How to Reduce Heat Loss in Kansas City and Blue Springs

blogIn a perfect world, autumn would bring majestic foliage, mild temperatures, and the smell of bon fires well into November. In reality, fall is notorious for its mix of extreme highs and lows, blustery winds, and the occasional freak snow storm.

Fall is also the time when the inevitable happens: you turn your heating system on for the first time. We know of some families that refuse, on principle, to turn theirs on until November 1 or some other pre-determined date – just because. While others crank up the heat as soon as the thermometer show a reading of 68 degrees or less.

Wherever you happen to be on that home heating spectrum, here’s one thing most home owners have in common: fear and loathing for your home heating bills, starting with the very first one

But take heart, because if this is the year you’re serious about paying less, then follow these tips for heat loss reduction and watch your heating bills stop dropping in pretty short order:

Add layers. No, we’re not talking about thick wool socks, warm sweaters, and cozy scarves, although any of those will keep you nice and toasty. Instead, we’re talking about adding warm area rugs to bare floors, thick or insulating window coverings, and insulation even in the un-likeliest of places, like inside your wall switches and sockets. And those don’t even make the list of air sealing trouble spots on

Solarize. Consider adding a skylight to take advantage of nature’s heat source. If that’s not an option, pull the drapes open during the day to allow the sun to flood your home. Just make sure to pull them closed at night to trap more heat in.

Clear the air. Clean or replace air filters regularly, and make sure all heat vents and registers are free of dirt, dust, and debris. Then, make sure they are not blocked by furniture or heavy window coverings.

Turn on the fan, and turn down the heat. A ceiling fan does more than keep you cool during the summer. When operated in reverse, it forces the warm air that typically sits near your ceiling down toward the center of your room. Then, you can lower your thermostat a degree or two and actually feel warmer.

Get with the program. Upgrade your old thermostat to a programmable model that allows you to preset the temperature while you and your family are away from home. That way, you’re not wasting energy when no one’s home, and yet you’ll still walk into a warm and cozy home, just the way you like it.

Here’s another helpful hint from your friendly LBA Heroes: if it’s been a year or more since your heating system was professionally cleaned and inspected, the time to schedule service is now. Annual preventative maintenance helps your system run better, last longer, and you’re your heating costs under control. Contact us today for more information or to schedule service, and start saving money right away.

Halloween Trivia & Fun Facts in Kansas City and Shawnee

halloween pumpkin and decoration indoorAfter all these years, and after all the flack it’s taken, Halloween remains one of the most widely celebrated U.S. holidays. And the Kansas City area is no exception.

Each year millions of kids and adults mark the holiday by dressing up in spooky and silly costumes, carving pumpkins and, of course, consuming insane amounts of candy.

But how much do you really know about Halloween? Here are a few little known facts that you can use to impress your Halloween party guests or simply augment your personal useless knowledge database.

  • In 2014, it’s estimated that 70% of Americans will celebrate Halloween in some fashion, the highest total ever recorded by the National Retail Federation.
  • Black and orange are considered Halloween colors because black is associated with darkness and death, and orange represents the Fall harvest.
  • Each year, Americans spend an average of $2 billion on Halloween candy, and $6.86 billion on all Halloween purchases.
  • The tradition of carving Jack o’ Lanterns originated in Ireland, where candles were placed in hollowed out turnips to ward of spirits.
  • The most popular candy sold in the U.S. are M&Ms.
  • If you dress your pet up for Halloween, you’re not alone. It is estimated that Americans spend about $300 million on pet costumes each year.
  • This year, more than 35 million pounds of candy corn will be produced.
  • If you happen to see a spider on Halloween, consider yourself lucky. It is believed that spiders are actually spirits watching over us.
  • Those who have an intense fear of Halloween are said to have Samhainophobia.
  • Today, black cats have a bad reputation because they were once believed to be the spirits of witches.

