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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solar battery storage mounted on wall
As many California homeowners are eyeing the approaching wildfire season, they're considering the potential for extended power outages—including PSPS: public safety power shutoffs—that can affect... Read more
couple adding up their electric bills for the month
It’s no secret that solar energy can help California homeowners reduce their reliance on the electric grid. However, without a way to store electricity when the sun is shining, you’ll still be... Read more

Radio Show Archive

November 3, 2019: It’s the time of year again for “that smell”. Ewww, that smell.

What's the furnace smell?

Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small start with some fun that occurs on a regular basis when the team is out on a service call. There were so many unique observations they started a YouTube channel and share what they see on their Facebook posts. Funny stuff. Maybe even something you could apply in your home too! And then it gets a bit more relative with a discussion of “that smell” when your furnace fires up for the first time in the season. Not to worry, it’s just dust burning off from sitting all summer long. BUT, run your furnace now while it’s still warmer out and let it burn that dust off. That way when you really need it, you won’t be having to smell “that smell” when you’re using it to heat the home.

More smells? Schedule a Free Clipboard Audit

Now, that’s one smell. But there is another smell you may be sensing. Do you hear scratching at night, or have an occasional stench? It’s likely a dead mouse in the attic or wall. Kind of nasty. The answer is to move them to another hotel on your block and the solution is bantered back and forth by your show hosts. It’s fixable but better to nip it in the bud before it gets out of control. A clipboard audit will disclose the problem and if you’re concerned about your health, don’t you think it’s worth it?

Fixed Time Appointments - Surprising, right?!

Oh my, the calls of late have been good but this is one you’ll really appreciate. For this caller, it was a fixed time that really surprised him. I think we all agree, we would prefer a live person and a set appointment vs a recording and a window of time. You can pretty much expect that live person when you call Brower and depending on your need, you can also get a fixed time. That’s how business should be done.

Whole-Home Solutions - One Contractor

So what actually happens when you make a decision for a major upgrade? Are you trying to manage the project with the generator guy, the electrician, solar guy, the HVAC person, the cable company, the pool guy, oh, and not to forget the roofing guy? C’mon. That’s crazy!

Brower actually handles it all for you. Let Brower be your support team and the general contractor you need to keep it together. It will save you money and saving you $$$ is something you also want to be aware of. I’m talking about the solar tax credit. You’ve heard they’re scaling it back in 2020 so why not hustle to get it done? You’ll want to be sure you’re all set by Thanksgiving with your plans or you’re not going to make it in time. The solar must be installed by the end of the year to get the tax credit. And the rebates? What rebates, you ask? Well, who to call to be sure??? Brower Mechanical at 916-624-0808

October 27, 2019: Noise, noise, noise in the attic…

Energy Highs and Lows

The goblins are out and your hosts Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small are having some fun with the holiday coming up. But in spite of the holiday treats, no amount of sugar is going to get the home right and we all know, that sugar high only leads to a sugar crash. Just like your energy usage, it feels good when you’re overpaying for comfort but it sure stinks when you get the bill. Here more of the options as the show continues.

Why Get a Home Energy Audit?

Now, one of the benefits of a Brower home energy audit is what the outcome of it all is. The conversation here is a wonderful case study of how a homeowner got himself battery backup and an energy upgrade all for less than his average monthly utility bill. And that’s not to mention his security of knowing his utility costs month in and month out. If you’re thinking about solar, remember, now is the time to act so it gets installed in time for the tax credit before the credits change in 2020. Be sure not to wait.

All About Generac Generators

This segment has a wonderful caller who has been doing her homework, had a great deal of information and had a great experience with Brower Mechanical before. She knew all about Generac generators and some of the capabilities they could provide. You’ll be surprised to hear her comments on what she would like to see happen.

Happy Halloween! 

So in keeping with the holiday tradition, it is Halloween week and it just wouldn’t be right without some comment about the holiday. You’ve heard them all before… Don’t get spooked by the high costs of energy. Keep the ghouls out of your attic by sealing it properly. Electrification used to be for Frankensteins only, now we’re doing it to our homes. Don’t let your utility play tricks when you want to treat yourself to comfort. Hear what Duane and Bill have to say about it all as they close out yet another Halloween holiday. The payoff is more treat than trick.

Don't get tricked by high energy bills - give the energy experts at Brower Mechanical a call: 916-624-0808

October 20, 2019: Home energy rules apply whether generator or solar power. Class is in session.

How to get ahead of any power outage

Your hosts Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small share a little humor about the more controllable when a car or truck takes out a power pole. It’s still an inconvenience, it’s still no power but more often than not, the power is back on within hours. So, are generators something you still want to consider? Of course. Any power outages are covered with a generator regardless of the cause. And we’re still not out of the woods with PSPS so why not get ahead of it?

How do you make money with your home’s efficiency?

