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Brower Power Hour Radio Show Archive

brower power hour radio show

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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Radio Show Archive

January 29, 2020: Changes from just a few years ago. Home energy is “hot”!

Hear your hosts, Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small begin the conversation as it leads down the path to changes in the industry for home energy, solar, and the dramatic differences from just a few years back. What’s changed is the myriad of options you now have to do what you need to do to get more comfortable, spend less, and live healthier in the home.

Your Last Utility Payment

Wouldn’t you love to be able to make a “last payment” to your utility company? It can be done with the slight exception of having to pay for the connection, but that’s a minimal number and not one that will be going up as aggressively as power. Not to mention, you don’t want to be caught short in the event an emergency arose and you needed utility power. Continuing the discussion, electrifying other elements of the home, Duane explains the value proposition of rebates and reduction of expenses that net a gain after the total investment is complete. There are some great stories here that are well worth the time to listen. Case studies give you the opportunity to compare to your own situation.

Our caller today has a 16 year old furnace and a/c unit that is beginning to act up. Sometimes, the problem may not be a symptom for your homes’ energy. Hear what the suggestions may be to optimize the situation in the home do it right.

Save Money and Power

What is the Brower Power Plan? Learn how Brower Mechanical will give you assurances for your power where there are concerns for the consistency of your utility’s delivery. When you do this process correctly, you’ll save money since your power supply assets will be much smaller than if you don’t execute the plan properly. Hear Duane address many of the elements that are necessary to get this done with examples of things to consider.

Take the next step to get your home assessed and see what your best options are. Call Brower Mechanical at (916) 624-0808

January 22, 2020: What’s everyone’s favorite radio station for home energy upgrades?

Your hosts, Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small, start where the year left off with portable generators for backup power. It's not too soon to get your home ready for potential power shutoffs. Properly wiring the house to make the generator startup simple and safe is something you'll want to do sooner rather than later... before you find yourself with no power. This is also an excellent time to have the electrical panel checked while you're at it.

Tune in and Learn

WII-FM, everybody's favorite radio station: What's In It For Me? Hear the explanation and the relationship to SMUD or any of the utilities as what gets evaluated when determining to get the energy expense under control. It's always boiled down to what the most benefit to the customer is going to be. Get your home right, sealed tight, rebates earned. Tune into the station and get your home where you want it to be...then you can enjoy listening to that really low utility bill speaking to you.

Brower First

First in, last out. Last in wins. Old sales adages die hard, but when considering what's best for your home, Brower always wants to be first in. That way you have a great comparison when the rest of the characters come in to try to "sell" you something. You'll also have a great template to ask questions from when the "other" guys come in. Start first with the true experts in home energy and then engage your other estimates from there.

Reduce and Save

Better results when it comes to your home's energy consumption and you're going to cut the size of the A/C in half? Tell me! Tell me! This is the segment you'll want to hear. The attic is where the greatest opportunities exist and, once correctly sealed, it could reduce the size of the equipment needed. And, you'll get a written guarantee on energy consumption as well. It really doesn't get much better, does it?

This is why you need to give Brower Mechanical a call today. Efficiency, health, and quiet. The number is (916) 624-0808.

January 15, 2020: 40 years and running… That’s why you know that “guy”

Yes, you may be thinking that’s how long a furnace can run or your AC unit. Not true. Your hosts, Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small, share that it’s Brower Mechanical that’s been around 40 years. That means they know the “guy,” or the “girl.” When you need something relative to the home that may not be a service provided, Brower is surely going to know who can handle that issue.

Zero Energy Homes

Continuing into the second segment, you’re going to hear all about zero energy homes and the state requirements for new home construction. It’s more loosely related to zero net electricity usage. However, a truly zero net energy home would be all electric, no gas, or other power source. Find out what that really looks like in the conversation and where the trend is headed. You’ll be surprised at the incentives to support the process.

When Solar is Right for You?

When is too much too much? When you get solar before upgrading the home to energy efficiency. The current average should be 1 panel for every 1500 SF. You can even do better depending on how well your home is sealed. At $1,000 per panel, the offset easily can go into those upgrades yielding a much more efficient and valuable home. Address the symptoms of the home before you try to cure the problem. Here’s the elephant in the room. What if you’re considering a backup generator? Then you would certainly want the most efficient home you could create. You’ll need a smaller generator as a result. And of course, saving you money on the size of the generator as well. That’s truly the win-win-win.

Be Prepared

Know the end of the game before you start to play. Why would you look forward to a PG&E rate increase? Because you’ve got an efficient home with solar. You’re now saving more money than prior to the rate increase. That makes you smile. If you know what you’re trying to accomplish with the home before you invest in any energy products, you’ll be way ahead of the game. This is what Brower Mechanical does best.

