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      Ameren winter energy tips

      There's some good news for those who heat their homes with natural gas during the winter. Ameren predicts natural gas prices to be similar to last years rates. Ameren says there are other ways to save on your energy bill this winter.

      Heating Season Tips from Ameren Illinois:

      Saving Money Today

      You can save 2 to 3 percent on your heating costs for each degree you lower your thermostat during the heating season. Install a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust your home TMs temperature settings when you are away or sleeping. Ameren Illinois customers may visit or call 1-866-838-6918 for details on a $25 programmable thermostat rebate. A programmable thermostat can reduce energy bills by about $100 a year.

      Never place a thermostat on an exterior wall where it may be affected by outdoor temperatures.

      Regularly change or wash (depending on type) furnace filters. Most filters should be changed once a month. This is especially important if you have pets or when there is dust in the area.

      Take advantage of solar heat by opening curtains, blinds and shades on sunny days. Close curtains, blinds and shades on cloudy days and at night.

      Have your heating system checked and serviced by a professional before the start of the heating season. Improperly operating fossil fuel furnaces may pose serious health and safety hazards, as well as waste energy. Fireplace and wood-burning stove flues should be inspected and cleaned by a professional, as well.

      Install carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in your home, as required by state law.

      Check for heating system duct air leaks. Begin by sealing ducts that run through the attic, crawlspace, unheated basement or garage by using duct sealant (mastic) or metal-backed (foil) tape to seal the seams and connections of ducts. Properly sealed ducts can improve your heating system TMs efficiency by up to 20 percent. Visit, call1-866-838-6918 or send an e-mail to: for details on the Home Energy Performance Program.

      Replace incandescent bulbs with ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). Unlike incandescent bulbs, CFLs emit little heat and last seven or more years. Ameren Illinois customers may purchase CFLs from participating retailers, online or by phone. For CFL details, visit, send an e-mail to or call1-866-845-7085.

      Use low-cost ceiling fans or other types of circulating fans. Fans help to evenly distribute air, eliminating both hot and cold spots. When used properly, many people find they are able to lower their thermostats a few degrees in the winter and raise the thermostat a few degrees during the summer months.

      When not in use, keep fireplace and wood stove dampers closed. This will help keep warm air in your home.

      Look in on others

      Check in on the elderly and those with medical conditions to make certain they are safe and comfortable.