Find Out Why Your Home Needs A Dehumidification System

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It gets hot in Minneapolis during the summer, plain and simple. And when warm weather strikes, it usually brings high levels of moisture along with it. Not only does high humidity make it more difficult for our bodies to cool down, but it can have negative effects on our homes as well. Find out how a whole-home dehumidification system can keep things under control as we head into the warmer months of the year, below.

What is Humidity?

It’s the measure of the volume of moisture present in the air and it dictates how we perceive temperature. When there’s too much of it, it’s more difficult for our bodies to cool down and can potentially increase the effects of ailments like asthma and other breathing difficulties or headaches.

But there’s more to it than just the effects it has on our bodies. Humidity can peel paint, cause mold to grow and cause floor boards to expand. High humidity also attracts termites, rats and roaches which can all wreak havoc on your home.

Why Consider a Dehumidification Solution?

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 while allowing you to save money on cooling bills at the same time. Just think, you won’t have to run your air conditioner as frequently if the air inside your home feels dry and more comfortable.

Take control of the humidity levels in your Minneapolis - St. Paul home, and call and speak with the home comfort experts at Uptown Air Conditioning today.

How To Properly Shut Down Your Home's Heating System

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If you haven’t stopped using your heat yet, you’ll likely only need it for a few more weeks. Spring has officially sprung and warmer temperatures will be making their way into the Twin Cities in no time. With that said, it’s important to shut down your home’s heating system the right way so there are no surprises when you need it again next fall.

 

  1. The first thing you’ll want to do is turn off the pilot light. Unless you manually turn it off, the pilot light remains lit all the time and if it’s not fueling another appliance, you don’t need to be wasting money by leaving it on around the clock.

  2. Change over from the “heat” setting to the “cool” setting on the thermostat. If you have a programmable or smart thermostat, take this time to input your new temperature settings so that you’re comfortable all spring and summer long.

  3. Clean or replace the filter now and it’ll be one less thing you need to remember when we transition from summer to fall.

  4. Clean up the area around your furnace. Keep in mind there should be at least 3 feet of space around the unit and it’s a good idea to vacuum up dust and debris that may have collected.

  5. Take this as a reminder to schedule HVAC maintenance to make sure your cooling system will be ready when it’s put to work in the upcoming weeks.

Maintain reliability and energy efficiency in your air conditioning system in Minneapolis - St. Paul, and book a system tune-up by calling the team at Uptown Air Conditioning today.

My Air Conditioner Isn't Working: Should I Repair or Replace?

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Remember how your air conditioning system just wasn’t pumping out cold air at the end of last season like it used to? Now that it’s just about time to start thinking about A/C again, you might be thinking, “should I try to get it repaired or would it be worthwhile to finally replace that old system?” It’s an age old question lots of homeowners face every single year and we’ve got some great insights for you below:

 

Age

Most residential cooling systems only last about 10 years. If you keep it well-maintained and give it a little TLC every so often, you may be able to stretch the lifespan a bit, but 10 years is a good average. If your system is 10 years or older, it’s probably time to replace it whereas if it’s only a few years old and things have gone awry, it might be more cost-efficient to have it repaired.

Efficiency

Older systems tend to be less efficient. Advancements in technology and new standards allow for more efficient pieces of equipment and if your old system is has a lower SEER rating (below 14) and an AFUE rating in the 70s or 80s, there’s not much that can be done in order to bring it back to normal. If this is the case with your system, it’s probably a better idea to replace it.

Repair Costs

It’s not a bad idea to get an estimate on the repair before making any final decision. Consider the repair costs and then do some research on the price of new systems. Keep in mind there are government rebates and cost-saving initiatives that could make upgrading a no-brainer.

Still unsure about whether you should repair or replace your air conditioning system? That’s where we come in! The HVAC specialists at Uptown are more than happy to assess your situation and provide you with a number of options. Call us today at 612-284-5789.

5 Things You MUST Do in the Twin Cities This Spring

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It’s been a long winter here in the Twin Cities and now that spring is finally here, most us are thoroughly enjoying watching the ice melt and the snow subside for good. It’s time to get outside and enjoy warmer temperatures and longer days and we’ve got a list of 5 things you must do this season - we can guarantee they won’t disappoint:

 

  1. Take Me Out To The Ball Game: the Twins’ home opener that is! Get your hands on a set of tickets and head out to Target Field on Monday, April 3rd as the Twins take on the Royals.

