4 Simple Ways To Cut Down On Household Trash

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How many times do you take out the trash on a weekly basis? Probably seems like way too many, right? Well, contrary to popular belief, there are lots of ways to cut down on the amount of household trash your family produces. Try these ideas out and see if you find yourself making trips to the cans less frequently:

 
  1. Recycle and Repurpose: instead of throwing all that trash away, find creative ways to reuse it. You’d be surprised at how many ideas you’ll find it you spend a few minutes on Pinterest. You can even use empty wine bottles as flower vases or a decanter for olive oil.

  2. Use Your Own Shopping Bags: some areas are installing a fee for using the store’s plastic shopping bags and if that isn’t incentive enough for you to bring your own, just think about how much less trash you’ll create.

  3. Get Rid Of Your Old Things: before the holidays hit. Take some time to clean out your house. But instead of throwing away things you no longer need, donate them to charity. It always feels good to give back to the community.

  4. Quality Over Quantity: do you find yourself purchasing inexpensive replicas or lesser versions of whatever it is you need? Cheaper items tend to fulfill a much shorter lifespan and then you have to throw them away so it’s not always a bad idea to spend a few extra bucks.

Uptown Plumbing, Heating & Cooling has been serving the community for 100 years. It’s important to us to continuously extend our support to those living in our community.

How To Prevent A Costly Plumbing Leak

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If you’ve lived in the Twin Cities for some time now, you probably know that we are faced with hard water. But did you know that hard water is a major cause of costly plumbing leaks? Save your pipes and your wallet this season by finding out how to prevent leaks before they happen and knowing what to do should your plumbing fail. See below for a few quick tips:

 

Preventive Maintenance

  • Reduce water pressure. Even though a shower head with high pressure might feel nice when it’s time to bathe, it adds stress on your pipes.

  • Soften water. Mineral buildup in hard water can cause your pipes to tap out faster. There are a number of water-softening systems available and we recommend having a professional take care of the installation process.

  • Pipes aren’t for laundry. Lots of times homeowners turn to exposed pipes for hanger rods when they run out of space in the closet. But doing so can loosen joints can lead to plumbing leaks.

  • Have shutoff valves installed. Notice that your individual fixtures don’t have their own shutoff valves? Have a professional install them for you, they will likely come in handy down the road.

 

During An Emergency

  • Locate your main water shutoff valve or the valves on individual fixtures and turn them off right away.

  • Turn on faucets to drain any stagnant water remaining in the pipes.

  • Dry up water spots or leaks with a towel and call in a plumber. That’s what we’re here for!

If you have a leaking pipe or are in need of a repipe solution in Minneapolis-St Paul, you can rely on the fast repairs and expert re-pipe solutions from Uptown Plumbing. Call us today at 612-284-5789.

3 Common Tankless Water Heater Fallacies

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Tankless water heaters are what the fuss is all about lately when it comes to comfort and convenience. The technology behind them is largely appealing to homeowners all across the Minneapolis area and it’s no wonder - the efficiency and endless amounts of hot water are unmatched. But before you replace your current water heater, we want to clear up a few misconceptions.

 

 

False: Plug it in and it’s ready to go.

Truth: Most tankless water heaters are more involved than a simple swap out. Your current gas meter and line may not be sized appropriately to hand the new load and new tankless water heaters often require the installation of a new exhaust vent.

 

False: Tankless water heaters provide hot water faster.

Truth: Homeowners often replace the word “tankless” with “instant.” Sure, you will be replacing your conventional heater with a new piece of equipment that has lots of benefits, but it won’t necessarily deliver hot water faster. The water still has to run through the pipes to the desired location and that takes some time.

 

False: All tankless water heaters are the same.

Truth: From firepower to the size of the unit and amount of maintenance required, there’s a great deal of differences between models.

 

For the best in service, advice and expert installations for your new water heater in the Minneapolis - St. Paul area, call and speak with the heating professionals at Uptown Heating today.

Minnesota Monster Dash

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Ready to strap on your running shoes and take to the streets this Halloween? Team Ortho Foundation and Monster Dash are teaming up to present the Half Marathon, 10 mile and 5K races. Do you have what it takes?

For the more serious runners, the 2016 Half Marathon and 10-mile Monster Dash course in St. Paul is fat, beautiful and entertaining! The course is virtually all downhill with 400 vertical feet total from start to finish. Looking to set a personal record? This is your chance!

