Tips for More Effective Pressure Washing in Lenexa and Mission

blogIt has become one of the most popular and effective outdoor home cleaning tools ever invented. And now that we’re in the middle of spring-cleaning season, many of us have that urge to bring on the “heavy artillery” designed to blast clean everything from driveways and siding to stockade fences and concrete patios! Yes, we’re talking about the pressure washer!

No doubt dirt, grease, grime and mold don’t stand much of a chance with 2500 PSI (pounds per square inch) of water pressure. But there’s a downside, and a real danger, when it comes to handling this much and sometimes even more power, especially when operated by those who don’t know or follow proper safety precautions.

Here are some important safety tips you’ll want to read before purchasing and using a pressure washer around your house:

  • Select the right pressure washer.       Typically electric pressure washers are lighter weight and are designed for smaller cleaning projects like car washing, cleaning outdoor grills, furniture, and small patios. These models generate between 1300-1900 PSI. Gas models are used for larger projects like driveways, siding, fences, concrete patios, wooden decks, and more. They typically generate between 2000-3100 PSI. Anything over 3100 PSI is considered “commercial grade”.
  • Before you fire up your machine read your operator’s manual and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe use, maintenance, and storage.
  • Never operate gas models indoors.
  • Never let children or those unfamiliar with the equipment operate the machine.
  • Always wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from flying debris;; also, wear good footwear – pressure washing is not a job for flip-flops.      
  • Never spay yourself, another person, or animals – the pressure can easily penetrate or tear skin and cause serious injury.
  • Be cautious of what you intend to wash. Not all materials can withstand the force of the washer, including: outdoor fabrics, screens, wooden furniture, certain plastic or resin furniture, and painted surfaces.
  • Never use a pressure washer where the water could come in contact electrical equipment.

Lastly, if ever in doubt about the project at hand or your ability to handle the equipment, it’s a better move to hire a professional to do the job for you.

 

Teach Your Kids the Wonders of Gardening in Kansas City and Leawood.

If you’ve got a curious tot at home, what better way to further stimulate their imagination than by planting a garden together, and making your child an active partner in that pursuit.

Helping plan, plant and tend a garden isn’t just great fun; equally important, it’s a life exercise that helps cultivate important life skills such as responsibility, independence, leadership empathy/caring, teamwork and problem solving. Plus it exposes children to what may be their first relationship to the natural world; as they grow and mature, they’ll be prepared to make wiser decisions about it.gardeners

Ready to get growing? Here are a few suggestions to help get you started and make the effort a genuinely rewarding experience for both you and your child:

  • Start small, and build on success. A 3’x3′ plot or raised bed is plenty for a young gardener. As their success and interest increases, enlarge the garden. And if you have little room, a couple of pots on a terrace or under a grow light indoors will do just fine.
  • Involve children in the planning. Give each child his or her own plot. You’ll see their interest blossom when they care for something that belongs to them.
  • Grow plants kids love. Combine vegetable plants with bright colored flowers so your garden “explodes” with a variety of colors, fragrances and tastes while attracting all kinds of butterflies, birds and insects. For the most part, kids everywhere are quite fond of pole beans: cherry tomatoes, sunflowers and zinnias, just as a few examples.
  • Let your children help: Children enjoy imitating you and like to feel that their “work” is important. Find a space in your garden for them to plant, dig, rake and weed as soon as you feel they’re up to the challenge.
  • Keep your garden safe. Whenever your children are with you in the garden, make sure there are no fertilizers, pesticides or manure within reach. Keep any sharp or motorized tools out of their way, and keep a close watch on what they put into their mouths!

You know what else helps a garden grow?  Water, and plenty of it.  So if gardening is relatively new to you and you could benefit from a new outdoor faucet, contact LBA today and we’ll make it happen.  In fact, we’re the only plumber you need for any indoor or outdoor plumbing need at all.

Why Sugar is Bad for You in Fairway and Gardner.

