Simple ways to save energy

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1 Simple ways to save energy

2 We know you expect electricity to always be there. So we ve worked hard to build one of the best reliability records in the industry. But we also want to help you make the most of the energy we provide. That s why we offer this brochure filled with energy saving ideas. Use them to maximize the value you receive and the comfort you enjoy from electricity. LIGHTING Design interiors and maintain them with energy efficiency in mind Use task lighting over desks, tool benches and work tables instead of illuminating the entire room. Locate floor, table and hanging lamps in room corners to take advantage of wall reflectance. When painting or decorating, keep in mind that darker colors reduce lighting efficiency, while lighter colors improve it. Keep light colored surfaces such as walls and ceilings clean to maintain high reflectance. Clean fixtures regularly. Dusty lamps and reflectors reduce lighting efficiency. Use energy efficient, long-life bulbs, rather than ones with a higher voltage rating, to reduce the frequency of light bulb changes. Maximize energy efficiency with the right equipment Install compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) with higher lumen (brightness) output wherever practical. CFLs use about 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs. They cost more, but they last longer. For large rooms, consider installing fixtures on two or three separate switches. If you re not using the entire room, you ll only need to light a specific area. Get instant discounts on LED bulbs of up to $4 off per bulb, which will help save money and energy. Find a retailer near you at kcplfindretailer.com 1

3 Save energy outside your home in the great outdoors Replace incandescent outdoor lighting fixtures with energy-efficient fixtures. They use less energy and have a longer life. Look for fixtures that offer desired light output, color quality and meet your home s needs. Install photoelectric controls or timers to make sure outdoor lighting is turned off during the daytime. If you have a swimming pool, operate the filter system only when absolutely necessary. Check water conditions frequently, and run the filter only long enough to maintain water quality. HEATING AND COOLING Heating and cooling often make up over half of your electric bill Keeping warm in winter Locate your thermostat on an inside wall, away from windows and doors. Cold drafts on the thermostat will keep your system running even if the rest of the house is comfortable. Keep heat-producing devices such as televisions and lamps well away from the thermostat. Set the thermostat as low as comfortable. Each degree above 68 F adds up to 3% to the energy needed for heating. Lowering the thermostat 5 at night when everyone is in bed and when no one is home saves substantially. The more often you can set back the temperature for a few hours, the more energy and money you ll save. If entertaining a large group, set the thermostat a few degrees lower. Otherwise, added body heat may make your home uncomfortably warm. Make sure heating vents and return air ducts are not blocked by furniture or drapes. 2

4 Humidifiers make you feel more comfortable in winter without turning up the heat. They also protect wood furniture from drying out. In winter, the moisture generated from bathing and cooking helps humidify the house. Use kitchen and exhaust fans sparingly. If you have a heat pump, do not set your thermostat back during heating season. Just find a comfortable setting and leave it there. Lowering the setting on a heat pump system will cause the backup heat to come on when it s raised in the morning. Backup heat uses a lot more energy than the normal heat mode, meaning you ll waste more energy than you may have saved during the night. Replace your old thermostat with a programmable model. The new devices can be set to automatically lower the temperature at bedtime and raise it again in the morning. If you have a heat pump, select an automatic setback thermostat specifically designed to work with heat pump systems. Clean or replace furnace filters monthly. Make sure fireplace dampers are closed tightly when NOT in use. Follow the annual maintenance schedule recommended by the manufacturer for your heating and cooling system. This will reduce energy costs and extend your system s service life. Staying cool all summer long Raise your thermostat setting a few degrees and save. It adds up quickly. You save up to 3% per degree. Draw blinds, shades or drapes to block the sunlight during the hottest part of the day. Consider installing awnings over windows exposed to direct sunlight. For a central air conditioner, locate the outside compressor unit in an area that is shaded by the house or by plants. Make sure to trim or remove grass, weeds and leaves from around the outdoor unit. When airflow is blocked, it strains the system and lowers efficiency. 3

