Brower Power Hour Radio Show Archive

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About the Show

Brower Home Power Hour: Formerly the CHERP Energy Wise Forum, Brower Mechanical has now recrafted the program to further promote the process of home energy optimization thru home energy audits, insulation, windows, solar and more. Continuing the relationship with the non-profit Community Home Energy Retrofit Project (CHERP)monthly seminars are designed to provide access to virtually free home energy assessments ($300+ value!)that can then lead to maximizing government and utility rebates and incentives to both reduce expense and increase home values. An incredibly informative show to help anyone considering solar or home energy upgrades make the best investment decision utilizing the small solar process by reducing before producing.

Presented in Part by: Ygrene Home Improvement Financing

Ygrene Home Improvement Financing
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Listen as your hosts Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small talk about some of the fun things the Brower team comes across on a regular basis as they work in customers’ yards. And yes, trash can speakers... Read more
little business boy with clipboard
Get a free diagnosis on your home's energy issues with a Clipboard AuditDuane Knickerbocker and Bill Small open today's show with the significance of Public Service Power Shutoffs as we enter into... Read more

Radio Show Archive

September 15, 2019: Home energy and trash can speakers

Listen as your hosts Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small talk about some of the fun things the Brower team comes across on a regular basis as they work in customers’ yards. And yes, trash can speakers really are incredible. And yes, there are even videos that you can watch to help prevent a visit that could cost you a service fee.

Electrify Everything Update

How is electrification changing in the home energy realm? It’s significant and the technology is actually providing opportunities to lower your utility bills. And does it make a difference when you need alternative power? Maybe during a PSPS? Battery backup with solar, generators both short and long term?

Uncomfortable Indoors? We Can Fix That

The caller in today’s show was, we’re pleased to say, a referral from a neighbor. But the issue was pretty severe and making the home uncomfortable with indoor temps over 85 degrees. An obvious description was helpful in getting the home set for the techs when they arrived, likely giving them a little more opportunity to get things done sooner. It’s also a good heads up to say take a look at what your system is doing now, before the season hits.

Make Service Maintenance Easy With A Subscription!

So it may seem a bit early to talk about revitalizations, but really, now is the best time to have everything done early. You’ll save money, get more comfortable and really enjoy your home more. Before the rush. And learn all about the value of a subscription to a monthly fee that minimizes the inconsistencies of service a couple of times a year. The money to be saved should more than offset the minimal investment.

Learn more and call Brower Mechanical at (916) 624-0808.

September 8, 2019: CBA has nothing to do with Basketball. Learn more here.

Get a free diagnosis on your home's energy issues with a Clipboard Audit

Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small open today's show with the significance of Public Service Power Shutoffs as we enter into the fire season in the region. The conversation takes you into the values of a clipboard audit, the CBA, to get your home right as the calendar seasons begin to change. Heat outside is one good reason to do so to keep your home cooler in the summer but as we transition into the cooler outside temperatures, the opposite is true. Maybe your home is well-shaded and comfortable in the heat, but it’s tough to escape the cold. Now is a good time to get your clipboard audit done. It’s free, it’s comprehensive and it gives you the road map to the proper steps to take to minimize your energy waste.

Your Electric Bill After Solar...

Do solar panels mean no utility bills? Usually not! Don’t be fooled into thinking panels or tons of panels on a roof mean no bills. There are many factors that come into play. The case story is wrapped around two homes of similar size with a whopping 20-panel difference on the roofs. If you’re giving thought to solar, this segment alone may save you thousands! This bounces you right back to the values of the free clipboard audit. And the answer is yes, the audit alone could save you money.

Should You Upgrade Your HVAC Before Selling Your Home?

So… think about this. Why would you suffer through the summer with no A/C only to get it repaired when you sell the home? That’s the situation today’s caller; an Interesting situation, and of course a good result. You’ll enjoy the story.