By now you know that sugar, especially refined white sugar, is not good for you. In fact, that could very well be the understatement of the decade, as research links sugar with promoting all kinds of diseases in your body including cancer, diabetes, heart problems, and much more. As a first step in helping you protect your family from harm, let’s do some basic math:donutman

  1. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that the average American consumes anywhere between 150 to 170 pounds of refined sugars in one year!
  1. To help you clearly visualize that amount, just picture 30 to 34 five-pound bags of sugar side by side on your kitchen counter!
  1. This equates to gobbling down ¼ to ½ pounds of sugar every day!
  1. And that equals 30-60 teaspoons in a 24-hour period!

Impossible, you think? Well check out these numbers:

  • An average 12-ounce can of soda contains about 8 ounces of simple sugar.
  • It only takes four 12-ounce cans of sodas to equal 1/4 pound of sugar!

For many, unfortunately, sugar is a daily habit that includes soda, of course, but extends well beyond to include the likes of cookies, donuts, pastries, chocolate, and more.

And then there are all the foods that you would never dream of containing sugar.  But they’re out there, alright, hiding behind such common aliases as:  barley malt, corn syrup, dextrose, fruit juice concentrate, maltose, maple syrup, and molasses.  And here are just some of the food products steeped in these manufactured, unhealthy sugars:

  • barbecue sauces
  • breads
  • canned-fruits
  • cookies
  • crackers
  • frozen dinners
  • hot dogs
  • ketchup
  • marinades
  • peanut butter
  • pickles
  • salad dressing
  • soup
  • vegetables

So what’s a careful consumer to do?  Read the labels, and look for those hidden sugars lurking in the most unsuspecting foods. Second, substitute some of these healthy sugar alternatives in everything from your morning coffee to all your cooking and baking recipes:

  • Honey
  • Agave Nectar
  • Molasses
  • Fruit
  • Stevia
  • Coconut palm sugar
  • Unsweetened applesauce

Say “no” to sugar and “yes” to a healthier you!

Why You Should Drink More Water in Shawnee and Stilwell

You’ve heard the advice from doctors, friends, and family members time and time again: drink more water. And while most of us know that we should have about 8-9 glasses of this liquid goodness a day to stay hydrated, many of us don’t really understand the health consequences of not drinking enough water.

So put down that can of soda, pour yourself a nice refreshing glass of water, and read on.lba heroes

Healthier Skin – Water helps flush out toxins from the body and can reduce the risk of pimples. Plus, it’s cheaper than any acne treatment you can find.

Weight Loss – Looking to drop a few pounds? Drink more water! Drinking water helps us feel full, so we consume fewer calories.

Strong Muscles – As we exercise and sweat, we lose water. And when our body’s water is reduced by just 5%, our muscle strength and endurance suffers. Drinking water before, during and after exercise helps muscles function properly.

Healthy Joints – If the body is dehydrated, bones and joints can feel stiff and achy. Water helps lubricate your joints, preventing stiffness and keeping your movements smooth.

Healthy Digestive System – Drinking enough water helps maintain a healthy colon, keeping things moving smoothly and preventing constipation.

Proper Kidney Function – Did you know that your kidneys process about 200 quarts of blood on a daily basis? They sift out waste, and transport urine to the bladder. And they need adequate amounts of water to do so properly.

Fatigue Fighter – Fatigue is one of the most common signs of dehydration. So instead of reaching for the coffee, try a tall glass of water.

Proper Hydration – Yes, water keeps us from getting dehydrated. But what does that really mean? Well, when don’t drink enough water, you may feel tired, have a reduced urine output, your blood pressure can drop, and your skin loses elasticity. What’s more, the blood flow to your tissues is reduced. So drink up!

How’s the quality of the water in your home? If you have any doubts at all, contact LBA and ask for more information about a water softening system, or click here to read more now.

Air Conditioning Cleaning & Inspection in Prairie Village and Roeland Park

blogYou know what? Nothing says “spring” quite like an AC cleaning and inspection.

Okay, we admit it: maybe our preventative maintenance service ISN’T as much a fun as an afternoon in the park or watching your kids play baseball, but it’s every bit as important. Especially if you’re looking forward to summer-long indoor comfort!

Well, now you can ensure just that with our multi-point tune-up and inspection service.

