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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confused man holding piggy bank
OK, that headline doesn’t really make sense until you hear your hosts Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small talk about one of the local utilities that has a $50 rebate for a home energy revitilizaton.... Read more
kids watching fireworks on top of home
Your hosts Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small kick off the show with some fun Fourth of July stories the segue perfectly into home energy like only they could do. Power outages, fires, whole house... Read more

Radio Show Archive

July 9, 2019: Use more spend less. Whhhaaat???

OK, that headline doesn’t really make sense until you hear your hosts Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small talk about one of the local utilities that has a $50 rebate for a home energy revitilizaton. Find out which utility that is.

What is a SIM on a Service Call?

You’ll also hear about SIM’s. They’re known as a “SIM”. A salesman in masquerade. Don’t be fooled. If two people show up on a service call, beware. It’s very possible the second person is a “SIM”. They’re only there for the purpose of working to figure out how to sell you something. And more often than not, it’s something big and expensive. Don’t be fooled.

What Does Energy Independence Look Like to You?

Making your home run like it should to provide you the Independence from the utility that you would like to have is becoming more and more available to every homeowner. What does energy independence look like to you? Knowing that is the first step to getting your plan put together. Technology can be your best friend with all that is going on with electric appliances. Induction cooktops, electric water heaters, heat pumps, even electric cars… and then solar. So many options, so many ways to become independent. One other benefit is the comfort you’ll have both inside your home and in your mind. Knowing what that utility bill is going to be month in and month out is a truly comforting experience.

Check Your Home Warranties

Now, here’s a first on the show. A home warranty issue. Unfortunately, it was a situation where the warranty lapsed. You’ll hear how the caller’s situation was alleviated, what needed to be done and the next steps. When you take proactive steps with a revitalization, you’ll mitigate the problems most of the time but that doesn’t always happen. Brower knows. And while it’s important to know about your home warranty expirations, sometimes stuff just slips thru the cracks. There’s a good heads up in this segment.

It's Hot - Think about Heating 

So why is thinking about heat when it’s hot, reasonable? Yes, when it’s hot. Well, listen closely to Duane and Bill talk about why this could make sense for you. Take all the steps necessary to really look ahead. Think about the winter coming up before it’s time to heat your home and pay that big energy bill. What better time to do that than while you’re paying the big bill for the cooling season? This is where most of us are impacted. While we may have efficiencies in our electricity and reasonably inexpensive service depending on our utility, many may have gas for heat. Now’ the time to look at the options since natural gas prices are only going up. So what to do with $10K? Listen to Duane’s picks. Hear what he suggests.

Make the right call and do it now. Call Brower Mechanical at (916) 624-0808. There’s never been a better time.

June 30, 2019: Utility Independence…blow that bill to smithereens. BOOM!!!

Your hosts Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small kick off the show with some fun Fourth of July stories the segue perfectly into home energy like only they could do. Power outages, fires, whole house fans, energy assessments, there’s a little bit of it all in today’s show. The first discussion wraps right around the ability to learn about what’s happening in the home. 

Looking for home energy upgrades? Start with a Free Clipboard Audit!

Listen as Duane explains a case study from one of the home energy upgrades as a great example of the process and the outcome. The story begins with, of course, the clipboard audit, which is free by the way. The exercise goes top to bottom and clearly, the attic would be the first place to start. And one of the obvious, no brainers was upgrading the pool pump as well. With rebates and energy reduction, you’ll hear the monthly outcome they were able to achieve. Wouldn’t you like to have your home energy system decrease in size and consumption…by 50%!

Take the heat out of an AC Service Call - Follow These Steps First

UH OH! It’s 95 degrees out and the A/C is not going on. Now what? Well, there are some tips to ensure that you’re air conditioner is truly the problem. Before you call and pay that service call fee, follow these few simple steps to be 100% sure you’ve got a real problem and not something simple that you can correct in just a few easy steps. These actions alone could be your situation and you’ve likely saved yourself the cost of the service call. Listen in the segement to find out how! 

Energy Monitoring Near and Far

Did you know that Brower can actually monitor your energy systems from afar? If they notice a power event at your home, they can alert you to the fact that something may be going on. Many times, it’s something simple and if you want to hear how “squirrels” can be really be cute culprits, listen in for a little humor and a fun story.

Keeping your home running full-time takes planning and it’s not something you can do on your own. Get the security and comfort you need by calling Brower Mechanical at (916) 624-0808 or check out our services online!

June 23, 2019: You can only get so naked. Now what?

Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small get you started on an interesting visual in this really high heat. You can save money by raising the thermostat but what if that gets too warm for you and you’ve gone as far as you can? Yeah, like take all your clothes off. Then what are you going to do? Sweat. Or change something in your home energy plant. This is a fun show today and you’ll hear all about options you have, processes to evaluate and ways to look at bringing down that energy bill.

Ready for Solar?

So now you’ve come to a decision to evaluate solar. Have you taken into consideration all the energy consumption elements before you’ve made a decision on the solar panels? That way, you’ll do it right. You’ll save yourself money in the long run and make a decision that works for your overall goal, not just a short-term fix. If solar is in your future, this is a great segment to glean some significant value from. There’s so much more… don’t miss it.

Rebates, rebates

Do you know what you can do and how much you can get back with rebates? It’s huge! Be sure you’ve got an idea of what that means to you in the long run. It may be really surprising for you to learn.

Start Saving Sooner with Brower Mechanical call (916) 624-0808 or contact us!

June 16, 2019: It’s Father’s Day, keep Dad cool… but how?

What are your options in a Public Safety Power Shutoff?

PSPS. No, that’s not a super-secret, it’s a Public Safety Power Shutoff and before we get into “Cool Dads”, first a few of the public service announcements. Listen in as your hosts Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small discuss the impacts and process of what happens when the power is shutoff and how it affects you and your home comfort. It’s a big deal and you do have options in the event the outage takes place. You’ll hear about some of those options, and what they could look like in today’s show. Did you know there are high fire areas/cities that you can identify on line? These are the same cities that are most likely for a PSPS when the weather gets hot and the wind’s get high. Flex alerts are another option the utilities exercise to pull power consumption back in high demand periods. There’s a great case study here that gives you an idea of expectations and capabilities based on the needs of the consumer.

New Homeowner Home Performance

Louise, a new homeowner, encounters some interesting challenges here with her purchase and she knows who to call. Of course, she reaches out to Brower and gets a whole lot more than she expected. What is it? New roof? Solar? Attic sealing? Ductwork? Find out what some of her issues were and questions she asked. You may have the same concerns. And then, you’ll have some answers!

Find out how you can reduce your Radiating Heat!

Thermostat settings are all over the place for comfort as you’ll hear from a local newscast poll. Shocking is what you’ll find in the discrepancy. Swings from 68 to 82. Here’s what’s important, it’s not the room temp as much as it is the surface areas of the home. How’s that for a surprise? Well, radiating heat makes a huge difference and there’s one way to fix that unwanted radiated heat without needing a new HVAC system. It’s fixable for much less investment than new equipment.

Find out what your options not only are but actually should be to save the most on your energy costs. Call Brower Mechanical @ 916-624-0808 or visit them on line at

And by all means, keep dad cool!

June 9, 2019: Cold beer and hot showers. It’s that time. It’s that simple!

What to do in a Public Service Power Shutoff

OK…we’re into the heat of the summer. What’s important? Your hosts Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small discuss some of the key elements of what to expect with the new PSPS, Public Service Power Shutoffs. And as you know, this weekend was a test of the system with power shutoffs due to the high winds. What can you do to prevent significant gaps in your energy usage and loss of those things you care about most? Your food. (… or your beer!) There are options.

What's the value of a whole house fan?

Whole house fans are always a hot topic of discussion. This show is no exception, providing great dialogue regarding the value the whole house fan to reduction of energy consumption. They work great for some. Not all. Are you a supporter of whole house fans? You’ll learn more by listening to this segment.

HVAC + Solar + Solar Batteries

Next, hear from a caller that’s returning to Brower for a solar system with battery backup after a complete HVAC replacement. Something must have gone right! And she’s even getting the same tech out to her home again. Over a year later! Now that’s pretty remarkable. All that and more …

Closing up the show is a quick conversation about the teeny tiny solar club. If you're not familiar, give a listen, as it's the story of homeowners who have been able to go with less solar panels to accomplish their goals and save big! Always fantastic stories to hear.

Healthy Home upgrades

Hardly a show goes by where the attic isn’t a topic of discussion. You’ll hear a great upgrade case study that was critical, as the homeowner suffered from a disease that made him sensitive to temperature swings. The outcome included huge rebates on his total investment that could have easily been overlooked by other companies. Not Brower! Everything was completed, including the rebates, by the Brower team.

Learn how you can save on your home energy system by calling Brower Mechanical (916) 624-0808 or visit them online at

June 2, 2019: The drip and the temp. You need both. Huh?

Celebrating the 200th Power Hour Podcast

Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small get you started on an unusual phrase today for this special 200th Power Hour podcast! Yep, the drip and the temp. Your simple way to get quick confirmation your HVAC is working properly in the summer. You’ll have to listen to hear what to do but it’s free! And simple. Doing this simple test could save you thousands this summer.