If you’re among the 70% planning to celebrate Halloween this year, we urge you to exercise common sense safety precautions, like the following, for everyone concerned:

  • Dress your kids in brightly colored costumes to help make them easier to spot at night.
  • Keep their costumes on the short side to help prevent accidental trips and falls.
  • If you’re planning to hand out candy, keep your yard well lit and free of obstructions like rakes, toys, garden hoses, and so on
  • If you allow your kids to go out on their own, go over a list of rules with them in advance, such as never entering a stranger’s house or car
  • Use LED tea lights in your jack-o-lanterns, not lit candles.

Have a happy and safe Halloween, everyone!

Tools Every Home Owner Should Have in Kansas City and Prairie Village

blogIf you own a home, there will undoubtedly come a time when you will have to hang, loosen, nail, measure, or drill something. And while your shoe might be able to double as a hammer in a pinch, you’re far better off investing in a toolkit that can tackle some of the most common household repairs.

So if your rusty tool stash needs a revamp or you’re just starting out, here are 10 tools that every homeowner should own.

  1. A good, sturdy ladder is a homeowner’s staple. It’s much safer than using a chair to change a ceiling fixture light bulb, edge paint a wall, or string outdoor lights during the holidays.
  2. Skip the chemicals and unclog drains with a good quality plunger. A flange style plunger can tackle tough toilet clogs while a cup style plunger can help clear sink, shower, and tub clogs.
  3. Inexpensive and very versatile, a 4-in-1 screwdriver is a must. No more looking for the right size Philips-head in your junk drawer.
  4. Technically not a tool, a 5-gallon bucket can help you with some major messes. Use it to easily spread mulch, keep it filled with sand to de-ice steps and walkways, turn it upside down for a temporary step stool, and so much more. Come to think of it, you might just want to invest in two or three.
  5. Whether you’re hanging a heavy flat screen TV or a new towel bar, a stud finder can sometimes by your best friend. It’s a sure-fire way to locate – or avoid – studs in walls.
  6. If you’re determined to own just one basic hammer, choose a light-weight model with a curved claw for removing nails.
  7. Sooner or later, you’ll need to cut something. Having a saw on hand will make that task so much easier. A hybrid saw is a good option, as it slices on both the push and pull stroke.
  8. Not all pliers are created equal, so invest in a set that will cover most of your needs. Just avoid using pliers to loosen or tighten bolts as you might strip them. That’s where an adjustable wrench comes in.
  9. No tool kit is complete without an adjustable wrench. Invest in both a crescent wrench for smaller bolts and pipes, and a larger monkey wrench for those larger pipes and fittings.
  10. And finally, talk about a home owner’s best friend: how about a 25’ tape measure?! It’s a must have for measuring anything and everything.

Of course, even such a diverse and nicely balanced tool set won’t get you through all home repairs and upkeep, especially when it comes to plumbing, heating, and cooling. That’s when you need a true professional in your corner, someone you can turn to on a moment’s notice, if need be.

In and around Kansas City, that company LBA Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing is here to answer the call, 24/7, no matter how large or small the job might be.

Tips for a Healthier Heart in Kansas City & Overland Park

Did you know that cardiovascular disease is responsible for over 17 million deaths each year? In fact, it is the leading cause of death in the U.S. Fortunately, doctors agree that most types of cardiovascular disease can be prevented through lifestyle choices that help reduce one’s risk factors.

lba heroes

So as we celebrate World Heart Day, we look at how our environment impacts our ability to make heart-healthy choices at work, at home, and at play. Because while

Here are just a few changes you can make in your own home and community take a stand against cardiovascular disease:

At Home

• Ban smoking in your home. It will not only improve your health, but the health of those around you.
• If you are a smoker, pledge to quit smoking. Consider starting a support group for others who might want to join you.
• Stock your fridge and pantry with healthy food choices, like fresh fruit and veggies, and minimally processed snacks.
• Prepare low-salt, low-fat meals using locally sourced, nutrient-dense ingredients.
• See your healthcare professional to discuss your cardiovascular disease risk factors.

On the Go

• Pack healthy lunches and snacks for work or school.
• Ban fast food for 30 days – or longer!
• Instead of taking the car, plan to walk or ride your bike at least once a week to work or to run errands.
• When out and about, park your car farther from your destination, or take the stairs instead of the elevator.
• Encourage your workplace or you child’s school to serve healthier lunch options.