  2. Lace Up Your Running Sneakers: Goldy’s Run is taking place on Sunday, April 9th. Have what it takes to trek the 10 mile route? If not, don’t worry there’s a 5k option as well. All proceeds go to the University of Minnesota’s Masonic Children’s Hospital.

  3. Hunt For Easter Eggs: head out to the American Swedish Institute on Saturday, April 15th and let your kids hunt for eggs in a castle this year. Stay after the hunt is over for an arts and crafts session.

  4. Clean Up The Parks: Earth Day takes place on April 22nd and various Minneapolis Parks could use a good cleaning. All you need to do is show up with a pair of gloves and you can do some good for the environment.

  5. Smell The Roses: enjoy the brightly colored blooms and floral varieties that come to fruition during the spring? Check out the Minneapolis Institute of Art’s museum in a whole new light from Thursday, April 27th through Sunday, April 30th.

Now that warmer weather is here, it’s time to get your home’s cooling system in tip-top shape. Give the HVAC specialists at Uptown a call today to make an appointment.

5 Questions To Ask Before Hiring A Plumber

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You wouldn’t just go to a car dealership and choose any old car off the lot, right? So, why would you consider hiring a plumber without doing any research first? A trusted professional is the key to success when it comes to any project, so here’s what you need to ask to make sure your plumber is right for the job:

  1. Are you licensed? If a plumber can’t show you the proper credentials, run. Okay, maybe you shouldn’t necessarily run, but this is a clear indication that this company is not qualified to do the job and unlicensed, unregistered or uninsured “professionals” can cost you lots of money in the long run.

  2. Is this the final cost? It’s always a good idea to get an estimate in writing before any work begins. And while there are some things that just can’t be predicted upfront, they should be able to give you an accurate estimate of the cost in the very beginning.

  3. When do you want payment? Some plumbers want the money upfront, some will collect payment after the project has been completed and some will be a combination of both. Regardless, knowing ahead of time can help you budget and make sure you make timely payments.

  4. Who will be doing the work? Sometimes, a master plumber will show up to take a look at the project, but then send a rookie back to do the work. It’s important to find out who will be showing up so you can make sure they send the right person for the job and that you’ll know exactly who to expect.

  5. Do you have any references or testimonials? Sure, any plumber can tell you they’re the best in town, but if they don’t have any proof, chances are they’re not quite telling the truth. Are most of their customers happy with the work? Would they use the plumber again?

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: read testimonials from happy customers here or about our great service level commitment here.

Quick Fixes For a Leaky Pipe

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The first thing you should do when you notice a pipe is leaking is to get a hold of a plumber. However, finding a reliable plumber who’s ready to roll as soon as your call comes in is not always the case, so you may find yourself in a slippery situation. You’ve got water leaking all over the house and you don’t have much time to lose. What can you do?

Since the solutions below are only temporary, we DO NOT recommend relying on them instead of calling in a plumber. But when you’re in a pinch, they could alleviate some of the issues commonly caused by leaky pipes:

  1. Epoxy compound: while they don’t work on all types of pipes, you can plug up some leaks with an epoxy compound until the plumber arrives to replace it. They work best on cast iron pipes and while a minor repair might be all that is needed to solve the problem, you may want to consider replacing old pipes altogether.

  2. Clamps: pipe clamps are often used on aircraft carriers and submarines, so they’ll likely be able to contain your leaky pipe until the plumber comes in to save the day.

  3. Wraps: you can wrap a piece of rubber around the leaking section of the pipe to keep the leak under control. Once you’ve wrapped it, use a C-clamp and small blocks of wood to make sure the rubber is wrapped tightly in place. Don’t have old rubber tubes lying around? An old garden hose will suffice.

  4. Sleeves: have a pinhole or joint leak? Repair sleeves work best with smaller cracks, but if they’re left too long, the problem can spread.

A leaky pipe is an issue that should not be treated lightly. Call on the expert plumbers at Uptown right away and we’ll make it a point to get to you as quickly as possible. After all, fast service is a top priority.

Quick Fixes For a Leaky Shower Head

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Hear a drip, drip, drip coming from the shower every time you use the bathroom? Sure, a few drops might sprinkle out immediately following a shower, but if it’s happening constantly it’s time for a little servicing. After all, leaving a leak unattended can cause energy bills to heighten, not to mention the large amounts of wasted water. So, how can you fix the drip? Find out below:

First and foremost, DO NOT try to crank the handle closed if water keeps dripping out of the shower head. This is not going to stop it from dribbling and it will likely make things worse.

