When to Call a Plumber in Kansas City and Leawood

Of all the things that can go wrong in your home, plumbing problems are among the most common. From the seemingly minor – but highly annoying – leaky faucet, to the toilet that mysteriously flushes on its own, it doesn’t take much before you find yourself scrambling for the name and number of a professional plumber, especially when the “fix” is something you have neither the time nor the skill to handle on your own.plumber2

And yet, even if you are the handy type, there are certain plumbing repairs that are far better left to your local LBA heroes. Here are just a few of them:

  • Flooding due to a frozen, cracked, or burst pipe. This is something you want to act on without delay, since the more time that passes, the more damage your home can suffer from the lack of attention. Our plumbers can quickly locate the “offending” pipe and begin taking the appropriate corrective actions.
  • A habitually slow moving drain. At one time or another, we’ll all experience a clogged drain. But a drain that clogs and backs up repeatedly usually indicates an invisible problem that won’t go away on its own. If you have hard water, for example, the inside of your pipes might have corroded and caused one or more cracks or leaks. It’s also possible that tree or shrub roots have infiltrated an underground sewer line, making it increasingly more difficult for water and waste to pass through.
  • Anything to do with a gas line. Maybe you’re knocking down a wall to open up your living space. Or finishing your basement. Or perhaps you’ve finally decided to build that high-tech outdoor kitchen this spring. Whatever your project, please do not attempt to install or move a gas line on your own. The risk is not worth the few bucks saved.
  • Sump pump installation or repair. A sump pump can definitely save you the frustration, time, and all the costs and headaches associated with a flooded basement. But that’s true only if it’s correctly installed and tested. And that can be a tricky proposition, even for an experienced DIY’er.

The fact is, here at LBA Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing, we tackle plumbing problems large and small for home owners throughout the Kansas City metro area, and we’d be happy to do the same for you. Just give us a call (or send us an email) and let us know how we can help.

How to Get Rid of Mold Inside Your Toilet Bowl in Kansas City & Raytown

blog“Honey, I’d love to go out to dinner Saturday night, but I was really counting on staying home and cleaning the bathroom. Do you mind terribly?”

Now there’s a conversation that’s probably NEVER taken place in your household, and no doubt never will. Why? Because we clean our bathrooms when we have to, and not for the sheer joy of it.

But what happens when something unexpected comes along – a bathroom cleaning issue you’ve never encountered before? Kind of upsetting right, especially when you’re not quite sure how to handle it.

Well here’s one our customers tell us about from time to time, often enough that we thought we’d devote a blog to the subject. And that is: how to get rid of mold from inside your toilet, and keep it from re-appearing.

So let’s get started, shall we?

  1. The materials you’ll need: an empty spray bottle, a bottle of distilled white vinegar, and a toilet scrub brush.
  1. Pour about a cup of vinegar into the spray bottle and thoroughly spray the inside of the bowl.
  1. Spray a little extra on the black mold spots.
  1. Next, thoroughly scrub the entire inside of your toilet bowl, including above and below the water line.
  1. Allow the vinegar to sit for one hour.
  1. Next, rinse your toilet bowl by flushing it and spraying the surface areas with water, especially above the bowl’s water line.
  1. Then pour 4 additional cups of vinegar inside the bowl and let it sit for another hour.
  1. Repeat the rinsing process in step 6 above.

We hope you never get mold inside your toilet, but if you do, you’ll be very pleased with the results of this recommended cleaning process. And yet, for all those things that can go wrong in your bathroom that you don’t have the time or skill to fix yourself, you can count on LBA Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing. We are home plumbing specialists for your bathroom and every other area of your house, and we’re always glad to lend a helping hand.

 

Extreme Cold Safety Tips in Kansas City and Parkville

Turn on the TV, radio, or hop on a social media outlet and you can quickly learn just how cold it is outside. And that’s useful information here in the Kansas City area where it can be 53 degrees one day in January or February, and 23 or even colder the next.

