5 Questions To Ask Before Hiring A Plumber

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You wouldn’t just go to a car dealership and choose any old car off the lot, right? So, why would you consider hiring a plumber without doing any research first? A trusted professional is the key to success when it comes to any project, so here’s what you need to ask to make sure your plumber is right for the job:

  1. Are you licensed? If a plumber can’t show you the proper credentials, run. Okay, maybe you shouldn’t necessarily run, but this is a clear indication that this company is not qualified to do the job and unlicensed, unregistered or uninsured “professionals” can cost you lots of money in the long run.

  2. Is this the final cost? It’s always a good idea to get an estimate in writing before any work begins. And while there are some things that just can’t be predicted upfront, they should be able to give you an accurate estimate of the cost in the very beginning.

  3. When do you want payment? Some plumbers want the money upfront, some will collect payment after the project has been completed and some will be a combination of both. Regardless, knowing ahead of time can help you budget and make sure you make timely payments.

  4. Who will be doing the work? Sometimes, a master plumber will show up to take a look at the project, but then send a rookie back to do the work. It’s important to find out who will be showing up so you can make sure they send the right person for the job and that you’ll know exactly who to expect.

  5. Do you have any references or testimonials? Sure, any plumber can tell you they’re the best in town, but if they don’t have any proof, chances are they’re not quite telling the truth. Are most of their customers happy with the work? Would they use the plumber again?

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: read testimonials from happy customers here or about our great service level commitment here.

Quick Fixes For a Leaky Pipe

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The first thing you should do when you notice a pipe is leaking is to get a hold of a plumber. However, finding a reliable plumber who’s ready to roll as soon as your call comes in is not always the case, so you may find yourself in a slippery situation. You’ve got water leaking all over the house and you don’t have much time to lose. What can you do?

Since the solutions below are only temporary, we DO NOT recommend relying on them instead of calling in a plumber. But when you’re in a pinch, they could alleviate some of the issues commonly caused by leaky pipes:

  1. Epoxy compound: while they don’t work on all types of pipes, you can plug up some leaks with an epoxy compound until the plumber arrives to replace it. They work best on cast iron pipes and while a minor repair might be all that is needed to solve the problem, you may want to consider replacing old pipes altogether.

  2. Clamps: pipe clamps are often used on aircraft carriers and submarines, so they’ll likely be able to contain your leaky pipe until the plumber comes in to save the day.

  3. Wraps: you can wrap a piece of rubber around the leaking section of the pipe to keep the leak under control. Once you’ve wrapped it, use a C-clamp and small blocks of wood to make sure the rubber is wrapped tightly in place. Don’t have old rubber tubes lying around? An old garden hose will suffice.

  4. Sleeves: have a pinhole or joint leak? Repair sleeves work best with smaller cracks, but if they’re left too long, the problem can spread.

A leaky pipe is an issue that should not be treated lightly. Call on the expert plumbers at Uptown right away and we’ll make it a point to get to you as quickly as possible. After all, fast service is a top priority.

Quick Fixes For a Leaky Shower Head

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Hear a drip, drip, drip coming from the shower every time you use the bathroom? Sure, a few drops might sprinkle out immediately following a shower, but if it’s happening constantly it’s time for a little servicing. After all, leaving a leak unattended can cause energy bills to heighten, not to mention the large amounts of wasted water. So, how can you fix the drip? Find out below:

First and foremost, DO NOT try to crank the handle closed if water keeps dripping out of the shower head. This is not going to stop it from dribbling and it will likely make things worse.

Instead, try these quick fixes:

  • Soak the shower head in vinegar. Hard water deposits can build up in the holes which has a tendency to prevent water from spraying out. This could cause the water to back up and drip out through the faceplate or where the shower head and the arm connect.

  • Then check for a worn seal. Washers and O-rings don’t last forever and once they wear down, water can leak out. Oftentimes, the leak can be fixed by removing the worn out piece and replacing it with a new one.

  • If your shower has two separate faucets, one for hot and one for cold, you may need to replace the washer in the leaky handle.

  • Check to make sure the shower head is connected to the arm properly. You may need to add a bit of waterproof seal tape if either piece has worn out grooves.

Have a leaky shower head you just can’t seem to fix? No need to worry, the expert plumbers at Uptown are here to help! Our plumbers in well-stocked service vehicles are available from multiple locations across Minneapolis–St Paul so we'll always get to you fast and have the right tools and parts upon arrival.

