The Kansas City area is about to see its first heat wave in about in two years, which means the metro area will be roasting for several days in temperatures well into the 90s and heat index values over 100 degrees.
“It’s going to be a hot one,” said David Mehlhaff, chief communications officer for the Kansas City, Kansas Board of Public Utilities. “But it’s July in the Midwest.”
There are steps you can take to make your home more comfortable — and safe. Excessive heat is the No. 1 weather-related killer in the U.S.
Here’s what you can do right now
Use fans to supplement your air conditioning. But don’t rely on fans alone to keep you cool. When temperatures reach the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illnesses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Adjust your thermostat to where it’s just cool enough and then bump it a degree or two. Each degree above 75 degrees could save 10-15% in energy.
Use shades and drapes to block the sun, which can reduce heat gain by up to 45%.
Close doors and air vents in rooms that are not in use to make your cooling system more efficient.
Avoid frequently opening your refrigerator and eating hot food. If you need to warm a meal, use a microwave rather an an oven.
Check the seal around the hatch to your attic to make sure cool air isn’t escaping into the attic.
Caulk around windows to stop air leaks.
Prepare for the next heat wave
Get your air conditioner checked out by a technician. Also clean or replace your filters, which can save you 5 to 15% in energy use as well as keeps the unit working properly.
Plant shrubs and trees on the south and west side of your house to help your home stay cooler.
Switch to LED bulbs which produce less heat and less energy.
More ways to save
Evergy customers can enroll in its Energy Savings Events program, which will provide them a free or discounted smart thermostat. Customers who already have Google Nest and ecobee smart thermostats receive a one-time $50 bonus.
If an energy savings event is needed, Evergy will alert customers and take control and turn up their thermostats. Participating customers’ homes are pre-cooled to keep the temperature withing 3 to 5 degrees of their original setting, said Gin Penzig, manager of external communications for Evergy.
Energy savings events are only on weekdays and may occur between noon and 9 p.m. Most events are about two to four hours in length. Program participants can opt out of a savings event or change the temperature on their thermostat while an event is active.
Customers who participate for more than a year receive an annual $25 incentive. On average, customers save 10% to 12% on heating and 15% on cooling with a smart thermostat.
Evergy doesn’t have any Energy Savings Events planned this week. With temperatures expected to stay in the upper 90s, energy use may continue to be high, Penzig said.