ST. LOUIS — Thanks to the marathon of below-freezing weather coming to an end, this week's warmer weather may finally mean we can rest the heat in our homes. But, while your furnace may be resting, your energy bill may be a bit too hot to the touch.

Luckily, Ameren Missouri released several handy tips to save energy and save money, all while staying comfortable during the winter months. Most of the tips are free, while others could be used as inexpensive methods to save money when you need it most.

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Adjust the temperature. Ameren said to set your thermostat as low as is comfortable when you're home and awake, but to set it back 10° to 15° when you're asleep or away from the home. Leaving your thermostat at a lower temperature for eight hours can save you around 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills. They added that those who use a heat pump should maintain a moderate setting or use a programmable thermostat designed for heat pumps.

Adjust your ceiling fans. No matter where they are in your house, look into setting your fans to turn clockwise at a slow speed in order to push warm air back down into the room.

Take advantage of the sun. While the cold may be prevalent, you can still benefit from the big yellow ball in the sky. Open your curtains on your south-facing windows — if you have them — during the day to let in sunlight to naturally heat your home. Close the curtains at night to reduce the chill that may come from your windows.

Cover drafty windows, and find those leaks. If your house is suffering from windows with a draft, Ameren suggests using a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet — or taping clear plastic film — on a frame on the inside of your window frame. Alternatively, install tight-fitting, insulating drapes or shades on windows that may feel drafty after weatherizing. They also suggest adding caulk or weather stripping to seal air likes around doors and windows with leaks.

Maintain your heating systems, lower water heating costs. Ameren warned consumers to schedule regular service for their heating systems, including replacing filters for furnaces and heat pumps. Keep an eye on warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators as needed, and ensure they are not blocked by furniture, carpeting, or drapes. Lastly, turn down the temperature of your water heater to 120° to save energy and money.