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How a Natural Gas Furnace Works

Natural gas forced-air furnaces are by far the most popular method of heating in North America, mainly because they can distribute heated air from a central furnace to every room of the house and they can also be used in conjunction with a central AC unit.

furnace diagram

The basic components of a forced-air system include:

  • An air handler, which may be either a stand-alone blower cabinet used with a heat pump or a forced-air furnace that includes a blower
  • A means of heating air, such as natural gas-fueled burners
  • Ductwork for delivering cold air to the heater via a return
  • Ductwork for sending heated air back to rooms via some vents
  • A thermostat for turning the system on and off

A natural gas furnace reacts to changes in a room’s temperature. When the air temperature in the room drops below the thermostat’s set temperature, it alerts the furnace. Cold air is then drawn from the room’s return through ductwork into the cold air return and through an air filter. The burner ignites to heat the air as it moves through the furnace. The circulating fan helps the warmed air circulate through the ductwork and back into the room via vents. The cycle continues until the set comfort level is reached at which point the thermostat turns the system off until the next time the temperature drops.


Wikipedia, “Furnace
Buzzl, “How does a Gas Furnace Work

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Realgy Energy Services Facebook promotion leads to donation to the Food Bank of Northern Indiana

PRESS RELEASE 18 MARCH 2013 | By: Realgy, LLC

Realgy Energy Services Facebook fans chose to donate to the Food Bank of Northern Indiana

In October 2012, Realgy Energy Services ran a promotion on its Facebook page for fans to decide which charity to donate $1 for every Facebook “Like” during November and December 2012. Among the selected charities was the Food Bank of Northern Indiana, which won by a landslide. “Thanks to our Facebook fans, Realgy will be donating $116 to the Food Bank of Northern Indian, a very deserving charity in our service territory,” says Michael Vrtis, President, “This promotion has not only increased our fan base by 116 likes but will also be making a difference in the lives of those that rely on the Food Bank.”


Picture courtesy of The Food Bank of Northern Indiana

The Food Bank of Northern Indiana has been feeding the hungry since 1993 and working with the community to increase awareness of the effects of hunger. “We appreciate innovative ways businesses and organizations like Realgy Energy Services help us feed the hungry in Northern Indiana,” says Marijo Martinec, Food Bank of Northern Indiana, Director of Community Impact. She added, “Thanks to all the individuals who “Liked” Realgy Energy Services on behalf of the Food Bank!” A donation of just one dollar can provide up to eight meals for those in need.

A group of people who worked for many years with large utilities, energy service companies and energy marketers came together to found Realgy Energy Services in 1999. Within these organizations they saw the limitations of the systems and software and decided they could provide a more efficient service. Today Realgy Energy Services is a retail energy marketer and wholesale energy provider in three deregulated states Michigan, Indiana and Illinois with plans to expand. Realgy has had a perfect record (certified A+) with the Better Business Bureau; since 2003 and has been recognized as an Inc 500 | 5000 company in 2011 and 2012.


A Big thank you to all of our Facebook Fans for helping Realgy Energy Services make this generous donation!

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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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