Water Heater Rebates from SMUD

Closing out this week’s show, the discussion turns to water heaters. If you’re a natural gas user, this is especially key for you to hear. You’ll learn why your natural gas bills may be going up and some opportunities you may have to lessen the impact on your wallet. You’ll also hear how SMUD is going to give you a huge rebate to make the transition to an electric water heater and save money with no real spend difference upfront. The details of the rebate and the values will take you down the path to cutting your water heating expense in half. This same technology is also applicable to your home furnace. The explanation is of great value if you’re in that phase of your home’s energy equipment.

Schedule your Free Clipboard Audit with the home energy experts at Brower Mechanical, call (916) 624-0808.

September 1, 2019: Time for the solar hustle. Tax credits change in 2020!

Your hosts Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small have an interesting perspective on novel homeowner situations that they’re going to not only talk about today but actually share on social media. The Brower crew is out there in and out of homes every day. As a result, they see things that may benefit many from hidden safes to garbage collection. You’ll also hear about how you can donate a working window a/c unit to benefit those in need. It’s a project one of the Brower employees adopted. It’s really quite special.

Should you finance solar? 

A great discussion continues on the cost of financing solar vs buying power from PG&E. Remember, your utility bill is a one-time expense every month with no equity built and nothing accrued. Bill, pay, repeat. If you were to look at solar and it’s benefits across a period of time, you’ll see how financing solar can be almost 50% less expensive than what you’re throwing out each month without solar. Similar payment, identical power delivery to the home. This does not include future unknown rate increases. It would seem this is a no-brainer. It surely should be!  Get started on solar today.

What power backup is right for your home?

Alternate energy is a huge deal and that’s now transcending solar. Batteries, portable generators, whole home generators are becoming more and more a part of the home energy strategy. Duane takes Bill’s lead and discusses each of the options, how they function and how they are typically paid for. Remember this all begins with what the end goal is. Find out where to begin with a Clipboard Audit. It’s free and it gets you started on the path to that end goal.

More than HVAC 

Why is Brower Mechanical? Well, sort of serious, sort of fun but the bottom line is Brower is so much more than just HVAC, hence the word mechanical. It’s all the systems in your home that are mechanical. That includes heating and air but includes ductwork, solar, water heater, pool pump, attic sealing, etc. Now you know the backstory!

So how much energy does a solar panel provide?

What can it power in the house? Well, how about 3 panels to provide hot water for the next 25 years? Yes. That’s it. For possibly the rest of your lifetime! And that’s just the beginning. There are so many things to consider and ways to minimize the solar requirement to your advantage. The insight and knowledge comes thru in actionable terms. Don’t forget, solar tax credits will be diminishing in 2020 so now is the time to act or you’ll be getting less tax credit in the new year.

Get your home energy plan started by giving Brower Mechanical a call at 916-624-0808

August 25, 2019: Environmental Stewardship. A conversation with SMUD’s Home Performance Program Manager.

Spreading the Word on Public Safety Power Shutoffs

Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small dig into the local community scene with a conversation on the Public Safety Power Shutoffs and how that message is being disseminated in the community. This is a great and necessary outreach to keep homeowners aware of what they can do for prevention first, then power second. Generators, batteries, solar are all topics of the discussion. Those necessities, or bare essentials are individual to each consumer. The consensus is that a PSPS could be, on average, two to three days. Very important if you’re one of the families affected.

What about SMUD Benefits?

I’ll bet you didn’t know why SMUD might be different than PG&E with regard to Public Service Power Shutoffs. Michael Corbett tells the story. The conversation then drives straight into time of use billing and how you should actually save on the program and how it’s going to benefit in Winter with little to slight impact in the Summer if you pay attention to the peak hours.

Electrification and Rebates

The discussion continues with Michael Corbett talking more about why utilities give rebates to use less of the service. You’ll even hear about a big decision you’ll have to make when you purchase your electric vehicle. It has to do with saving money so you’ll want to hear it. Now, about those rebates…why. Start with carbon and emissions reduction. Environmental Stewardship is critical and knowing demand will likely continue to grow, managing it today preserves the future and in the long run, reduces cost to the consumer. This allows each customer to make choices to meet their specific needs to their best advantage. Electrification will be more and more significant in the future and now is the time to get educated.

