Paul Holm, executive director of Rebuilding Together Greater Cuyahoga Valley, had nothing but praise for last Saturday’s “Heat the Town,” when members of the Akron-Canton chapter of Air Conditioning Contractors of America signed on to inspect, clean and replace filters on the furnaces of 75 low-income homeowners who went through an application process.
“Some of those furnaces were leaking significant amounts of carbon monoxide while one boiler was leaking a significant amount of natural gas through its regulator,” Holm said. “In one case, significant health hazards were identified and appropriate referrals made within the community. Rebuilding Together is now working with its agency partners to find help for each of those homeowners requiring further assistance.”
Lynne Black, executive director of the Akron-Canton chapter, was equally effusive with praise for Heat the Town’s community outreach:
“We saved lives!” she said. “It’s amazing how many homes are without smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors. We installed one or both in almost every home.”
Sixty-one furnaces were successfully serviced, “but we found nine unsafe furnaces that were shut down and five that needed major repairs,” Black said. “I would say all nine are in dire straits of having unsafe furnaces that could have killed this heating season, either with carbon monoxide or fire, and need replaced. This, of course, puts a big burden on Paul at Rebuilding Together because he has to find the programs and funding to get these nine furnaces replaced before winter.”
Akron homeowner Marie Hendericks, whose furnace was among those tagged and therefore out of commission, is praying that money falls from the heavens soon to replace it.
Hendericks, who said she was cold earlier in the week when we spoke, is understandably worried at the prospect of going through winter with no heat.
Here’s hoping that doesn’t happen.
Black is buoyed by the support Heat the Town has received since its 2006 inception.
“After eight years, it continues to bring us together to serve the elderly, disabled, low-income and veteran homeowners,” she noted. “All in all, it has been a win-win situation for everyone. No matter how many years a contractor or supplier has volunteered, it is an emotional sight when you arrive at the ‘Heat the Town’ kickoff at Wolff Brothers Supply and witness the sea of contractor trucks. To me it still is amazing … 364 days, they are competitors, but on this one day, they join together for a common cause …
“It’s wonderful to see all of our people working together to help so many who are in need. On this day, we enter a stranger’s home to help them stay warm in the winter, and to know that when we leave they are safe. And the tears in their eyes or the smiles on their faces warm our hearts.”
Here are the contractors who turned out to do these free inspections, in some cases life-savers. A big thanks to each of them:
Beckwith Heating & Cooling; Jackson Comfort Systems; K Co.; Falls Heating & Cooling; Carl’s Heating & Air Conditioning; Jeff Aberegg Heating & Air Conditioning; Crown Heating & Cooling; Brandon Heating & Air Conditioning; Hudson Heating Co.; ETE Heating & Air Conditioning; Joe’s Air Conditioning & Refrigeration; DeAngelis Heating & Air Conditioning; Dominion East Ohio Gas Co. (Good Cents, an independent home energy auditor); Buckeye Heating & Air Conditioning Supply; Famous Supply; Johnstone Supply; Morrow Control & Supply; Refrigeration Sales Corp.; Pipeline Plumbing; Robertson Heating Supply; Webb Supply; Ferguson Heating & Cooling; Wolff Bros. Supply.
Hats off also to Summit County Weatherization program, the Cleveland Housing Network and others who helped.
If you are interested in helping to replace the nine unsafe furnaces for their low-income homeowners before winter, please email Paul@RebuildingTogether-SC.org or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or email@example.com.