5 Ways to Observe Earth Day in Kansas City & Mission, KS

5Earth Day is Tuesday, April 22nd. A day for communities across the globe to gather together in an effort to bring attention to the damaged state of our environment. And to take action, if only for a day.

Then again, Earth Day is more than just a one-day event. It’s about making meaningful lifestyle changes that will have a lasting impact. So this Earth Day, consider adopting one or more new green living habits.  You may not feel the difference in global terms, but you and your family will having something new to smile and feel good about, every single day.

  1. Give up plastic water bottles for good. Besides taking centuries to decompose while slowly leaching the chemicals it’s made with into our soil and water, tremendous amounts of energy and resources are required in their production.  And while you may think that plastic bottle sitting in your cup holder can be recycled, the truth is many lesser-grade plastics simply can’t be recycled and end up in the landfills.
  2. Rely less on your car. If you can take public transportation, carpool, bike or walk, do so. Your 10-15 minute daily commute might not seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but a single gallon of gas sends 20 pounds of carbon dioxide into the air. If you can’t commit every day, aim for one or two days a week.
  3. Eat locally produced and organically grown food when possible. Check out farmers’ markets in your area. Teach your children where food really comes from, and get to know your local farmers. Of course, nothing is more local than your own back yard. Plant a vegetable garden for an ever ready supply of delicious, fresh produce.
  4. Curb your household energy consumption. Install low flow faucets and shower heads and replace electricity guzzling appliances with Energy Star and Water Sense models. You can save water by fixing leaks right away. Now that springtime is finally upon us, hang your clothes out to dry instead of using your dryer. You won’t even need those chemically-laden dryer sheets to freshen your laundry, since nothing is fresher than the smell of air and sunshine.
  5. Become an activist. Start a movement or plan an event in your neighborhood, school, or place of business. Perhaps it’s a clothing, furniture, or toy swap. Or making sure recycling containers are available in common areas. Maybe take part in a little friendly competition to see who can reduce their carbon footprint the most. And the prize? The feeling of knowing that you’re doing something to protect Mother Earth for generations to come.

Here at LBA, a big part of what we do is helping our customers live greener lives with no loss of comfort or convenience.  In fact, right now is a great time to schedule an air conditioning cleaning and inspection.  Your system run better and more efficiently all summer long, and that means lower energy bills, too.

Home Plumbing Inspection in Kansas City

When was the last time you checked the water pipes under your kitchen or bathroom cabinets? Or those under your crawlspace, or even your hot water heater? Never? You’re not alone.

Most homeowners rarely think about checking the condition of their plumbing until something goes wrong. But just as you wouldn’t wait until you needed a root canal to start taking care of your teeth, you shouldn’t wait until your finished basement is flooded to take care of your plumbing.

The best way to do that is with an annual whole house plumbing inspection from LBA. While there’s no sure fire way to fully prevent plumbing problems, a yearly inspection stacks the odds in your favor by identifying areas of concern now before they reach emergency status.

During an inspection, one of our LBA Heroes will inspect all plumbing fixtures and systems for premature wear, corrosion, leaks, and safety to make sure your plumbing works for you and your family today, and well into the future. Here’s just some of what our inspections include::blog

  • Shower heads and faucets for proper water flow
  • Toilets for leaks
  • Drains, including garbage disposal, for blockages
  • Water dispenser and ice maker lines for pin-hole cracks
  • Whole house water filters
  • Outdoor faucets and crawlspace water pipes for wear
  • Water heater for leaks and signs of corrosion
  • Vent pipes, pressure valves and pipe insulation

If it’s been a year or more since your plumbing was last inspected, there’s no better time to contact LBA than right now.  We look forward to our next opportunity to serve you.

9 Ways to Clean Your House with Lemons in Kansas City

9From lemon-scented soap and dishwashing liquid, to furniture polish and air fresheners, household cleaning manufacturers know that a little lemon juice can add a clean, refreshing aroma while boosting the cleaning power of their products.

