Speed Cleaning Tips To Get Your House Clean For The Holidays

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If you think the holidays are synonymous with the word stress, you’re not alone. Making the plans, preparing the food, and having the whole family over your house can be overwhelming. However, taking hours to clean the house for your guests is a thing of the past! Get your house cleaned in just minutes with these speed cleaning tips:

 

 

 

  • Make a list -creating a checklist with everything that needs to be cleaned is a great way to stick to the plan. Checking off each item as you also provides a feeling of satisfaction.

  • Start at one end - begin at one end of the house, say your bedroom, and work your way through the living room and kitchen.

  • Be organized - it’s much easier to clean when things have a home. Shelving and storage boxes or drawers will help keep things out of the way.

  • Sweeping and mopping - save it for the end. Running your mop or broom over the hard surfaces of your floors only takes a couple of minutes. Get the longer tasks finished and out of the way first.

  • Timeline - Use your time wisely. Dedicate 5 minutes to each of your bathrooms, 10-15 minutes for the living and dining rooms, and 10-15 minutes for the kitchen.

     

This article is full of great time-saving cleaning tips and ideas, be sure to check it out!

Abiding by this guideline will help you save valuable time when it comes to preparing your home for the holidays. Now you can focus more time on preparing the food and actually spending time relaxing with your family! Don’t stress!

Turn Your Living Room Into A Winter Wonderland

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Create a cozy winter wonderland in your living room this season to create a warm and enjoyable living space as freezing temperatures rear their ugly heads. It’s that time of year to take down all of the spring and summer decorations and replace them with winter-themed designs. Nothing says snuggling up on a cold winter day like a fireplace, blanket and ski photographs on display in the room.

 

 

Consider repainting your walls with warmer colors like red or yellow to create a warmer atmosphere than your neutral colored walls. Replacing your sheer window treatments with heavier curtains or draperies is another simple way to add warmth to a room.

 

You may want to purchase an area rug for your wood or tile floor which will provide warmth and comfort for your freezing toes. A simple bookcase with mittens, wool hats and scarves displayed are a perfect way to personalize your living space with a winter flair.

 

Finally, make use of your fireplace. Nothing beats the smell of wood burning in the winter and the heat that a wood-burning or an electric fireplace gives off. Plus, it’s a less-expensive way to heat your house!

For more winter-inspired living room ideas, head on over to Better Homes and Gardens. Don’t let the cold temperatures of winter inhibit you from enjoying time in a cozy living room with your friends and family.

Repairing & Replacing An Electrical Outlet In The Twin Cities

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Don’t you hate when you hire somebody to fix or replace a broken item only to realize you probably could have done it yourself? That is often the case when things appear to be broken around your house. A cracked or loose electrical outlet can trick you into thinking that it needs to be replaced by an expert electrician, but before hiring somebody you should take a minute to find out exactly what you need and how it can be repaired or replaced properly AND safely.

 

Follow this list to familiarize yourself with electrical outlet terms and safety tips:

  • Receptacle - this is the area on the face of the outlet where the prongs plug in. If any part of the face is broken or doesn’t grip the prongs firmly, it needs to be replaced.

  • Terminal Screws - these are located on either side of the outlet. This is the safest point of wire connection - white wire always goes to silver screw and black wire goes to brass screw.

  • Grounding Screw - connects to bare grounding wire to prevent shocks.

  • Mounting Strap - holds receptacle flush with outside of box.

  • Romex - plastic jacket that contains black, white, and copper wires that connect to circuit-breaker panel.

     

For a complete electrical outlet guide, accompanied by photos, visit this article from This Old House.

 

Now that you are familiar with an electrical outlet you can be sure of what to ask for when shopping for a new one. By following these safety tips and knowing the potential hazards that can occur when replacing your electrical outlet, you may not need to hire an electrician to do the job.

Safety is our top priority and you should never try to install an outlet if you are unsure of how to do so properly and safely. Give us a call if you need a hand, we are happy to help!

Upgrading Your Kitchen On A Budget

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We know that a complete kitchen renovation can break the bank. However, you don’t need an entire remodel to give your kitchen an updated look and spice things up. Simple solutions like clever seating, lighting that creates the right atmosphere, and adding touches of color here and there are great ways to freshen up your kitchen without going broke! See below for ways to upgrade your kitchen without spending a fortune:

 

Bold Backsplash

Tired of looking at the same boring backsplash every time you use your kitchen sink? Why not start by adding vibrant colors. Multihued ceramic tiles can brighten up the entire kitchen for about $30 to $40 per square foot.

 

Paint Your Pantry

Continuing with the color scheme, try giving your pantry an aesthetic makeover. Use a contrasting color to make it stand out from the rest of the kitchen.

