Working from home uncovers cost saving opportunities

My husband Peter has been working from home for quite some time now. Mid pandemic he joined a new firm in a remote job. His company is headquartered in New York City.

Unlike me, he’s the kind of guy that can go all day crunching numbers and talking to workmates on Zoom, never seeing a human in the flesh, unless you count waving to the Amazon delivery driver.

Being at home each day has afforded him the opportunity to listen to the inner workings of our household systems. In particular, he kept telling me that our water heater was running 24/7, wasting energy, and it was loud.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the majority of natural gas used in homes is for space heating, which includes both air and water.

One night we’d invited some friends for dinner. Peter led a discussion about water heaters and his frustration with ours and learned that one of our friends has a timer on his heater.

The timer turned the heater off except from 5-9 am and 5-9 pm each day. Our friend said it has saved him about 10 percent on his gas bill and there was rarely a time when they needed immediate hot water outside those windows.

Well two weeks later, Peter had scheduled a plumber to install a timer. It has worked fairly well, except for that time I jumped in the shower at 2pm and got the shock of a lifetime.

We are very fortunate to have a house that always runs on the cool side. If we keep the doors and windows shut during the summer, it is rare for us to run our air conditioning.

Peter thought it might be a good idea to investigate Southern California Edison’s Power Saver Awards Program.

He read that the program rewards you for voluntarily reducing your energy use during Power Saver Rewards Events. If you proactively reduce your usage, you can earn $2 for each kilowatt-hour of energy you save.

A typical customer who lowers energy usage during eight events over an annual season could earn $40 in bill credits. Those credits are applied at the start of each year as compensation for the previous year’s power savings.

If you enroll in the program, you will get a notification the day before an event so that you can plan to reduce your energy use.

The time frame for these events begins May 1 and continues through Oct. 31. They typically last from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and are most common on hot summer days.

Since the house runs so cool, we thought we might give it a try this year since we have the meter required for the program. For those interested, go to

Lastly, Peter has noticed that a few of the panes in our windows are foggy. Old and improperly sealed windows are a common source of air loss. Condensation or fog inside the window indicates that the gas fill has escaped and been replaced with moisture-laden air.

Gas fills help plug “thermal holes” in a house and help to improve a home’s overall energy efficiency.

Statistics show up to a third of a home’s energy leaks may come from windows and doors, so getting those cloudy windowpanes fixed is next on our priority list.

I’ve begun to call Peter the House Whisperer, because he’s listening to the needs of our home.

Who knows, maybe there’s a movie script for this in our future.


Categories: Elder lifestyleNumber of views: 187

Tags: house savings

Andrea GallagherAndrea Gallagher

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