The Commonwealth Woodstove Change-Out program, a partnership between MassCEC, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Energy Resources, offers rebates to assist Massachusetts residents in replacing non-EPA-certified wood stoves with cleaner, more efficient EPA-certified wood or pellet stoves. The 2017 Woodstove Change-Out Program has been extended until September 25, 2017.
Homeowners are eligible for the standard rebate if:
- Their old woodstove is currently operational, non-EPA certified, and located in a residential building.
- The stove they plan to purchase is EPA-certified and meets Commonwealth Woodstove Change-Out Program emissions requirements for new stoves.
Homeowners are eligible for a low-income rebate if:
- They meet all requirements for the standard rebate and their annual household income falls below 80 percent of the Massachusetts state median income level, as detailed below.
80% of State Median Income
Before applying for the low-income rebate, homeowners must demonstrate their eligibility in one of the following ways:
- Verify that their annual income meets program requirements using a third-party service, free of charge, available through MassCEC’s income verification portal prior to August 19, 2017; or
- Provide a copy of their current fuel assistance letter; or
- Provide an electric bill issued within the last six months showing they receive a discounted utility rate.
Only residents earning less than 60 percent of state median income are eligible for fuel assistance or discounted electricity rates. Therefore, customers earning between 60 percent and 80 percent of the state median must apply through MassCEC’s income verification portal.
Homeowners are not eligible for the program if:
- They are not replacing an existing operational woodstove or fireplace insert.
- Their existing woodstove or fireplace insert is EPA-certified. Only non-EPA certified stoves are eligible for replacement under the Commonwealth Woodstove Change-Out Program.
- They wish to replace an existing pellet stove. Existing pellet stoves are not eligible for replacement under the Commonwealth Woodstove Change-Out Program.
- Homeowners who are not eligible to participate in the Commonwealth Woodstove Change-Out Program may be eligible for rebates for other clean heating and cooling technologies.
Step 1: Contact a Participating Stove Professional
Each homeowner should first select a participating stove professional, who will submit the rebate application on his or her behalf. MassCEC maintains a list of stove professionals and tips for finding an installer participating in the 2017 Commonwealth Woodstove Change-Out Program.
When contacting a stove professional, a homeowner should be prepared to provide:
- The year the stove was manufactured.
- Pictures of the front and back of the stove, if possible. All EPA-certified stoves have a metal tag on the back of the stove indicating EPA certification.
Homeowners can also learn more about woodstoves, including information on stove pricing and the differences between non-catalytic, catalytic, pellet stoves, and fully automotive woodstoves.
Step 2: Homeowner Verifies Eligibility for Low-Income Rebate, if Necessary
If a homeowner wishes to apply for a low-income rebate, he or she must confirm eligibility by providing the stove professional with a current fuel assistance letter, OR electric bill issued within the last six months showing a residential-assistance utility rate, OR verifying annual income using our confidential, third-party income verification portal.
Please note that documentation must be submitted through MassCEC’s income verification portal on or before August 19, 2017 to be considered for income-based rebate funding. After this date the portal will be closed. All projects submitted for income verification via portal on or before August 19 will be granted one month for rebate application submission beginning on the date that income is verified. MassCEC will receive automatic notification of homeowner eligibility for income-based rebates through the portal.
Step 3: Stove Professional Completes Change-Out and Applies for Rebate
Once a homeowner has determined the old stove’s eligibility, selected a stove professional and signed a contract with stove professional to complete the change-out, he or she can move forward with the project.
The stove professional should:
- Ensure that the change-out can be completed by the September 25, 2017 application deadline.
- Ensure that the project meets program eligibility requirements, and that program procedures are followed, as described in the program manual.
- Complete the change-out. This includes:
- Removing the old stove and having it rendered inoperable by a stove recycler.
- Installing the new stove.
- Discussing best practices for operating and maintaining the stove, including best practices for wood burning and chimney cleaning. Additional information on how to burn wood more cleanly and efficiency can be found on the EPA’s Burn Wise website and on the Department of Energy’s wood and pellet heating website.
- Apply for the rebate on behalf of the homeowner. The rebate amount should be treated as an instant discount to the homeowner on the total cost of the project and listed as such on the project invoice. The homeowner will need to provide the stove professional with:
- A signed participant's agreement
- An electric bill from the past six months
- Pictures of the old stove (before removal) and new stove (after installation)
Please read the program manual for full details on eligibility, program requirements and rebates. Installers looking to participate in the program, or apply on behalf of homeowners, should visit the installer resources page.
How do I determine whether my current stove is EPA-certified?
- All woodstoves legally manufactured for sale in the United States on or after July 1, 1988 were required to achieve EPA certification, and are considered to be EPA certified for purposes of this program. Stoves manufactured after this deadline are marked with a permanent EPA certification label or tag on the back of the stove. Stoves certified by the 1988 New Source Performance Standard are also listed here. If you are not sure if your current stove is EPA-certified, first check the back of the stove for an EPA tag. If you are still not sure, then search for your stove in the above mentioned list.
What are the requirements for EPA-certified stoves?
- Under the 1988 New Source Performance Standards, all stoves manufactured for sale in the United States after 1990 must emit 7.5 g/hr or less of particulate matter. Although new requirements released by the EPA in 2015 further decreased this threshold to 4.5 g/hr, MassCEC recognizes all stoves certified under either the 1988 or 2015 NSPS as EPA certified for the purposes of determining which stoves can be replaced under this Program.
How much will my rebate be?
- Standard rebates range from $500 to $1,750 per change-out, and low-income rebates range from $1,500 to $3,000, based on stove specifications. See Table 1 in the program manual for details.
How do different stove types compare in terms of price?
- Typically, the stoves with the lowest emissions and most automated features are the most expensive. However, stoves should be evaluated based on the homeowner’s needs. Fully automotive woodstoves are, on average, the most expensive woodstoves, but are the cleanest burning when installed. Pellet stoves, which generally have lower emissions than traditional woodstoves, tend to be moderately more expensive than traditional wood stoves, in part because most have automated components and other high-end features. Catalytic stoves are moderately more expensive than non-catalytic stoves. When comparing non-catalytic stoves to one another, models that emit more grams per hour of particulate matter ironically are often more expensive. In some cases they are simply less effective at eliminating particulate, while in other cases they simply have the capacity to burn more wood and provide more heat on an hourly basis. The Commonwealth Woodstove Change-Out Program's higher rebate levels for low-emitting stoves aim to compensate homeowners for buying cleaner-burning models.
What if I don't have an old stove to trade in?
- While a non-EPA-certified stove is require to qualify for a Commonwealth Woodstove Change-Out Program rebate, homeowners who do not have stoves still may be eligible for rebates for other clean heating and cooling technologies.
What types of stoves are eligible to be changed out? What stoves are eligible to be installed?
- Old, non-EPA certified wood stoves and inserts are eligible to be changed out. Old coal, gas, and pellet stoves are not eligible for this change-out program. Homeowners can replace these old wood stoves only with wood and pellet stoves and inserts that are on our Qualified Equipment List .
Through a partnership between MassCEC and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), the Commonwealth Woodstove Change-Out Program has committed $1.8 million in funding for change-outs from 2017 through 2019. The 2017 program represents the sixth round of funding since the program's launch in 2012.
The program has helped more than 1,400 residents swap out their non-EPA certified, inefficient stoves for newer, cleaner models, and approximately 500 of these rebates went to residents earning less than 80 percent of the state median income.