For days like this, Xcel Energy offers some simple tips to keep your home as cool as possible, beyond simply keeping your shades and doors closed through the day.
First, raise your thermostat; changing to 78 degrees from 72 degrees can save you as much as $25 over the course of a month. They also suggest programmable thermostats that can raise the temperature while you're at work for the day and cool your home down just in time for you to arrive.
Secondly, they suggest ceiling fans. Running a ceiling fan can costs as little as 30-cents per month and gives your air conditioner a better cooling efficiency.
Third, don't use major appliances like your dishwasher or your washer and dryer until after 10:30 p.m. And when you use those appliances, make sure the load is as large as possible to avoid multiple, small loads.
Finally, avoid using your oven. Instead, try to use the microwave to prepare meals.
And Xcel suggests to check on elderly or ill neighbors, especially those who live alone, to make sure everyone is staying cool while it is so hot outside.
One more long-term suggestion is to plant shade trees or bushes around your air conditioning unit.