Here’s what you can look forward to once the job is completed:

  • Extended system lifespan
  • More consistent temperatures throughout your home
  • Lower energy costs
  • Added safety

If we do uncover any small repair issues, we’ll give you a guaranteed upfront price to fix them now before they become more problematic and costly to repair. Plus, by having preventative maintenance performed in the spring, you can relax knowing your system is ready for even the hottest and stickiest of summer days.

Oh, and for the record? It’s not just us recommending annual preventative maintenance. So does your system manufacturer. That’s because they want you to be happy with your purchase for a long time to come. And with proper care and maintenance, there’s a far greater chance of that happening.

Contact LBA to schedule service today, and get your house ready for the warmer weather to come.

Go Green With Your Water Heater in Kansas City
and Overland Park.

blogWhat’s not to like about the color green this time of year?

Green symbolizes not just St. Patrick’s Day, but the return of spring, and the effort we’re all making to live healthier and more energy efficient lives.

Well, now you can take a big step forward in that regard with a new water heater from LBA. But not just any water heater, because right now, we’re offering “next generation” water heaters that can help you save up to $350 per year on your hot water related energy costs.

Here’s what’s available now LBA

Gas Condensing Water Heaters – Rather than venting natural or propane gas through the system’s flue, the gas is reclaimed so that greater amounts of hot water can be generated from the same amount of gas. That improves energy efficiency, cuts down on greenhouse emissions, and will help you save about $100 per year in water heater energy costs.

Electric Hybrid Heat Pump Water Heaters – Think of a refrigerator working in reverse, and then you’ll get the concept of an electric hybrid water heater…the next generation of electric storage tank water heaters. The heat pump component of a hybrid system draws warm, ambient air from the space around it to assist in heating the water inside the storage tank. The net result? You can expect to save more than $350 per year in water heater operating costs.

Gas condensing and electric hybrid water heaters are here to replace conventional storage tank water heaters.

In fact, conventional gas and electric water heaters will no longer be manufactured for use in our country of April 16, 2015. And while the new, higher efficiency water heaters will cost more than those they’re replacing, you’ll more than make up the difference in energy savings over the life of your replacement system.

To learn more about your water heater options – especially while we still have conventional gas and electric water heaters in stock – contact LBA today. Never will you have as many choices as you do right now – but only for a limited amount of time.

 

How to Make Your Home Spring-Ready in Kansas City and Olathe

As February comes to a close and we eagerly await spring’s arrival, it’s a good time to start thinking about your spring home maintenance checklist. After all, once the ground thaws and the sun producing some extra warmth, you want your house properly prepped so you can enjoy as much time as possible outdoors in post-hibernation.

And while many tasks certainly can’t be performed until the weather permits, there are plenty of pre-spring responsibilities you can tackle right now.

  • Take an inventory of your spring lawn care tools and equipment. Service gas or electric powered mowers, replace broken rakes, and sharpen cutting blades to make yard work easier.
  • Inspect window and door screens for damage and replace if necessary.
  • blogCheck wooden window and door frames for cracks, gaps, or signs of wood rot and repair to prevent heat (and eventually cool air) loss, not to mention rain water damage.
  • Inspect your siding for cracks and peeling paint.
  • Check outdoor railings and decks for signs of wood rot or damage.
  • Do a visual inspection of your roof and repair or replace any loose or damaged shingles.
  • Make sure the gutters are securely fastened to your home and free of any debris so rain water can move freely.
  • If you’ve not had your chimney cleaned by a reputable chimney service recently, make that appointment now as the season comes to a close.
  • Take note of tree branches or shrubs that are beginning to encroach on your home and plan to trim them back.
  • Start a checklist of – and perhaps a budget for – items that might need to be replaced once the warm weather hits, such as fences, decks, and even your home cooling equipment if it’s nearing the end.

At the same time, maybe your AC system has some useful months and maybe even years ahead of it yet. If that’s the case, there’s only one sure way to find out: contact LBA today and request our multi-point AC system cleaning and inspection service. It’s the kind of preventative maintenance that should be performed once a year, no matter how new or old your system might be, to help prevent or minimize repairs, extend its lifespan, and keep your energy costs under control. Whatever your home heating or cooling needs might be, LBA is here to provide the service you need, when you need it.