To get your free clipboard audit energy assessment, give them a call at (916) 624-0808

January 8, 2020: New year, new energy! Are you ready?

So you’ve weathered the holidays, you made it through PSPS, and put an end to both a year and a decade. Phew! But now it’s time to get real again. Time to get your house in order and be prepared for anything. Hot, Cold, power or no power. You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again, start with the clipboard audit to tee up the year right. Home performance is everything. With the new year, get a plan put together that you can act on and take advantage of all the benefits.

New Homes = No Gas

Did you hear that there is a possibility that new homes may not have gas lines connected to them, by law! Yes, California is pushing the issue and it’s not just net zero. Hear what that’s all about and how the code is mandating it. This is a big deal and will impact all new construction, possibly even commercial buildings. And if your home is not new, you can still get to net zero as well. That’s all in the discussion this segment and one that couldn’t be more informative.

Clipboard Audit and Beyond

Looking for long term solutions to your home energy needs? There is a great caller here who has been keeping track of his family’s carbon footprint for 10 years. This is somebody who is aware of home energy consumption and its’ environmental impact. He’s describing, in detail, what he’s looking for. Now here is a great candidate for at the very least, a clipboard audit. Better yet, he would likely appreciate a full energy audit. Hear how the discussion continues into some of the elements and his next steps. This is one of the more informed callers that come into the show.

New Year, New Home

Closing out the first show of the new year, the real question is, does your new year resolution include improving your home’s efficiency? What does energy independence really look like? Fixing the effect of the construction slop is what getting the home “right” means. And then evaluate your options, of which there are many. This also includes consideration for generator power if you’re in that area. Be sure to start the year right by calling Brower Mechanical and getting your energy expense in-line with what your goals are.

Do it now and don’t miss a beat. Call us today at (916) 624-0808

December 18, 2019: Tesla, Natural Gas, Solar and Santa. What?

Your hosts, Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small dive right into the holiday discussion by considering energy. Do solar panels impact the ability for Santa to land on the roof? What’s up with Tesla? And why is natural gas going up in price?

Cost of Gas

Duane starts this segment off with a little explanation about why the cost of natural gas is going up vs down when the actual cost of gas is down significantly (hint: distribution). Following that discussion, why are home values in PG&E areas possibly facing challenges? Fires and power shutoffs don’t do you any favors when you’re looking to sell. But, there are solutions and they’re called energy upgrades. You can convey the value of your home by demonstrating value with solar and backup power. The homes with these options for stabilizing utility costs and minimizing interruptions are going to get the greatest ROI as they’ll sell first… and likely for a premium.

Fire Up the Furnace

Does your furnace have issues? The caller in this segment does and it's quite serious if not addressed. Listen as Duane explains the situation and the significance of ignoring the problem. Carbon monoxide poisoning could be a very serious concern and one you do not want to mess with. This is a safety concern to be aware of. How does electricity compare in similar situations? You’ll hear it all in the conversation.

Keep the Cold Out

OK, so it's gotten a bit colder out, furnaces are firing up and people are more aware today than in the past, so they’re realizing that the attic is important to help keep the house more comfortable. It’s not just insulation, but that’s a good place to start. Then sealing everything upright and tight and being certain there are no leaks improperly outside and no leaks improperly into the home. The “cool tools” used to identify the issues make all the difference to get it absolutely right. A clipboard audit would help identify this issue so it’s important to start with an assessment to get it right. And…what about those rebates and options? Brower knows.

Don’t wait, call Brower Mechanical today: 916-624-0808

December 11, 2019: Is your home gorging itself on unpredictable energy consumption?

Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small start today’s conversation with generator hookup considerations. Do it right for sure but more importantly, have a plan to keep you and your family safe. It’s not as simple as you might expect, and the most simple approaches may be the most dangerous.

Getting it Right

Building science and home performance: what? Well, this is going to give you an idea of how this whole thing about getting it right came to be for Duane when he decided to change the direction of his company. It’s all about home energy, indoor air quality, and comfort. More importantly, that means your inner peace and health. Yes, it’s that significant. Back to that Clipboard Audit, this is where you star; for free. It’s that simple. Then, Duane shares some case studies to really hammer home the values of clipboard audit outcomes. And your utility company thoughts on this? Check it out on any of their websites and you’ll see how consistent they are in the process. No surprise, they totally agree to get that plan in place with an audit, FIRST.