By now you probably know the details of what the guys talk about. Make sure your home is efficient first…then do your upgrades. With all the interest in generators, guess what? You’re going to need a much larger generator to run an inefficient home. Get your house right with energy upgrades FIRST! And your generator requirements are going to be reduced. A smaller generator means less expense! That’s the way to do it right, keep your lights on in a power failure and save a lot of money. Plus, you’ll earn a rebate as well. That’s doing things right. The case study Duane shares is one you’ll appreciate as it addresses this issue and saved the family $5000 on the cost of the generator as a result of downsizing. Quite surprising.

Concerned about Power Shutoffs? Listen in...

The caller in this segment lives cross country and was very concerned about what was happening with the power shutoffs and what steps he could take to mitigate the concerns he had for his home in PG&E territory. He also was well aware of his need and what his options might be for power all or mostly all of his home. The ensuing conversation is spot on with his comments.

Building Energy Efficient Homes

So, a Brower Mechanical home energy upgrade tends to be more efficient than many of the new homes being built today. However, as Duane visits new home subdivisions regularly, there is one builder he’s come across that does an outstanding job on energy efficiency. Hear who that is and what some of the tactics they use to make their homes better sealed and more efficient.

If you want to learn what you can do it insure the most efficient power for your home, give the energy experts at Brower Mechanical a call. 916-624-0808

October 13, 2019: Less Energy? How about NO ENERGY? PG&E activates PSPS. What to do…

Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small dig into the nature of the PSPS recently activated by PG&E. Hear them discuss the nature of the questions fielded by Brower Mechanical as the power began to shut down. Who did what? How did people prepare? What happened to those not well prepared? What were some of the actions people took to maintain the most important elements of the PSPS?

Recap: Preparing for a Public Safety Power Shutoff

In a very rare instance, the second segment today is a replay from last week, just a few days prior to the first big Public Safety Power Shutoff, unbeknownst to all concerned. It was a well-timed interview giving tips, instruction and updates on the information PG&E is providing. The discussion covers literally, many of the elements of what just took place in the week prior. It’s a prophetic discussion and deals with the updates, prep and expectations a customer can have in the event of a PSPS. It’s a valid discussion that you’ll want to take notes on to be sure you’re prepared the next time around. It’s an interesting conversation given we’ve got very recent history to compare notes on the good, the bad and the ugly.

All About Home Backup Generators and Batteries

Generators start the conversation of this segment helping homeowners understand the values of what a generator can and cannot do. Too many people have unrealistic expectations of what can be done and how. Get an idea of pricing for some of the elements that can help run your home in the event of a power shutoff. Duane discusses the details and some of the challenges he saw this time around that homeowners did not prepare for. It’s not all about generators either. Battery backup if you have solar is another outstanding option. That part of the discussion carries into the final segment of today’s show. Good to know there are choices for you to make the best decision to fit your needs.

Energy Efficiency Before Going Solar+Storage

Closing out the show, battery backup is an excellent addition to a solar system but you have to understand what the process should be to be as efficient as possible. This is a great choice and even more important if you are considering solar, what should you do to be certain battery backup remains an option? So you’re wondering how does all of this come together and what might the cost be? Got you covered there too. Duane talks about what you can expect for pricing in the event you’re looking at batteries to back up your solar.

And when it’s all said and done, the best choices always revolve around making one simple phone call. Call Brower Mechanical at 916-624-0808

October 6, 2019: Home Energy… what’s on your mind?

From Home Electrification to Backup Power

Your hosts Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small start out reflecting on the most recent seminar where people had particular interests requiring deeper discussion on a topic you may not have expected. To be sure, it was a surprise to hear the interest in heat pumps and home electrification. A very different discussion than the norm. And of course, the highly anticipated conversation took place regarding Public Safety Power Shutoffs. What kind of generator power do you need? What about battery backup? What is the best option for your situation? Great stuff and more continued.

Is your home optimized for your energy consumption?

What about results when a home is optimized for energy consumption? Why does one home of the same square footage require so much less energy than another? What does that do to the solar requirement? And now, think about this. What sort of generator do I need to keep the home operating comfortably? Just like solar, if your home is inefficient, you’re going to need a bigger generator. Yup, more money.

But if the home is energy upgraded, guess what, smaller generator. Here again, you would be saving thousands if the energy upgrade was complete. With rebates and energy savings, they would come close to covering the cost of the backup power. Sounds familiar. The case study Duane shares is amazing. There is every reason in the world to consider a home energy upgrade and for so many reasons. Start with that clipboard audit. It gives you the roadmap to understand what your first steps need to be. The price is affordable to get that done. FREE. Considering solar or backup power? This is the step you must take. Call Brower Mechanical (916) 624-0808!

All About Mini-Splits!