House Noises You Shouldn’t Ignore in Kansas City and Mission

blogIn the course of an ordinary day, we are surrounded by various “warning signs” that alert us to potential problems. One you hear in newer cars, for example, is a beeping sound as you back out of the driveway, alerting you that something or someone is behind you. Or how about when the smoke detector goes off, pointing that your cookies are burning inside the oven. And on and on we could go.

But not all warning signs are that obvious. Some are quiet and easy to ignore, like those occasional dings and clanks that you chalk up to the wind or the house settling.

So which ones should you pay closest attention to – those that require an immediate response? The following should be on any home owner’s list.

  1. No one using the plumbing, yet you still hear water running. This could be caused by many things, from a leaky fixture to a broken pipe, and even the irrigation system. Try turning off the main water supply to the home. If the noise stops, your plumbing is telling you that somewhere within the system there’s a leak.
  1. You hear strange noises from your attic or behind your walls. If you hear scratching or chittering in any area of your home, you need to act fast. Rodents and other animals not only carry diseases, but can chew threw insulation and electrical wiring, putting your family at risk of fire.
  1. Your furnace is making a whistling or sucking sound. In this instance, you probably have a dirty air filter that is causing your furnace to work too hard to reach the desired level of indoor comfort. But wasted energy isn’t the only consequence, since a furnace that puts in that kind of extra effort might start drawing exhaust gasses into your home. So change or clean the filter regularly – once a month is a good way to play it safe.
  1. You hear clinking and knocking when you turn the heat on. While some heating system noises are common, like the clinking and knocking you might hear with a baseboard hot-water system, any noises from the boiler itself could be a sign of impending failure. Call a technician to check it out pronto, before you’re left out in the cold.
  1. There’s a bubbling or cracking sound coming from your hot water heater. If it’s been a while since you’ve had your tank-style hot water heater flushed, you might be due. You see, over time, sediment and minerals can build up on the bottom of the tank, forcing the burner to work harder.

While we’re not exterminators, LBA is your local and experienced resource for all things plumbing and heating. So if you even suspect something might be amiss with your water heater, general plumbing system, or home furnace, contact LBA today for fast response and dependable results.

Valentine’s Day Gifts for Yourself in Kansas City and Lenexa

Relationships are hard work. They require patience, understanding, respect, and above all, love. So this Valentine’s Day, don’t forget to romance the one who is always there to comfort you through every season, the one who keeps you warm when the outside world turns a cold shoulder – your home.

Here are just a few ways to spoil your home rotten this Valentine’s Day:LBA Heroes

Treat it to a spa day. There’s something very satisfying about a clean house. Show your home a little TLC and tackle those areas of your home you’ve been neglecting. Vacuum behind the furniture, shampoo the carpets, or wash all the windows. Focus on one job at a time to make it a little more manageable.

Buy it a little bling. Everyone loves a little something pretty every now and then. Something a bit frivolous instead of purely functional. Maybe you’ve had your heart set on a sparkly chandelier, a metallic wallpaper feature wall, or something as simple as a new set of wine glasses or pretty vase.

Or perhaps perfume. Whether it’s a scented candle, an essential oil diffuser, or a home-made air freshener, a little scent can make a home feel more welcoming. And remember, scents have an impact on our moods. Need a pick-me-up on a gloomy day? Dab a little lemon juice on a cotton balls and place them around the house.

Make reservations. Have you been putting off that heating system inspection or chimney cleaning? It’s never too late in the season for such vital services. Annual routine maintenance is essential to keeping your family comfortable and safe all year round.

Don’t forget flowers. Flowers have the power to brighten up any day. Pick up a few inexpensive bunches at the grocery store and break up into smaller arrangements. Place a couple on your kitchen counters, one in the bathroom, and one on your nightstand. You don’t even need fancy vases. Use empty glass jars, drinking glasses, or glass beverage bottles.

So how exactly, you ask, are these Valentine’s Day gifts for yourself?  It’s simple:  the better you take care of it, the better it will take care of you and your family.  And always here to lend a helping hand are your friendly, neighborhood LBA heroes for any home plumbing, heating, drain, or similar indoor comfort need you might have.

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.