5 Consult a qualified cooling contractor to determine the appropriate air conditioner size for your home before you buy a new cooling unit. When choosing a central air conditioner, look for the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). The higher the SEER, the more efficient the unit s cooling and the lower its operating cost. New heat pumps and central air conditioning units should have a SEER rating of 13 or higher. A room air conditioner s efficiency is measured by Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER). Look for an EER of 9.5 or higher. Try to shade room air conditioners from direct sun to reduce their workload. A tune-up by a service expert can improve your AC s or heat pump s efficiency by as much as 20% and lengthen its performance life. Forcing air through dirty filters takes more energy and can raise your energy bills. Clean or replace furnace filters once a month also. Install ceiling fans. They use very little energy and can eliminate or reduce the need for air conditioning. Save by sealing your ductwork It s easy to ensure that your ducting system is energy efficient. Have your heating and cooling contractor give it a thorough inspection as part of your heating and cooling system s annual checkup. Improperly designed or installed duct systems can decrease comfort, jeopardize indoor air quality and increase operating costs. Small holes or loose seals in duct work can account for as much as 30% in lost energy. Ducts that are not insulated in attics or vented crawlspace areas and ducts that are disconnected or crushed are energy wasters. Some home systems are not equipped with return ducts. This creates an imbalance in air pressure that can substantially increase operating costs. 4

6 Air infiltration and insulation are important Insulating your home adequately is one of the smartest investments you can make. Ceiling areas should be insulated to a rating of R-30 to R-38. Exterior walls and floors over unheated areas should be insulated to a rating of R-19 to R-25. Ask a qualified contractor or home improvement store for information about R-values and the various types of insulation available. Homes built on a concrete slab floor should have rigid insulation (at least an R-5 rating) around the entire perimeter of the slab. Double- or triple-pane windows are a smart investment. They can cut heat transfer by 40 to 50%. Replacing old windows with ENERGY STAR qualified windows can lower household bills by 7-15%. Use weather stripping and caulk to protect your home against the elements. Exterior doors and windows, wall outlets, sill plates, duct systems and fireplaces should all be inspected for air leakage. Replace all broken windows, worn weather stripping and improperly fitted doors. Encourage everyone, especially children, to keep windows and entrance doors closed. Open overhead garage doors only when necessary. Foot traffic should always use side or front entrance doors. KCP&L REBATES When your heating and cooling system is old enough and regular tune ups don t help increase efficiency, consider replacing your unit. KCP&L provides rebates of up to $1200 when you replace your old system with a new, energy efficient one. 5

7 HOT WATER FOR ALL YOUR HOUSEHOLD NEEDS Water heating is the second largest energy expense in your home. Drain your water heater twice a year to remove energywasting sediment from the bottom of the heater tank. High-efficiency water heaters use 10% to 50% less energy than standard models, saving homeowners money on their utility bills. Almost all water heaters (except super-insulated types) can benefit from inexpensive insulation kits available at home improvement stores. The kits let you wrap your water heater in a blanket of insulation. Follow directions carefully. Do not cover any water heater doors, vents or relief valves. Thinking of installing a new water heater? Consider future needs as well as present needs. Estimate hot water usage FAMILY SIZE HEATER SIZE generously gallon if you have gallon young children or, 8 or more 100-gallon if children will be moving out in the near future, a smaller unit may suffice. Use this guide for selecting one that s right for you. If you re building a home, place the water heater as close as possible to the areas where hot water will be used. If your design requires long hot water pipes (such as a large ranch home), consider installing two or more heaters in close proximity to principal water-use areas. Use hot water supply pipes of the smallest practical diameter, and install pipe wrap to minimize heat loss. Dripping faucets waste water and energy. Repair all leaks promptly. 6

8 Don t leave water running while washing dishes, shaving or brushing your teeth. Instead fill the sink, mug or glass with water as necessary to complete the task. Take showers. They typically use less than half the hot water of a tub bath. Lowering the temperature of the water heater to 120 F can cut your water heating costs up to 10%. IN THE KITCHEN Appliances use about 13% of your home energy costs. Your range, refrigerator and laundry are at the top of the list. Savings on the range Choose pots and pans that have flat bottoms for a more effective transfer of heat. Keep lids on pots and pans during cooking to reduce cooking time and lower cooking temperature. If you ve never used one, try a pressure cooker. They cut preparation time to about a third of conventionally prepared meals. Keep reflector pans beneath stove top cooking elements clean and shiny to reflect heat upward. Also keep pan bottoms clean to absorb heat more efficiently. Don t use more water than necessary for cooking or boiling. Extra water requires extra energy to heat. Use the highest heat setting to bring liquids to a boil. Then lower the setting to allow food to simmer until fully cooked. Energy-conscious oven use When using your oven, cook as much of the meal as possible at one time. Foods with different cooking times can often be cooked simultaneously since variations of 25 F or less do not affect cooking results. 7