Expert Caller

It is always fun to hear callers' objectives. This caller is no exception. Educated customers are not surprised by the options on the internet and here is a customer who knows the brand and the fuel type she would like to get a proposal for and hookup. These are our favorite type of customers to engage with as the expectations are clear. The ability to articulate the need and the understanding of the process just makes everything that much better when decisions need to be made.

Fixing Your Utility Bills

So how do you keep up with utility bills in retirement? Can you afford the roller coaster billing from the utility company? Do you even want that sort of fluctuation? Well, there are ways to fix your utility bills so you have some security, especially in retirement. This is an incredibly important segment as there are ways to help you get to the comfort of knowing what that utility bill looks like. No hype, no gimmicks, this is something you should consider if that’s something you would like to see happen.

As always, for more information on the topic, give Brower a call at 916-624-0808. 

December 4, 2019: Is it really winter now? From wishbones to winter.

Opening the show with a bit of a chill in the air, Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small get a bit more into the detail and process for a clipboard audit. If you're aware, but not fully comprehending the specifics, you'll get the details in this conversation. Then you'll hear a bit more on the topic of discussion at every holiday dinner table...generators. It's probably become a more engaging conversation than politics at the dinner table with relatives with a little less polarization.

The Energy Choice is Yours

Choices are everything and today's home energy options are so diverse. New homes are no longer using natural gas, they're totally electric, solar, battery and more. What are some of the reasons, some of the elements to consider when deciding the best ways to go? This is the story to be told as the country makes it's shift to different ways to do things. Even your vehicle is now able to be fueled in your home. No extra stopping at the gas station. No time wasted fueling up. No pollution either. Remarkable. You'll be sure to learn something you didn't know you didn't know.

Preparing for a PSPS

This is a most interesting call as he is fluent in the process of what to do during a PSPS and how best to connect his home. He wants to be cautious and do it right. He is looking at wiring directly to his home, minimizing the cords and hassle. The Brower representative walks him, and you, through pre-wire options in detail. This is a critical listen, if a portable hard-wired unit is something of consideration for your home. Our guest this segment is David Duffield from Champion Power Equipment. Listen up as this is going to be an informative segment.

Things to Consider: Generators

Hear recommendations and options you have when the power situation is less than stable. Should you choose a portable or a home standby generator system? There are a considerable amount of risks that you should be aware of. They occur with both the unit itself as well from fuel to carbon monoxide and heat. Then you have the connection. Are you running extension cords? Open windows? Moving appliances to get the cord. Does that open window create an issue in itself? Would you be better off if you ran it through your own home's wiring instead? Maybe even safer?

To make these things happen, help is only a phone call away. Call Brower Mechanical at (916) 624-0808.

November 24, 2019: So what’s the difference between a chicken and a turkey?

Your hosts, Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small give you an early payoff on that turkey oriented headline. Yes, it’s a joke from Duane’s nephew and you can’t help but laugh. Bringing a little humor to the program always helps lighten and brighten some of the great information they share like home energy to, well, lighten and brighten your home! As a continuing reminder, the solar tax credit does go down from 30% to 26% in 2020 so this is just about the last call on this to make it in time to get your full credit and solar installed in time.

Thankful for Utility Bill Savings

Energy upgrades are a popular conversation in nearly every show. And what better way to be more thankful during the holiday than to save a little money on your utility bill? Back to energy upgrades, they’re discussed in one way or another and you can be sure the detail of the upgrades can’t be understated. They not only reduce overall utility expenses, but they also increase your home's value. Not to mention, it is a much more comfortable, healthier and less expensive home to run and enjoy. These energy upgrades are such a valuable proposition, you absolutely want to get an energy audit to start the process. This is before you do anything to change the energy scheme in your home. The worst case would be oversizing your solar requirements and then upgrading only to find you need far less solar to fuel the electricity. That would be a terrible situation to find yourself in, and today's case study really exemplifies that. How does going from two HVAC units to one sound as a start? The story ends very well.

Set it and Forget - Automatic Scheduled Tune-ups and Filter Changes

The caller in this segment seems to be in need of something that Brower offers, a regularly scheduled visit to do both filters and a tune-up for A/C and heating. The automatic activity takes all the burden off your mind. Hear why it’s worth the investment.

3 Ways to Leave Your Utility and A Whole Lot to Be Thankful 

Finally, what does it look like when your power is derived from alternatives? Do you think cooking the turkey in an alternatively powered oven makes it taste different? Uh, no. So the discussion begins with PG&E power purchase agreement, to solar, to more. Would 17 cents per kilowatt for a 20 year fixed price make sense with very little out of pocket expense? How about 14 cents for financed solar? Still way better than the twenty-something cents for your utility bill on a roller coaster depending on the month. You can get a fixed payment. You can budget for your utility expense for the next 20 years. And of course, the least expense going forward would be to simply pay cash and buy outright. Then, no significant utility bill. It’s all just math. So there may be 50 ways to leave your lover or, well, 3 ways to leave your utility but a whole lot of things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving holiday.