 

Change The Seating Plan

There are thousands options to replace your current seating and bring in a new look. You can replace standard kitchen chairs with bar stools or go for a bench seat on either side of your kitchen table.

 

Set The Mood

Consider getting rid of your current kitchen lighting plan and install dramatic lighting fixtures instead! Try a multilight pendant or a chandelier instead of recessed lighting.

For an entire kitchen upgrade inspiration center, visit This Old House. With these affordable refreshers, you can give your kitchen a whole new look on a small budget. If you need assistance in choosing items that will look great in your kitchen, or if you need a professional installation, give us a call! We love to help!

Turn Your Cold, Concrete, Crammed Basement Into A Cozy Living Space!

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Your basement doesn’t have to be cold, concrete and crammed with storage boxes. It has the potential to become a living space that your whole family can enjoy spending time in. They key is to treat your basement like you would any other room of your house and with a little inspiration from This Old House you can turn it into the most popular spot in your house.

 

Before you begin the remodel, it is important to test for moisture which can mean your foundation is not sealed properly. Check floor joists for sagging and have a professional check fuel-burning equipment and your home’s ventilation system.

 

During the renovation, make sure to insulate the pipes in your basement to avoid the potential of freezing and bursting and insulate walls, ceilings and floors if necessary.

 

A basement is not a place where you can skimp on lighting. Basements don’t normally receive as much natural lighting as the upper floors in your house so more fixtures are necessary. Dimly lit basements are a big turnoff.

 

One of the reasons your family may not currently utilize the basement is the lack of food. You don’t need a full kitchen in your basement, but a mini fridge for beverages, a cabinet to hold snacks, and a microwave for heating are a MUST!

 

Consider leaving space for games and entertainment. Billiards tables, darts, and ping-pong are great ways to attract people to the basement to hang out and have some fun.

Lastly, make your basement a cozy place where you and your family can curl up. If possible, a fireplace is a great option. Add furnishings such as a comfortable couch or armchair and paint the walls a warm color. Adding family photos or your favorite sports figures are another great way to create a cozy atmosphere.

To schedule an appointment with Uptown, give us a call today at 651-315-7995.

Bathroom Cleaning Tips - St. Paul - Minneapolis Area

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We all know how frustrating it is to look at a dirty bathroom. Nobody wants to have shower or tub full of soap scum or mold, but it’s difficult to find time during your busy day to dedicate to cleaning. Not only is it difficult to find the time, it’s also a hassle to find a cleaning product that works! Well, we have a simple solution. Find out how you can save money AND have a sparkling clean shower or tub! Follow these steps to get the best of both worlds:

 

  • Heat 12oz. vinegar in microwave for 2 minutes.

  • Add warm vinegar to spray bottle.

  • Add 10oz. blue dawn to spray bottle.

  • Shake gently.

  • Spray cleaner on dirty surface and let sit for a few minutes.

  • Wipe down with dry wash cloth.

     

Following this process, provided by FabulesslyFrugal will alleviate the headache of cleaning the bathroom. The vinegar and soap mixture will cut through grime and dirt and all you have to do is wipe clean! With this recipe, you will no longer dread cleaning, and your shower and tub will be spotless! Stay tuned for more home cleaning and maintenance tips!

Creating a Bathroom Lighting Plan in the Twin Cities

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Why invest in lighting for my bathroom? Most people only think of investing money in their bathroom’s shower, sink, or toilet forgetting about the importance of lighting and lighting fixtures. However, as your bathroom increasingly becomes a place to relax it is important to consider how lighting can affect the overall ambiance of the room.

 

 

 

The folks at This Old House say, “A good lighting plan is a series of layers - placing ample light where it is needed for showers, shaving, or putting on makeup, for instance, while other light sources enhance the overall mood of the room.”

 

Task Lighting

Task lighting is arguably the most important source of lighting in your bathroom. These areas of the bathroom include vanity lighting and the shower area. Skip the recessed ceiling fixtures over your vanity and opt for vertical fixtures or sconces mounted on either side of the mirror instead. This option provides the best casting for an even light across the face. Recessed lighting fixtures are a better choice above your shower or free-standing tub.

 

Ambient Lighting

This lighting source is a substitute for natural light. It often consists of a central fixture or lamp, as opposed to Accent Lighting which usually includes small recessed spotlights aimed at a piece of decorative art.

 

Choosing a Bulb

With a plethora of bulb options, choosing the right one can be daunting. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when selecting a light bulb:

  • Crisp White - most accurate skin tone rendering.

  • Halogen - gold standard.

  • Low-voltage - sparking effect.

     

Dimmers are also a great option. It allows you to have complete control over the amount of lighting at any given time, ultimately letting you control the mood. You should switch to a lower-watt bulb when using dimmers, to reduce or eliminate buzzing.

