Copper vs. PEX: Which is Better?


Did you know there are lots of different types of pipes out there? It’s probably something you don’t think about too often, but it when comes time for a repair, you’ll want to know about some of the major differences. When it comes to copper and PEX, which one is better? It all depends on the situation and the application so we’re going to take you through some of advantages and disadvantages of both forms of piping, below:


Copper piping is the standard model for soldering pipes and it tends to be the most common type of pipes in homes. 

Copper is typically a bit more expensive than PEX Piping and is prone to cold weather outbreaks and leaks. On the brighter side, copper has a biostatic atmosphere and is unaffected by violet rays giving it the ability to operate extremely well in the outdoors. 


Crosslinked polyethylene or PEX piping was introduced in the early 80s and is used primarily in floor heating applications. 

PEX is superior in many different ways and is valued for its cheap costs, ability to resist scale and chlorine and fit into a quicker installation process.

Although it isn't a great fit for outside use, PEX piping tends to be more resistant to freezing temperatures than copper piping. 

Still unsure about which type of piping to use for your next project? Let us take the guesswork out of it for you! Head over to Uptown Plumbing, Heating & Cooling to learn more about our plumbing services or to schedule an appointment.

What Causes Pipes To Corrode?


You may think that your pipes are fine, but the truth of the matter is that you may be blind to what’s really happening. Pipes can corrode quickly. In fact, people are often shocked to find that their pipes are breaking down rapidly just a few short years after installation.

What Causes Water Pipe Corrosion?

  • Oxygen. Oxygen degrades metal over time, which can cause rust. Rust has the potential to form blockages throughout your pipes which in turn, makes the pipes corrode further - it's a vicious cycle.

  • PH. With copper piping, the PH must be at a certain level or it can harm the protective layer in the pipe.

  • Chemical makeup. High chemical content in water can cause pipes to break down.

  • Water temperature. If your water is too hot, it can help speed up the corrosion process. 

  • Velocity. If the velocity of your water is too high, it can lead to damage to the inner wall of the pipes. This can weaken your pipes, leading to structural damage and you guessed it - corrosion. 

Effects of Corroding Pipes

  • Health issues. There have been several studies that show that lead and copper buildup can lead to chronic health issues.

  • Efficiency. Corroded water pipes can hurt your hot water heater and cause it to fail.

  • Stains. Fixtures and clothes may become stained.

  • Odors. You may deal with potential odors that can stink up the house. 

  • Expenses. Left untreated, the damage will increase leaving you with a bigger bill.

If your plumbing system shows any signs of corrosion, you will want to get a plumber in to inspect the damage quickly. Not calling a plumber out can lead to more damage and ultimately, a drained bank account. 

A visit from a plumber can help to ease your mind and make sure that all of your plumbing is running as it should be. Call Uptown Plumbing, Heating & Cooling today!

Why You Should Never Wash Your Dog In The Tub


Professionals recommend bathing your dog one to two times a month. What they forget to tell you though, is not to bathe your furry friend in the bathtub. See below to find out why:

What You Don't Think About

If you've given your dog a good belly rub lately, or scratched it right behind the ears, you'll be quick to notice the large amount of hair that comes off. 

It's easy to say that your dog doesn't shed or it sheds a minimal amount, but all pets shed more than you would expect them to. 

Often, when the dog hair is wet and the suds are being washed around, more hair comes off than you are aware. 

A Hairy Situation

The amount of hair that comes off the dog can be quite alarming, but to make matters worse, when the hair goes down the drain it can become a real problem for your pipes. Many people don't ever put their dog's bath and pipe problems together, but it's a common mishap. 

The Quick-Fix...isn't a Fix-All

A seemingly quick fix would be to purchase a chemical from the store that promises to solve all drain problems, but don’t fall victim to this trap! The harsh chemicals from these products can destroy your pipes and make matters worse. 

The Solution

The best solution is to clean your dog outside or take him or her to a groomer for a spa-like experience.

Too late? Drains already backed up? Call a professional plumber. We’ll help to quickly fix the clogs and salvage your pipes without causing any damage, saving you a lot of hassle and making your life easier. 

Why is My Bathtub Faucet Dripping?


Drip. Drip. Drip. It’s another case of a leaky faucet. Not only can leaks be a nuisance and make you want to rip your hair out, they can cost you a small fortune. So, what exactly is causing your bathtub faucet to leak? Find out below!

Why Do Bathtub Faucets Leak?

When our customers call to complain that their tub faucet is dripping and they can’t turn it off, it is usually because there's something wrong with the washer. Washers are rings that resemble rubber bands, though they are thicker and more rigid. 

So, how do washers lead to leaks?

They create watertight seals, but over time they wear out or crack. When the seal is compromised, there’s nothing to hold back the water which in turn, can lead to drips and leaks. 

Why Leave it to the Pros?

Sure, you’ve probably replaced a washer in a sink faucet, but the spigot and faucet in most bathtubs are wall-mounted, which makes the job a little more complex.

To access the problematic washer, the handle inserts have to be pried off, then the screws beneath them have to be taken off. 

