Simple ways to save energy
At KCP&L, 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
Design interiors and maintain them with energy efficiency in mind
• Provide task lighting over desks, tool benches and work tables. It eliminates the
need to illuminate the entire room.
• Wherever possible locate floor, table and hanging lamps in the corner of the room to
take advantage of wall reflectance.
• When painting or decorating, keep in mind that darker colors reduce lighting efficiency while lighter
colors improve it. Also keep light colored surfaces such as walls and ceilings clean to maintain high
• Clean fixtures regularly. Dusty lamps and reflectors reduce lighting efficiency.
• To reduce the frequency of light bulb changes in difficult to reach places, use energy efficient,
“long-life” bulbs rather than ones with a higher voltage rating.
Maximize energy efficiency with the right equipment
• Turn the lights off when leaving the room. Urge others, especially children, to do the same.
• Check the ratings of all incandescent bulbs in your home. Often a lower wattage bulb may be sub-
• Install compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) wherever practical. CFLs save about 75 percent of the
energy used by incandescent bulbs. Even though they cost more, 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.
Energy savings in the great outdoors
• Replace incandescent outdoor lighting fixtures with energy-efficient fixtures. They use less energy and
have a longer life.
• 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.
• 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
Efficient kitchen clean up: dishwashers and garbage disposers
• Always try to run full loads when using 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. Besides saving energy, cold water solidifies grease
which is then ground up and flushed away.
In the Laundry
• Use only the specified amount of laundry detergent. Using more makes washing
less efficient and requires extra rinsing.
• Use hot water only when absolutely necessary. Most of today’s fabrics can be
cleaned thoroughly in warm or cold water.
Avoid washing partial loads of laundry
• 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.
• Don’t over-dry. This not only wastes energy but also harms fabrics.
• Clean the lint filter after every drying cycle.
• Hang or fold clothes immediately after the dryer stops. Clothes with fewer wrinkles, mean 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
• Turn off the iron a few minutes before you’re finished—heat remaining in the sole plate will usually be
enough to finish the job.
• Never leave the iron turned on when unattended. Besides wasting energy, it is a dangerous fire hazard.
• 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. New heat pumps and central air conditioning
units should have a SEER rating of 13 or higher. Heat pumps offer SEER ratings as high as 19.
• A room air conditioner’s efficiency is measured by Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER). When shopping
for a room air conditioner, look for an EER of 9.5 or higher. Be sure 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 per-
cent and lengthen its performance life. Keep filters clean. It’s difficult to force air through dirty filters. It
takes more energy and can raise your energy bills.
• Clean or replace furnace filters once a month.
• Install ceiling fans. They use very little energy and can eliminate or reduce the need for air conditioning.
Additional savings may be in the duct work
• Improperly designed or installed duct systems can decrease comfort, jeopardize indoor air quality
and increase operating costs. Even small holes or loose seals in duct work can account for as much
as 30 percent in lost energy.
• Ducts that are not insulated in attics or vented crawlspace areas, ducts with holes or ducts that are
disconnected or crushed are energy wasters. Some home systems are not equipped with return ducts
creating an imbalance in air pressure that can substantially increase operating costs.
• It’s easy to ensure that your ducting system is energy efficient. Simply have your heating and cooling
contractor give it a thorough inspection as part of your heating and cooling system’s annual checkup.
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 should be insulated to a rating of R-19 to R-25, as
should floors over unheated areas. Consult a qualified contractor or home improvement store for infor-
mation 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 may cut heat transfer by 40 to 50 percent.
• If your home has single-pane windows, adding wood or metal storm windows can dramatically reduce
heat loss. Storm doors also are a good way to reduce air infiltration.
• Replace all broken windows, worn weather stripping and improperly fitted doors.
• 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.
• 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.
Hot water for all your household needs
• Drain your water heater twice a year to remove energy-wasting sediment from the
bottom of the heater tank.