How do you set it and forget it?

You’ve heard “set it and forget it” in several of the shows historically. Duane goes deeper into the discussion on what that all means and how it gets completed. You’ll hear the results from a 1500 sq ft home and the incredible outcome that included more than just the basics. Would $325 annual energy expense to keep your home at 75 degrees all year be reasonable? It is with this home. And that’s a great reason to listen in for this case study. And there were rebates as well! Keeping the heat out and the conditioned air in is exactly what it is you want for your home. It can be accomplished if you take the correct steps.

One stop shopping for home energy upgrades!

Is there a place that can handle the majority of the home energy upgrade process? Well, yes, we can think of one that handles the roofing, the attic, the HVAC and the process to remove and replace the solar as well. You really can one-stop shop the majority, if not all, of your home energy upgrades.

Prepare for Public Service Power Shutoffs

PSPS is upon us and home energy issues are becoming of paramount importance. You don’t want to get caught with a Public Service Power Shutoff and not be prepared. Listen to what Duane has to say today about the options you have and steps you can take to be certain your home is doing what it should be doing.

There’s so much more to learn than can be shared in the confines of the show. It’s just best to call Brower Mechanical at 916-624-0808. Or simply visit them on-line @ Start saving sooner.

May 26, 2019: The season of heat harkens!

Get Ready for the Heat!

It’s whole house fan time and now is when you need to seriously give it consideration before the heat of the season hits. Do you know what you need to know? Have you considered the pros and cons and have you seen the new styles of whole house fans available to you? Your hosts Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small discuss a lot about how these new fans can have an effect you desire and a few you may not. Pay attention to the segment as it may help you make that decision. Whole house fans are great but may not be for everybody.

Don't Wait for your HVAC System to Fail. Rebates = Savings = Confidence

Moving into a topic that can help you save more money with rebates, here’s a thought: why wait on an older unit, like a water heater, to fail and miss a rebate when you can pro-actively move and replace the system and get the rebate for that upgrade. Of course you wouldn’t do this on a newer system of any sort but if you have a system you know to be older, maybe on the edge, why not take this step before it’s a panic situation? Then you aren’t in control. Take control. And it doesn’t stop with water heaters. It’s similar with HVAC units as well. Don’t wait for a catastrophic failure. When time is of the essence, you’ll want to move to get ahead of it all. Act now for a win-win-win situation. Rebates-Savings-Confidence. Know you’re set for the future.

What to do with High Energy Bills?

There’s a great call you’ll hear in this 3rd segment from someone who had an $800 utility bill…in a month! And that was enough to get his attention to act. Fortunately, he’s doing his homework and even more fortunately, he called Brower Mechanical. Hear his efforts and I’m sure you’ll find some familiar situations. His choices and logic may surprise you.

Are You Ready for a Power Shutoff?

Lastly, why does a red flag alert from the California Department of Forestry mean anything to you? How about PSPS? A Public Service Power Shutoff is what that means. No A/C. No refrigeration. No WiFi. No good from this writers’ perspective! Do you have options? What to do to support the situation if and when that happens? The answers are in the last segment of this show and you’ll pay attention if you’re in one of the fire prone areas likely to have power shutoffs.

If any of today’s information piques your interest, do something give Brower Mechanical a call at 916-624-0808 or visit on-line at

And finally, with the utmost respect and sincere appreciation, the entire Brower Mechanical team recognizes the sacrifices given and honors those who gave their lives for our country this Memorial Day weekend.

May 19, 2019: A guarantee on your energy bill? C’mon...

Your hosts Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small open on a really high note today as Duane shares the recognition by PG&E for their home performance success. It’s all about saving energy and Brower Mechanical is a leader in the process.

All about Whole House Fans

The shift from home energy successes to whole house fans is one not to be missed. This is one of the best seasons to consider a whole house fan but know the value and the challenges they can present. And yes, you can have Brower give you a guarantee on your utility bill for the foreseeable future. How about that if you’re on a fixed income? It’s all in a jam packed segment.

Oversizing A/C units

Why do so many builders and HVAC firms do it? You’ll learn more when you listen but the bottom line on this is that the efficiency of your home, not the A/C unit, is what’s important. 62% is one of the low points in efficiency which means you’re wasting 38% of that cooling. How could that be? Just a couple of simple reasons. But don’t rush out and buy a new A/C unit. Don’t oversize. Get things right. Your air conditioning unit needs to run to reach its’ most efficient operation. You’ll use less energy with a smaller system running longer than a bigger system running less. Now that’s a concept that’s not familiar. Learn more when you listen to the discussion.

