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Are you ready for the cold weather?

Now is the time to start winterizing your home. Here are a few tips brought to you by Realgy Energy Services to help you prepare for the colder weather and increase your energy efficiency.

Just like your air conditioner, your furnace should also get an annual check-up from a certified HVAC technician before the heating season. Keeping your furnace and ducts clean, lubricated and properly adjusted will reduce energy use and save you money.

At the very least, make sure to clean or replace the air filter on your furnace before starting it for the first time and check it every month. A dirty filter will restrict airflow and increase energy use and even possibly lead to premature failure of the unit.

While you are checking on your furnace, don’t overlook the hot water heater; if it is warm to the touch, it needs more insulation. Consider installing a water heater blanket or jacket insulation around the tank which will help prevent heat loss; be sure to leave the air intake vent uncovered. You should also insulate hot water pipes to further reduce heat loss.

Insulating your hot water heater and pipes will decrease your energy consumption and increase your savings; as a bonus this will even allow you to turn down the water temperature to around 110-120 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you have a fireplace always keep the damper closed when not in use to prevent heat loss. Ensure the chimney is clean and soot free; you should also cover the top of the chimney with a protective cap or screen to keep out unwanted debris and small animals.

Take the time now to seal cracks and crevices around windows and doors using caulk or weather-stripping. If you have old windows and are not planning on replacing them before the cold weather, consider using a shrink plastic kit to keep hot air in and cold air out.

Use these simple tips to get your home ready for the winter chill and increase your energy savings.

Sources:, Stay Warm, Save Money
U.S. Department of Energy; Energy Efficiency and Renewable energy, Thermostats and Control Systems
Energy Star, Winter Energy Savers

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Get creative with your answers to the $50 Energy Efficiency Contest

“How would you use $50 to make your home or office more energy efficient?”

If you are having trouble answering this question we have some low cost and even no cost energy efficient updates that can be made to your home or office for less than $50.

What you can do Average Cost
Lower your thermostat in the winter Free
Wash your cloths in cold water Free
Raise your thermostat in the Summer Free
Toss that second Refrigerator (your Utility may offer rebates and most will even haul it away for free) Free
Lower your water heater temperature Free
Close your blinds during the summer Free
Clean your air conditioner filter Free
Use a ceiling fan instead of A/C Free
Installing a faucet aerator $5
Change your furnace filter $10
Upgrade to CFL light bulbs $15
Dry clothes on a drying rack or clothesline $20
Insulate your water heater $25
Upgrade to a low-flow shower head $25
Install a programmable thermostat $50

These are just a few of the ways you can make your home or office more energy efficient, take our advice and get creative with your answers when you enter the $50 Energy Efficiency Contest. You could win a $50 Home Depot or Lowe’s Gift Card to make your energy efficient dreams a reality.

Don’t Delay Enter Today

If you are looking for even more energy savings enroll with Realgy Energy Services to lower your Natural Gas and Electricity Bills.



Energy Impact Illinois, Energy-Saving Actions & Incentives

U. S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy – Your Home

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Does your home have what it takes to be awarded the Silver Certificate for energy savings?

The homes of Georgene Jaback and Bob Woods of Joliet, and Janet Jaback of Elmwood Park did.

(Office of Will County Executive Larry Walsh, Handout / July 5, 2012)

The Joliet couple improved their 50-year-old home with air sealing in the attic, basement and perimeter walls and insulation on the attic floor and in the conditioned basement. Their upgrades will reduce their air leakage rate by 35 percent, according to a press release issued by Will County.

Check out the article Joliet homeowners receive silver certification for energy savings to find out how they did it.

And if you are looking for even more energy savings check out Realgy Energy Services Natural Gas and Electricity rates, and lower your energy bills in a few minutes.

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Are you ready for the summer heat?

On top of our low competitive energy rates, Realgy Energy Services also provides our customers with even more ways to save money and energy. Here are some helpful tips towards lowering your utility bills this summer.

Take advantage of the sun and turn off the lights to enjoy the “day lighting”. If you must use the lights this summer, replace those used most often with CFL or LED bulbs. Incandescent lights give off more heat than the newer energy efficient models. If you replace one traditional 100W incandescent bulb with an Energy Star CFL light bulb you could save up to $6 a year in energy costs In just two years, these bulbs will pay for themselves.

Heating and cooling accounts for up to 40% of energy consumption in commercial buildings and almost 56% in residential buildings. Make sure your AC is equipped to run efficiently. If you have not already, schedule an AC tune up with a certified HVAC contractor. The contractor can point out and repair minor issues before they become huge problems and ensure it is running at its most efficient.  You should plan to have your AC tuned up every two years, or every year if it is used frequently.

Air conditioners will run at their optimal performance level when set at 78 degrees. Making it even 5 degrees lower will result in your AC using up to 40% more energy. Keep that thermostat at 78 degrees during the day and turn it down at night, to conserve the most energy.

78 degrees is the magic number with ACs

Ceiling fans create a wind chill effect that will allow you to raise the thermostat about 4 degrees without any reduction in comfort. Just remember to turn off the fans if nobody is in the room.

Avoid using electronics or anything that generate lots of heat such as computers, ovens, even incandescent lighting. By reducing the amount of heat that is generated you can reduce the cost of cooling that area.

These simple tricks can drastically reduce your energy consumption and costs.


