TOPEKA – Wednesday, October 5 is Kansas Energy Efficiency Day. Governor Laura Kelly signed a proclamation joining hundreds of state and local governments in a national day of awareness about the benefits of energy efficiency.
As cold weather approaches, the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) wants to remind Kansans this is a great time to winterize your home or business. There are many no or low cost ways to save energy and utility costs. For larger projects, funding is available to help those who qualify.
Homeowners and renters, who need assistance with weatherization costs, can contact the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation (KHRC). Income-eligible households receive a comprehensive home energy audit to identify inefficiencies. Services and upgrades are provided free of charge.
There is also help available for small business owners in towns with a population of less than 50,000 and agricultural producers. The KCC Energy Office, in conjunction with the Kansas State University Engineering Extension, is offering a free energy assessment and assistance applying for a USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant to help pay for improvements. Since 2016, more than $1 million dollars has been awarded to pay for energy saving upgrades in Kansas. More information on REAP grants is available here.
In observance of Energy Efficiency Day, here are ten things Kansans can do now to reduce energy usage this winter. More energy saving ideas are available at the energysmartkansas.org
- Set back the thermostat
Lowering your thermostat setting can substantially reduce heating costs. The Department of Energy recommends setting the temperature to 68 degrees in the winter. To save even more, install a programmable thermostat. Schedule lower temperatures when you are away or asleep and increase temperatures when you are returning home or waking up.
- Change or clean furnace filters monthly
It is important to clean or change furnace filters regularly. A dirty furnace filter will slow down airflow, making the system work harder to keep you warm and will cost you more money.
- Schedule an annual tune-up
Consider getting a winter tune-up for your HVAC system. Just as a tune-up of your car can improve gas mileage, a tune-up of your heating and cooling system can improve efficiency, saving you money.
- Check and replace weather stripping and seal leaks
Air leaks and faulty weather stripping on doors and windows not only make your home drafty, they also increase heating costs. By caulking leaks and replacing old weather stripping, you can save 10-20% on heating bills.
- Let the sunshine in
Open blinds and curtains on west and south facing windows during the day to allow the sun to naturally heat your home, and save 2% to 12%.
- Lower the thermostat set point on your water heater
Keep water temperature at about 120 degrees to save money year round.
- Reduce hot water use
A washing machine spends 90% of its energy to heat water. Consider using cold water instead and run full loads whenever possible because the machine uses roughly the same amount of energy regardless of load size.
- Air dry dishes
Avoid the “rinse hold” cycle and skip heated drying – simply open the door at the end of the cycle and let dishes air dry.
- Reverse direction on ceiling fans
In the summer ceiling fans rotate counterclockwise, pushing air down and producing a slight wind chill effect, allowing you to feel cooler. However, most ceiling fans have a reverse switch that will enable them to turn clockwise, producing an updraft and moving the warm air that collects near your ceiling down into the rest of the room.
- Make the switch to LED
LEDs last at least 25 times longer and consume up to 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs. By switching five of your home’s most frequently used bulbs with ENERGY STAR® certified LEDs, it’s possible to save $75 on energy costs annually.