• Almost all water heaters (except super-insulated types) can benefit from inexpen-
sive 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 FAMILY SIZE HEATER SIZE
future needs as well as present needs. Estimate hot
water usage generously if you have young children. If 1-3 50-gallon
children will be moving out in the near future, a smaller 4-7 80-gallon
unit may suffice. Use this guide for selecting one that’s 8 or more 100-gallon
right for you:
• If you’re building a home, locate the water heater as close as possible to the areas where hot water will
be used. Insulate long runs of hot water supply pipes.
• 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
• Dripping faucets waste water and energy—repair all leaks promptly.
• Don’t leave water running while washing dishes, shaving or brushing teeth. Instead fill the sink,
mug or glass with water as necessary to complete the task.
• Encourage showers—showers typically use about half the hot water of a tub bath.
• Set the temperature of the water heater as low as possible. A water temperature of about 140°F
is adequate for everyday usage. If higher temperatures are required for certain tasks, such as dish
washing, consider a dual temperature system that combines a smaller, higher temperature unit with
a second general purpose water heater.
In the Kitchen
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 cook-
ing temperature. If you’ve never used one, try a pressure cooker. Pressure cookers
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.
Oven use can be energy-conscious
• 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 degrees or less do not
affect cooking results.
• Minimize oven preheating—five to eight minutes is usually sufficient. You do not need to preheat for
broiling or roasting. While baking, minimize the times you open the oven to check the progress of your
cooking. A considerable portion of oven heat is lost every 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.
• Use ovens only for cooking, not 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. Convections 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 counter top appliances use about one third the energy of a regular oven/broiler.
• Slow cookers are very energy efficient ways to prepare meals. Use them for stews and other single-
Keeping food fresh: energy savings from your refrigerator and freezer
• Choose refrigerators and freezers 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 cabinets) every
• Assure that door gaskets are making a proper seal. Close the door on a dollar bill. If you can pull the
bill out easily, the door should be adjusted or the gaskets replaced.
• 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 higher tempera-
ture. Just remember to lower the temperature upon your return.
• Do not place uncovered liquids in the refrigerator. Vapors given off by liquids add to the compressor’s
• Keep refrigerator doors closed whenever possible. Plan ahead; remove all food necessary for a
meal at one time. Discourage open-door “browsing” between meals.
Heating and Cooling
Keeping warm in winter
• Make sure your thermostat is located on the inside wall and 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 devises 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 three percent to the
energy needed for heating. Lowering the thermostat five degrees at night when everyone is in bed and
raising it five degrees 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 that heating vents and return air ducts are not blocked by furniture or drapes.
• Humidifiers make you feel more comfortable in winter without turning up the heat. They also help
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 comfort-
able 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 it 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 newer programmable model. The new devices can be set to auto-
matically 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.
• 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. By keeping your system in optimal working condition, you’ll not only reduce energy
costs, but extend your system’s service life.
• Clean or replace furnace filters once a month.
Staying cool all summer long
• Raise your thermostat setting a few degrees and save. It adds up quickly—when you save up to
three percent 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 puts a strain on the system and lowers efficiency.
• Always consult a qualified cooling contractor to determine the appropriate air conditioner size for your
home before you buy a new cooling unit.
Look for the EnErgy Star ®
A program of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy, ENERGY
STAR labeling is your assurance that products offer energy efficiency, save money on utility
bills and help protect the environment. Look for the ENERGY STAR on household appli-
ances, home electronics, office equipment, heating and cooling equipment, windows, residential lighting
fixtures and more.
For example, heating and cooling equipment alone can account for nearly half your energy use and they
last for 10 or more years. You can save from 10 to 40 percent on annual utility bills just by buying ENERGY
Because efficient products rely on higher quality components and advanced technologies, they cost a
little more to buy. But the extended service lives and operating cost savings you’ll enjoy will pay back
the difference in no time.
Look for the ENERGY STAR when you’re buying any of the following products:
• Air Conditioners • Computers • Furnaces
• Clothes Dryers • Dishwashers • Refrigerators
• Clothes Washers • Entertainment Units • TVs
For more information, call the toll-free hotline at 1-888-STARYES, or visit www.energystar.gov.
Let Us Help you
For more information about KCP&L products and
services, call our Customer Contact Center or
visit us online.
Metropolitan Kansas City..................(816) 471-5275