U.S Department of Energy, Energy Savers, Thermostats and Control Systems

Edison Electric Institute, Energy-Efficient Tips and Products for Commercial Use

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Inefficient Commercial Lighting Fixes

Lighting accounts for roughly 40 percent of energy consumption in many commercial buildings. Switching to energy-efficient lights can reduce lighting costs by as much as 75% each year. That is money back in YOUR pocket.

Fluorescent tube lights are more energy efficient that the popular A-type standard incandescent lamps, and will reduce energy consumption up to 40%. Fluorescent lights create less direct glare than incandescent lights have a cooler and quieter operation. Just as important, modern fluorescent bulbs do not flicker during start-up, making them perfect for commercial buildings.

T8 and T5 fluorescent tube lights

When purchasing fluorescent lights, look for T8 high-efficiency one inch lamps, which have a low life-cycle cost and illumination that more closely resembles natural light. The T8 lights are smaller in diameter than the older T12 lights, which enable the gases and rare earth phosphors inside to function more efficiently.

LED lighting uses 75% less energy and will last 35 to 50 times longer than incandescent lights and 2 to 5 times longer than fluorescent lighting. They produce very little heat and will not break like traditional bulbs. LED lights that are Energy Star qualified even come with a minimum three year warranty, though in many instances they can last a decade or more. In terms of return on your investment, LED bulbs can represent huge savings despite their high up-front costs.

Don’t let the high prices of efficient bulbs scare you away though. You can reduce your upfront costs  by switching out your old lights with one of these new types of energy efficient lighting as the old bulbs burn out. Eventually, you’ll have replaced every single bulb, and the savings will really start piling up.


Consortium for Energy Efficiency, Commercial Lighting
Department of Energy, Energy Savers, Fluorescent Tube and Circline Lamps
Energy Star, Lighting, What Choose Energy Star Qualified LED Lighting?

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Watt vs Lumens: How bright is that light?

With the introduction of CFLs and LEDs, the way light bulbs are rated has evolved along with the bulbs.

Relying on the traditional Watt, which is a measurement of energy, can make it difficult to compare incandescent bulbs to the more energy efficient bulbs, such as CFLs and LEDs, which can use up to 80% less energy, or watts. But now there is now a standardized measurement for the total emission of light or brightness, and it is called Lumens.

According to the U.S Department of Energy, upgrading 15 inefficient incandescent light bulbs to CFL or LED bulbs could save about $50 per year. Ninety percent of the energy used by a traditional incandescent bulb is given off as heat. That is a lot of wasted energy!

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and lighting manufacturers are placing more information on light bulb packaging to make purchasing easier. The new light bulb labels include brightness measured in lumens, the estimated yearly energy cost in dollars, the life expectancy of the bulb, the light appearance from warm to cool and the energy used measured in watts. This information can help consumers make a more-informed decision when it comes to purchasing light bulbs.

These new labels will help consumers make purchasing decisions as they transition to more energy-efficient types of bulbs.


Alliance to Save Energy, Energy-Efficient Lighting: Lumens vs. Watts
National Geographic, Green Living, Lumens vs. Watts for LED Bulbs

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Enter the $50 Energy Efficiency Contest

Summer is here, and so is the heat! Stay cool this summer and win a cool $50 by entering the $50 Energy Efficiency Contest on the Realgy Energy Services Facebook Page.

Tell us how would you use $50 to make your home or office more energy efficient?

Tell us how you would use $50 to make your home or office more energy efficient and you could win a $50 Home Depot or Lowes gift card to put your ideas to the test. If you need some inspiration, make sure you check out our regular blog posts on how you can save money on your energy costs.

One gift card will be given out each month (July and August) by the Realgy Energy Services Team. Let us know your ideas and plans to get in on the energy and money saving action now.

Your plans do not have to stay within the $50 budget; just tell us what kinds of things you could do to your home to save money while making your home use less energy. Some ideas may include keeping the thermostat set higher, or installing a new ceiling fan. Get creative, and you could win a $50 gift card to help you on your way toward some real home improvement.

Enter the $50 Energy Efficiency Contest

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New Energy Efficiency Standards for Residential Clothes Washers and Dishwashers

The Department of Energy announced yesterday the most recent in a series of common-sense efficiency standards made by the Obama Administration. The newest efficiency standard focuses on residential clothes washers and dishwashers and will save consumers $20 billion in energy and water costs.

These new standards add to previous energy efficiency requirements and will go into effect in 2015 for clothes washers and 2013 for dishwashers.

Approximately 3% of residential energy use and more than 20% of indoor water use can be attributed to clothes washers and dishwashers.

The new standards will reduce the energy consumption for front-loading clothes washers by 15% and will cut water consumption by 35%.Top loading clothes washers will save 33% on energy and 19% on water use.Residential dishwashers will use about 15% less energy and more than 20% less water, directly providing consumers with savings on monthly bills.

Learn more about the energy and cost-saving standards adopted under the Obama Administration on the Department of Energy website

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2012 Energy Star Tax Credits

For the year 2012, the Federal Government is offering a tax credit for the purchase of geothermal heat pumps, small residential wind turbines, and solar energy systems including solar water heaters.

This tax credit will expire on December 31, 2016, and will cover thirty percent of the cost with no limit. The only restriction is that the products purchased must be for an existing or new construction home that is a main residence or second home, and unfortunately rental properties do not count.

Although Energy Star qualified products may cost more initially than a standard model in the long run they will result in lower energy bills. The savings from these energy-efficient products can add up to thousands of dollars over the life of the unit.

Check out the Energy Star website to learn more about the Energy Star tax credits for 2012

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