2024 Mass Save Rebates (Podcast)

In this podcast, Jared Grier, the owner of Cape Cod Heat Pumps talks about Mass Save Rebates. He provides an overview of the rebates available for homeowners who upgrade to air source heat pumps in 2024. Then, he explains the potential ROI of buying a new heat pump.

John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Jared Grier, owner of Cape Cod Heat Pumps, an HVAC contractor in Marstons Mills, Massachusetts on Cape Cod specializing in ductless heating and cooling technology and focused on detail, quality and professionalism. Today, our topic is the 2024 Mass Save rebates. Welcome, Jared.

Jared Grier: Thank you for having me, John.

New 2024 Updates to the Mass Save Program

John: Sure. Jared, can you explain a little bit of the key changes to the Mass Save ductless heat pump rebate program for 2024 as compared to last year’s program? Are there any advantages or drawbacks for homeowners going ductless this year?

Jared: Yeah, there’ve been a couple changes, but for the most part, Mass Save has remained the same. Mass Save is on a three-year cycle, so each year they do tweak it slightly. Every three years, they make large tweaks. This year is going to be the third year in the cycle, so we’ll probably see larger changes at the end of this year than we saw from 2023 to 2024.

That said, the big change that’s really we’re seeing this year is: before, if a customer wanted to go to full heat pump displacement for the $10,000 rebate, they were allowed to leave it [the existing heating system] in place for emergencies. This year, these customers need to disconnect it in some fashion or form. The only exception is going to be when that is their hot water source for their domestic hot water.

The ways that you can disconnect it, there’s four different ways. One, you can fully remove it. The second way is you can disconnect power, essentially the line voltage to the equipment. Third is taking thermostats off the wall so they can’t be controlled that way. And last, but not least, is disconnecting the fuel source. If this were gas or propane, removing the gas line. If this were oil, removing the oil line.

Moving Away From Fossil Fuel Heating in 2024

John: Why do you think that they made this change? As you said, this is a big one where you used to be able to keep your traditional heating system in place and just tell them, “Yeah, I’m only going to use it for emergencies,” but really you could put it on whenever you wanted to because it was just available to you. But now they’re saying now you actually have to physically disconnect it or cut the power to it, that kind of thing. Why do you think they made this change? Were they finding that people were actually just using their traditional system half the time or something like that?

Jared: Yeah. The spirit of the program is to electrify the heating throughout Massachusetts. The state’s got ambitious goals to reduce our carbon emissions by 50% by 2030. That’s actually a state law. Mass Save is a big part of that ambition to get to that goal.

Prior to this, again, as you just mentioned, you were able to keep it in place, but I think there were a lot of people that were still remaining and using their old heating system and just basically getting a $10,000 discount on their system. They’re just trying to assure that both customers and contractors are really sticking to the spirit of the program.

What I will also tell you that I didn’t mention before when you talked about changes is that come midway through this year, they’re actually, all fossil fuel rebates will end. Come the middle of this year, there’s going to be absolutely no fossil fuels. Again, that is trying to move things to that electrification goal for the state.

Rebates for Installing Heat Pumps in Part of Your Home

John: Okay. In the past there’s been partial home rebates as well, so if you didn’t want to completely change over your house to ductless heating and air conditioning and you wanted to do it for part of your home, but keep other parts of your home with your fossil fuels, you were able to do that and still get a little bit of a rebate. Is that still available as well?

Jared: For 2024 partial, the rebates will be available, yes.

John: Okay. What is the current rebate range for ductless heat pumps? Are there any additional income-qualified options available, for example?

Jared: Yeah, so it’s pretty substantial. There’s the partial home displacement rebates, which you mentioned is $1,250 per ton. If you go full displacement, there’s $10,000. Here on Cape Cod, if you are income-eligible, there’s actually no cap on the total of the rebate you can get. I believe it’s up to 75% or 80% of the total project cost. Off Cape, there is a $16,000 enhanced limit. On Cape, we don’t have a cap on that.

