What Does MERV Mean and Why is it Important?

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MERV. What does it mean? Why is it important? You may have noticed this word as you searched for new filters for your furnace, but if you don’t understand what it means and why it’s important chances are, your home’s heating system won’t be working up to its full potential this winter.

Let’s start with the basics - what does MERV mean? It stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value which in plain English means “how effective is this air filter?”

MERV Ratings Explained

The scaled used to rate air filters when it comes to the MERV system ranges from 1-16. The higher the rating, the fewer dust particles and other airborne contaminants can get through, though higher ratings don’t always mean the filter is better. Filters are commonly tested for things like pollen, dust mites, mold spores, pet dander and tobacco smoke.

Proper Maintenance

Since filters with high ratings make it more difficult for particles to pass through, airborne pollutants tend to build up on the filter more frequently. As a result, they require more frequent maintenance - whether it’s changing or replacing the filter completely. Neglecting your furnace filters can cause your system to work much harder than it has to and can potentially lead to severe damage.

Need help choosing the right filter for your system? We’re here for you! To improve the air quality and keep the hvac equipment running efficiently in your home in Minneapolis - St. Paul, call and speak with the indoor air quality experts at Uptown today.

Make 2017 a Worry-Free Year With Our $10 Happy Home ClubSM

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With all of your resolutions set it stone, you’ve got enough to worry about in 2017. Why stress about your home’s plumbing, heating and cooling when you don’t have to? With Uptown’s $10 Happy Home Club, you don’t even have to remember to call and schedule your maintenance - it’s our responsibility to contact you to set it up! But there’s more:

By becoming a member of the club, you’ll receive:

High-Performance Tune-up of Your Heating and Cooling Systems: The safety of you and your family is our #1 priority. We’ll ensure that your systems are working safely and efficiently. The two tune-ups per year will extend the life of your heating and cooling systems and decrease the risk of emergency breakdowns. This service includes:

  • Carbon monoxide safety testing

  • Total system inspection and tune-up

  • Inspection of heat exchanger (heating unit)

  • Cleaning of outdoor coil and burners

  • System pressures checked

  • Oil and lubricate motors

Water Heater Tune-up and Whole House Plumbing Inspection: Extend the life of your water heater and plumbing system. Help protect your home against unexpected breakdowns and water damage. This service includes.

  • Water heater inspection, flush, and drain (extends water heater life)

  • Drain inspection for leaks and clogs

  • Faucet and toilet inspection and adjustments as needed

  • Exposed pipe inspection

And that’s not all! Priority service puts you first so you can jump to the head of the line when you call! In addition, you’ll never be charged a dispatch fee for repairs during normal business hours.

What are you waiting for? Give Uptown Plumbing, Heating & Cooling a call today and find out how you can become a member!

3 Secrets To Keeping Heating Bills Under Control This Winter

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For those of us living in the Twin Cities, it seems like warm weather is a very long way away. With temperatures steadily in the teens and twenties, and the first day of spring not for another couple of months the thought of keeping our homes warm and cozy can seem like a nightmare. But you don’t have to cringe the next time your energy bill comes in the mail as long as you follow the 3 secrets to keeping heating bills under control, below:

  1. Stop heating the rooms you don’t use. If there’s nobody in there, it doesn’t make sense to heat it up, right? Well, with a zoned heating system you can “turn off” the heat to certain areas of the home and only pump warm air through the areas that are being occupied. If adding home zoning isn’t in the cards this year, you can close and seal off the vents to the rooms you use infrequently.

  2. If you’ve manually raised the temperature on your water heater, turn it back down to the “standard” 120°F setting. Trust us when we tell you this is plenty warm enough and you’ll be delighted to see close to 10% in energy savings.

  3. Plan on heading out for the day? Turn down the temperature on the thermostat. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that it takes more energy and costs more money to reheat a home. Just keep it set above 60°F to prevent your pipes from freezing.

Interested in learning more about how you can save on heating costs this winter? Feel free to give the heating experts at Uptown a call today! We’ve been serving Minneapolis and the surrounding area for over 100 years so you know you can count on us.

