4 Signs The Humidity Level In Your Home Is Too Low

.

Have any idea what the humidity level is inside your home? If you’re thinking “it doesn’t really matter” you may want to think again. Humidity is more important than you thought and it can lead to some serious problems if it’s not at appropriate levels. Let’s take a look at a few signs that could indicate there’s not enough humidity in your home this winter:

 

What is Humidity?

For starters, let’s quickly define humidity. It’s determined by the amount of water vapor in the air and it directly contributes to a number of health concerns. And aside from your health, too much or too little water vapor in the air can be detrimental to your furniture, decor and even your home’s structure.

Indicators of Low Humidity:

  1. You or your family members are chronically feeling ill. Low humidity can cause mucus membranes to dry out or inflame and if the membrane lining isn’t working properly, you’re more vulnerable to catching a cold, the flu or other infections.

  2. Dry skin: cold winter weather tends to bring dry air along with it and dry air can severely dry out your skin. If you notice that your skin looks ashy, flaky or becomes irritated chances are humidity levels are too low inside your home.

  3. Dry, irritated eyes. Find yourself blinking all the time because your eyes feel like they are drying out? Low humidity can cause tears stored in your tear ducts to evaporate which can interrupt the moisture balance in your eyes.

  4. Wood floors are warping. Notice gaps, cracks or spaces in your wood floors? If the air inside your home is too dry, it can cause the planks to shrink or shift which can lead to excess damage.

Take control of the humidity levels in your home in Minneapolis - St. Paul with a professional humidity control solution from the experts at Uptown Air Conditioning. With 100+ years experience behind us, it's no surprise we're the experts of choice in thousands of other homes.

3 Reasons Your Heat Isn't Turning On

.

 

If you wake up one morning to a freezing cold house, your life could come to a screeching halt. There’s no good time for your furnace to stop working and the middle of winter is no exception. Luckily for you though, there are a few common reasons why your heat isn’t turning on. See below to find out if there’s a quick fix:

  1. The thermostat is not on the proper setting. Check to make sure it’s actually set to “heat” rather than “cool” or “off.” If it’s already set to “heat” but nothing is coming from the vents, raise the temperature a few degrees. If the thermostat is showing no signs of life at all, it could be time to replace the batteries or it could mean that a fuse has blown.

  2. The pilot light went out. If you have a natural gas or propane central heating system, there is an electronic igniter or pilot light that is used to ignite the burners. Sometimes the pilot light can go out and needs to be relit in order for the system to produce heat.

  3. The blower motor needs a new belt. In some heating systems, the blower motor requires a belt in order to operate. If the belt has cracked, frayed or lost its tension it needs to be replaced. This is a job for professionals and should not be attempted by anyone without experience.

For fast, quality, same day repairs on your heating system across Minneapolis - St. Paul, call and speak with the heating repair experts at Uptown Heating today. Enjoy our red carpet level of service that we back with a satisfaction guarantee plus enjoy the peace of mind knowing that all workmanship we perform is backed with a signed warranty too.

Tackling 2 Common Plumbing Leaks

.

A few drips here. A few drips there. Nothing to worry about, right? Wrong. While there are lots of headaches that go hand-in-hand with owning a home and let’s face it, lots of them are more serious than a leaky faucet or toilet tank valve, but if left alone that dripping can become a serious problem. Not to mention it’s a waste of both water and money.

 

How To Fix A Flapper Valve

Notice that your toilet is making a trickling noise long after the toilet has been flushed? Chances are, a worn flapper valve is the reason for the noise and the leak. Under normal conditions, the flapper opens up to allow the tank to refill after a flush. As it wears out over time, it can fail to create an adequate seal. Here’s how to fix it:

  • Turn off the water supply to the toilet.

  • Remove the old flapper valve and purchase a similar replacement. (Stick to the part made for your specific toilet - you can take the old one with you to be sure.)

  • Most flapper valves can be removed and installed without any tools. Just pop the old one off and place the new one in. You may want to use emery cloth to smooth any rough edges to ensure a watertight seal.

How To Fix A Leaky Faucet

Sink faucets can wear out over time, especially in areas with hard water which we have here in the Twin Cities. So if you notice that yours is leaking even when the level is turned to the off position, you may need to swap out the worn out valve. Here’s how to do so:

  • You’ll need to replace the valve with the exact same model. Note that different faucet models from the same manufacturer can have completely different parts.

  • First, turn off the water supply, both hot and cold.

  • Then pop off the faucet cap and remove the screw to free the lever.

  • Use pliers to remove the retainer nut and then replace the O-rings.

  • Take note of the small notch at the top of the cartridge stem because you will need to make sure it’s in the same place when you install the new one.

  • Remove the cartridge and retrace your steps to install the replacement.

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.

The Winter Market is Back!

.