Well, short of staying at home until spring rolls around, your next best bet for protecting yourself from bitterly cold temperatures is to prepare for the worst. And here are a number of suggestions to help get you started:

  • Dress in layers and cover as much skin as possible to prevent body heat loss, hypothermia, and frostbite.heater
  • Limit the amount of time you spend outdoors in below freezing temps.
  • Bring your pets indoors. If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for them, too.
  • Equip your car with a flashlight, batteries, and blankets in case you have a break down. And don’t forget the antifreeze and some ice melt.
  • If you must use a space heater, place it on a flat, level surface at least three feet away from furniture, drapery, and bedding.
  • Never leave a space heater on when you leave the house or while you’re asleep.
  • Never use your oven or cooktop to heat your home.
  • Make sure that all embers in your wood burning fireplace or stove are completely extinguished before going to bed.
  • If you don’t have family or friends nearby, familiarize yourself with local warming shelters should your home lose power.
  • Check in on elderly neighbors and relatives to make sure they’re alright during extreme weather conditions.

While there’s never a good time to have a home heating problem, things are always worse when it’s freezing cold outside. Because then, the temperature will go down much faster indoors, too. If you’ve lost heat, you can contact LBA right now for high quality professional service. We repair all makes and models of home heating systems, and we offer 24/7 emergency repair service, too.

We can also help you prevent heating problems in the first place with our cleaning and inspection service. So if it’s been a year or more since your system was last professionally serviced, contact LBA today, and give yourself one less thing to worry about for the rest of this winter.

Resolve to Enjoy Cleaner Indoor Air in Kansas City & Raytown

Question:  are all your New Year’s Resolutions your own – assuming you make them at all – or to you turn to others or elsewhere for inspiration?

Relying on those we trust and care about for a little inspiration is a great way to start striving for positive change now and in the coming New Year.  At the same time, one always has to consider the source.

Here, for example, is a condensed list of humorous New Year’s Resolutions as compiled by Hubpages.com

  • Watch more movie remakes.
  • Go back to school to avoid paying my student loans.
  • Watch more cute and cuddly kitten videos on YouTube.
  • Help kids stay safe by not texting on my cell phone while eating McDonald’s and speeding through crosswalks in school zones with a frost covered windshield.
  • Check my work e-mail account at least once this year.
  • Talk with a robot voice all the time.LBA Heroes
  • Find a more accurate scale.
  • Stop buttering my doughnuts.
  • Save some money for a rainy day. That way I can shop online instead of having to go to an actual store.

Funny stuff, but not exactly the stuff that positive change is likely to spring from.

So instead, how about this for a very serious, worthwhile, and doable New Year’s resolution:  start breathing cleaner indoor air, and keep it up all year long.

Talk about the ultimate win, win, win.  And you’ll be amazed at easily that goal can be accomplished once you start implementing the following tactics at home:

  • Wash your bed covers once a week, along with sheets and pillow cases, to keep your dust population to a bare minimum.
  • If you’re prone to dust allergies, purchase plastic covers for your mattress and box spring. Dust and dust mites just love the warm, nurturing atmosphere of unprotected bedding.
  • Not quite the “green thumb” type? You’d be amazed at how easy it is to learn, especially once you realize that certain types of house plants permanently remove bacteria and viruses from the air.  This impressive list of natural air cleaners includes:  Aloe, Spider plants, Gerber daisies, Weeping Fig, and many others.
  • Leave your shoes – along with all the bad stuff on their soles – at the door. That will prevent you from traipsing dirt and pollutants like pesticides and pollen all over your house.
  • Swap out your vacuum cleaner for one with a HEPA filter that traps dust, dirt, and other particles vs. releasing them back into the air.
  • Don’t let anyone smoke inside your house – PERIOD!
  • Start using green cleaning products made from all-natural ingredients.

LBA offers several high quality and effective indoor air quality solutions of our own, including whole-house air purifiers.  These are easy to maintain and designed to trap 99.7 of airborne bacteria and other pollutants inside your ductwork and before they can reach your living quarters.

Contact us today for this and other indoor air quality solutions, especially since we’d love to see your “cleaner air” New Year’s Resolution become a reality.