There are clearly a whole bunch of reasons to consider a good lighting plan, even in your bathroom. Whether you want to create a desirable mood, or simply have enough light to provide for an accurate shave, it is worth giving lighting some thought. To consult with an expert that can help you create a lighting plan that is perfect for your bathroom, give Uptown a call!

Happy Customers In The Twin Cities

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When you choose Uptown Air Conditioning for your cooling and heating needs in Minneapolis - St. Paul, you're choosing a company that has been trusted for 100 years in tens of thousands of local homes.  Read from some of our happy customers below:

 

"I will keep it sweet and simple: I loved working with Josh and Uptown Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Cooling and would highly recommend them. Thank You!" - Ben

 

"My technician (Andy) was prompt and friendly.  He listened carefully as I described the problem and what I'd done already to try and fix it.  He did a quick inspection and told me what he'd be looking at.  He was finished within 30 minutes and showed me exactly where and what the problem was, what he did to fix it, and things I could do to help avoid the problem in the future.  VERY pleased with the service, and even happier to learn that he would be my regular technician for any future calls." - Gerry

 

“Uptown Plumbing, Heating & Cooling is excellent. They call to confirm appointments and show up when scheduled. Our Service Specialist, Jason Kortan, is a true professional and a great guy. He is an expert on our furnace and boiler systems. Jason over delivered by not only performing a basic tune up and making necessary repairs, but also fully explaining all I needed to know to keep our heating systems working at peak performance. I have complete confidence in my Uptown Plumbing team.”

 

“SO knowledgeable - very professional and he educated us about many aspects of problem(s) we weren't aware of. Can't say enough good about this choice to use Uptown Plumbing!”

 

These are just a few of many positive experiences. At Uptown Plumbing, Heating & Cooling we pride ourselves in catering to the needs of our customers. To see a full list of customer reviews and experiences click here. Next time you have a plumbing, heating, or cooling need, don’t hesitate to give us a call! You’ll be glad you did.

Winterizing Your St. Paul - Minneapolis Home

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Often times colder temperatures bring along higher utility bills. Find out what you need to do to winterize your home to be prepared for quickly dropping temperatures. With these simple projects you'll be much warmer and you'll save money this winter!

 

 

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts can waste 5% - 30% of your energy use. Prevent drafts from entering your home by using a simple draft snake or a rolled up bath towel.

 

Run your ceiling fan in reverse. People often think of a fan as a way to cool down your home. However, by turning the fan on in reverse you can circulate warm air that has risen to the ceiling and pull it back down to the living space.

 

Give your heating system a tune-up. Give the experts at Uptown Plumbing, Heating & Cooling a call and schedule an appointment to have your furnace checked. A well-maintained, lubricated system can save you tons on your energy bills.

 

 

Make sure your ducts are sealed. According to Popular Mechanics, 10% - 30% of heated (or cooled) air in an average system escapes from ducts. Proper sealing can save up to $140 annually.

 

Connect with us on social media to stay up-to-date on ways to save money this season. We've been providing quality home service solutions for 100 years, since 1914, so you know you're working with experienced professionals. Give us a call at (612) 827-4674 to schedule an appointment today!

Plumbing Services: St. Paul - Minneapolis

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For all the plumbing needs in your Minneapolis–St Paul home, Uptown Plumbing will provide you with expert installations, repairs and solutions and provide per-job pricing and satisfaction guaranteed service.  Discover how we can assist with all your plumbing needs today:

 

Drains & Sewers - Have blockage in your drain? Are your tree roots posing a threat to underground drainage systems? Do you need your sewer cleaned? At Uptown Plumbing we have expert solutions for all drain or sewer issues.

Hot Water Solutions - If running out of hot water during your shower is a common problem in your household, don’t suffer through one more cold shower. Give us a call today! Ask us about an energy-efficient tankless hot water heater solution.

Pipe Repairs - We will provide you with rapid leak detection and diagnosis and we can repair the most hard to find leaks! We’ve got what it takes to help your plumbing stand the test of time.

Kitchen Plumbing - Whether you’re having a new kitchen installed or need repairs done on your old kitchen, let us take care of the plumbing! We cover everything from fittings to fixtures and appliances, sinks, dishwashers, and garbage disposal units. Don’t hesitate to give us a call even for something as simple as having a clogged kitchen sink drain.

Bathroom Plumbing - Let us repair or upgrade your bathroom plumbing whether it’s a tub, toilet, sink, or faucet. We can also adapt your bathroom to make it more comfortable for the elderly and movement-impaired members of the family.

Water Quality -  We offer a wide range of water softening, conditioning and quality improving features to help you enjoy the purest water at home!

At Uptown Plumbing, Heating & Cooling we take pride in servicing the St. Paul and Minneapolis areas of Minnesota. If you have a plumbing issue you need taken care of, give the experts at Uptown a call at (612) 424-4611. Don’t wait until it’s too late!