You’ve spent enough time out in this cold Minneapolis winter, come inside and thaw out at the Neighborhood Roots Winter Market! Dust off your shopping bags and stock up on the delicious local produce and products available throughout Minnesota! Who said a farmers market can only take place when it’s warm outside?

 

Get your hands on pasture raised pork, beef and chicken that will be for sale from three outstanding farmers in our area. Need to stock up on cheese? Dairy lovers will be in heaven once they see the variety of products at the market from three farmstead cheese makers and if you’re in search of fresh bread, vegetables, honey or maple syrup look no further!

We highly suggest you come hungry as there will be bagels, waffles, dumplings, and nachos available for breakfast and lunch. Need a coffee to go along with your breakfast? Local roasters will be serving up piping hot cups and for those who’d like to taste festive beers and wines, head over to the Able Seedhouse and Brewery section!

And that’s not all! There will be plenty of live music to accompany your shopping. We can assure you this is an event you’ll be sorry if you miss. If you can’t make this one, clear your calendar for February 25th and March 25th as these will be the last two winter markets before spring makes its way back into town.

5 Common Household Items That Are Making You Sick

.

 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the air inside your very own home can be up to five times more polluted than the air outside. Hard to believe, right? Well, what’s even more alarming is the number of household items just about every homeowner has inside their home that are actually making you sick. Let’s dive right in:

  1. Candles: sure, they smell good, but in addition to filling your home with a pleasant scent they’re also filling it with harmful gases and toxic particles. Avoid purchasing and/or lighting candles made from paraffin wax - a byproduct of petroleum that has been linked to an  increased risk of lung cancer.

  2. Cleaning Supplies: most store-bought household cleaning supplies contain VOCs, or volatile organic compounds. They can lead to chronic respiratory problems, allergic reactions and headaches. It’s also important to steer clear of cleaners containing ammonia and chlorine bleach.

  3. Dryer Sheets: now that’s a surprise to most of you, right? Believe it or not, the wax-like material on dryer sheets is often a mixture of quaternary ammonium salt and silicon oil or stearic acid which is linked to asthma.

  4. Air Fresheners: you may want to think twice before spraying the bathroom after taking care of business. The chemicals inside air fresheners have been compared to the toxicity levels of secondhand smoke. Open up a window or create your own natural air freshener instead!

  5. Gas Stoves: if you have a gas range in your kitchen, we’re not telling you to get rid of it. What we are telling you, though, is that you need a proper ventilation system in the kitchen to get rid of nitrogen dioxide that can irritate your lungs and lower resistance to respiratory infections.

Provide the best indoor air quality in your home in Minneapolis - St. Paul, and speak with indoor air quality experts at Uptown Air Conditioning. We're already trusted in thousands of local homes and businesses with over 100 years of experience, satisfaction guaranteed service and individualized solutions to suit your indoor air quality needs.

3 Reasons to Switch to a Wi-Fi Thermostat This Winter

.

Thermostats allow you to adjust the temperature in your home - nothing groundbreaking here. But a Wi-Fi thermostat can actually learn your family’s behaviors and adjust the temperature accordingly without you doing any of the work. So, if you’re the type of person who often forgets things, or you simply want to save money on heating bills this winter you may want consider making the switch.

 

Aside from learning your home comfort habits, Wi-Fi thermostats provide a number of additional benefits. Here’s what these high-tech gadgets are capable of doing that your current thermostat can’t:

  1. Control the temperature inside your home from virtually anywhere in the world. Heading out of town for the day, the week or the month? You can keep tabs on the temperature inside your home while you’re away. Most Wi-Fi thermostats are compatible with smartphone, tablet or computer apps that allow you to control your hvac system from just about anywhere.

  2. Schedule set temperatures to reduce your carbon footprint. Look for a model that allows you to set the thermostat either for each individual day or the week or at least two different settings to differentiate the weekend from the weekdays.

  3. Check on local weather and adjust accordingly. That’s right, since most Wi-Fi thermostats connect to the internet, they can use local weather conditions to determine optimal operating efficiency.

And that’s not all. There are lots of benefits that come along with Wi-Fi thermostats that we didn’t mention above, but feel free to give us a call to find out! The expert heating and cooling technicians at Uptown are here to answer your questions, so give us a call today!

Top Pro Tips For Redoing A Bathroom

.

Is a bathroom remodel on your to-do list for 2017? There are lots of common mistakes homeowners make that leave them with regret once the project is finished. So, before you get to work on that outdated room, check out these top tips from the ones who dedicate most of their time to decorating and reconstructing:

No-Hassle Floors

Looking to spend less time scrubbing and more time enjoying? If you want easy-care flooring your best bet is either porcelain or glazed tiles. Skip right over porous natural stone options because they’re more likely to absorb drips and spills and can easily stain over time.