How to Prevent Holiday Season Break-ins in Kansas City and Parkville

blogAll the hustle and bustle of the holiday season – from the shopping and wrapping, to entertaining and traveling – can leave us feeling tired, overwhelmed, and downright distracted. In fact, with everything that’s going on, it’s too bad that bad luck or misfortune couldn’t take a break this time of year.

Unfortunately, it’s the other way around. As in, communities all over America witness an increase in theft and property damage over the holidays as would-be robbers and vandals try to use all the inherent distractions to their advantage.

But now you can better protect your home and family and preserve the holiday spirit by following these time-tested tips.

  • Keep some lights on when you leave the house, especially at night. And install motion-activated lights outside.
  • Make sure holiday gifts are not visible from any windows.
  • Deter porch package thieves by having your packages held for pickup. Or ask the shipping service to leave them on a back porch or at the home of a neighbor.
  • Cut up all boxes, especially from pricey electronics, before putting them out in a trash or recycling bin.
  • If traveling for the holidays, ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your home, park his or her car in your driveway occasionally, and bring in your mail.
  • Never leave valuables in clear sight in your car and keep the doors locked at all times.
  • Know what you have. Keep a list of all your valuables and update it often.
  • Don’t forget about identity theft. Always shield your credit card information at checkout or while at an ATM. And only use online shops that offer secured checkout.

Hopefully the day will come when advice like this won’t be necessary. But for now, it’s definitely better to be safe than sorry.

Holiday Season Gifts for Teachers in Kansas City and Liberty

blogIt’s hard to say who gets more gifts this time of year: your mail carrier or your child’s teacher. But just because others have already thought of it doesn’t mean that your gift, whatever it might be, won’t be just as appreciated.

Still, many home owners struggle with exactly to give that teachers, in this case, not only will welcome for the thoughtfulness, but for the gift itself. So instead of guessing, we asked a couple of teachers who are customers of ours what their favorite student gifts are, and you know what? They didn’t even have to think about it. Not only about what they prefer as gifts, but what they don’t.

So, if you haven’t already completed your shopping, here’s what NOT to get your child’s teacher:

  • Coffee cups or mugs – how many can one person use?
  • Holiday ornaments – ditto
  • Perfume or cologne, or anything else of a potentially inappropriate nature
  • A framed picture of your child – can you imagine of everyone gave one of these, year after year?!

And now for the gifts that teachers prize:

  • Treats and sweets of all kinds, just be aware of any prevailing allergies
  • Fruit and fruit baskets still work too, including the ever-popular apples
  • Gift cards to local coffee or pastry shops, etc.
  • Amazon or other online gift cards
  • Gas gift cards
  • Body lotions and similar items
  • Fun things they can use at home or in the classroom, like fancy markers or colored sharpies
  • A warm scarf or mittens
  • Homemade, hand-crafted gifts
  • One gift from the entire class

Remember: the idea isn’t to be original or to one-up anyone. It’s simply to show that you and your child appreciate their dedication and to devotion to your child’s academic growth and overall well-being.

Oh yes, and one more thing. When thinking about what to get a teacher, don’t forget the school nurse. The federal government has determined that a 750-1 nurse-to-student ratio is appropriate – talk about a demanding and often thankless job!

Holiday Season Safety Advice in Kansas City & Lee’s Summit

The holidays are upon us and that means it’s time to deck the halls, make your list, and delight in the beauty of the season. It’s also the perfect time to perform a home safety check.

You see, whether you’re entertaining, traveling, or simply enjoying a quiet evening at home, a little planning and forethought can help ensure that your holidays are not only merry and bright, but worry-free.

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Here are 9 things to consider when getting your home “holiday ready”:

  1. If you’re traveling, ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your house, shovel snow, and park in your driveway occasionally.
  1. When going out for the evening, turn off holiday lights, blow out candles, and put out the fireplace or wood burning stove completely.
  1. When choosing a real Christmas tree, look for one with green, bendable needles. Trim a couple inches off the trunk to promote water absorption, and place the tree away from sources of heat.
  1. Always inspect lights and extension cords before use. If you see any signs of damage, better to buy new than to risk a fire.
  1. Don’t connect more than 3 light strands together to prevent overworking a socket.
  1. Consider using battery operated flameless candles instead of fire burning candles.
  1. Choose your decorations wisely. For example, if you have small children in the house, place fragile items out of reach and avoid using decorations that look like candy or food.
  1. Enforce a kid (and pet) free zone in the kitchen while cooking and never leave cooking food unattended.
  1. Keep walkways to your front door clear of decorations or other obstructions. And stock up on ice melt and/or sand for those icy patches that might pop up over the course of your celebration. In fact, it’s a good idea to have winter’s supply of ice melting material on hand.