But did you know that you can skip the pricey household cleaners and often get the same, if not better, results with that bright, juicy fruit you may already have on your kitchen counter? Its acidity, bleaching, and disinfecting power make the humble lemon a force to be reckoned. And when you add it to other pantry staples, like baking soda, vinegar, and olive oil, you may never need another commercial cleaner again.

Here are just some of the many ways you can get your home clean and fresh with lemons.

  1. Add a little lemon juice to olive oil for an easy, natural, and fragrant way to polish wood furniture.
  2. Remove tough stains from non-porous surfaces by making a paste of lemon juice and baking soda. Scrub the surface and rinse with water.
  3. Boost the power of your laundry detergent by adding a cup of lemon juice into the wash cycle. Nature’s bleach, it’ll brighter your whites and remove stains without harsh chemicals.
  4. Banish weeds naturally by spraying them with a generous amount of lemon juice. They should begin to shrivel in a couple of days.
  5. Add lemon peel to an air tight container, fill with vinegar, and let it sit for at least a week. Pour the liquid into a spray bottle and use it to disinfect door knobs, toilet bowls, and kill airborne germs while freshening up the air.
  6. Remove hard water stains from chrome bath and shower fixtures by scrubbing them with the cut side of half a lemon.
  7. Remove stains from carpet and upholstery with lemon juice. Make a paste of lemon juice and salt for more durable fabrics, or saturate gentler fabrics with lemon juice and wash out with water.  Just be sure to test an area to make sure colors don’t fade or bleed.
  8. Clean and polish metal surfaces like stainless steel and copper. Cut a lemon in half, dip it in salt, and scrub.
  9. Deodorize stinky drains and garbage disposals. Pour lemon juice down a drain and flush with water, or throw lemon peel into the garbage disposal.

Speaking of your drains and garbage disposal, any time you have a clog or other repair issue on your hands, contact LBA for prompt and professional results with your 100% satisfaction guaranteed.

It’s Basement Flooding Season in Kansas City, And Time to Shore up Your Defenses.

Basement flooding season?

Okay, some people call it “spring,” but for all too many Kansas City are area home owners, they’re one and the same.

You see, during the winter, your lawn soaks up a lot of moisture. When the spring rains come pouring down on top of all that, the extra water simply can’t be absorbed. But it has to go somewhere, and it will always pursue the path of least resistance. Yes, including your basement.

So what’s a careful home owner to do? Well, if you already have a sump pump, now’s the time to give it a test run. If it starts up just like always, pour a pail of water into the pit to make sure it’s still working.

Still, sump pumps have been known to fail, especially older models that have not been faithfully maintained over the years. Or, let’s say you lose electricity. Well, along with the lights, stereo, fridge, and more, your pump is going to shut down too, at least until the power is restored. That could turn out to be a really ugly picture.

Which is why we urge you to support your main sump pump with either a battery-powered or water-powered sump pump. While each model has its own unique advantages, here’s what they have in common:index0

  • They turn on automatically as soon as your sump pump fails, not matter what the reason.

  • Should your main sump pump come back on, the back-up pump will shut itself off.

  • The right battery- or water-powered pump for your home is more than capable of keeping up with the amount of water flowing into your basement.

If you’ve had basement flooding before, then you know this isn’t just about keeping your basement dry. It’s about preventing the kind of damage water can cause to your home and personal belongings

To learn more or schedule installation, why not contact your local LBA Heroes today.

Plumbing Repairs Better Left to the Pros in Kansas City

lbaWhether you live in a sleek and modern home or a lovingly restored 100 year old gem, one thing is certain: home ownership and repairs go hand in hand. And fixing those repairs can end up costing a pretty penny over time. It’s no wonder more and more homeowners are channeling their inner Bob Vila and choosing to take on home repair and improvement projects themselves.

But while many DIY repairs can often be successfully completed with some basic tools and skills, others could end up costing you more time, money, and frustration if not done by a professional.

So before you head to your local home improvement store, here are a few plumbing situations that are best left to the pros.