Another way to promote improved cardiovascular health is by cleaning up your indoor air. On average, indoor air is twice as polluted as outdoor air, and indoor air as a known contributor to respiratory and cardiovascular disease.

At LBA, we offer a number of indoor air quality solutions, including whole-house air purifiers and whole-house humidity control systems. For more information or to schedule a free in-home discussion and analysis of your indoor air quality needs, contact your local LBA Heroes today.

Fall Home Selling Tips in Mission & Olathe

Fall is right around the corner and you know what that means – apple picking, harvest fairs, and searching for just the right Halloween costumes for your kids. But fall is also one of the best times of year to sell your home. In fact, it’s the second busiest season for the real estate industry.

LBA Heroes

You see, unlike the typical spring buyer who can often be more selective and may have the luxury of time, fall brings forth a different type of buyer; one who is more serious about finding and closing on a home quickly due to a major life even such as marriage, a job transfer, or divorce. The autumn real estate market also sees empty-nesters and millennials going out on their own for the first time.

So if you’re selling your home, or about to, make sure it stands out above the crowd with these sale-enhancing tips:

Make a good first impression. Add curb appeal by making sure the lawn is well kept, branches and shrubbery are trimmed back, and flower beds are cleaned up. Pressure-wash the siding to get rid of dirt and cob webs, and thoroughly wash exterior windows. Adding colorful, seasonal plants like mums can make the front of your home look more festive and inviting.

Freshen up the interior. One of the easiest and least expensive things you can do to liven up a room is to give it a fresh coat of paint. Opt for more neutral colors like soft grey or beige. Also, consider replacing heavy window treatments with sheer panels that allow in more natural light.

Create the illusion of space. Cluttered cupboards and over-stuffed closets can make it feel like your home lacks adequate storage space. Thin down book cases, pair down the furniture, and box up items that you don’t use on a daily basis.

Tackle that home maintenance list. No matter how well your home shows on the inside or out, leaving a laundry list of to-dos will turn potential buyers away. Fix leaky faucets, replace cracked bathroom and kitchen tiles, and repaint walls or ceilings that show signs of water damage (after repairing the cause, of course).

At LBA Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing, we can help with your home plumbing repairs to make your house more readily sale-able. Same goes for your heating and cooling systems. So for repairs large or small, or even something as simple – but vital – as a home heating system inspection, contact your local LBA Heroes today.

Heating System Preventative Maintenance in Leawood & Lenexa

September is one of those months that’s hard to pin down, which is to say it has many faces and personality traits.

About 25% of the month occurs during the summer, even with kids back in school in doesn’t always feel like summer, no matter what’s going on outdoors. On the flip side of that coin, all the Halloween decorations are already on abundant display and, before the month is over, you’re bound to spot your first retail Christmas decorations.

When you really think about it, it’s one of those transition months: a time we talk a lot about what a great or lousy summer we just had, and a time to hope and pray the upcoming winter will be kind to us.

Well, in between looking back and planning ahead, don’t forget that September is one of the most beautiful months of the year and we hope you get to enjoy every spare minute of it. Still, when thoughts of winter do creep into the back of your brain, don’t forget to contact LBA to schedule annual preventative maintenance for your home heating system. Why now? So you can make sure your system is in peak operating condition for you start using it.

Our multi-point cleaning and inspection service covers these and other vital maintenance steps:

  • Inspect pilot assembly
  • Inspect and test gas valve
  • Check current draw on motors
  • Inspect safeties and controls
  • Inspect and adjust burner
  • Check for air leaks
  • Clean or replace filter as needed
  • Check calibration and operation of thermostats
  • Test for carbon monoxide leaks
  • And much more

When all the work is done, you can look forward to the following:

  • Fewer and less costly repairs
  • Longer system lifespan
  • Cleaner indoor air
  • Lower utility bills
  • Greater peace of mind

At LBA, we look forward to your call along with this and every opportunity to serve your home comfort needs.

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.