How To Detect a Toilet Leak

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Hear the sound of running water? Notice the bowl is hissing or trickling? These are clear signs your toilet is leaking, but it’s not always that obvious. Lots of times, when a toilet leaks, water will flow silently into the bowl and you may not even realize it’s happening. It’s important to note though, that even though you’re unaware doesn’t mean it’s not wasting water and money.

Here’s how you find out if your toilet is leaking:

Step 1 - Remove the cover on the toilet tank.

Step 2 - Add roughly 10 drops of food coloring to the water in the tank.

Step 3 - Put the lid back on the tank, but DO NOT flush.

Step 4 - Wait 15-20 minutes and then head back into the bathroom. If you notice the water inside the bowl changed color, you have a leak.

What’s causing the leak?

  • The flapper is not operating properly. It should be covering the hole completely.

  • There is a crack in the bottom of the tank.

  • The chain attached to the flapper is too short or getting caught.

  • The fill valve is not working properly.

Have a leaky toilet in your Minneapolis - St. Paul home? The plumbers at Uptown drive fully-stocked service vehicles so you can be sure they will have the parts with them to repair your toilet quickly. Call us today at 651-315-7995.

3 Reasons Your Faucet is Dripping

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Did you know that a faucet with a slow drip of 10 drops per minute can lead to 350 gallons of wasted water in a given year? With that said, it’s vital to put a stop to that leak once and for all so you can save water and money. But sometimes it’s difficult to stop the leak when you don’t know what’s causing it in the first place so we’ve got some answers below.

  1. Worn Out Parts: there are lots of parts that make up a faucet. From the washer inside the tap, to the rings, screws, nuts and all the other little pieces inside the handles, there’s lots that can go wrong. If for any reason the seals, cartridges, O-rings or washers wear out it could be the reason for the leak.

  2. Water Pressure: sometimes, faucets only drip at certain times of the day or when a family member does something specific - in other words, it’s not a steady drip. This could be the case if your water pressure is too high.

  3. Damaged Plumbing: although it’s rare for this to be the main cause of leaky faucet, it happens from time to time. Broken pipes or fittings can develop cracks which tend to leak down into the area underneath the sink. But if the broken part is directly connected to the faucet, it could cause it to drip every now and then.

If any of these circumstances seem to be the reason your faucet is dripping, we’re here to help! Call on the expert plumbers at Uptown. After all, we are the leak detection experts in the Minneapolis - St. Paul area.

The Color of March 2017: Kale

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Each year, St. Patrick’s Day takes place in March. This year, the color of the month just so happens to be Kale - coincidence? We think not! But regardless of whether or not this is a coincidence, here are a few ways to bring out the best of this vegetable-inspired color this St. Patrick’s Day and for the rest of the month.

Boost Curb Appeal: have a green front door? Have green shutters? If not, you may want to consider it. Painting your front door can give your home an instant, and much-needed change. Matching the shutters to the door is a wonderful way to add some charm and tie things together.

Mix and Match Throw Pillows: having guests over tonight to celebrate the holiday? Break out those white, green and orange pillows and strategically place them on your couches and sofas. This is a quick and easy way to add a festive touch.

Turn Back Time: thinking about painting the living room or the dining room? A muted green color can bring a historic feel to your older Twin Cities home. We recommend going all the way from floor to ceiling to create a dramatic appearance.

Go Bold in the Bathroom: tired of the same old boring colors in the bathroom? Consider a shower curtain, bath towels or art decor with bold pops of green.

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. When you need service, simply give us a call at 612-284-5789.

Why You Should Leave Plumbing Projects to the Pros

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Each year, homeowners across the United States complete hundreds of thousands of DIY projects around the home. From painting to sealing windows and doors there’s lots the average homeowner can tackle, but when it comes to plumbing, these projects are best left to the pros.

 

  1. You probably don’t have the right tools for the job. Sure, you may have a plunger for a clogged toilet and you might even have a pipe wrench, but there are lots of speciality tools plumbers use on a daily basis that you won’t find in your old tool box.

  2. You may not know the correct placement for fixtures. Need to install a new sink? There are three ways to install a sink right off the bat: top-mount, undermount and pedestal. Leave this job to the pros so you can avoid leaks and other major problems down the road.

  3. You don’t know if you should repair or replace. You may be thinking a pipe or fixture needs to be completely replaced when in reality, a quick repair will suffice. Or on the other hand, you may think a quick fix will be good enough to last a while when a full replacement is in fact, necessary.

  4. You probably don’t have enough time. You work a full-time job and have kids to take care of in your spare time. Most plumbing projects need to be completed in one shot to avoid major trouble, so if you need to break for a few hours or even overnight you could be creating a monster.

  5. You could damage other items in the vicinity. Plumbers are conscious of other fixtures, pipes and the structures surrounding the issue and are trained to make the fix without damaging anything or injuring themselves.

The conclusion? While there are lots of jobs we encourage you to tackle on your own, you should leave most plumbing jobs to the experts. That’s where we come in! Call on the professionals at Uptown Plumbing today and we’ll take the stress out of that project.

5 Easy Ways To Add Storage Where You Need It Most

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Now that the snow is tapering off and we’re looking at warmer temperatures toward the end of the week, it’s time to tackle those projects you’ve been putting off all winter. This weekend, you can start by adding storage solutions throughout the house. Grab your tool belt, grab a helper and let’s get to work!

Multi-Functioning Bed

In the old days, a bed was strictly for sleeping. But times have changed and now you can use it as a storage solution as well. Create 2-3 cubbies that span the length of the bed and place them on either side underneath your bed’s platform frame.

Bring Back The Coat Rack

Running out of space in the closet? Hate seeing coats hanging on the back of chairs or sprawled out on the couch? A coat rack is the perfect solution for you. Keep hats, coats and scarves out of the way so you have more room for activities.

Cocktail Hutch

Why battle for space in the kitchen when you can build a tall slender cocktail hutch in the living- or dining room instead? Add a place to hang glasses at the top, a shelf for liquor bottles in the middle and a an area to store wine bottles at the bottom. After your long weekend building, this may be the first thing you put to use.

Retire The Canvas Laundry Sack

There’s no reason to keep using that old laundry bag. With a few pieces of wood, you can create a modern-looking hamper in the bathroom.

Repurpose Old Door Knobs

Looking for a new place to keep bath towels? Why not keep them right in the bathroom itself? You can build a towel rack using old door knobs as the hooks - this way you can keep the vanity clear and free up space in the closet.

Notice you need plumbing, heating or cooling service during your DIY projects? We’re here to help! Call on the experts at Uptown today - we’ve been serving the Twin Cities for over 100 years so you know you can count on us.

Why Perform a Home Energy Audit?

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There are lots of things you can do around your home to save money - that is no secret. But did you know that you can save between 5 and 30 percent or more on home energy bills by making just a few efficiency upgrades? Performing a home energy audit is the key to saving this year and here’s what you need to look for:

  • Take note of the number of registers, or air vents, you have in your home as well as where they are located.

  • Check windows and doors for excess window condensation. This could mean the seal inside your windows is no longer working like it’s supposed to and could be the reason you have drafts.

  • Check for air leaks around outlets, fixtures, windows and doors.

  • Inspect the fireplace and make sure there are no structural cracks or gaps on interior or exterior walls.

  • Write down the name and model number of your thermostat. Also note the heating and cooling settings.

  • Check for insulation in your walls, attic and ceiling.

  • Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

If you notice anything out of the ordinary, or that certain areas of your home seem to be damaged or broken it’s vital to call in the professionals right away. Why go another day, week or month spending more than you need to on energy bills?

When you need help with your home's plumbing, heating and cooling, the expert technicians at Uptown are available on-call to get to you fast with the tools and parts to perform repairs and installations. Call us today at 612-284-5789.

Fight Back Against Allergies With These Houseplants

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Allergy sufferers brace yourselves! Spring is just a few short weeks away and that means itchy eyes, coughing and sneezing will be here before we know it. But this year you don’t have to succumb to the symptoms - find out how you can fight back by placing a few houseplants around your home.

Golden pothos: also known as the devil’s ivy, this plant is great for getting rid of formaldehyde, xylene, toluene, benzene and even carbon monoxide. It is however, toxic to animals so keep them away from dogs and cats.

Bamboo Palm: this plant requires a bit of maintenance, but it’s well worth it. Keep the soil moist, but not wet, and place it in area that receives indirect sunlight to bring out its air purifying capabilities.

Dracaena: some people refer to this one as “Janet Craig,” a nickname derived from a prominent nurseryman’s daughter. This plant’s shiny deep-green leaves are renowned for trapping allergens.

Peace Lily: it’ll add a sense of decor and create an ambiance in any room of the house and this plant will help keep allergic reactions to a minimum.

In addition to placing these houseplants around your home, we also recommend considering a permanent indoor air quality solution. After all, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claims low indoor air quality as being a major potential health risk factor with the effects posing a number of potential health issues such as colds, sore throats, headaches, nausea as well as potentially aggravating the symptoms of people who already suffer from asthma, allergies and breathing difficulties.

Don’t suffer this season! Contact the indoor air quality specialists at Uptown Plumbing, Heating & Cooling today.