If the job requires a permit…

Anytime you’re adding to the structure of your home, changing the footprint of your kitchen or bath, or doing any plumbing work that requires you to obtain a permit, it’s best to hire an experienced plumber. Not only will a plumbing contractor make sure the job is done correctly and up to code, you and your home will be protected should anything go wrong in the process.

If the job requires a propane torch…

Tightening a loose faucet, shower head, or even pipe is simple enough with the right wrench. But when you’re dealing with cracked or burst pipes that need to be replaced and soldered together with a blow torch, consider calling a plumber. You might save a few bucks by doing it yourself, but the risk far outweighs the benefit.

If your hot water heater in on the fritz…

Your hot water heater is a big investment. But proper, professional maintenance can add years to its expected life span. So if you find yourself standing in an ice cold shower, have the hot water heater checked out by an expert.

If the main plumbing line backs up…

A backed up drain line is a lot more complicated to repair than your run of the mill sink clog. If you notice water from one fixture, like the bathtub, appearing in another, like a nearby sink, you need a plumber with the right tools and expertise to get things moving again.

At LBA, our well-trained and experienced plumbers are ready to lend all the professional assistance you need:  on time, on budget, and with your 100% satisfaction guaranteed.  So give us a call, and let an LBA plumber be a hero to you.

How to Make Recycling Fun for Your Kids in Kansas City & Raytown, MO

kansasThe green movement is in full force here in Kansas City, Raytown, and throughout the area.   Today, more and more families, retailers, and consumer product companies are paying greater attention to the legacy we leave behind for future generations.

In that spirit, LBA is pleased to offer you a few fun and easy ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle with your family, and ensure that generations ahead have a healthy happy planet to call home.

  1. Teach your kids the difference between items that can and can’t be recycled. Better yet, take a field trip to your local recycling facility so they can see first-hand what happens to cereal boxes that soda cans that are properly disposed of.
  2. Teach them that it’s equally important to reduce consumption. That means using less plastics, less water, and less electricity.
  3. Find creative ways to reuse common items that you no longer need. A plastic baby wipe container is perfect for storing crayons and markers. Old clothing that is not suitable for consignment or hand-me-downs can be given new life, too. From tote bags, to blankets, to cleaning rags and garden stake ties, there are countless ways to reuse your old favorites.
  4. Turn old greeting cards into new cards, gift tags, or bookmarks.
  5. Once your child has outgrown his crib mattress, use it to make a reading nook, complete with hanging canopy made from crib sheets.
  6. Save money and packaging by purchasing pasta, rice, flour, oats, and even spices in bulk. Store them in clean, labeled sauce and condiment jars.

At LBA, we can help you live greener without any loss of comfort or convenience.  A new low-flow toilet, for example, will save about 3.5 gallons per flush.  For an average family of four, that represents many thousands of gallons of water saved each year.  For more information on that and other green plumbing solutions, contact your LBA Heroes today.

 

5 Keys to Greater Home Comfort in Kansas City and Lenexa, KS

lbaWe live in a world of choices, frequently making them when we’re not even aware of it.  Choosing to ignore your “Honey do!” list is a choice all its own here in Kansas City and Lenexa.

It might not be the one your “S-O” would like you to make, but it’s a choice nonetheless.  So is deciding which items on that list to tackle, and in which order, which brings us to the point of this blog, i.e., there are certain home repairs and maintenance steps that should be taken care of as quickly as possible.  For your own sake, and that of keeping your expenses in check.

Here are just a few examples:

  1. Dirty (or Missing) Filters – Not only do your heating and air conditioning filters keep allergens, pathogens, and countless airborne pollutants from invading the air you breathe, they help your system work more efficiently and effectively. So make sure they are cleaned or replaced once a month for optimum home comfort.
  2. Water Leaks – That little drip-drip sound from your bathroom faucet is more than just annoying. It wastes water, costs you money, and can cause damage to fixtures, floors, and walls while potentially creating a perfect “live-in” environment for mold.  So fix now, and worry less later.
  3. Unusual HVAC Noises and Odors – It’s common to hear some noises and notice some slight odors when your heating or air conditioning system starts up. But some sounds and smells should not be ignored. Rattling, hissing, and loud knocks and bumps are among them, as are the unmistakable odors of gas (rotten egg), oil, or mold.  When in doubt, contact a professional to have them checked out.
  4. Dirty Dryer Vents – With every load of laundry that goes through the dryer, lint builds up in the nooks and crannies of the lint trap and along the vent hose. Over time, this can cause heat to build up in the vents and prevent the exhaust from escaping. And this increases the likelihood of a home fire substantially. Clean your lint filter after each load, and have your vents cleaned every six months.
  5. Unusually High Utility Bills – It’s common for the cost of water, electricity, and fuel to fluctuate due to market conditions and seasonal use. But if you find yourself with a higher than normal utility bill for no apparent reason, that’s cause for concern and further investigation.  For example, a sudden spike in your water bill could indicate a silent leak. A high heating or electricity bill could mean your system is not running at max efficiency and may need to be cleaned.

One way to put your mind at ease is with annual plumbing, heating, and air conditioning ssytem inspections.  It’s a good way to spot budding problems before they become bigger and more troublesome.  At the same time, your systems will run better, no doubt last longer, and you’ll save money on your utility bills.  Why not call today to schedule service:  the creator of your “Honey do!” list will thank you, even if that creator is you!

Home Plumbing Maintenance Tips for Kansas City & Gladstone, MO

There are certain things around your Kansas City or Gladstone home that are easy to take for granted, and your plumbing is one for them.

You finish brushing your teeth or taking a shower, and you turn the water off and go about your business. Another load of clothes freshly washed, and another load of clothes tossed into the drier. And on it goes.

Until, that is, something happens to make you stop and take notice. Like a clogged toilet, leaking showerhead, maybe even a burst pipe. And then, boy do you ever pay attention to your plumbing.

And now for Plan B, which is this: instead of waiting for things to go wrong, keep an alert eye out for little problems before they grow worse. While you’re at it, it’s a good idea to learn how to respond should a problem occur anyway.

There’s no such thing as a small water leak. Even the tiniest of water leaks can waste up to 15 gallons of water per day. So imagine what kind of damage a leak starting inside one of your walls can cause? When you spot a water leak, have it fixed right away. And be on the lookout for signs of hidden water leaks, such as water puddles around the base of your water heater, under your sinks, or behind your fridge.index0

Locate your water main shut-off valve. If water suddenly overflows from your toilet, tub, or a burst water pipe, the first thing you want to do is shut off the supply to your home. That means knowing where you main shut-off valve is located, and having easy access to it should the need arise.

Keep you drains fresh and clean. Most sink and garbage disposal drain clogs can be prevented. One good way to keep them clear is to pour a half cup of vinegar and a half cup of baking soda down each of your sink drains at least every 60 days. They’ll smell better, too!

Keep your garbage disposal blades sharp. When garbage disposal blades start to dull, the food inside them can’t be ground up as finely. That leads to bigger chunks, and bigger chunks led to clogged drains. From time to time, grind up some ice cubes inside your disposal, a good way to help keep your blades nice and sharp.

When all else fails, we won’t. We’re LBA, your local home comfort heroes, and we’re here to take care of any plumbing or drain problem you might be having, 24/7. Call us, and let LBA be a hero to you, too!

 

How to Hire the Right Plumber in Kansas City & Mission, KS

No matter where in your home you are at the moment, you wouldn’t have to walk very far to come in contact with water.  That’s because it’s everywhere, even in places you can’t see it.

Now, how far would you have to walk or drive to come in contact with your plumber?  Hold on a second:  did we hear you say that you don’t HAVE a plumber?  One that you can trust absolutely for great work, on-time service, honest value, and your guaranteed satisfaction for jobs large and small?

Well, if that IS what you said, then you should take steps now to find that one special plumber you can connect with, no matter what the need or time of day.  That one special plumber that connects with you, too, by listening to your concerns, understanding your priorities, and making you feel important to their business.

