you can easily find the rest.

  3. Unclogging A Sink: step away from the chemicals! We repeat, step away from the chemicals! A full stoppage usually requires removing the drain stem and putting a plunger to work. If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to use a drain snake.

  4. Dealing With The Scent of Gas: gas leaks can create a combustible atmosphere in 10 seconds or less, so if you smell gas, do not turn on the lights, use your cell phone, or light any type of flame. Check all of the knobs on the stove and the oven and if that doesn’t do the trick, call the gas utility or fire department right away.

  5. Knowing How To Turn Off The Water: this will come in handy if you ever experience a burst pipe or any other type of leak. You should be able to locate your main water shutoff valve so you can save your home from a major disaster.

  6. Stopping an Overflowing Toilet: we’ve all had the “you know what” scared out of us when a toilet backs up and water continues to flow into the bowl. In order to stop an overflowing toilet, remove the tank cover, grab the float and pull it close to the valve. That should leave you with enough time to reach down and shut off the water valves behind the bowl.

Need help taking care of any of the above? That’s what we’re here for! Call on the friendly staff at Uptown Plumbing, Heating & Cooling and we’ll help you solve these problems right away.