And if you can handle the extra challenge, run the distance in costume! All participants will be entered to win the Party City costume contest.

For those who aren’t so serious, take part in the Monster Dash 5K. This super-fun costume race is wonderful for the whole family!

Once you cross the finish line, get ready to celebrate at the Beer Garden at Upper Landing Park and watch yourself finish on the 50ft. Jumbo Tron at CHS Field.

For more information about the event, or to register, head over to http://www.minnesotamonster.org/Information/. Make this a Halloween weekend you’ll never forget!

How To Get Your Plumbing Ready For Winter

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Have you ever dealt with a major plumbing disaster in the middle of winter? If you have, you know how devastating, costly and time-consuming it can be and if you haven’t, well consider yourself lucky. That is, unless you take a few minutes here and there during the fall season to make sure your plumbing is ready for colder temperatures that come along with winter.

Want to find out what you can do now to get your pipes, faucets and fixtures prepared? See below for a few key tips:

  1. Insulate Pipes: take a look around your home? Do you have any pipes that are exposed to exterior walls or are lacking insulation? If so, it’s time to insulate. Pipes can freeze when exterior temperatures dip below 20ºF so be sure to wrap pipes in unheated areas with fiberglass or polyurethane insulation tubes.

  2. Keep Cabinet Doors Open: on days when you’re expecting temperatures to drop down below freezing, you may want to consider opening up cabinets that contain pipes. This will allow heat to enter the area and keep pipes from freezing.

  3. Plug Up Cracks and Gaps: take a quick lap around the outside of your home. Keep an eye out for any cracks or holes along walls or in the foundation. If you spot any, fill them with spray foam insulation or caulk to prevent cold air from coming in contact with water pipes.

In case of a plumbing emergency this fall or winter, call on the experts at Uptown. We’ve been serving the entire Minneapolis - St. Paul area for over 100 years so you know you can put your trust in us!

Keep Drafts Out With Window Sash Balancers

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If you live an older Minneapolis - St. Paul home, chances are your windows are quite old, too. And while we understand that antique-style windows can add lots of character and charm to your home, they can also be the reason your heating bills are so high each winter. Why? Well, they’re probably not very energy efficient for starters, and if the sash isn’t balanced correctly they could be letting cool drafts in.

Here’s how you can replace old antique window sash balancers and replace them with new and improved parts:

  1. Remove the stop beads from the side of the window. Then pull the window out of the jamb and remove the tension hooks of the old balancers. Pliers tend to do the trick.

  2. Then remove the old sash balancers using a screwdriver or drill.

  3. Sand the jamb and the edges of the sash smooth with a sander and then spray a lubricant on the jamb and sash to reduce friction.

  4. Installed new balancers by driving screws into old mortises.

  5. Attached new hooks on the sash balancers.

  6. Reinstall the window stops on the jamb using nails a hammer to keep it in place.

This is one of many steps you can take this fall to make your home more energy efficient and keep energy bills to a minimum. For more information on heating your home, give the experts at Uptown a call today! 612-284-5789.

Clean Your Gutters in 5 Simple Steps

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When was the last time you thought about your rain gutters? Probably not since the last time you had a problem with them, right? Well, you should be thinking about them at least once a year - preferably during the fall season - when they could use a good cleaning. After all, blocked gutters can cause them to fall, lead to flooding and can even lead to a cracked foundation.

If you want to avoid severe headaches both down the road and in the near future, we strongly encourage you to get outside and clean the gutters. It’s simple. You can tackle the entire project in just about an hour with the simple steps below:

  1. Set up a ladder on sturdy, flat ground near the downspout or section of the gutter that needs to be cleaned first.

  2. Head up on the ladder, we recommend having a buddy hold it in place, and clean out large debris using your hands or a plastic trowel. Toss it into a large bucket instead of throwing it onto your lawn.

  3. Once all the large debris is removed, cleaned out the rest with a garden hose. Attach a spray nozzle and spray toward the downspout.

  4. If you notice a clog in the downspout, spray the hose up inside from the bottom end. If that doesn’t do the trick, you may need to take the pieces apart.

  5. Once all is clear, spray both the gutters and the downspout one final time.

Staying on top of projects like this can help keep your home protected from disasters. Notice a leaky hose or hose bib during the cleaning process? Contact the plumbing professionals at Uptown right away. Leaks can lead to cracked pipes and other problems with your plumbing system as temperatures get down near freezing.