The Best Way To Deal With Frozen Pipes

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Bundle up, Minneapolis! We’re smack dab in the middle of an arctic freeze. With temperatures barely making it out of the single digits it seems like just about everything is frozen and your plumbing pipes are no exception. Since frozen pipes can be such a disaster for you as well as your home, find out how to deal with them so you can prevent a major headache before it happens.

How Do You Know If Your Pipes Are Frozen?

This is a question we receive quite frequently, especially when temperatures drop down into the single digits. The most common way to tell if your pipes are no longer flowing is if you turn on a faucet or bathroom fixture only to find that no water is coming out of the tap.

If only certain fixtures seem to be out of commission, chances are the frozen pipe is located nearby. But if none of the fixtures in your home are spewing out any water, the freeze could be somewhere in the main line.

What To Do If You Find A Frozen Pipe

If you find yourself in this predicament, it’s important to turn off your main water supply valve before attempting to fix the problem. Then, you can use a hair dryer to defrost the water inside the pipe. Simply put the dryer on a medium heat setting and blow warm air over the pipe. Be careful not to apply too much heat as it could compromise the integrity of the pipe.

If you find frozen pipes inside your Minneapolis - St. Paul home, we recommend calling in a professional plumber right away. Trust us when we tell you this situation could turn sour in an instant and you’ll want to make sure it doesn’t happen again in the future.

That’s where we come in! Give the plumbing experts at Uptown a call right away at 612-284-5789. We’ve been serving the area for over 100 years so you know you can count on us!

Heating Solutions for a Toasty Winter

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It’s not easy to stay cozy during the frigid winters we have here in the Twin Cities. Once freezing temperatures make their way into town for good, homeowners often find themselves in a battle between being comfortable and keeping energy bills to a minimum. There are a few things you can do around your home to fight back against the freeze this winter - see below:

  1. Replace old windows with energy-efficient models. Double- or triple-pane glass works wonders when it comes to keeping heat trapped inside. But if you can’t afford to replace them right away, at least be sure to plug up cracks and gaps around your old ones. Weatherstripping and caulk will do the trick!

  2. Add a towel warming rack to your bathroom. There’s nothing like wrapping yourself in a warm towel after a nice, relaxing shower. This addition can also add a sense of luxury to any small bathroom in the house.

  3. Replace damaged baseboard radiators. We recommend upgrading to energy-efficient flat panel radiators if you’re short on space.

  4. Close the damper in your fireplace when it’s not in use. This will help prevent warm air from escaping through the chimney and keep it inside the living areas of your home.

For more seasonal heating tips and tricks, be sure to connect with us on Facebook.

Need heating service in your Twin Cities home? Give the expert technicians at Uptown a call today! We’ve been serving the area for over 100 years so you know you can count on us!

Neighborhood Roots 2017 Winter Farmers Markets

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With New Year’s Day just a little over a week away, it’s time to start making some resolutions for 2017. What do you want to do next year that you weren’t able to accomplish this year? How about cleaning up your diet? If this sounds like something you want to tackle, we’ve got just what you need!

The Neighborhood Roots Winter Farmers Markets will be back and better than ever starting in January! With locally sourced fruits, vegetables and lots of other types of food there’s no reason why you can’t start eating better in 2017.

Mark your calendar Minnesotans! Here are the dates:

January 28th, 2017

February 25th, 2017

March 25th, 2017

All winter markets will be taking place from 9 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. at Bachman’s Garden Center (6010 Lyndale Ave S.)

So get those boots and winter jackets ready and make the best of the New Year! For now, you can treat yourself to some of the delicious recipes brought to you by Neighborhood Roots here: http://neighborhoodrootsmn.org/recipes/. We look forward to seeing you out there in a couple of weeks!

Save BIG With Home HVAC Zoning

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Why heat your whole house when your family members are only in certain rooms? Why set the whole house to the same temperature when some people like it a little cooler and some people prefer it a bit warmer? It doesn’t make sense, right? Well, with home HVAC zoning everything makes more sense!

Home zoning enables you to take greater control of your home environment by dividing it into “zones”, each with an independently controlled thermostat that links into the central system. What exactly does this mean? We’re going to break down some of the benefits.

