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Complete guide to the Mass Save® HEAT Loan for air source heat pumps

If you live in Massachusetts, there are excellent financial incentives to help heat and cool your home more efficiently with air source heat pumps. Mass Save® Sponsors help Massachusetts residents save money through energy efficiency with a HEAT Loan to help make installing air source heat pumps more accessible and affordable. In this guide, we’ll explain what you need to know about the HEAT Loan for air source heat pumps, including how to apply for it and common questions about how it works. Pro tip: you can also use the HEAT Loan for other energy-efficient updates – we’re just focusing on how you can use it for heat pumps here since there’s a lot to know!

Key takeaways

  1. The HEAT Loan is a zero percent financing option for up to $25,000 with terms up to seven years depending on your lender – you can use it to finance your air source heat pumps.

  2. There are specific requirements to be eligible for a HEAT Loan and several steps to follow to ensure you’ll get your loan.

  3. After installing your heat pumps, you’ll need to submit any paperwork (or confirm your contractor submits paperwork) to get any rebates you’re eligible for, confirm the installation for the HEAT Loan, and complete your verification inspection.

  4. You can call 1-866-527-SAVE (7283) with questions about heat pumps and the HEAT Loan process.

  5. Visit the EnergySage Marketplace to receive quotes from local installers and save money by pairing your air source heat pumps with solar!

What’s included in this guide?

What’s Mass Save and its Heat Loan?

Mass Save is a collaboration of Massachusetts electric and natural gas utilities and energy efficiency service providers joining forces with a common goal to help Massachusetts residents and business owners save money and energy. The Mass Save HEAT Loan offers interest-free financing up to $25,000 (yes, 0% interest!) for several energy-efficient home upgrades such as air source heat pumps (central or ductless mini-split). There are certain eligibility requirements for the HEAT Loan you’ll have to meet including owning a home in certain Mass Save Sponsor areas and following the program’s guidelines.

Six steps to getting a HEAT Loan for your air source heat pumps

Here’s what you’ll need to do to get your HEAT Loan for air source heat pumps:

1. Schedule and complete a free Mass Save Energy Assessment

To qualify for heat pump financing (and most incentives) through Mass Save, you must first complete a no-cost home energy assessment. You can call Mass Save at 866-527-SAVE to schedule yours or look into options near you for virtual assessments.

During the assessment, an energy specialist will identify opportunities for energy efficiency adjustments to your home, including lighting upgrades, adding insulation, installing advanced power strips, and more. Before leaving your home, the home energy auditor will complete and provide you with a copy of a HEAT Loan Intake Form. This form will kickstart your HEAT Loan financing process.

Have you already completed an assessment with Mass Save?

If you previously had an audit before but cannot find your HEAT Loan Intake Form, don’t worry! You can call Mass Save at 1-866-527-SAVE (7283) for help as they should have a copy of your Intake Form on file.

2. Find and contact heat pump contractors for quotes

The next step is to evaluate potential air source heat pump contractors near you. On the Mass Save website, you can search the Heat Pump Installer Network database using your zip code or review a complete list. It’s a good idea to compare their years of experience, online reviews, and warranty offerings when selecting one.

Often, contractors will want to visit your home to provide the most accurate estimate. This so they can review your floor plan and the number of rooms, examine any existing systems and ductwork, check out your electrical panel and it’s available capacity, discuss your energy usage needs, and help identify if your home might be best suited for one solution or another, like ducted versus ductless heat pump solutions.

3. Compare quotes and select a contractor

When it comes to any major home project or energy upgrade, we recommend comparing more than multiple quotes, so you’ll want to get proposals from various installers for your air source heat pump project. This will help you compare the pricing, equipment, and sizing recommendations and learn more about the contractor’s experience with heat pumps. Once you’ve decided on the right installer and equipment for your project, you can use your contractor’s proposal to continue moving through the HEAT Loan process.

4. Submit your HEAT Loan Intake Form and application online

Next, you’ll use the Mass Save Heat Loan online portal to complete and submit a copy of the Intake Form. Heads up that it will take some time to fill this out – which is why we’re here to help! And if you need to take a break, Mass Save will save your progress so you don’t have to complete it in one sitting (though you will have to click through all the steps again).

Creating your account

If you haven’t visited the portal before, you’ll first need to verify your account with the following information:

  1. Last name of the account holder for your utility accounts

  2. The street number of your home

  3. Zip code

  4. Electric provider and electric account number

  5. Gas provider and gas account number

Once you provide that information, you’ll need to use your existing Mass Save login information or create a new Mass Save account online with your email address and a secure password.

If you create a new account, you’ll then be prompted to sign in with your newly created account login information.

Once you log in, your personal information will populate from your account, and you’ll input the information on who will be applying for the HEAT Loan, including the primary applicant, which is required, and an optional cosigner if applicable.

Entering your home information

The next information you’ll need to confirm is your building type (single-family, condo, or 2-4 units), if your building is owner-occupied, and if you heat your home with natural gas.

