My MassSave Experience (So Far)


by Michelle J. Lane, Realtor



Since several of my clients have called MassSave after moving into their homes, I thought it would be a good idea for me to do the same so I can fill you in on what it is all about and try to get my house to be a bit more cozy and warm before the next polar vortex hits.

First, I must say it is worth the call to MassSave, regardless of what you decide to do moving forward.  In the initial visit they changed out 34 light bulbs in my house to LED.  And they gave me a Smart Power Strip – Value of all that $450!  Can’t beat that.  That was the maximum of LED lights they are allocated to give out.   They would have changed out the rest of my 30+ light bulbs in the house to the compact fluorescent bulbs, but I made it clear I hate those light bulbs.  I try to do my best for the environment, but I have my limits.   If you don’t mind CFLs you can get all your light bulbs changed out!  They left me all the old bulbs, so I have a whole lot of emergency spares too.  They estimate that my savings from changing out the bulbs is $200/year.

I found out, much to my surprise,  that my house DOES have insulation in the walls.  Last winter, I felt like I was living in an Igloo.  The issue is more with the original windows on my house and the sheer size of my house combined with the polar vortex.  More on the windows in a bit.

However I do not have insulation in the walls of the third floor and not much in the attic.  SO they will come back and:

  • Install Door Sweeps on my 7 exterior doors (they don’t do French doors though)
  • Install Weather Stripping around those same 7 doors
  • Perform Air Sealing where there are gaps in the attic
  • Insulate the attic walls
  • Blow cellulose in the attic
  • Install two vents in the attic of my new addition that I thought existed but do not!

The total for all of this would be $3,883. – after incentives, my cost will be $1,021.  Not bad.  They even have 0% loan program your costs wind up being higher and you cannot pay them outright.  Or if you decide to do a big ticket item like the furnace.

Because of the age of my house, I first have to get my electrician to come and certify that I have no live knob and tube wiring in my house.  They tell me it is dangerous to blow insulation around live knob and tube – it will catch fire.  But they will give me a $250 credit for the electrician if I produce and invoice from him.

I am going to hold off on the furnace.  At $400, the incentive on that is a drop in the bucket of the overall cost and I don’t want to have to make rush decisions to save $400.  Plus they told me the incentives are better if you do it in the summer.  I may do the hot water heater as mine is 10 years old and the incentive on that is $500.

My money this winter will be better spent focusing on the windows.  I am determined to keep my original windows.  They are made of the same wood as the trim in each room and that ranges from Brazilian Oak to Mahogany.   Even if I could get new, matching, double-pane windows – which is highly unlikely, it would be prohibitively expensive.    What I need to do is insulate the channels where the ropes and weights are as all the cold air blows in through the holes allocated to those.  I saw a video on YouTube on how to do that.  I will dig that up and blog on how that went when I get to that.   I also need to buy new storm windows.   All that is not covered under MassSave so I will be doing that on my own.

So for the most part, MassSave’s focus is on Heating Equipment, Insulation, Light Bulbs and energy efficient appliances.  They even gave me a handy spin chart to see Appliance Energy Costs.

I asked why the utility companies would want to help me save money on my utilities – seems counter-intuitive.  The Rep told me that the utility companies need to keep usage in check so that they do not exceed capacity of the equipment they have in place.  And then he pointed out to me on my electric bill that I get charged roughly $3/month for energy conservation.  So we are all paying for this program, whether or not you make use of it!

I have heard stories from clients of insulation getting all over the house when they blew it into the walls and it found its way out through holes.  I’ll let you know what my experience is like – look for future posts on all this!

All-in-all though, I would say well worth the call.  And if it something you want to do, call soon as they are booked well in advance.

I do believe it is a great thing to do after you have bought a home.  But even better to do before you sell.  If your home needs insulation, a new hot water heater, or if your furnace is on its last legs and you want to take care of those things before you sell, getting some rebates from MassSave is not a bad way to go.  You can do it with a no interest loan.

If you are not in a position to spend the money on new furnace, given the rebates are not substantial, you could consider a Home Warranty – for about $600/ year these policies cover the heating system, plumbing, electrical and appliances should they break.

If you are thinking of selling next year and want some tips on which improvements to make and how to save, contact me and I will fill you in.

Michelle J. Lane
Century 21 Commonwealth
CELL: 617 584-3904

Historic Newton Exhibit – An Architect Ahead of her Time: Annie Cobb

Anne Cobb Exhibit at the Jackson Homestead – Starts October 3rd.

Michelle J. Lane

Arguably, the first American woman architect, Cobb made her debut in pre-Civil War South Boston and flourished during the last three decades of the 19th Century in Newton Highlands, and exhibited at the World’s Columbian Expo of 1893 in Chicago.

Reception Wednesday, October 3rd from 5:00 – 7:00 to celebrate the new exhibit.

Visit for more information.