1. LOWER ENERGY CONSUMPTION

Only heat areas in use rather than blanket heating your home. Heating specific areas of the house rather than the whole thing at once uses less energy which means you’ll save on utility costs.

2. INCREASE CONTROL AND COMFORT
Enjoy greater control of your individual comfort. Each room or zone can be set to a different temperature enabling everyone to enjoy the right temperature to suit them anywhere in the home. Like it cooler in the bedrooms at night? No problem. Like it warmer in the living room during the day? No problem. You get the picture.

Interested in learning more about the benefits of home zoning? We’ll work with you to design the right solution with the perfect number and location of zones as well as providing an expert installation so you can enjoy a perfectly comfortable home all year ‘round. Give Uptown a call today at 612-284-5789.

Common Holiday Decoration Fire Hazards

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If you haven’t done so already, you’ve only got  few days left to deck the halls - Christmas and Chanukah are less than a week away. While festive decorations are a major part of the holiday season, they can pose as major fire hazards if you’re not careful. In order to keep your family and friends safe this holiday season, you’ll want to follow the safety tips below:

  • Instead of lighting traditional candles, use battery-operated candles instead. No flame eliminates the risk of fire especially when they’re placed near other flammable items.

  • If you plan on lighting a candle or a fire in the fireplace, make sure all other objects are at least 12 inches away.

  • Keep the Christmas tree, toys, wrapping paper, cardboard boxes and all other flammable objects away from heat sources. This includes the fireplace, warm air vents, radiators, the oven and the stove.

  • Water the tree daily to prevent it from drying out. Dry trees are much more susceptible to catching fire.

  • Never overload electrical outlets and be sure to replace worn or broken cords and bulbs.

  • Remember to turn off all decorations, blow out candles and put out the fire before going to bed.

From our Uptown family to yours, we’re wishing you a happy holiday! And remember, when you need heating service, repairs or installations this winter you can always count on us! After all, we’ve been serving the Twin Cities for over 100 years.

Holiday Cooking Mistakes That Lead To Plumbing Problems

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Families across the country are gearing up to enjoy spending time with family and friends for the holiday season, but the most wonderful time of the year can quickly become “the biggest headache of the year” if you’re not careful. If you’re hosting the party this season, avoid these common cooking mistakes that can wreak havoc on your home’s plumbing system:

Keep Your Drains Clear By:

  • Depositing fats, oils and greases in the trash can or jar instead.

  • Wiping butter or margarine into the garbage before rinsing plates, bowls and utensils.

  • Discarding batter, icing and other thick baking items and sauces in the trash.

  • Being proactive and using BioOne to get rid of organic material that could cause blockages.

Keep Your Garbage Disposals Working By:

  • Keeping them free of stringy and fibrous foods.

  • Throwing bones from chicken wings, beef and the like in the garbage can.

  • Avoiding running coffee grinds down the disposal.

  • Checking to make sure the teeth have not corroded away.

From our Uptown family to yours, we’re wishing you a very safe and happy holiday season. And remember, you can 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.

Adding Heat With Flat Panel Radiators

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Low profile + high efficiency = high priority. Flat panel radiators are a wonderful way to keep your home cozy all winter long and if you’re tight on space, don’t worry they don’t require much. Learn more about flat-panel radiators below and find out why they might be the heating solution you’ve been searching for.

What is a Flat Panel Radiator?

In need of additional sources of heat in your home? We’ve been experiencing below-average temperatures for this time of year and heat is in high demand. Flat panel radiators are low-profile pieces of equipment that come in a variety of styles, colors and materials. Some can even double as towel warmers.

What are the Benefits?

If you don’t have lots of square footage to work with, which is the case in lots of older Twin Cities homes, you may not be able to have a traditional radiator installed. New technology allows for these radiators to give off more heat while taking up less space. They are highly efficient and save you lots of green on energy bills.

Shopping Advice

The heating experts at Uptown recommend looking for models with at least 35 BTUs per square foot of floor space, but you may need more if you have a space with lots of windows.

For expert installations, repairs and advice on your radiator needs across Minneapolis - St. Paul, call and speak with the radiator experts at Uptown Heating today.