Those answers as to what is best for you are all just one phone call away. Call Brower Mechanical at 916-624-0808

November 17, 2019: Does your refrigerator run better on solar power or utility power? Hmmm…

Where to Start with Home Energy?

Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small open the conversation with our incredible, albeit dry, weather of late. Wow. Who needs air conditioning or heat in paradise, right? Well, the show really is all about home energy so a slight regression occasionally is perfectly OK. So you know something needs to be done, where it is you begin. What do you do? Where and when do you start? You’ll hear this time and time again, get a complimentary clipboard audit. Learn what you need to consider. Are you a good candidate for the idea you have to address your home’s energy needs? In other words, don’t do solar first! Start with an assessment. And then learn your options with rebates. You have many ways to go. You’ll hear it all here.

Ready for solar - Read This

I’ll bet you didn’t think your fridge, TV or any device in your home might notice a difference in how it gets power…or did you? Well, it doesn’t matter. Electricity is electricity. Doesn’t matter where it comes from. Now, if solar has been a consideration for you, this is the time to get a clipboard audit. Determine what your true need is going to be, what you can do to minimize the number of panels, and maybe move towards ordering solar to take advantage of the full tax credit benefits in 2019. Next year it is even less. Give it some serious thought and make that decision today, before it’s too late to get it installed. And if PG&E is still making you nervous, there’s always generator power to consider. Hear how proper wiring makes the process so much easier.

When a Generator is What You Need

Today's caller is right in line with what you might expect from a generator call given the recent power shutoffs. You’ll notice he’s quite aware of what he needs. This is very impressive at the consumer level and you can be sure he’ll get the best results, given his particular situation. Yes, this particular homeowner is a victim of recent power shutoffs and is concerned about what’s going to happen going forward. He’s even got specific goals that he’s looking to meet. A very good call indeed.

Before the Tax Credit Changes - Go Solar + Battery Backup

So, if you’re giving consideration to solar before the tax credit changes, you’re going to want to seriously consider battery backup as well. They’re both eligible for the credit when you do it right. And that’s the key consideration. How much backup and energy you need on the front side of it all is a big question.

There’s one way to find out quickly and that’s to call Brower Mechanical at 916-624-0808

November 10, 2019: Simple solutions to BIG issues during PSPS

Simple Solutions for Power Shutoffs

Wow. PSPS, Public Safety Power Shutoffs have been all the conversation when it comes to home energy of late. Solutions, temporary or permanent, begin the show and your hosts Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small get it going right from the start. Even some very simple solutions to keeping the fridge cold and minimizing loss. So what happens when these outages occur and do they impact your home equipment? Maybe…. are power surges possibly impacting or ruining your home appliances?

Benefits of Home Energy Upgrades As a First Step

Hear Duane explain the details and benefits of solar installation after home energy upgrades, not prior to doing them. Power is a critical thing when you’re used to it so the case studies discussed give great examples of how the proper approach is an efficient way to go. This applies not only to solar but also to generator power. The principals are the same. Get the home right first and then invest the money to keep it as you like it. Exactly as you like it. In every area of the house too. But that’s not all. The outcome and expense in operation of your newly upgraded, energy-efficient home are also guaranteed. Yes. You would receive a guarantee on the monthly bill for the use of your newly upgraded home.

Big SMUD Savings!

Ready to save some big money? How about a $3000 rebate from SMUD on your installation of a new heat pump water heater? That’s literally like getting the water heater free. And, your monthly bill will go down by about 50% if you’re converting from gas. Be sure to explore this option if you’re currently looking or even think you might be in need soon. It’s that worth it.

Last Call for 2019 Battery Backup Incentives

Closing the show out, the conversation moves to solar and battery backup. Timing is now if you want to get the maximum tax credit on your investment. Next year, the credit reduces a bit. The good news is that there is still time to get it done this year. Plus, if you install battery backup at the same time, the credit also applies to your battery backup as well. Bill calls the seamless process of battery backup power “wonderfulness”. And it is. Nothing for you to do in a power outage. It all happens seamlessly. If you’re in an area prone to short term power outages, this is a fantastic solution to what’s going on in your home. Following the battery backup situation is the generator alternative. Portable or permanent generator?

What’s best for your situation? There’s a quick way to find out and that’s to reach out to Brower Mechanical at 916-624-0808