Instead, try these quick fixes:

  • Soak the shower head in vinegar. Hard water deposits can build up in the holes which has a tendency to prevent water from spraying out. This could cause the water to back up and drip out through the faceplate or where the shower head and the arm connect.

  • Then check for a worn seal. Washers and O-rings don’t last forever and once they wear down, water can leak out. Oftentimes, the leak can be fixed by removing the worn out piece and replacing it with a new one.

  • If your shower has two separate faucets, one for hot and one for cold, you may need to replace the washer in the leaky handle.

  • Check to make sure the shower head is connected to the arm properly. You may need to add a bit of waterproof seal tape if either piece has worn out grooves.

Have a leaky shower head you just can’t seem to fix? No need to worry, the expert plumbers at Uptown are here to help! Our plumbers in well-stocked service vehicles are available from multiple locations across Minneapolis–St Paul so we'll always get to you fast and have the right tools and parts upon arrival.

How To Detect a Toilet Leak

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Hear the sound of running water? Notice the bowl is hissing or trickling? These are clear signs your toilet is leaking, but it’s not always that obvious. Lots of times, when a toilet leaks, water will flow silently into the bowl and you may not even realize it’s happening. It’s important to note though, that even though you’re unaware doesn’t mean it’s not wasting water and money.

Here’s how you find out if your toilet is leaking:

Step 1 - Remove the cover on the toilet tank.

Step 2 - Add roughly 10 drops of food coloring to the water in the tank.

Step 3 - Put the lid back on the tank, but DO NOT flush.

Step 4 - Wait 15-20 minutes and then head back into the bathroom. If you notice the water inside the bowl changed color, you have a leak.

What’s causing the leak?

  • The flapper is not operating properly. It should be covering the hole completely.

  • There is a crack in the bottom of the tank.

  • The chain attached to the flapper is too short or getting caught.

  • The fill valve is not working properly.

Have a leaky toilet in your Minneapolis - St. Paul home? The plumbers at Uptown drive fully-stocked service vehicles so you can be sure they will have the parts with them to repair your toilet quickly. Call us today at 651-315-7995.

3 Reasons Your Faucet is Dripping

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Did you know that a faucet with a slow drip of 10 drops per minute can lead to 350 gallons of wasted water in a given year? With that said, it’s vital to put a stop to that leak once and for all so you can save water and money. But sometimes it’s difficult to stop the leak when you don’t know what’s causing it in the first place so we’ve got some answers below.

  1. Worn Out Parts: there are lots of parts that make up a faucet. From the washer inside the tap, to the rings, screws, nuts and all the other little pieces inside the handles, there’s lots that can go wrong. If for any reason the seals, cartridges, O-rings or washers wear out it could be the reason for the leak.

  2. Water Pressure: sometimes, faucets only drip at certain times of the day or when a family member does something specific - in other words, it’s not a steady drip. This could be the case if your water pressure is too high.

  3. Damaged Plumbing: although it’s rare for this to be the main cause of leaky faucet, it happens from time to time. Broken pipes or fittings can develop cracks which tend to leak down into the area underneath the sink. But if the broken part is directly connected to the faucet, it could cause it to drip every now and then.

If any of these circumstances seem to be the reason your faucet is dripping, we’re here to help! Call on the expert plumbers at Uptown. After all, we are the leak detection experts in the Minneapolis - St. Paul area.

The Color of March 2017: Kale

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Each year, St. Patrick’s Day takes place in March. This year, the color of the month just so happens to be Kale - coincidence? We think not! But regardless of whether or not this is a coincidence, here are a few ways to bring out the best of this vegetable-inspired color this St. Patrick’s Day and for the rest of the month.

Boost Curb Appeal: have a green front door? Have green shutters? If not, you may want to consider it. Painting your front door can give your home an instant, and much-needed change. Matching the shutters to the door is a wonderful way to add some charm and tie things together.

Mix and Match Throw Pillows: having guests over tonight to celebrate the holiday? Break out those white, green and orange pillows and strategically place them on your couches and sofas. This is a quick and easy way to add a festive touch.

Turn Back Time: thinking about painting the living room or the dining room? A muted green color can bring a historic feel to your older Twin Cities home. We recommend going all the way from floor to ceiling to create a dramatic appearance.

Go Bold in the Bathroom: tired of the same old boring colors in the bathroom? Consider a shower curtain, bath towels or art decor with bold pops of green.

Enjoy on-time plumbing, heating and air conditioning repairs and new systems across Minneapolis - St. Paul areas with the professionals at Uptown Plumbing, Heating and Cooling. When you need service, simply give us a call at 612-284-5789.