With cold weather at our doors and energy bills beginning to increase, Kansas City Councilwoman Melissa Robinson hosted a webinar to share available energy efficiency resources and tips to help save on electricity and utility bills this winter.
“Utilities are basic human rights and no one should go without them,” Robinson said.
Here are some of the resources and tips Robinson shared on her webinar:
Resources in Your Area
While this article specifically speaks to programs in Kansas City, Evergy and Spire may be your energy providers which means most of these programs are available to you. If you have another utility company, check. them - Many companies offer similar programs.
Weatherize Your Home
Spaces in the home that leak warm air, allowing cool air to come in, causes your furnace to work harder and increases energy bills.
The average consumer loses $45 to $100 each year from heat loss. Weatherizing your home by closing leaks and gaps helps reduce fuel usage by an average of 35% annually, according to representatives from Spire Inc., the area gas utility.
To stop the flow of warm air out of doors and windows, use foam stripping or caulk.
If you rent and your landlord does not allow you to foam or close gaps in your home, contact the Kansas City Health Department and they may be able to make a case to your landlord to weatherize the home.
Spire offers weatherization services like free upgrades, free energy audits and free energy efficiency education if you meet their income guidelines. To find out if you qualify, call the United Way at 211 or contact your local community action agency at: www.SpireEnergy.com/agency-assistance.
If you’ve updated your gas appliances like boilers or furnaces in the past year, you may be eligible for a rebate with Spire. Find out more at: www.spireenergy.com/rebates.
For those making efficiency improvements like insulating and sealing holes, Evergy offers rebates anywhere from $100 to $1500, depending on the project. Learn more at: www.evergy.com/-/media/documents/ways-to-save/rebates/rebate-incentive-chart.pdf?la=en.
Switch to LED Bulbs
LED lightbulbs are one of the easiest changes you can make to create a more energy efficient home. LED lightbulbs use a quarter of the energy incandescent lightbulbs do and last much longer. Also, while incandescent lightbulbs cost around $2 per month, LED lightbulbs – because of their long life – only cost around 50 cents per month.
Change Furnace Filters
A cleaner furnace filter means cleaner air quality in the home and lower energy bills. Change your basic fiberglass filters every one to two months and paper filters every four months to every year to see improvements on your bill.
During the winter, lower your settings by one degree for at least eight hours and save about 1% on your energy bill.
Standby Power Loss
Standby power loss, or items that are plugged in but not being used, can account for as much 20% of your bill each month when they are not in use. Try unplugging your charger, coffee makers, toaster, lamps not used frequently or other items when you’re not using them.
Red Tag Program
Spire offers up to a $1,000 grant to income-qualified customers if you need equipment repairs for natural gas appliances. Find out if you qualify at: www.escswa.org/menus/red-tag-equipment-repair.html.
Energy Saving Kit
Evergy offers a free energy saving kit after you make an appointment for a home energy assessment to find out ways to reduce energy use and to save money. The kit includes up to 20 LED lightbulbs, up to four faucet aerators, up to two efficient flow shower heads and up to two power strips. Find out how to start at: www.evergy.com/ways-to-save/programs/energy-savings-kit.
If you are having trouble paying for your home’s utilities, contact Robinson’s office: (816) 513-6513. Her office may be able to help find resources beyond those identified in this article.