Return on Investment for Heat Pumps

John: Interesting, okay. Is there a way for homeowners to estimate their potential return on investment for their specific situation in their house?

Jared: That’s going to vary widely. That’s going to vary on what their existing fuel source is, or heating source, I should say. Electric heat customers will obviously realize the savings much quicker than anybody else. Propane and oil customers will realize their savings relatively quickly.

It’s hard for us to justify a savings with natural gas customers, and that’s just me being honest, just because natural gas itself is relatively inexpensive in the appliances, a.k.a. furnaces, boilers, things of that nature have been high efficiency products for years now. If you are going to compare against natural gas, we are going to be more costly to heat your home. Oil, propane, electric heat, we are going to win. There is going to be a relatively quick ROI on that.

Heat Pumps Vs. Natural Gas Furnaces

John: But if somebody had natural gas that they were using to heat their home, but they don’t have, for example, like central air conditioning and so then switching over to ductless would allow them to have air conditioning in the summer instead of putting, say, window units in or something like that, they could still realize some savings during the summer months with the air conditioning. Is that right?

Jared: Yep, yep. That’s actually a big driver for a lot of our customers. We’ll have a lot of people, maybe they have a 30-year-old boiler, so they’ve got no air conditioning in the house. They don’t necessarily want to make that investment to replace the boiler.

What they’ll actually do is kill two birds with one stone, put in some sort of heat pump system that’s going to replace their old heating system, legacy heating system, as well as provide them air conditioning for the summer months. As you just indicated there, our systems on the cooling side of things are wildly efficient. When you compare your energy costs on the cooling side of things, we have a big win there.

Additional Mass Save Programs/Rebates for 2024

John: Absolutely. Are there any other Mass Save programs or resources that can help homeowners with the process of installing a ductless heat pump system like energy assessments or financing options?

Jared: Yeah, so through Mass Save, it’s a very large program. They have everything from appliances to yard equipment, rebates as well. As you indicated, they offer free audits of your house where they’re going to come out and they’re going to analyze your house, look at your insulation, look at your windows, and other weatherization measures that they can take to help tighten up your house.

They do cover 75% of those costs. If it’s less than a thousand, there’s actually no cost to the customer. If it’s over $1000 worth of work, that would be your out-of-pocket, again, they’re going to cover 75% of those costs.

Another great program within the Mass Save system is the heat loan program. That is a 0% interest loan that you can get for seven years. In some instances there are even, if you’re going to put in a system that maybe isn’t going to be a whole house heat pump application, but you want to put heat pumps in as a partial, but you’re not going to get tied to a rebate, you could actually use the heat loan program for that as well. That’s that 7-year interest-free loan, but that is a case by case basis.

Upcoming Changes to the Mass Save Program

John: Looking ahead, do you see any potential changes to the Mass Save ductless heat pump program after this year? You mentioned that this is the third year in what tends to be a three-year cycle, so do you anticipate some more changes in 2025? What would you say to a homeowner who’s maybe questioning whether or not this is the time to get ductless installed?

Jared: It’s hard to say. I think the rebate is going to be around potentially at least for next year, if not longer, at the amount that it’s at. Just because, again, the state’s goals are so ambitious. If we’re going to be able to hit those goals, we need to incentivize customers to do that. That’s the whole point of the Mass Save program is incentivize people to do these energy efficiency upgrades and obviously offset those costs and make it more affordable. Again, with the various different goals the state’s trying to achieve, I think that it’s going to be around for some time.

Is 2024 the Right Time to Install a Heat Pump? Contact Us

John: Then what would you say to people who are wondering whether or not this is the right time for them to install a ductless heat pump system in their house?

Jared: That’s going to be an individual decision. It’s going to be based on the age of the home, age of their legacy heating system, and the needs of the customer. That’s going to be a very individual choice.

John: All right. Well, that’s really great information, Jared. Thanks again for speaking with me today.

Jared: Thank you, John.

John: For more information, you can visit Cape Cod Heat Pumps’ website at ccheatpumps.com or call 508-833-HVAC. That’s 508-833-4822.