Go Small Solar Case Study

The case study here is one that literally took advantage of every energy upgrade and rebate available including solar. It’s a compelling story that starts with a solar only option to reduce the expense. You’ll hear how this turned out to be a terrible option. Then, after a home performance evaluation, the steps were taken to completely upgrade the home. The outcome is nothing short of remarkable. Originally bid at 45 solar panels, after all the upgrades were complete, the final solar panel count was 16! 29 panels less mean roughly $30,000! And that does not include all the rebates!

Looking to take advantage of potential savings from a home evaluation and potential savings? Give Brower Mechanical a call at (916) 624-0808

August 18, 2019: Electric guitars, electric cars… where’s this all going?

Warning: Fun show ahead. Well, you’re not going to really find much out about electric guitars but you will hear about why electric cars are becoming more and more significant to our environment. And you’ll hear an incredible story about a Brower employee who is taking older window units from homes being upgraded and bringing them to people in need and installing them to help them stay just a bit cooler. He’s doing this on his own simply as a service to help. That’s pretty neat or actually, darn cool!

Researching Technology? Listen to this before you shop!

As the show progresses, you’ll hear from a caller, with what is nicknamed the www casualty. He’s done the research on the internet and found out that a particular technology may be most efficient to pulling the heat down from 90-100. And he’s correct but it will only work to cool to about 80-85. Not what most would consider comfortable. Duane explains that situation as it’s not an uncommon occurrence.

What Will the Future of Energy Consumption Bring?

Flex alerts, PSPS, smart meters, battery backup… you never heard any of these things 10 years ago. Heck, electric cars were barely on the radar. Hear the explanation of many of these terms as they relate to your energy consumption. They’re all behavioral electrical manipulation and we sure hope for the greater good. Smart meters, talking to smart home appliances, talking to you telling you what’s going on…and of course the utility as well. Really neat stuff to look forward to. A glimpse into the future that’s here today. 

Make a Plan for Home Energy Consumption

Knowing this all really dictates the need for a plan for your home energy consumption. Think about one of your on-going expenses. Home energy expense is a monthly variable expense every single month. You budget for it as it isn’t going away so why not get a plan together that gives you the most clarity possible? Let somebody who knows something about it, help.

Call Brower Mechanical today at (916) 624-0808.

August 13, 2019: Phew…a treat from the heat. But then what?

Home Energy and Everything That Covers

It’s hot, it’s been hot and it’s likely going to get a bit hotter yet. Now what? Your hosts Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small enter into a fun discussion on HVAC monikers and where the description of “mechanical” in the name actually comes from. Fun story and really interesting to hear how much more the industry has changed and how inclusive what used to be just a simple heating and air conditioning company is now so much more. Brower Mechanical now means, HVAC, attic sealing, ducting, solar, home energy assessments, backup power including batteries and generators, roofing, windows and even pool pumps. If it has something to do with home energy, you can be sure your mechanical service company is involved to some degree in many of the options.

Does Your Home Have Backup Power?

o what’s going on now and what’s on most people’s minds? Power. Backup power. What if there’s a Public Safety Power Shutoff? PSPS? Will you be able to have your home powered up? And how are you going to do that? Depends. Do you have solar, do you need a generator? What are the steps to all the processes for all this energy? This isn’t something you’re going to want to tackle on your own. A big investment could go down the drain if you’re unaware of the legal variations in locale. Trust the experts here. It’s covered in the conversation in this segment.

Can Your AC Keep UP With The Heat?

So what happens when you have an A/C unit that just can’t keep up with the temperature you expect? Or not even really comfortable? Well, first off, it depends on if your expectation is realistic. But, in many cases, it could be signaling something bigger and a problem you’ll want to address. The caller case study did just that. Hear about it in this segment.

Prepare Your Home For Solar

Solar size and expense is always a critical concern when you’re considering options for home energy. An absolute must is understanding not only today but tomorrow as well. Is there anything you’re going to do differently that could change your home’s energy consumption? Be sure to factor everything in. If not, you WILL make an investment that’s unnecessary. Home energy upgrades planned properly will yield less panels and at $1000 per panel, that could be a significant savings.