Next, the handles have to be disconnected from their stems and in many cases, the tub is so old that the stems and handles have corroded into each other. Special tools are often needed to pull them apart without damaging them and this is where our professionals at Uptown Plumbing, Heating & Cooling come in.

What Else Causes a Bathtub to Leak?

Faulty washers aren’t the only things that can cause a tub faucet to leak. There can be other problems with the stem, the pipes or even problems with the tile and grout. 

There may be no other recourse but to completely replace the tub and shower faucet. Unless the tub and shower have an access panel behind them, this will mean opening up the wall to take out the old faucet and install the new faucet. 

Don’t allow that leak to continue for one more day! Call Uptown Plumbing, Heating & Cooling at (612) 284-5789 for leak repair or faucet installation. We’ve been serving the Twin Cities for over 100 years, so you know you can count on us!

What To Do If My Boiler Suddenly Stops Working


Imagine you wake up one morning and there’s no hot water. You run the faucet for a minute or two and, nothing. You turn the shower on as your normally do in the morning and it never gets hot. What should you do? The most important thing in this case is - don't panic. There are a few easy steps that can be taken to figure out what the problem is even without much knowledge of HVAC systems or equipment, and in many cases there will be a simple solution:

1. Check the power supply. If there is no power, the problem is electrical and needs to be routed to an electrician. If it runs on gas or oil, make sure there is gas or oil in the tank.

2. Check the thermostat. If power is not the issue, locate the main thermostat and make sure that it is accurate. Thermostats can lose their accuracy over time and may need to be recalibrated or replaced. It could be that the thermostat needs to be set to a higher temperature, especially if it’s not set higher than room temperature.

3. Check the pilot light. The pilot light should be on. If it isn't lit, then try relighting it using the manufacturer's instructions. If it doesn't stay lit and/or the main burners don't come on, it could be something that an HVAC specialist needs to look into. If you have a modern boilers, there may not be a pilot light. If this is the case, it would have an electronic ignition.

4. Check the condensation pipe. The condensation pipe may have frozen, which can happen when temperatures drop outside. An error message may show on the boiler. There are do-it-yourself methods for unfreezing condensation pipes, but it’s your best bet to call a professional.

5. Check for visible leaks. Check pipes and valves for leaks. If leaks are found and no one in the home is familiar with boiler repair, call a professional.

If all of these things have been checked and the boiler is still not working, it's time to contact a professional repair company. Uptown Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling has been trusted for over 100 years with HVAC repair and can provide top quality service with a guarantee. Schedule your appointment over the phone or online at

Are Tankless Water Heaters Safe?


Water heaters are common fixtures in most modern homes today. They ensure that no matter the outside temperature, hot water will always be available. And with advances in technology, there also comes improvements and new technologies added on to this fixture. A great example of this is the tankless water heater. However, this particular design has many homeowners wondering how safe it is. Let's take a moment to discuss the benefits of the tankless water heater as well as its level of safety.


When it comes to comparing the difference between traditional and tankless heaters, they are as different as night and day. Take a look, below:

Remote Operation: if you are tired of manually maintaining your traditional heater, you will be glad to learn that tankless heaters are easier to operate. This is because most can be operated by remote control.

Smaller Size: most tend to take up less space than the more traditional models. This means if your home is small, you will not have to struggle with a bulky heater.

Energy Efficiency: one of the biggest benefits of tankless water heaters is that they do not work as hard as the traditional models. In fact, these heaters only need enough power to heat whatever amount of water is necessary at that given moment. The result? Say goodbye to wasted money.

Safety Features

Believe it or not, tankless water heaters can be safer than their traditional counterparts.There is no need for a tank which means that there is no storage unit and this lessens the chances of ruptures and leaks. Homeowners do not have to concern themselves with the problems that usually come with standing water - take sediment buildup in the tank for example. You can also avoid the odors that tend to come with the buildup of bacteria. However, there are a few things you should keep an eye on:

Temperature Setting: you need to make sure that your water heater is always set to a safe setting. The standard setting is typically around 120°F. Many of the tankless systems are computer-controlled which means their thermostats automatically remain on a safe setting.

Ventilation: make sure your heater is well-vented. This is to ensure that any harmful fumes are released. The good news is that most tankless systems have fan-operated venting which automatically expels exhaust each time the water has been shut off.

Monitoring: make sure to physically inspect your heater from time to time to make sure flow rates are optimal. The good news? Most tankless systems are self-monitoring.

Want to learn more about the features and benefits of tankless water heating systems? Give the experts at Uptown Plumbing, Heating & Cooling a call today at 612-284-5789.


4 Most Common Bathtub Shapes and Designs


There's nothing better after a long day than drawing a nice hot bath and soaking in the bubbles to relax. If you're looking to invest in a new bathtub, though, finding the style and shape that perfectly fits your needs can be challenging. Here are the most common shapes and designs of bathtubs: 

1. Alcove Bathtubs

Alcove bathtubs are one of the most common styles of baths available and are widely used because they are an affordable option and are quite easy to install. These bathtubs tuck neatly between three walls and are a great choice if you're looking to add a shower. They take up a small amount of space compared to other choices, but that doesn't mean they’re not roomy! Generally, alcove bathtubs are square or oval in shape and cost between four hundred and six hundred dollars. 

