WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Wednesday, Oct. 5, is Kansas Energy Efficiency Day. The national day brings awareness about being energy efficient.

The Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) wants to remind Kansans that as cold weather approaches, now is a great time to winterize homes or businesses.

The KCC says there are many no or low-cost ways to save energy and utility costs, and for larger projects, funding is available to help those who qualify.

Homeowners and renters who need help winterizing can contact the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation (KHRC).

Income-eligible households can receive a comprehensive home energy audit to identify inefficiencies, according to the KCC. Services and upgrades are provided free of charge.

Help is also available for small business owners in towns with a population of less than 50,000 and agricultural producers.

The KCC Energy Office, in conjunction with the Kansas State University Engineering Extension, is offering a free energy assessment and assistance in applying for a USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant to help pay for improvements.

For more information on REAP grants, click here.

The KCC says there are 10 things Kansans can do now to reduce energy usage this summer:

  1. Set back the thermostat
    • Lowering your thermostat setting can substantially reduce heating costs. The Department of Energy recommends setting the temperature to 68 degrees in the winter. To save even more, install a programmable thermostat. Schedule lower temperatures when you are away or asleep and increase temperatures when you are returning home or waking up.
  2. Change or clean furnace filters monthly
    • It is important to clean or change furnace filters regularly. A dirty furnace filter will slow down airflow, making the system work harder to keep you warm and will cost you more money.
  3. Schedule an annual tune-up
    • Consider getting a winter tune-up for your HVAC system. Just as a tune-up of your car can improve gas mileage, a tune-up of your heating and cooling system can improve efficiency, saving you money.
  4. Check and replace weather stripping and seal leaks
    • Air leaks and faulty weather stripping on doors and windows not only make your home drafty but they also increase heating costs. By caulking leaks and replacing old weather stripping, you can save 10-20% on heating bills.
  5. Let the sunshine in
    • Open blinds and curtains on west and south-facing windows during the day to allow the sun to naturally heat your home, and save 2% to 12%.
  6. Lower the thermostat set point on your water heater
    • Keep the water temperature at about 120 degrees to save money year-round.
  7. Reduce hot water use
    • A washing machine spends 90% of its energy heating water. Consider using cold water instead and run full loads whenever possible because the machine uses roughly the same amount of energy regardless of load size.
  8. Air dry dishes
    • Avoid the “rinse hold” cycle and skip heated drying – simply open the door at the end of the cycle and let dishes air dry.
  9. Reverse direction on ceiling fans
    • In the summer, ceiling fans rotate counterclockwise, pushing air down and producing a slight wind chill effect, allowing you to feel cooler. However, most ceiling fans have a reverse switch that will enable them to turn clockwise, producing an updraft and moving the warm air that collects near your ceiling down into the rest of the room.
  10. Make the switch to LED
    • LEDs last at least 25 times longer and consume up to 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs. By switching five of your home’s most frequently used bulbs with ENERGY STAR® certified LEDs, it’s possible to save $75 on energy costs annually.

For more energy-saving ideas, click here.