You’ll then select the category for your energy efficiency upgrade, which for air source heat pumps is: Heating & Cooling.

Then, you’ll be able to select “Air Source Heat Pump” from the list of options. The quantity you’ll enter (which it lists between 1 and 99) is just the number of heat pump systems, so it’ll be “1” for almost every homeowner. This includes the indoor and outdoor units that are part of your system design (you’ll be able to enter those separately in the next section).

Adding integrated controls

Suppose you plan to remove an existing oil or propane heating system (also referred to as displacing it) and keep a backup heating system like a natural gas furnace. In that case, you’ll need to install integrated controls as well. You can add the integrated controls to this ‘same shopping cart’ or selection for the loan. An integrated control is just either a home energy management system or smart thermostat.

Entering your equipment information

Next, you’ll need to input the information for the equipment you plan to install. The easiest way to input equipment information is using the reference number for the AHRI (Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute). Usually, your contractor will provide you with this information via an AHRI certificate for any equipment they recommend.

Sample AHRI certificate for air source heat pump equipment

We highly recommend you use the AHRI reference number as a starting point number rather than manually entering information on the equipment to avoid processing delays. Mass Save states that if you can’t find your AHRI Number, you can still submit your equipment by entering in the information. Their staff will then verify that the equipment meets efficiency requirements – however, if they’re unable to verify the information, while they’ll contact you for details, there’s a possibility that your equipment might be denied.

You can start with the AHRI reference number for your outdoor unit and then add in the model number of the indoor units. If, for some reason, you don’t have the AHRI reference number you need to enter, just contact your contractor to confirm it. However, if you are trying to submit the information online in the evening or don’t have immediate access to your contractor to confirm the AHRI number, you can also search the AHRI website using the model number of the equipment on your heat pump project proposal.

The AHRI reference number will appear on the bottom left of the table if you enter your air source heat pump equipment model number. Then, the additional equipment information will appear when you enter the AHRI reference number.

Once you click the “Select & Continue” button, it will automatically populate the equipment details in the following fields.

You will then need to enter any additional information not populated by that AHRI reference number. These details are usually included in your project proposal. You’ll enter the other equipment (indoor or outdoor unit model number, depending on what you entered initially), the number of indoor units, and your existing heating fuel type (natural gas, propane, oil, electric, or other). You will also need to answer additional questions to indicate whether you are entirely replacing/eliminating your existing heating system and if your proposal includes:

  1. Costs for some other items, such as an electrical panel upgrade

  2. Installing a new humidifier

  3. Installing an electronic air cleaner or filtration system

Entering your contractor’s information

You’ll need to input the cost of your proposal and your contractor’s information, including selecting the name of your contractor from the drop-down list along with their complete address. Once you choose your contractor from the drop-down list, it will automatically populate the address and usually the phone number. You also have the option to include your contractor’s email and phone number in your application.

Uploading documents

Finally, on the next screen, you’ll need to upload documents, including:

  1. The HEAT Loan Intake Form you received during your energy assessment

  2. The proposal from your heat pump contractor with the details of the equipment they’re installing and the work they’re doing

  3. Your completed whole home verification form if you are installing a “whole home system” that will cover your entire home (this form is available here for you to complete, scan, and upload)

  4. Any additional supporting documentation such as other files provided by your contractor on your project or equipment

You’re now ready to review and complete your application! You will receive an Authorization Form if your work meets the Mass Save program eligibility requirements. You can also sign in to update your account at each step and to receive important updates by email.

Who handles the paperwork?

In many cases, your contractor may help with submitting the appropriate paperwork, but in other cases, you’ll need to do it yourself. You’ll usually need to apply yourself initially since that requires your utility account numbers and entering in loan applicant information. Check with your contractor to see if they assist with this process and what parts of the process you’ll need to do yourself. If they do help, it will often be included in your proposal or quote with a line item, such as: “we will assist the customer with rebate preparation for any equipment we install.”

Completing your application if you live in a municipal electric town

If you live in a municipal electric town and are a customer of Cape Light Compact, Unitil Electric, or Liberty, you’ll use this separate link to complete and submit your HEAT Loan Application online.

This portal’s process is slightly different — you’ll click the “Next” button when you have all of your information ready and confirm:

  1. Your electric provider

  2. Your last name

  3. Your property address

  4. The RISE Site ID: this is a six-digit number that appears on your home energy assessment paperwork

Then, you’ll be able to submit your form and additional paperwork online.

5. Secure your HEAT Loan with a lender

Once you submit your initial application, you can work on researching, comparing, and selecting an approved Mass Save HEAT Loan lender to secure the financing piece.

Check out Mass Save’s site to find participating HEAT Loan lenders. You can search using your county to see:

  1. Lenders available

  2. Loan types offered (usually unsecured loans, but sometimes they’ll offer unsecured and secured loans or just secured loans)

  3. Amounts offered (many are up to $25,000, but some only go up to $15,000), and their location(s).

Some lenders provide loans throughout the state, and others offer more localized options.