How to finance energy upgrades?

Did you know there are ways to help you finance the energy upgrades you’re looking for? And that you can also use these same opportunities for commercial use as well? Like multifamily dwellings. Hear what Derek from Ygrene has to say and how you’ll not even need to do a credit app to make it happen!

So what the heck is PSPS?

You’ll hear that acronym in home energy circles more and more but it means Public Service Power Shutoff. And that is a clear description that you’re not going to have power. Period. One hour or maybe even up to one week. Hear the guys discuss variations in proper sizing for A/C and solar installations and how they correlate to the correct size of battery system for backup… or generators, or even other options. You may want to consider these if you live in an area with high likelihood of PSPS activity. This is key information and the one place to get it all remains the same.

Call Brower Mechanical at 916-624-0808 or contact us on line at

May 12, 2019: BTU’s and hugs for Mom!

So you’ve heard the abbreviation before. B-T-U. What’s that mean anyhow and how does it tie into Mother’s day? Well, a BTU is a British Thermal Unit and it’s a gauge of heat. And what’s that got to do with Mother’s day? The more people in the house the higher the energy released in the room and the greater the heat. (I know… it’s a stretch!) So your hosts Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small want to get into the value of keeping Mom cool. OK, she may already be “cool” but we’re talking comfortable cool!

You know Mom is special and you want to be able to get her something special for a gift on her day today. So don’t go wasting energy on your home. Spend it on a great gift for Mom. The best way to be able to do that is to reduce the expense of your home energy. How’s that for a great analogy to making Mom happy? But seriously, there is a great deal of energy wasted every day. You’re going to hear an incredible story of efficiencies and air conditioning. If your car was supposed to be getting 20 miles to the gallon and was running at 59% efficiency, that would mean you’re only getting 12 miles to the gallon! The majority of homes that go thru a clipboard audit are producing energy at about that efficiency. 59% of the 100% that’s ideal. Ouch! Simple math for everyone, I hope. Don’t let that be the case with your home. Get that 40% inefficiency back and take advantage of that money…for Mom of course. Get your home from a D- and upgrade to an A+ by making that call for a clipboard audit.

Calling the fire department for your hot water tank? That’s what happened in today’s callers’ inquiry. It blew! And that meant no water. A very serious problem but turned out to have an excellent outcome. When you have a problem, Brower Mechanical can come to the rescue. This is also great time for you to take the opportunity and check your water heater. Just a short visual to be sure you’re OK and not be on the receiving end of any surprises. 

This is important so be sure to listen up when you’re on the podcast. Before it gets too hot, you may want to start practicing your home energy usage to get used to the “Time of use” billing that SMUD introduces beginning in June. One thing you don’t want to find is that you’re a “Superuser” or some of biggest bills the utility sees from customers. Don’t be that person! Have somebody, anybody you trust, get out to the house and see what you can do to minimize the waste in your homes’ energy systems. Higher bills sap your after-tax income. Get things fixed and start saving money sooner than later. Enjoy Mother’s day today and then call Brower Mechanical @ 916-624-0808, or visit online at
Start saving for Mom next year... today!

May 5, 2019: Utility bills giving you gas? Get it out and electrify!

When it comes to energy, efficiency is everything and efficiency is what we’re all about. That’s why you’ll hear your hosts Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small talking about the recognition Brower Mechanical has been receiving as the best in the trade at home energy efficiency by P,G &E. In other words, the delta from your prior energy consumption before a home energy upgrade and the energy consumption after your upgrade, was the greatest on those homes upgraded by Brower Mechanical. That’s a long way to say that after 40 years in business, these guys know what they’re doing.

It’s no secret, your energy bills are most likely rising and are likely to continue rising in the future. If this is a concern of yours, you’ll want to listen closely to better understand your options to reduce your home’s energy consumption. You can be in control of your energy consumption and know exactly what your bill is going to be. Guaranteed! Yes, Brower Mechanical will guarantee your power consumption to be the same for the duration of the solar on your roof. How about that! Stable utility bills for 20 years.

So what are “cool roofs” anyway? Listen as Kathy calls in and asks questions about what she knows and wants to know about “cool roofs” for her home. You’ll get a great overview of what these cool roofs can do for the excess heat in your home. You’ll really appreciate how Neal from Brower shares his knowledge and support with the caller.

Why do the attics continually represent the most significant opportunity you have to improve your homes’ energy efficiency? This is a drum the guys beat often but there are a few tips in this closing discussion today that you’ll appreciate it. Especially if you’re like most and haven’t done anything in that part of the house. As always, when you have questions, give Brower Mechanical a call @ 916-624-0808, online at