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How to effectively cool your home during high temperatures, humidity

Some people want to be energy efficient while others just want to stay as cool as possible without overworking their air conditioning units.

ST. LOUIS — High temperatures can put a strain on your body, your wallet and your air conditioner unit.

Here are some tips for different goals during summer heat waves.


First and foremost, keep people and pets safe. Limit outdoor activity, drink water and use the air conditioning to keep your home at a safe temperature.

Sleep deprivation has negative health effects, so make sure your bedroom is cool enough so you can drift off when you need to.

RELATED: What’s keeping you up at night? Insomnia causes and fixes

It is harder to store food at proper temperatures during heat waves. Make sure refrigerators are working as expected and don't leave chilled food out.

Saving money

Some techniques for saving money on your power bill are obvious while others are not. Some items can be done today, but others are long-term investments.

Save money today

Keep your thermostat at a higher temperature. The EPA once recommended 78 degrees while you're at home and 85 degrees when you're away. Consider a higher temperature overnight as well.

Make sure you clean or replace your air filters regularly.

Turn off bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans after 20 minutes.

Keep window coverings closed.

Avoid heat-generating activities like using the oven or cooking on a stovetop. Opt to cook outside, if it is possible. 

Bathing and laundry can generate heat during the day. Complete these tasks during cooler times in the evening and morning.

Avoid placing lamps or TVs near the thermostat, because it can measure heat from the appliances, which can make the AC run longer than necessary.

Turn off ceiling fans when you leave a room.

Close doors to rooms you are not using. Keep the cool air in the rooms you are currently occupying.

Window fans can be energy and cost-effective. If a home has multiple levels, put a window fan on the upper level and open a window on the lower level.

Ameren Illinois has a program called Peak Time Rewards that gives people bill credits for reducing power usage during times of high electricity demand.

Long-term savings

For longer-term savings, make sure you buy efficient appliances, windows, window coverings, exhaust fans and filters.

Vacuum floor and wall registers. Get rid of dust buildup.

If you are using a window unit, make sure it is draining outside of your home so stagnant water is not pooling inside your home or on your windowsill. This can damage your home and can cause problems down the road.

Ameren Missouri offers a Peak Time Savings program. If you have a smart thermostat, Ameren can automatically adjust your temperature during surge events. They offer discounts for enrollment. Check out the Ameren Missouri plan here.


Some money and appliance-saving tips are also for your comfort, but if you are looking for peak chill, check off this list too:

Make sure your ceiling fans are rotating counterclockwise. This pushes cool air down.

If you are using a window air conditioning unit, make sure the cool air is circulated into the home with fans.

If you need to use an oven or stovetop, briefly use the oven hood to remove some of the heat.

For longer-term comfort, make sure vents and fans are at optimal locations for cooling. Furniture should not block registers and vents.

Appliance efficiency

Make sure you take care of your cooling appliances so they don't break down when you need them the most.

Have your air conditioning units serviced regularly.

Keep your refrigerator door closed during the hottest times of the day.

RELATED: Yes, your ceiling fan should spin counterclockwise if you want to feel cooler

RELATED: How Ameren and others are getting ready for record heat in St. Louis

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