Like other solar and clean energy financing lenders, many HEAT Loan lenders offer pre-approval via their website, at a branch, or by phone. The participating lender list includes various types of lenders such as banks, credit unions, and even specialty lenders focused on lending for clean energy upgrades.

From the Mass Save list, you can click through to the lender’s website and find out more about their HEAT Loan offerings and how to apply. Many lenders have HEAT Loans called out in their main navigation or as part of their consumer or residential lending products. You’ll then follow the lender’s process to continue the approval process and provide your HEAT Loan Authorization Form to your lender.

Once your loan is approved, secured, and signed, you can usually have monthly withdrawals come directly from your bank account. Getting 0% interest is a fantastic deal – so it’s great to take advantage of the opportunity to electrify your home’s heating and cooling interest-free!

We’ve heard from homeowners who have used the Mass Save HEAT Loan that the most significant lift is finding a lender near you and securing the loan. Expect this part of the process to take up to a few weeks.

6. Work with your contractor to install your heat pumps

Once you’ve received your Mass Save HEAT Loan Authorization Form and secured your HEAT Loan with a lender, you can confirm and sign the contract with your heat pump contractor and schedule your installation. We’ve spoken with several homeowners who have used the HEAT Loan, and here are a few tips they shared:

The HEAT Loan works differently than solar loans

If you’ve already installed solar panels at your home, you probably worked with your installer and had a seamless process between your solar installer and lender. The HEAT Loan works a bit differently, so be aware that there’s usually some additional legwork, and you’ll be responsible for managing this piece on your own.

Be prepared to pay a portion upfront to confirm your installation

If you want to move quickly, the HEAT Loan approval process through Mass Save and your lender may not align with your desired installation timeline. Most heat pump contractors require a deposit or partial payment when you sign your contract to order equipment and block off their schedule for the installation – this will usually be half or a third of the estimated total cost, depending on your contractor. If you pay half upfront, usually you must pay the remaining half when installation is complete. If you pay a third upfront to confirm your project, you’ll likely be required to pay another third the day the installation actually begins, and the final third when it’s completed.

Usually, your HEAT Loan requires you install the system within 90 days

In most cases, there are guidelines around how long you must complete your heat pump installation after your lender approves your HEAT Loan. Likely, you want this to happen as soon as possible (especially if you’re dealing with a broken or malfunctioning HVAC system)! However, some homeowners installing heat pumps are being impacted by supply chain delays affecting equipment availability. If this happens, your heat pump contractor may be able to recommend comparable alternative equipment to consider.

You’ll receive a bank check to sign over to your contractor

When you receive the loan funding, you’ll usually receive a check from your lender to sign over to your contractor. If you’ve already paid a portion as a deposit, you can coordinate with your contractor to get the difference back.

What to know after you install your air source heat pump

After your contractor installs your heat pumps, you’ll then:

Apply for your Mass Save heat pump rebate

Immediately apply for your rebate to get the ball rolling on its processing. As previously mentioned, your contractor will often help you submit your rebate form and documentation. However, if they don’t, we offer some tips on getting your Mass Save rebate.

Additionally, know that if you’re also applying for a Mass Save heat pump rebate, there can be delays in processing the rebate. While some people receive their rebate within six to eight weeks, it can take up to six to ten months to receive your rebate (there are usually two payments you’ll receive).

Complete your verification inspection

The final step with Mass Save is to complete your verification inspection. You can ask your contractor for more information about the inspection and call the general Mass Save phone number (1-866-527-7283) for details on completing this required verification.

Other ways to save on energy-efficient upgrades with Mass Save

You can use the Mass Save HEAT loan for energy-efficient upgrades other than air source heat pumps, like ground source heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, insulation, and more. Also, the HEAT Loan isn’t the only way you can save on making efficient clean energy upgrades in your home! Several other rebates are available for the integrated controls that switch between your heat pumps and a backup heating system, weatherization and home insulation, and lighting and appliances.

Mass Save HEAT Loan resources

If you need support or have questions about the Mass Save HEAT Loan throughout the process, here are some resources to help:

Your contractor may also be able to help you with Mass Save details. Still, you will want to confirm that any information you receive is correct via the Mass Save portal and documentation since the details, offerings, and incentives may change over time.

Maximize the benefits of your air source heat pumps with solar

You can maximize your savings from air source heat pumps while also helping the environment by heating and cooling your home with solar electricity. Easily create a free account on the EnergySage Marketplace to get solar quotes, compare offers side by side from qualified, pre-vetted installers near you, and even speak with an Energy Advisor if you have any questions. You can also see how much you can save by going solar using our Solar Calculator to get an instant estimate based on your home and property. If you’re planning on adding new air source heat pumps to your home and want to power them with solar electricity, note it in your account so potential installers can design a system in anticipation of this addition. Some solar installers can also help you design and price out a heat pump system for your home (or refer you to someone who can).


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