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!

Finding & Operating Your Main Water Shut-Off

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Do you know where your main water shut-off valve is located in your home? Do you know how to turn it on and off? Knowing these things is an integral component of being a homeowner and they can save you major trouble in case of an emergency. After all, there’s no time to lose when a pipe bursts or springs a leak.

If you have a basement…

The shut-off valve should be located near the foundation wall in the front portion of your home. It may help to locate the main water pipe which usually comes through a concrete wall or floor, because the valve should be located within 3-5 feet of where it enters.

If you have a crawl space and a basement…

You may find the valve where the water enters the basement or it might be inside the crawl space itself. You may want to consider having an additional valve added in the basement to make it more convenient to access.

If you have a crawl space, but no basement…

The shut-off valve should be located near your water heater or under the kitchen sink. It could also be inside the crawl space so if you can’t find it in either of the first two locations, check here next.

If your house is on a concrete slab…

You’ll likely find the valve near the water heater or in a closet or storage area near the front of the house. If you can’t find it there, check underneath the kitchen sink.

Now that you’ve located the main water shut-off valve, operation is rather simple. There are two main types of valves - it could be circular or a lever. For circular valves, turn it clockwise to shut off the water and if you have a lever, turn it so it’s perpendicular to the pipe.

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.

5 Honey-Do List Items You Can Tackle Right Away

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Another Valentine’s Day has come and gone and if your relationship is anything like ours, you probably got a list of things to take care of around the house instead of a box chocolates this year. And contrary to popular belief, your significant other would rather have the following items taken care of instead of that expensive bag and jewelry:

 

  1. Re-Caulk The Tub: nothing can kill a mood like moldy or dirty caulk around the base of the bathtub. Take a razor blade or utility knife and remove the old, stained stuff and add a fresh layer of caulk. Then use your finger or a rag to wipe away the excess and it’ll look as good as new.

  2. Add A Humidifier: hearing complaints about the wood floor that has warped? It probably means there’s not enough humidity in your home because after all, wood changes shape depending on how much moisture is in the air. Not to mention, adding a humidification system can promote healthier skin.

  3. Clean Up The Garage: have a garage full of clutter? Take some time this weekend to organize it and get rid of the things you don’t need. After all, spring is right around the corner and you’re going to need access to the lawnmower and landscaping tools.

  4. Hang Those Shelves: has your honey been nagging you to hang shelves in the bathroom or kitchen? Take care of it now! Not only will you get them off your back for a little while, but shelves can help solve the problem of not having enough storage.

  5. Turn Down The Heat: your home’s heating system has been working hard all winter long and now it’s time to give it a rest - especially if your significant other is complaining that they’re sweating. Now is also a great time to give those ceiling fans a test drive to make sure they’ll be ready for spring.

Have additional items on the list that require the knowledge and expertise of a professional plumber or hvac technician? That’s where we come in! Take this opportunity to schedule an appointment with the experts at Uptown today.

What is Hard Water and Why is it Bad?

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Did you know that hard water can be found in more than 85% of the country? With this statistic in mind, it might not be a surprise when we tell you that the Twin Cities are notorious for hard water presence. If you’re thinking to yourself, “well, what is hard water and is it bad,” we’ve got some answers for you below!

 

What is Hard Water?

Put simply, hard water is defined as the amount of dissolved calcium and magnesium in the water. Water picks up minerals as it passes through rock, sand and soil and the more minerals it picks up, the “harder” the water.

Why is Hard Water Bad?

Don’t start worrying just yet - hard water is not necessarily bad for your health. But it can create a number of problems throughout your home. Here’s a quick list:

  • Clog pipes and reduce water flow

  • Dry out skin and hair

  • Reduce the lifespan of your water heater

  • Water spots or film on glasses and dishes

  • Give white clothes a yellow tint

  • Affects the taste of tea, coffee and other water-based beverages

  • Creates buildup on bathroom fixtures (shower heads and faucets).

Suspect that you have hard water in your Minneapolis - St. Paul home? We offer a range of water softening, conditioning and quality-improving features to help you enjoy the purest water possible. Give the experts at Uptown Plumbing a call today to find out how we can help!

The Best Ways To Clean A Sink Drain & Garbage Disposal

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Ever come home only to be smacked in the face with a foul odor coming from the kitchen? If you haven’t, consider yourself lucky and if you have, you know how unpleasant it can be. Most of the time, horrible smells in the kitchen stem from dirty sink drains or garbage disposals and luckily for you, there are a few quick ways to get rid of the stench. Follow the steps below and you can go ahead and stop pinching your nose:

 

How To Clean A Sink Drain

  • Pour one cup of baking soda down the drain.

  • Heat two cups of vinegar and pour it down the drain. Never bring liquids to a boil because extreme heat can damage your plumbing.

  • Wait a half hour and then flush the drain with warm water.

  • If the smell persists, repeat the above steps again until it goes away.

How To Clean A Garbage Disposal

  • Sprinkle a half cup of baking soda down the disposal and then follow it up with a cup of white vinegar.

  • Fill the drain with two cups of ice and turn on the blades.

  • Cut a lemon or lime, or both, in half and add them one at a time with the water running.

  • Rinse with warm water.

During the process, if you notice your faucet is leaking, you encounter a clog in the drain or notice that your pipes are leaking call on the experts at Uptown Plumbing right away. With over 100 years of experience under our belts you know you can count on us to get your Minneapolis - St. Paul home back to normal in a flash!