Working With Tight Quarters

Do you know how much space you actually need for a toilet and a sink? In theory, you can place them into an 11-square-foot space and meet the rules and regulations put forth by national building codes. However, you’ll likely feel cramped and uncomfortable so we recommend an area of at least 3 to 4 feet wide by 6 to 10 feet long.

Get Rid Of Clutter

Do you have shampoo bottles and soap dispensers thrown about the shower or tub in your current bathroom? Please, do yourself a favor and think about recessed cubbies or in-shower shelving options for the new space.

Cheapest Isn’t Always Best

Especially when it comes to the toilet. We highly recommend spending a few more dollars on higher quality materials. Not only will the toilet last longer, you’ll deal with less headaches throughout its lifespan.

Looking for a trusted plumbing company to install your new fixtures? Look no further. The expert technicians at Uptown Plumbing have been servicing the entire Minneapolis - St. Paul area for over 100 years so you know you’re in good hands! Call us today at 651-315-7995.

Breaking Down Heating Terms into Plain English

.

Ever listen to a heating technician speak only to ask yourself, “what the heck does that mean?” We understand that sometimes we speak fast and throw words around that may not be easily recognizable by homeowners. And for that reason, we’ve decided to take some time to break it down into plain English for you. This way, you can have a thorough conversation with your hvac pro the next time they stop by for service.

Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE): tells you how efficient a furnace is. The higher the rating, the more efficient it is.

British Thermal Unit (BTU): the amount of energy energy required to raise one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. The higher the BTU rating the greater the heating capacity of the system.

Dual Fuel: a heating system that uses both an electric heat pump and a gas furnace that alternates between the two fuel sources to maximize efficiency.

Heat Exchanger: a component of a heating system located in the furnace that transfers heat to the surrounding air which is then pumped through the home.

Split System HVAC: a heating and cooling system that consists of an indoor unit, an outdoor unit and a thermostat. This type of system is commonly found in homes that don’t have enough space for air ducts.

Whether it’s a new furnace, a new boiler, radiator installation, a repair or a tune-up the expert heating technicians at Uptown are ready to answer your call! We’ve been serving the Twin Cities for over 100 years so you know you can count on us to keep you out of the cold! Call 651-315-7995 to schedule an appointment and don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook!

Quick and Easy Ways to Seal Windows and Doors

.

 

Did you know that the average home loses upwards of 30% of its heating and cooling energy through air leaks? If the windows and doors around your home are drafty, you’re contributing to this statistic. Read below to find out how quick and easy it is to save a few bucks on heating costs this winter by sealing cracks and gaps around your house.

How to Check for Leaks

First things first, you’ll want to check for air leaks. To do so, hold either a lit stick of incense or a lit candle near window and door frames. If you see the smoke or the flame blowing around, chances are you have a draft. If you don’t notice anything out of the ordinary, you can move on to the next one.

How to Repair Cracks and Gaps (Windows)

  • Weatherstripping tends to get the job done, but it does take some time to install.

  • Self-stick plastic is much easier to install, but the downside is it doesn’t last very long.

  • EPDM rubber is relatively inexpensive, is rather simple to install and can last 10 years or more.

How to Repair Cracks and Gaps (Doors)

  • Replace old weatherstripping with foam tape or felt. You can reinforce them by stapling or gluing in place.

  • For a better seal, you may want to consider tubular rubber, vinyl or silicone weatherstripping. Although they’re a bit more difficult to install, they provide an unparalleled seal.

  • If you notice air coming through underneath the door, check the threshold gasket and replace if worn. Additionally, you can attach a door sweep or use a snake to keep cool breezes out.

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 homes and businesses over our 100+ years of business. Call us today at 612-284-5789 to schedule an appointment!

Get a FREE Estimate on Small Duct High Velocity HVAC

.

Calling all Minneapolis - St. Paul homeowners who own an older home! There’s an HVAC solution for you - a small duct high velocity system. They can fit into any home, any space and they can blend in with just about any decor. Best of all, we’re offering FREE estimates!

Tired of powering through frigid winters with little to no heat? Tired of sweating through summers? If you’ve struggled the find an HVAC system that your home could accommodate in the past, you’ll be happy to hear that small duct high velocity is the perfect solution.  

 

The SDHV system is incredibly versatile as it's able to be installed in any home with little or no need to renovate or remodel. The ducts are flexible and can be routed through existing small cavities with ease and the outlets are small and unobtrusive with a range of designs to suit any décor or aesthetic.

Worried about the installation process? Don’t be. With our expertise and experience in SDHV installation, you're new system will be installed quickly with less disruption and a cleaner process than other ducted systems. And to top it all off, our technicians are very well trained when and specialize in taking care of older homes in the area.

We can help with FREE estimates on new small duct high velocity systems, all with an expert installation. Give Uptown Plumbing, Heating & Cooling a call today at 651-315-7995 to schedule an appointment.