Preparing Your Kitchen For The Holidays

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Check the date - it’s October 11th. While Halloween is still a few weeks away, the holiday season will be upon us before we know it. And if you plan on hosting this year, you’re going to want your kitchen in tip-top shape. See below for a few quick tips on how to get your kitchen ready for holiday guests:

  1. Clean off the countertops - it’s time to finally go through all of those bills, the mail and the magazines that have been piling up for months. File important papers away and throw the rest in the trash. Then make sure all surfaces, including the backsplash, are sparkling clean!

  2. Clean out the fridge - chances are there will be leftovers following your gathering. Make some space for extra tupperware by cleaning out expired jarred or canned foods and be sure to wipe the shelves clean.

  3. Check out the dishwasher - between appetizer dishes, dinner plates and dessert kitchenware your dishwasher is going to take on a few extra loads this holiday season. Check the drain to make sure it’s working properly and look for broken glass and utensils at the bottom. You can use vinegar to wipe away any gunk or residue you come across.

  4. Check the garbage disposal - just like your dishwasher, your garbage disposal will likely be put to the test with all of the cooking you’ll be doing. Check it now to make sure it’s in good working order before it’s too late.

Need emergency plumbing service this holiday season? Don’t hesitate to give the experts at Uptown Plumbing, Heating & Cooling a call today. We’ll get your system back up and running in no time!

Get Your Heating System Ready in 5 Simple Steps

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It’s time to start thinking about your home’s heating system. If you wait until it’s freezing out, you’re going to be in for an unpleasant surprise. Taking a few minutes out of your weekend to get the system and the equipment up and ready to go will save you headaches down the road. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Bring in the Professionals: sure, there’s lots you can do on your own to save a few bucks, but having an expert come in to assess the situation and perform a tune-up is vital. This will help keep it running smoothly and efficiently all winter long.

  2. Change the Filters: here’s something you can definitely do on your own. Clean or replace the filter and then bleed the radiators. How? Start the boiler and let it heat up. The open the valve on each radiator and have a bucket close by to catch the excess water. Close the valve when it’s all water coming out and no air.

  3. Have a Programmable Thermostat Installed: improving efficiency will lead to saving money and who doesn’t like that? Make your system smarter by installing a programmable thermostat.

  4. Put Your Ceiling Fans in Reverse: this will help bring heat back down from the ceiling to the living areas of your home. The result? You’ll feel warmer so you can lay off the thermostat for a while.

  5. Safety is Key: check for cracks or holes in the exhaust of your furnace. Carbon monoxide can leak into the air so you’ll want to have them patched up right away. In addition, have smoke and CO detectors installed near bedrooms and the heater.

Ready to schedule a tune-up? Call on the heating experts at Uptown today! 612-284-5789.

Re-Energize Your Home in 4 Simple Steps

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It’s fall. The hustle and bustle of summer is well behind us and we’re in a bit of a lull until the holiday season kicks off. Take this time to re-energize your home and take care of some of the projects you’ve been putting off. After all, it’s the perfect time of year to give your home a little TLC.

  1. Get rid of clutter. You may not need that furniture that’s sitting in the back room or the garage any longer and you definitely need to clean out the fridge. We also recommend cleaning out the bathroom - toss those old, smelly towels, and replace that shower head that has seen better days. Get rid of the boxes filled with junk sitting around  your furnace because remember, there should be at least 3 feet of empty space around the equipment.

  2. Tackle a project once and for all. Have a leaky faucet or toilet? Need to replace a fixture in the kitchen or bathroom? Take care of it this weekend and if you can’t do-it-yourself, the experts at Uptown are here to help! You’ll feel much better once it’s done.

  3. Deep-clean the house. Sure, cleaning is definitely a chore but it can also be satisfying. Tidy up the living room and kitchen and open up some windows to allow cool, crisp fall air inside. Cleaning up can make any space feel like new.

  4. Instead of moving furniture, move yourself. What do we mean by this? Instead of moving furniture around, pick a different seat at the table than your normal spot. Sit on a different side of the living room or lay on the other side of your bed.

For all of your plumbing and heating needs this fall, call on the professionals at Uptown Plumbing, Heating & Cooling. Schedule an appointment by calling our friendly staff at 651-315-7995 and don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook!