How to Buy a Faucet You’ll Love in Kansas City & Gladstone

blogYou’ve heard, of course, of the proverbial kid in the candy store. So many choices, an unlimited appetite and, theoretically at least, a rare opportunity to partake without boundaries.

Maybe candy isn’t your thing, but haven’t you ever wanted to have that kind of opportunity for something extra special to you? Sure you have, but we’re also willing to bet that “faucets” isn’t it.

In fact, most of the customers we serve actually wish there weren’t as many choices or, at the very least, that it were a whole lot easier to buy one, especially when you consider that you can spend anywhere from under a hundred dollars to well over a thousand dollars on a new kitchen or bathroom faucet.

Well, there’s not much we can do to help you appease your own sense of aesthetic quality since there are an unbelievable assortment of colors, styles, and finishes. But we can help you discern good quality from just okay quality, and that alone should at least help prevent some buyer’s remorse.

Tips for Buying a New Faucet

  • Faucets made from cast molding generally are more durable than those pressed from a machine.
  • Internal valves are the leading contributor to durability, but the one thing you can’t see in a showroom. Some faucets even include anti-scald valves for added safety. In general, you want a faucet with a metal vs. plastic valve, so be sure to ask before finalizing your purchase. Metal simply outlasts and outperforms plastic.
  • Most faucets are made of brass with nickel plating, but you have numerous other choice, including chrome, brushed chrome, polished brass, pewter, stainless steel, gold plating, or powder-coated enamel. Powder coating can be produced in various colors. In general, solid brass faucets last the longest, but also typically cost the most.
  • Count the holes in your sink before you replace your faucet so you can be sure to buy the right kind. Or, if you want a different type of faucet but don’t want to change out your sink, you can also purchase a base plate to cover the existing holes.
  • How important is ease of use to you? If that’s high on your list, then a single-handle faucet is clearly your best bet, and even easier if you purchase one with a motion sensor for instant on and off.

One more tip to the wise: ask about the warranty. The better the faucet, the more likely it is to come with an anti-leak or drip lifetime warranty.

And, of course, for expert installation and help in choosing exactly the right faucet for any given application, be sure to contact LBA Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing now or any time at all.

Back-to-School Water Heater Inspection in Kansas City & Grandview, KS

blogOh, how your children’s little hearts beat with anticipation over the start of the upcoming school year. The feeling is palpable and does your heart good to witness the joy of discovery up close and personal.

Or, maybe not so much.

But love it or hate it, it’s that time of year again, and there are bunches of things to do to get ready for that first day the final school bell rings, officially ending summer vacation.

We’d like to suggest, perhaps, one small addition to your back to school “to do” list: “have the water heater inspected.” Huh?

Okay, here’s the logic: all summer long, water heaters in most Kansas City metro homes have gotten used to a little easier pace. Especially with not everyone rushing to get out the door at roughly the same time every Monday through Friday. But now, that schedule is about to revert back to the school year norm. So the question is: can your water heater handle the increased demand for its services?

At LBA, we’re here to help you answer that question to the highest possible degree of certainty with our water heater safety and efficiency inspection. It’s a painstaking process where we inspect your water heater inside and out – literally. Should we find any signs of internal corrosion or sediment build-up inside the storage tank (just as two examples), we’ll explain your options for getting the problem fixed before things get any worse, and repairs become more costly.

Of course, maybe your kids wouldn’t mind a defective water heater. Any excuse to miss a day of school, right? Well, sorry kids, but your LBA heroes are here to keep it working at peak efficiency and safety. Someday, we hope, you’ll thank us for that.

How to Help Your AC System Last Longer in Kansas City & Blue Springs, MO

blogGiven: your central AC was built to last 10 – 15 years on average.

Given: during a typical Kansas City summer, your system more than earns its keep by putting in long hours, day and night.

Given: nobody likes having to replace a worn our AC system. After all, it’s nowhere near as much fun as buying a new car, right?

We could go on with similar truisms about central AC systems and how we use and abuse them, but instead, let’s jump to the point. With a little re-thinking and a change of habit here and there, you can help your system run better, last longer, and reduce your monthly electricity bill. All of which will allow you to have more money to put toward that new car, or whatever it is that currently has captivated your interest.

Follow these simple tips, and you and your AC system will both be happier:

  • Any time the outdoor temperature gets near or past 100 degrees, raise your thermostat to 75 degrees. Sure, that might not be your normal comfort level, but 75 is still 25 degrees cooler than 100.
  • If you haven’t already done so, add one or more zones to your AC system. Then, for example, you can keep your bedrooms nice and cool while you sleep while raising the temperature in the rest of your home.
  • Even without a separate zone for your bedrooms, turn the thermostat up at night to give your system a break and make up the difference with one oscillating fan per bedroom.
  • Keep shades and blinds closed during the day while the sun is beating on those windows. That will keep your house cooler, giving your AC system a less demanding goal.
  • Be faithful in cleaning or replacing your filter every 30 days. A clogged filter makes your system have to work harder to provide the level of conditioned air you’ve “requested” via the thermostat.

If you really want to be buds with your AC system, get it the annual preventative maintenance it needs, and that its manufacturer recommends. Pre-season, mid-season, or even post-season – it doesn’t really matter when so long as you’re faithful about it.

So if it’s been a year or longer since the last time your system was professionally serviced, we invite you to contact LBA today for our multi-point cleaning and inspection service.

Check out this video to learn more.

Reasons for Buying an Electric Water Heater in Kansas City

LaundryWhen you buy something only once every ten years or so, how on earth are you supposed to remember everything you learned from the time before?

Take your home water heater, for example, and let’s say you’re now in the market for a replacement unit. Let’s further assume that last time around, you thought long and hard before you chose gas over electric. But now, you’ll be darned if you can remember your specific reasons for doing so.

So now, you’re wondering, “did I make a mistake in choosing a gas water heater, at least as far as my own personal priorities are concerned?”

Well, we’re about to offer you the most common reasons why people choose electric over gas, but first, it’s important to understand that you really can’t go wrong with either type of water heater, so long as you purchase a high quality product, and one that was professionally installed and maintained.

With all that said, here are a few reasons why you might choose electric for your next home water heater:

  • Frees up valuable floor space. Gas water heaters must have 6” – 18” of clearance around them on all sides for effective and safe venting. Electric water heaters, on the other hand, don’t generate that kind of heat and can be placed pretty much anywhere, including inside a closet or crawl space.
  • Greater personal safety. It should be noted that both gas and electric water heaters carry personal safety risks, so whichever type you ultimately decide on, please have it professionally serviced at least once a year. With that said, gas water heaters come with the risk of gas leaks that can result in CO poisoning or an explosion anywhere in your house. Electric water heaters, like any electrical appliance, can result in electric shock or electrocution from faulty wiring.       The thing is, there is a greater chance of a gas leak than electric shock or electrocution, making electric water heaters the safer choice.
  • Electric units last longer. With fewer working parts and significantly less heat generation, electric water heaters can last up to several years longer than comparable gas units from a major reduction in wear and tear.

If you’re still wrestling with your decision, well, just to be fair, let’s end by throwing a bone to the gas camp: you’ll pay less to operate a gas vs. an electric water heater, as gas simply costs less than electricity.

Looking for a little professional guidance? That’s what we’re here for: contact LBA today for answers to all your questions and unbiased advice on what might work best for your family, home, and budget.

Cool Bathroom Accessories for Your Home in Kansas City & Blue Springs, MO

blogWe all can use – and appreciate – a little luxury in our lives every now and then. For you, maybe luxury means a snazzy car with all the bells and whistles, or an all-inclusive island vacation. Or perhaps you prefer those simpler luxuries that you can enjoy every single day in the comfort of your own home.

If you’re leaning toward the simpler, then lean in a little closer and check out these five very cool bathroom accessories for your home.

  1. Designer shower drain cover – Style doesn’t have to go down the shower drain. From artsy patterns to sleek, linear drains, and even discreet tile-ready options, today’s drainage solutions are anything but boring.
  1. Radiant heat flooring – Starting your day by stepping on a cold tile floor is anything but luxurious. Add a little warmth to your bath retreat with radiant heat flooring. And because warm air rises, a warm floor also means a warm room, saving you money on heating costs.
  1. Dual-flush toilet – Even the most energy-efficient model still wastes a lot of water. So if you’re in the market for a new toilet, consider a dual-flush model that has one button (or lever) for liquid waste and one for solid, saving approximately 4,000 gallons of water per year over your current 3-5 gallon toilet.
  1. Programmable shower – Imagine getting just the right water temperature, water pressure, and even shower head height at the touch of a button. Better yet, why bother imagining when you can get all that with a programmable shower for a totally personalized shower experience: from customized water stream to your own personal music selections.
  1. Hand Dryer Faucet – Say goodbye to dingy hand towels with a sleek hand dryer faucet. It will wash your hands, then dry them with a blast of air, reducing waste, laundry, and the spread of bacteria.

Hmm, now let’s see: what do all these bathroom accessories have in common? Of course: they can all be purchased from and installed by your local LBA heroes. Call now, and discover even more ways we can turn your bathroom from the ordinary into the extraordinary.

The Benefits of a Gas Clothes Dryer in Kansas City & Lenexa, KS

Housework: Woman Doing LaundryClothes dryers pretty just much go about their business, (sort of) quietly drying your clothes one load at a time.

Or so they would like you to think.

Because clothes dryers, you see, can be major energy guzzlers, sometimes consuming as much energy as new energy efficient refrigerators, washers, and dishwashers combined.  And we bet you didn’t even know that.

In fact, we Americans spend about $9 billion and 60 billion kilowatt hours per year to dry our clothes.  But those numbers can come way, way down.

The biggest savings will come when you switch from n electric to a gas clothes dryer, which cost up to 75% less to operate than electric dryers.  We know it’s not what you’re used to, as electric dryers are still the far more popular choice.   But as we are becoming increasingly energy conscious, those numbers are starting to change.

In fact, you can now even purchase a heat pump clothes dryer and save even more on your energy bills.  But your clothes will take a lot longer to dry, so you might want to wait a bit on that one.

If it’s time for a new clothes dryer, do yourself a favor and at least check out one or more gas models as an alternative to electric..  And if that’s what you decide on, contact LBA for expert and safe installation of a dedicated gas line for your dryer.

And don’t forget:  still the best way of all to save money on clothes drying is to hang them up outdoors and let Mother Nature do her thing

How to Buy a New AC System in Kansas City & Raytown, MO

lbaAir conditioning is a highly complex field.  But complex or otherwise, there are right, less-right, and completely wrong ways of doing things, just as in any other field of endeavor.

So, while the purpose of this blog is not to turn you into an HVAC pro, it is designed to help you purchase a new air conditioning system with greater confidence.

For starters, your antenna should be poking through the ceiling if your contractor measures only floor square footage to determine the right size of your system.  That’s not nearly enough as all of the following must also be considered:

  • Ceiling measurements
  • Wall measurements, including windows
  • Attic and other insulation
  • Crawlspaces
  • Indoor and outdoor temperatures
  • Number of occupants
  • Amount of shade
  • The color and type of your roofing tiles
  • And more

Next, ask your contractor to include “latent cooling load” in his calculations, which measure both air temperature and humidity.  If you need one, a humidity control system built into your AC system can add immeasurably to your family’s comfort while further reducing your monthly utility costs.

Let’s head back to the attic for just a minute, where we’ve already checked on the amount and integrity of your insulation.  Well, your ductwork – think if it as the distribution arm of your AC system – also has to be checked for cracks, leaks, and proper sizing.  If air is escaping into the attic, for example, the makes your system work harder to reach the desired temperature in your living spaces.  And over time, all that added wear and tear will cause your system to fail prematurely.

Next, the higher SEER rating, the better.  SEER, which stand for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, measures how much electricity is needed to power your system.  With the right SEER rating, you can look forward to cutting your monthly electricity costs, in-season, by half or more.

You also want the system installed in such a way so that you can easily perform some of the maintenance yourself, especially if you want to maximize your investment and help prevent repair problems.  So ask your contractor for ease of access to the filter and coil, even if he has to install an access panel for that purpose.

There are other considerations, but if you’re prepared with just this much when your contractor arrives to take measurements and prepare your quote, you’ll be well on your way to getting absolutely the best possible AC system for your home and budget.

At LBA Air Conditioning, we encourage our customers to take part in the process because when all is said and done, the more you know about your new AC system, the happier you’ll be with the end result.  Contact us today for a free in-home system proposal and quote.

How to Cool Your Home for Less in Kansas City

lbaThere’s nothing quite like relaxing in a cool, air conditioned home on a hot summer day. But let’s face it, keeping that air conditioning system running day in and day out can cost a pretty penny over the course of the cooling season. So to save a few bucks on your air conditioning bill, maybe you’ve tried putting a cold wash cloth on your forehead, turning up the thermostat, and trying to convince yourself that 85 degrees isn’t that hot. Or other similar, drastic measures that don’t do much good at all.

Then again, there are several very effective ways to cool yourself and your home while preventing your electricity bill from causing you more stress and strain than perhaps it already does.

Reduce Your Body Heat

  • Drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated, and consider an electrolyte solution on especially hot days when you’re prone to increased sweating.
  • Dress in breathable, natural fabrics like cotton, linen, or hemp.
  • Soak your feet in a basin of cold water, or keep a spray bottle of water in the fridge for a refreshing spritz.
  • Eat lighter meals like salads and sandwiches instead of hot, heavy meals.

Tips for Around the House

  • Limit heat-producing activities during the day. Run the dishwasher and washing machine/dryer overnight, and save the vacuuming and cleaning for evening.
  • Keep those shades drawn, at least until the sun moves to another part of your home.
  • Use fans in conjunction with your air conditioner to help circulate cool air around your home.
  • Make sure doors and windows don’t have any cracks or gaps that could be letting cool air out and warm air in.

Maintain Your Air Conditioner

  • Keep your air conditioner running efficiently by cleaning or changing the air filter once a month.
  • Shade your air conditioner from direct sunlight with landscaping:  just be careful not to block or obstruct the fan in any way and give it plenty of room to vent heat. Place window units on the north side of the house.
  • Make sure you have the right size central air system for your home. A unit that is too small will never get your home cool enough, but it’ll do a fine job of hiking up your electric bill.

Here’s another great way to stay cool and comfortable indoors while actually maintaining or reducing your monthly electrical costs when compared to the same time last year.  And that’s with a multi-step cleaning and inspection from your local LBA Heroes.  We know central air, ductless air, and heat pump systems inside and out, and that’s what our inspections include:  both your outdoor condensing unit and your indoor heat exchanger.  For more information or to schedule service, contact LBA today.

How to Protect Yourself from the Sun in Kansas City

cityThe smell of hot dogs and hamburgers sizzling on the grill. The feeling of soft sand between your toes. And that unmistakable feeling of sunshine warming your face. Yes, summer is upon us.

And of course, while you’re soaking up all that vitamin D you also want to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful UV rays.  But there’s more to keeping your family safe than just applying the highest SPF sunscreen you can get your hands on.

Read on to learn how to protect your loved ones from sunburn and dehydration without sacrificing one minute of summertime fun.

Protect your skin.

While most people only think of putting on sunscreen when they plan on spending several hours out in bright sun, the truth is the sun’s rays don’t need much time to do some serious damage. So defend your skin with a broad-spectrum sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or higher and apply it generously 15-20 minutes before heading outdoors.

Reapply it every 2 hours or more often if you’re swimming. And don’t be shy – the cost of a bottle of sunscreen is a small price to pay to keep your skin healthy. Remember, however, that babies 6 months old and under should not use sunscreen, so keep them out of the sun if possible, or dress them in light layers of clothing.

Protect your eyes with UV blocking sunglasses and your head with a wide-brimmed hat. If you have fair skin, red hair, or a history of skin moles, be sure to take extra precautions.

Stay cool.

It might be tempting to plant your beach chair in the sand or by the pool all day. But you’ll only raise your risk of sunburn and dehydration. So take frequent breaks and make sure you drink plenty of water, especially on really hot days. Remember that water reflects the sun’s rays, so while you might feel like a swim cools you down, it actually increases your exposure to the sun.

Know the signs.

Stay safe by understanding the signs of dehydration. The most common are: increased thirst, dry mouth, swollen tongue, weakness, dizziness, and decreased urine output. If you suspect mild to moderate dehydration, drink plenty of water and find a cool, shady stop to rest in. For severe dehydration (often characterized by a fever, vomiting, difficulty breathing and/or fainting), seek medical attention immediately.

The start of a summer is also a great time to make sure your air conditioning system is in peak operating condition, and a great way to accomplish that is with an AC system cleaning and inspection from LBA.  We invite you to contact us today to schedule service.

LBA Honors National Family Month in Greater Kansas City

lbaFamilies come in all shapes and sizes. Whether it’s a single parent and child, or three generations living under one roof, the true meaning of family stays the same – people who love, encourage, and support each other unconditionally. And that love and support is the basis for raising happy, healthy, and secure children.

The five weeks between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day is officially designated National Family Month. Created by KidsPeace and recognized by Congress in 1998, National Family Month provides an opportunity for parents, grandparents and caregivers to recognize the importance of family involvement in the lives of children. And because it coincides with the end of the school year, National Family Month encourages families to spend time together, renew relationships, and grow and strengthen the family unit over summer vacation.

And while planned outings and big vacations are great opportunities for reconnecting with our loved ones, every day provides a chance to focus on those most important to us and make memories that last a lifetime.

Here are 5 tips to help you spend more quality time with your family this month, and every day.

Start a new family tradition.

Whether it’s a cousin’s sleepover the last Friday of the month, a Sunday family dinner, or planting an annual vegetable garden, traditions connect us and give us something to look forward to and pass down to future generations.

Reach out to extended family.

If you have family that you see only once a year or so, reach out to them. In today’s world, there’s no excuse for not staying connected.

Get the kids involved in household chores.

While they might not be so eager to dust or fold the laundry, involving kids at an early age will foster responsibility and help instill a strong work ethic. Plus, since many helping hands make for lighter work, everyone can enjoy more time together when the chores are completed.

Give your family your undivided attention.

Put a ban on electronics during family time. The emails, phone calls, and games can wait, as can other distractions. Being physical and emotionally present for 30 minutes is more impactful and important than being physically present but distracted for 2 hours.

Here at LBA, ours is a family of home comfort professionals dedicated to your more comfortable, convenient, and safer indoor living.  And if that contributes even a little to a happier home life for you and yours, then we’re even more grateful for the opportunity to serve as your family’s home comfort provider.