9 Limit oven preheating to five to eight minutes. Don t preheat for broiling or roasting, and minimize the times you open the oven to check the progress of your cooking. A considerable portion of oven heat is lost each time the door is opened. Position oven racks before turning on the oven. Rearranging racks after the oven is heated allows energy to escape and could result in a burn. Use a damp cloth to clean minor spills every time you use the oven. When self-cleaning is truly necessary (probably just a few times a year), start the cycle while the oven is still hot or wait until late evening when electricity use is lowest. Don t use your oven for room heating or drying clothing or shoes. Microwaves and convection ovens Use microwave or convection cooking whenever possible. Microwaves use less than half the energy of conventional ovens. Convection ovens cook in a fraction of the time of conventional ovens. Other kitchen appliances If you cook small quantities of food, consider purchasing an electric frying pan, grill or toaster broiler oven. These countertop appliances use about a third the energy of a regular oven/broiler. Slow cookers are a very energy efficient way to prepare meals. Use them for stews and other single-dish meals. Energy savings from your refrigerator and freezer Choose a refrigerator and freezer that are just large enough for your family s needs. Excess interior space wastes energy. Don t overcrowd refrigerators or freezers to the point that doors won t close properly or air can t circulate freely around food. For optimum cooling, clean the condenser coils (in the back or on the bottom of the unit) every three months. 8

10 Some newer refrigerators are equipped with a system to prevent moisture condensation around the edge of the door. Try switching this system off. If condensation is slight and unobjectionable, leave the system off. Before extended vacations, remove perishables from the refrigerator and set it to a warmer temperature. Remember to lower the temperature when you return. Cover liquids in the refrigerator. They give off vapors that add to the compressor s workload. Keep refrigerator doors closed. Plan ahead; remove all food necessary for a meal at one time. Discourage open-door browsing between meals. Chest-type freezers lose less air when the door is opened than an upright. If space permits, choose this type of freezer. Locate refrigerators and freezers away from sunlight and other sources of heat such as ranges and ovens. Dishwashers and garbage disposers Wait until you have a full load to run the dishwasher. When time permits, bypass the dishwasher s electric drying cycle. In winter, open the door and let natural convection dry your dishes. Use cold water when running the garbage disposal. It saves energy and solidifies grease, which is then ground up and flushed away. IN THE LAUNDRY Washing Use only the specified amount of laundry detergent. Using more requires extra rinsing. Use hot water only when absolutely necessary. Most of today s fabrics can be cleaned thoroughly in cold or warm water. Avoid washing partial loads of laundry. 9

11 The gentle cycle of many washers automatically selects a slower spin speed. Use the gentle cycle to wash, but reset and use a higher spin speed for better water extraction. Drying Don t over-dry. This wastes energy and also harms fabrics. Clean the lint filter after every drying cycle. Hang or fold clothes immediately after the dryer stops. Clothes with fewer wrinkles, need less ironing. Be careful about loading the dryer. Partial loads waste energy. Overloading increases wrinkles and makes ironing necessary. Locate your dryer in an area ventilated with cool, dry air. Humid air increases drying time and requires more energy to dry clothes completely. Ironing: consume less energy. Be safe. When ironing, select fabrics that require low temperatures first and work up to those requiring higher temperatures. Turn off the iron a few minutes before you re finished heat remaining in the soleplate will usually be enough to finish the job. Never leave the iron turned on when unattended. Besides wasting energy, it s a fire hazard. HOME ELECTRONICS ENERGY STAR rated computers use approximately 30-60% less energy than standard models. Use a power strip that can be turned off when not using your computer. Use your computer s lower power mode and sleep mode to save energy. 10

12 LOOK FOR THE ENERGY STAR ENERGY STAR labeling, a program of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy, is your assurance that products offer energy efficiency, save money on utility bills and help protect the environment. Look for it on household appliances, home electronics, office equipment, heating and cooling equipment, windows, residential lighting fixtures and more. The savings add up. Heating and cooling equipment alone can account for nearly half your energy use. They last for 10 or more years, saving you 10-40% on annual utility bills. Because efficient products rely on higher quality components and advanced technologies, they cost more to buy. But their extended service life and operating cost savings will pay back the difference. For more information, visit WE RE HERE TO HELP Visit us at KCP&L Connect (1710 Paseo Blvd., KCMO). Our specialists can provide personal energysaving guidance and demonstrations on lighting, heating, cooling, kitchen and other areas of your home or business. Visit kcpl.com/connect for hours and directions. Can t visit in person? No problem. Call us anytime or visit our website: Metropolitan Kansas City Toll-free Online

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