The biggest risk of holiday season home mishaps is fire, so please do everything in your power to protect your home and family this holiday season.

Thanksgiving Safety Tips for Our Friends in Kansas City & Independence

Did you know that a cooking fire is more likely to occur on Thanksgiving Day than any other day of the year? It’s true. All those extra guests and increased activity in the kitchen can cause even the most buttoned-up culinary masters to become distracted and forget about that pie in the oven.

But by practicing a few safety tips and a with little bit of planning, you can make sure that your Thanksgiving Day gathering is fun, festive, and worry-free.

  1. Make the stove area a kid and pet free zone, keeping them at least three feet away from hot ovens and stove tops.
  1. Don’t leave that turkey to roast on its own; leave the errands for another day or leave someone in charge if you must head out of the house.blog
  1. Use a timer to remind you to check on cooking food, especially those that require extra cooking or baking time.
  1. Keep pot holders, dish towels, and other flammable items away from the stove top or any other heat source.
  1. If you’re thinking of using an outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryer, you may want to reconsider. They can lead to serious oil burns and even destruction of property.
  1. Whether you’re using an electric knife, a crockpot, or warming dishes, make sure that cords are out of reach of children.
  1. Never leave burning candles unattended, and make sure they too are out of reach of children.
  1. Test your smoke detectors and make sure your fire extinguisher is full and ready to go.

Another common Thanksgiving mishap is either a clogged drain or garbage disposal? Common? Actually, that’s an understatement. You see, plumbers call the day after Thanksgiving Black Friday; that’s because it’s our busiest drain cleaning day of the year. And while LBA will be on hand and ready to help should your drain or garbage disposal back up, you can prevent that from happening by:

  • Keeping grease, fats, and oils out of the drain
  • Grinding up only small amounts of food at a time
  • Placing meat bones and fibrous foods like lettuce and soft vegetables in the trash

From all of us at LBA Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing, have a happy and safe Thanksgiving 2014.

 

How to Prevent Dry Skin and Hair Problems in Kansas City & Gladstone

There’s something so comforting about autumn. Breathing in the cool, crisp air, coming in from the cold to a glowing fire, enjoying a mug of hot chocolate, and kicking off the holiday season with family and friends.

But that nip in the air and all the extra time spent indoors can make your skin feel anything but comfortable. What’s more, dry indoor air can leave hair looking dull and turn your nails dry and brittle. But all that can be remedied by following these self-moisturizing tips:

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  • Long, steamy baths and showers strip away our natural oils, so keep them short and sweet, and not too hot.
  • Choose moisturizing skin and hair care products that don’t contain alcohol, fragrances, or other ingredients that can dry you out.
  • Lotion up right after bathing while your skin is still damp.
  • Avoid washing your hair every day. But if you must, use a hydrating shampoo and conditioning treatment.
  • Give your nails a break from nail polish and keep cuticles healthy with a cuticle cream.
  • Give cracked heels the boot by applying a generous amount of moisturizer before bed. Seal the moisture in with a pair of cozy cotton socks.
  • Apply sunscreen, even in the dead of winter. And don’t forget a moisturizing lip balm to keep chapped lips at bay.

At LBA, we can help add much-needed moisture to your home all heating season long with a whole-house humidity control system.  It allows you to set the exact level of relative humidity you desire, all winter long.  And you can change the setting any time you like. In addition to preventing dry skin and hair problems, a whole-house humidity control system also can help prevent static electrical shock and your wood furniture, doors, and floors from shrinking and cracking.

Contact LBA today for more information and a free new system quote.

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 Energy.gov.

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.