Sunday, February 17, 2013

Mass Save Audit: My Experience (so far)

There is this great program in Massachusetts called "Mass Save".  At first I thought maybe it was some sort of scam.  But looking into it, it didn't seem so scam worthy.  It's a program put on through National Grid and other utility companies around the Commonwealth (NStar, Columbia Gas, Cape Light, Berkshire Gas, WMECO, NE Gas).  They work with the state energy people so I'm sure they get some sort of kick back from the Commonwealth.  But I don't know.

How Does It Work?

You get a free energy assessment done.  You call 866-527-SAVE to set up an appointment.  I asked the guy when he came out here how his services are "free" - he said it's really not.  If you actually look at your electric bill, there is a small charge every month called "Energy Conservation something or other".  It's like a buck or two.  All those buck or twos go to this program.  So anyways, I made an appointment - and it was like 2 weeks out.  

So he came out and looked in our attic and basement and assessed crap.  The husband followed him around.  I could honestly care less.  So I don't really know what he did.  But he did fix some stuff.  He made some adjustments on some vents which were leaking heat.  He gave us a free energy saving power strip and a bunch of light bulbs.  He and my husband talked for hours as if they were long lost brothers.

Why We Did It?

Our house is old.  1921 to be exact.  There is little to no insulation in it.  The husband has been wanting to get insulation for a long time.  We had it priced out once and it would be $3,500 to do our house.  Yikes.  That's a lot.  He's really into wanting to insulate our house though.  Mass Save offers a 75% savings (up to $2,000) if you have the energy assessment done and go through their contractors.  So what did the guy say would cost to insulate our house?  $3424.  Since we max out at the $2,000 mark, that would mean $1,424 after the 75% (or $2,000) incentive.  That's easier to swallow.  The guy also said he highballed the estimate so it might actually be a little lower.  Okay.  That's what I like to hear.

So What Are the Benefits of the Insulation?

Well energy guy and my husband said that if our house was fully insulated, we'd pay 30% less for heating.  I fill our oil tank three times a year and it's about $800-$880 a pop when I do it at the current rates.  Last fill in January was $882.  So I said, "I'll really only have to fill my oil tank 2 times a year if we do this?"  The guy said, "yup."  The husband concured through all his research on Google.  I guess I'll try to believe them.  Because that's a $800+ savings a year.  We'll make that $1400 back in 2 years.  I'll let you know if this is for real.  Also note - we have a "bigger than average" house for insulation.  It's not a "big house" but we have high ceilings on both floors.  If you had a cape or a ranch - it would be significantly lower.  We just have a lot of outside facing wall space.  We have a colonial of sorts that is 1,600 sq. ft.  So if you're looking for what your house would probably cost - you can play around with that number some.  If you're considering blown-in insulation.

Should You Call For An Energy Audit?

Sure!  Why not?  It's FREE!  You are already paying for the service.  You'll get some free power strips and light bulbs out of it and learn a little about energy conservation.  It's a bonus if you are looking to get insulation, a new heating system or a new water heater.  Because they offer rebates and incentives on those things.  We were looking for a good deal on insulation.  You are not obligated to buy insulation, or new heating systems.  They just recommend stuff.  We actually want to do the insulation - which was the motivating factor on why I called to set up the appointment.

What If I Don't Have the Money To Do The Things I Want To Do?

If you need a furnace, hot water heater or insulation - Mass Save does offer 0% financing on equipment & services.  Which is awesome.  Most everyone qualifies.  BUT - the loan has to be at least $2,000.  And you need a good chunk down (a couple hundred).  So we don't qualify for 0% financing on the insulation project because it would only be $1,400 out of pocket - but if we threw in a new water heater, or whatever, it would probably put us over the $2,000 mark.  You also get to write these expenses off your taxes as energy efficient things or something.  I don't know.  Don't trust me - ask a tax guy.

We are most likely going ahead with the insulation - so I'll let you know how that goes.  You might not care.  But you probably got here on a Google search so best of luck to you and the insulation of your old house.


Kate said...

Glad to hear that you had a good experience! We keep putting it off, but maybe I will call! Hopefully it will save you in the long run!

Anonymous said...

A great place to start is to visit for a free audit