You see, the best time to hire a plumber is before you really need one.  That way you can take your time, seek information from and about more than one local plumber, and let them earn your business rather than you simply bestowing it – in an emergency – on someone you know little or nothing about.

And while you undoubtedly have you own very specific concerns and selection issues, we at LBA Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing to include the following items in the search for your family plumber.plumber

1.  Are they licensed to work in your state, i.e., Kansas and Missouri?
2.  What kinds of insurance do they cover, and exactly how do those coverages protect you and your home?
3.  Are they members of the Better Business Bureau and, if so, what is their current status?
4.  Do they provide estimates in writing and explain exactly what’s included and what it isn’t?
5.  Do they warranty their repair work and, if so, for how long?
6.  If permits are required, will they obtain them on your behalf?
7.  How well do they protect your home and the work area while performing work in your home?  Do they cover their shoes or your floors?  Do they thoroughly clean up after themselves?
8.  Are they willing and able to provide you with references should you ask for them?
9.  Do they have any special equipment, skills, or certifications that may not be common among local plumbers, and that further distinguish them among their competition?
10.  Do they provide ongoing training for their plumbers to keep abreast of what’s new in the plumbing field and of potential benefit to people like you?

Yes, at LBA, we want you to ask as many questions as you like when trying to decide who you can ultimately call “my plumber.”  Because when you take that kind of time, we’re confident you’ll find us more than capable of giving you and your plumbing the best and most attentive care in the business.  LBA:  plumbing and all around home comfort Heroes for thousands of local home owners?  We hope to become yours, too.

How to Prevent Heat Loss in Kansas City & Independence, MO

Let’s say, just for the fun of it, that you have the world’s greatest heating system.  One you would put up against anybody’s, that’s how confident you are in its ability to give you reliable comfort, even temperatures from room to room, reduced utility costs, and all the rest.how

Okay, so it’s a given:  yours IS the world’s best heating system.  Now let’s put it to the test and see if it’s worthy of that distinction.  Assuming that it’s nice and cold outside, we want you to open every door and window in your home and turn your heating system on at its normal temperature setting.  That shouldn’t be too big a challenge for the “world’s best,” right?

No fair, you say?  Heating systems are designed to warm things up inside, not outside your home?

In fact, world’s greatest or otherwise, NO heating system is designed to warm up the outdoorsAnd yet that’s exactly what you’re asking it to do when your home can’t retain the heat generated by your furnace, boiler, heat pump, or electric heating system.

So here are some nifty ways to prevent heat loss and keep all that beautiful warmth indoors, where it belongs:

  • Attic insulation – Pardon us for repeating the obvious, but heat rises, and unless your attic is well insulated, it could be rising right up to and through your roof.   If it’s been a while since you’ve checked out your attic insulation, now’s a good time to do so or hire a professional for assistance.  For best results, the insulation should be at least 6” thick and cover the entire surface of your attic without gaps.  Because heat, you see, will find those gaps, and that spells higher utility costs and more wear and tear on your unit.
  • Window and Door Insulation – To find out if heat is escaping through or around doors and windows, all you need to do is stand next to one, especially on a cold, blustery day.  Short of replacing windows and doors for more energy efficient models, you can add to or replace the caulking and weather stripping, cover your windows with thicker shades or drapes, and so on, to keep more of your heat indoors.
  • Wall Insulation – It’s estimated that about 45% of heat loss occurs through your outside facing walls.  You can gain a lot of extra rest for your heating system and cut your heating costs simply by insulating the inside of these walls.
  • Fireplace, Switches & Outlets – Your fireplace opening is such a large and easy exit point for heat, it might as well have a neon sign on it pointing the way!  Short of that, cover it when not in use with airtight glass doors.  Warm air can also escape through switches and outlets, and you can find specially designed insulation for these at your local hardware store or home center.

How’s your heating system performing?  If it’s been a year or more since you’ve had it checked, now’s the perfect time to contact LBA Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing for our multi-point heating system tune-up and inspection.  It’s a great way to prevent heating repair problems while ensuring your system’s safer and more reliable operation.  An LBA Hero is standing by, ready to lend a helping hand.