ST. LOUIS - As temperatures cool, it can be easy to slip into "zombie mode" when it comes to staying on top of home energy usage. Instead of taking a lifeless approach this spooky season, here are four simple modifications you can make without much effort that can decrease your energy drain – and won't require big sacrifices:

  • Let the sunshine in. As we head into daylight saving time, take advantage of the last few longer days by opening curtains and letting the natural sunlight warm your space. In the evening, keep them closed to prevent the heat from escaping.

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  • Lower the heat to 68 degrees. Consider slipping on a hoodie or a sweater to stay comfortable, as lower temperature settings will use less energy with little effort. You can save 5% for every degree you drop your thermostat between 60 to 70 degrees.

  • Clear your air vents. Make sure there are no furniture items or appliances obstructing any vents to maximize heating efficiency. Removing blockages and replacing air filters will also help the air move easier throughout the home.

  • Avoid running hot water to thaw food. Meal prep ahead of time by defrosting frozen foods in the fridge overnight to save on energy and water. Water heating is the second largest energy expense in your home, accounting for about 18% of your utility bill.

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"There are many ways to keep our homes comfortable without blasting the heat this time of year," said Tony Lozano, director of energy solutions at Ameren Missouri. "For example, using throw rugs on bare floors aids in heat retention and feels warmer to walk on. Small changes like this can add up to hundreds in cost savings over time."

"The cost of heating water contributes to your energy usage as well. Lower the temperature on your water heater to the warm setting (120 degrees). It will save energy and it will keep you safe by avoiding scalding water," said Pat Justis, director of energy efficiency at Ameren Illinois.

In recognition of National Weatherization Day (Oct. 30), Ameren also recommends that you explore your home for any potential improvements needed to conserve energy, such as caulking around leaky windows and doors, investing in a water heater jacket, and installing weather stripping or insulation. Qualifying income-eligible homeowners and renters in Missouri and Illinois are eligible to receive assistance with these projects through local agencies and the Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program (IHWAP).

Ameren also offers energy efficiency programs such as Peak Time Savings in Missouri and Peak Time Rewards in Illinois. Ameren customers can purchase a smart thermostat, such as a Sensi thermostat in Missouri or Google Nest in Illinois, each of which is $0 plus shipping and handling for a limited time.

About Ameren Corporation

St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation powers the quality of life for 2.4 million electric customers and more than 900,000 natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area through its Ameren Missouri and Ameren Illinois rate-regulated utility subsidiaries. Ameren Illinois provides electric transmission and distribution service and natural gas distribution service. Ameren Missouri provides electric generation, transmission and distribution services, as well as natural gas distribution service. Ameren Transmission Company of Illinoisdevelops, owns and operates rate-regulated electric transmission projects in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. For more information, visit Ameren.com, or follow us at @AmerenCorp, Facebook.com/AmerenCorp, or LinkedIn.com/company/Ameren.

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