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.

 

Annual AC Cleaning & Inspection in Kansas City & Parkville, MO

lbaWhen was the last time you changed your air conditioning filter? Or calibrated your thermostat? Or cleaned the evaporator coil and condenser coil? If the answer is sometime between “I can’t remember” and “Wait, you’re supposed to do that?”, welcome to the club. Truth is, most homeowners rarely think about their home’s cooling system until it stops cooling.  And, for good measure, simply to have the training or skill to properly maintain a system to the peak of its potential.

But we do.  We’re LBA Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing, and to some folks around the Kansas City area, we’re heroes.  And partly because we work very hard to help you and your family enjoy the very best in year-round comfort, convenience, and safety.

One way we go about doing that is with our annual air conditioning cleaning and inspection service.  It’s designed to help your system run better, last longer, and reduce your monthly utility costs.

Here are just a few of the items your LBA home comfort pro will tend to during your cleaning and inspection service:

  • Humidistat
  • Thermostat
  • Safety controls
  • Electrical systems
  • Operating controls
  • Ventilation systems
  • Motor and compressor amps
  • Fans, blowers, and pumps
  • Air filters
  • Pressure valves and controls
  • Backflow preventers
  • And so much more

We’ll start up the system to make sure everything’s working properly, and check for hot and cold spots to make sure each room is getting just the right amount of cool, conditioned air.  So tell you what:  before things really start to heat up around here, why not pick up the phone and contact LBA now to schedule service.  You’ll enjoy summer that much more knowing your AC system is up to the challenge.

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.