So, what to do? Pick up the phone and make the call to Brower Mechanical a call today at (916) 624-0808 or contact us today. 

Stay cool!

August 7, 2019: FREE. Yes. FREE. Brower Mechanical offers a value for FREE!

It all starts with a Free Clipboard Audit

Yep. I said Free and so do your hosts Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small. A couple of things are free. Like the service to provide you the information you need to best assess and get the biggest rebates possible.  And the free clipboard audit is what leads you to big rebates which some consider free energy devices or free energy in some way shape or form. Whatever your interpretation, free is free. Listen and learn in this week's podcast!

Reduce Energy Before Producing Energy With Solar

Solar only may be a good consideration for many of you in the listening area and there’s a case study on two homes with different approaches. Two similarly sized homes with full solar systems are providing energy in roughly 2300SF. One home has 36 solar panels and the other with 13. Both are accomplishing the same thing. The home with energy upgrades is using the 13. At $1000 per panel, that’s a $23000 difference in solar alone! Yikes. What happened? Clearly the home with more panels is consuming much more energy to warrant the panels. What a waste. There’s so much more to solar than just adding solar. This is why Brower suggests reducing before producing.

The case study in this segment is about a referral from a co-worker for a customer that understands the process of solar and knows what she wants. Battery backup, solar and new HVAC. Wow. This is a rare situation but you’re going to find that more often than not, you’re going to be asking these questions as well. Great stuff.

Energy Assessment At Your Fingertips

So, you may have heard the “set it and forget it” option you have. Set your thermostat to the temperature you want it to be and get the estimate of what that’s going to cost you. No solar. Just an accurate estimate of what your expense is going to be. You’ll have your energy assessment identify the issues and what needs to be done and from there, the rest is simply completion and confirmation. This is a great report with full data from case studies to demonstrate the accuracy of what’s capable in your individual situation.

If this is something you think may make sense for you, give Brower Mechanical a call today at (916) 624-0808

Stay cool!

July 28, 2019: Record heat means record utility bills, unless you do these few things!

Keep Your Home Comfortable in the Heat

Who doesn’t love an outdoor thermostat reading of 107 degrees! Certainly not your show hosts, Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small. Heat is good as it gives them an opportunity to help demonstrate how they can keep your home as comfortable as you like it and do it for less than you would have thought possible. The season of heat is now and the next 6-8 weeks are exactly the reason this show exists.

Benefits of a Whole House Fans

Whole house fans have been the rage of late since the weather has been mild in the evenings allowing the house to pull in the cool outdoor air and stay relatively comfortable most of the day. By nighttime, more cool air for the home from the moderate night. Repeat daily. Ahhh, the benefits of the whole house fan. The case study here is a great example of how a home was upgraded to accommodate the whole house fan and in the long run, it represented a reduction of 5 solar panels needed for energy. That’s easy math - A savings of $5000 on what would have been needed prior to the upgrades and the whole house fan. Now that it’s getting hotter, what to do? More answers are in the show.

How Often Should You Get a HVAC Maintence Check?

This third segment, our usual segment with a caller from the market, is actually very aware of his situation. He knows roughly what’s wrong with his system and he also knows it’s been some time since anyone has looked at his system. Like 16 years. Not a bad run to have nothing done. But just think if he was getting some sort of regular revitalization? Even if it was only every other year, or two or three. Likely, the demise of something in his system would have at least been noticed had he done something about it with regular maintenance.

Keeping the Lights On When the Grid is Off

Finally, we’re all faced with the certainty of Public Safety Power Shutoffs. What are some alternatives to protecting the integrity of your home’s energy? Well, generators for sure, but the big deal now is battery backup. Generators can be expensive but battery backup is reasonable and depending on your expectations, more often the choice of most. Make your home energy system comprehensive and complete. This way you’re able to have some electricity if and when you need to power those things that were in your plan. You’ll also get your neighbors attention if their lights are out and yours are on! You’re either going to become very popular or irritate somebody, but that’s another story.

Let Brower Mechanical do what they do to help you get what you need. Give Brower Mechanical a call today at (916) 624-0808

July 21, 2019: High heat and higher bills…unless you listen and act today.