2. Corner Bathtubs

Considered one of the more luxurious tub options, a corner bath is the perfect choice for those who love to be pampered. They’re pretty similar to alcove baths, but generally offer much more room, making it feel more like a hot tub or Jacuzzi. This triangular tub is a fantastic option for those with more spacious bathrooms. 

3. Clawfoot Bathtubs

Clawfoot bathtubs bring an air of old fashioned elegance to any bathroom. Rather than being tucked into a wall, these tubs stand on their own on four "legs" called claws. The claws can be as simple or ornate as you want, but no matter what style you go with, they're sure to wow... and for good reason. These oval shaped tubs tend be on the pricey side, but they're certainly worth the investment. 

4. Drop-in Bathtubs

Drop-in bathtubs are a slightly cheaper version of a clawfoot tub because they stand on their own, but do not have the claws. Rather than standing raised, these tubs rest flat on the floor. They’re often considered just as elegant, and are definitely a unique option that you can purchase for roughly six to seven hundred dollars. 

Take a look at your bathroom and your budget and decide which tub will work best for you! Once you make your decision, head to Uptown Plumbing, Heating and Cooling and we’ll help you install the bathtub of your dreams!


How To Find Less Obvious Air Leaks


So, you’ve read our blog about finding and detecting air leaks and you’ve even go as far as adding weatherstripping and insulation to those problem areas. We applaud you for that and your bank account does, too! But what you may not realize is that there are still other areas of your house that are costing you a fortune. What do we mean by that? Well, there are some common areas that are drafty as can be, but they may not be as easy to find.

Perform a visual inspection in and around the following areas outside the house:

  • Exterior corners
  • Outdoor water faucets
  • Where siding and chimneys meet
  • All around the exterior of your home’s foundation

Here’s what you should look, and feel for, for inside:

  • Electrical outlets and switch plates
  • Door frames and window frames
  • Where gas and electrical lines enter the house
  • Baseboard heaters and radiators
  • Inside the fireplace, near the floor and near the mantle
  • Attic hatches and entranceways
  • Where cable and phone lines enter the house
  • Where dryer vents and exhaust fan vents pass through the walls or ceiling

A few minutes of your time this weekend can help you find and fix a number of drafty areas around the house. Doing so will help keep you and your family more comfortable and keep some green in your wallet this winter!

For fast, quality, same day service and repairs on your heating system across Minneapolis - St. Paul, call and speak with the heating repair experts at Uptown Heating today.

Why Is My Radiator Leaking?


It’s never a good thing when you come home to wet carpet or a pool of water on the floor. Alright, maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world if your pet spilled their water bowl or your kids dropped a cup on the floor - but when you the wet floor underneath a piece of equipment, like a radiator for example, it’s definitely not something to take lightly. See below to find out why your radiator might be leaking and a few fast fixes to try until the plumber arrives:

Is It Leaking From The Valve?

This is a very common place for a radiator to spring a leak and it usually happens when the spindle packing in the valve begins to wear out or gets damaged. Try closing the valve fully to see if it still leaks - more often than not, leaks will only occur here if the valve is in the “open” position.

Is It Leaking From The Spindle?

Completely dry the radiator near and around the spindle. If you notice it’s wet again within a few seconds, this is likely where the leak is originating. Tighten the gland nut and see if the leak subsides. If not, you may need to loosen the nut and apply some leak-proof tape before tightening it back up.

Is It Leaking Elsewhere?

If you find the leak isn’t coming from either of the previously mentioned areas, your radiator could be losing water as a result of corrosion. As time passes, minerals in the water can wear down the pipes and sludge can build up simultaneously. The result? A pinhole leak that could mean it’s time for a new radiator.

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.

3 Winter Events in the Twin Cities This Weekend


No matter how cold it gets outside, our cities never hibernate. Sure, you may have to throw on a few extra layers, but the fun definitely doesn’t stop just because we’re in the dead of winter. Instead of staying in your bed or on the couch all weekend, get out there and enjoy some of the festivities the Minneapolis - St. Paul area have to offer!

Saint Paul Winter Carnival

If you’re looking for some ways to spend a cold winter day, you definitely won’t get bored at the winter carnival. They’re gearing up for another year with over 50 events and new attractions. Best of all, most events are absolutely FREE! The festivities will be taking place in downtown Saint Paul, near Rice Park and Landmark Center, as well as at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

Pond Hockey Championships

If there’s one thing Minnesotans take pride in, it’s our hockey. This year marks the 13th Annual Labatt Blue U.S. Pond Hockey Championships taking place at Lake Nokomis. Ready to mingle with thousands of fans and players and enjoy fun and fierce competition?

Built Ford Tough Sleigh Ride

We’re gearing up for the Super Bowl in Minneapolis this year and it’s time for you to enjoy some fun leading up to the big game. Cruise around on a sleigh pulled by Ford Trucks through downtown Minneapolis.

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.