So you’ve decided to insulate your home: wonderful! Maybe you’re looking to make a drafty room more comfortable, or lower your heating bills. Maybe you’re looking at insulation as a first step in planning for a larger renovation or eventually replacing your HVAC system. Maybe you’re a renter, or live in a condo, and aren’t sure how much control you’ll have over making changes to your walls but you still want to address pesky cold spots: you can make weatherization improvements in your home, too! So now what?

The first step is to take inventory of your home. Take a look at this checklist from MassCEC to get a sense of where to focus your attention. Next, schedule a Mass Save Home Energy Assessment. There are two ways to do this: either by calling 1-866-527-SAVE (7283) or by scheduling directly with a Home Performance Contractor company. Your assessment will likely be virtual, but you can request an in-person assessment if you’d prefer. The energy specialist may also do an initial screening virtually and, depending on your situation, follow up with an in-person assessment. 

Everyone in Newton can schedule an energy assessment, even renters and condo owners, as long as you have an electric or gas bill. If you are a renter you’ll need your landlord’s permission before adding insulation, but you can get started with the initial assessment.

During your call or visit with the energy specialist, make sure to ask pointed questions to cover all the topics listed on the weatherization checklist linked above. This may involve going into your attic or basement to take a good look at your current insulation and heating equipment. At the end of the assessment, you’ll get a list of recommendations. This may include free energy savings tools, such as a programmable thermostats and power strips. Your energy specialist may recommend nsulation and/or air sealing. If you scheduled by calling the main Mass Save phone number, the specialist will then connect you with another insulation installer. If you scheduled through a Home Performance Contractor, they will schedule for a team from their company to do the follow-up installation. All work through Mass Save has a standard price, so you don’t need to worry about getting multiple quotes. And this work is highly discounted: air sealing is covered at 100% (free for you) and insulation is 75% covered at 75% (100% covered for income-eligible households).

You may find out during your assessment that you have some “pre-weatherization barriers,” such as knob and tube wiring or vermiculite, that you’ll have to remove before adding insulation or air sealing. This can make weatherizing your home into a bigger process than you expected, but you will be eligible for a 0% interest loan to help with the removal costs.

You can get an energy assessment every two years, so if you’ve been through this process previously but are still finding trouble spots in your home, call again.

The final step? Sit back and relax in your comfortable, lower heating cost, climate-saving home!

As the City of Newton Energy Coach, Liora Silkes helps residents improve the energy efficiency of their homes. She also helps residents learn about electric vehicles, solar options, and the best financial incentives available.