Do you know what to do if your power is shut off? 

Listen up as your hosts Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small start right in on the increases seen in rates from the utilities just in front of the most demand from air conditioning. That’s not to mention the issue of power shortages or complete power shutdowns. So what’s the deal if power is reduced or completely shut off? What do you do? What are some of the options.? And did you know who uses the most electricity in your town? You might be surprised to know who it is. You’ll hear it in this first segment of the show.

Money Saving Tips on Your AC Costs

OK, here are 9 tips to help save you money on your a/c expense. Take your notes as you know you can make some of these things happen quite simply. Stage by stage in order of importance, you’ll hear the most to least significant things you can do but they’ll all save you money. The case study here is a remarkable story and demonstrates that when the house is correctly retrofitted for energy efficiency, there are huge savings to be had. This is extremely valuable information that you’ll get here and easy takeaways for knowing what you didn’t know you didn’t know.

Get SMUG about SMUD Rebates

Always a popular topic and that’s the one most people are likely to make a mistake on... rebates! It’s where the money is right now. SMUD is way out in front of it with significant rebates to convert elements of your system to electricity. Your water heater is one of the most valued rebates today with a $3000 rebate if you replace it with an electric one. Only if you’re in SMUD’s service area, of course!

How to Lock In Your Utility Bill Forever!

What is that money, anyway? Hear how you may be able to get assets, increase your home’s value and flat-line your utility expense in both the short and long-term, all with literally no change in your monthly expense. If you’re going to be spending the money on a utility bill and getting only the service, what if you changed the concept and invested in home energy upgrades, took the rebates and lowered your utility bill…forever? Literally, you’re locking in your utility bill forever!

This is what Brower does every day. It’s worth reaching out to learn what you can do and get your free clipboard audit to find out everything you need to know by calling Brower Mechanical at (916) 624-0808.

July 14, 2019: Revitalize, Schmitalize. Will it save me money…

When does revitalization recoup its’ value? How about when it actually pays for almost two solar panels? This is a most interesting story that your hosts Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small get into at the beginning of the show. It’s an incredible story of an A/C unit running poorly, not needing replacement but just needing some attention. Since the family was also looking at solar as well, this was a critically timed visit saving the family nearly $2000 on a simple revitalization call. Amazing. Hear how in this week's podcast!

Don't miss out on solar tax credits! 

Tax credits. Solar. Changing. Did you know that the solar tax credit dips from 30% to 26% next year? Or that if you purchase a battery and solar system together you can still get the full 30% tax credit? It’s true. Learn some of the options you have when making this decision since there have been changes and they mean both money and comfort in your home. With Public Service Power Shutoffs imminent, do you have to go without power should that happen? Or, do you have to suffer the high rates in prime time to stay cool? Well, with batteries as backup, you may find that you’ll barely notice that you’ve even had a power outage or premium time of use expense.

Also, you’ll hear how the Brower teeny tiny Solar club is growing and what those case studies are all about. There are two examples that will really surprise with what can be done with fewer solar panels on the roof.

Benefits of an All-Electric Home

Natural gas has risen faster in price than electricity when purchasing from PG&E. Fact. That means there are options for you to consider when looking at the equipment your home is using. This is critical. Electricity may be less expensive to heat your home and water now when compared to gas. Not to mention, burnt fuel sucks all the moisture out of the air so your furnace, if it’s gas, is really drying things out. Heat pumps pull less moisture from the air for a higher humidity heat. And humidity is a good thing within reason. This makes electric heat a pretty attractive deal and even more so when you consider the rebates offered by SMUD. Could your bill be even smaller than you expected after installation of more electric home energy systems? Find out in today’s show.

Is your home energy system in trouble? 

Finally, could your existing home energy system be in trouble after only a few years? Only if it was defective or installed improperly. These systems are meant to last much longer than a few years. They should be good for much, much longer. And many times, you’re replacing the system well before it’s needed. More importantly, you may be a candidate for a much smaller system once your home energy upgrades have been completed. And…small solar.

Call Brower Mechanical at 916-624-0808. Now is the time.