This segment is a tutorial on mini-split technology. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s worth the listen to learn a little more about options you have to heat and cool your home…or possibly even your garage. They’re an outstanding option to consider when you don’t have the ability to run ductwork but need heating and cooling. The guys at Brower are experts and can walk you through the process.

PG&E Updates on Public Safety Power Shutoffs

This is an exciting segment as the guys have Brandi Merlo from PG&E to share some of the information regarding the possibility of a Public Safety Power Shutoff. Did you know there were 100 cameras over the 70,000 square mile coverage area of PG&E? And if you go to the website: You can actually watch those cameras and see what’s going on. The prediction of fire safety is handled by 12 meteorologists and they strive to get the information out in two phases, a heads-up, and then the actual time of shutoff. For more information, you can also call PG&E at 800-743-5000.

If you want to get something done in the home for one or more of many reasons, here’s what you need to do. Call Brower Mechanical at (916) 624-0808 or contact us

September 29, 2019: Hot-Cold, Cold-hot season changes… now what and when?

Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small dive right into the conversation with value. How do you know where to start? Begin with a free clipboard audit. That’s the answer. You’ll immediately know about your rebate options, your HVAC needs, your energy upgrade potential and it’s all free. And it WILL save you money! Guaranteed.

What you need to know before getting backup power

In this segment, the guys shed light on details that are now occurring between local communities and jurisdictions to get a permit to install a generator. If you’re not ahead of the curve proactively, you could be caught short with no power in the event of a PSPS or any other power outage. A good reminder is that battery backup is an option that is tax-advantaged along with your solar installation. Reference back to the free clipboard audit to make the determination that is best for your particular application. It’s important to note that all the utilities are focused on more electrification. As a result, you want to be sure you cover all the options in your assessment and that means knowing what you see in your home in the not too distant future.

Now's the time for an HVAC check-up

Now is that special time of year for heating and cooling, back and forth and you’ll hear a fun phone call with somebody questioning their HVAC system operations. Probably one of the most entertaining callers we’ve had on the show in some time. What it reminds us though is that as we approach the fall season, it’s time to consider revitalizing your system. And when days are hot and nights are cool, you can actually give both systems a solid check-up and revitalize them. Too cold out, it’s just the heater. Too warm out and it’s just the A/C. So, just like Goldilocks, now is the time that’s just right.

Want a healthier, more efficient home?

Closing out the show, the discussion moves into a bit of future speak and how artificial intelligence has entered the home energy category as well. Not just consumption of energy but actual home health and how it impacts the people living there. Believe it or not, one surprising benefit of a home energy upgrade that many of the consumers comment on is that things got quieter. Pretty interesting and it’s because noise follows air. Air carries sound! How about that for a physics lesson? All in an effort to get your home more efficient and healthier. There are ways to manage the air in your home to get it to be the best it can be. This stuff really works and to find out how it can really work for you!   

Give Brower Mechanical a call at (916) 624-0808.

September 22, 2019: Why is high efficiency not necessarily highly efficient?

Your hosts, Duane Knickerbocker and Bill Small, open the show with a little joke Duane plays on Bill regarding cleaning your solar panels. As they settle into the show, the direction they take is supporting PG&E and the PSPS warnings. It’s a serious yet complimentary discussion to help you know where to go to get the direct link to the fire forecast and the potential effect it may have on you. The conversation travels into additional energy, backup batteries, and generator power.

When is high efficiency not necessarily the answer to higher efficiency?

That’s a mouthful for sure but it means something different than what it sounds like. How do you actually “get it right” to be sure you’ve got it right? Right! This is where the guys discuss the values of having your home properly maximized on its’ energy efficiency before you begin consideration of more efficient or high-efficiency heating and A/C units. Are they really necessary? Hint. No. But there are steps to take into consideration to do so. Could you extend the life of your equipment as well? Yes. Do you need to make a move immediately on your current equipment? Nope. Is there more you’ll appreciate knowing? You bet. It’s all in the conversation.

HVAC Gimmicks too good to be true?

What’s up with all these “deals” of $45, $42 or whatever per week for your new HVAC? Gimmicks are what you’ll hear. Outrageous in the grand scheme of things. Toss that direct mail piece and if you’re interested in efficiency, call somebody who does it all the time. You know who that might be, of course. Brower Mechanical. Don’t be fooled into wasteful gimmicks for new systems. Often, you don’t even need a new system.

Confirm your Solar Install by Thanksgiving

A lot is happening fast when it comes to year-end thoughts, and solar is one of those considerations. The solar tax credit changes at the end of this year and if solar is a consideration now is the time to get on top of it. You’ll need to have it confirmed by Thanksgiving to ensure you’re able to have it completed in time for the year-end tax prep. It’s the time to act if you’re in this space at this point in time.

Who to call?
Brower Mechanical at 916-624-0808

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