Ways to keep your house cool, save money in KC summer heat

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 are some suggestions from Evergy and the Board of Public Utilities on how to keep your home cool — and save on your energy bill — as the heat rises:

Here’s what you can do right now

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.

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Robert A. Cronkleton gets up very early in the morning to bring readers breaking news about crime, transportation and weather at the crack of dawn. He’s been at The Star since 1987 and now contributes data reporting and video editing. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rockhurst College, where he studied communications and computer science.

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