Oil Heat Cares: Helping the needy stay warm
Many people don’t think about their heating systems until something goes wrong.
Many people don’t think about their heating systems until something goes wrong. When that happens, it can be a big financial burden. Oil Heat Cares assists families and individuals who are in need of new oil-fired heating equipment but cannot afford to have the work done for a number of reasons.
Contractors can help by identifying a family or individual who needs oil-heat equipment and does not have the means to pay for it. All members and contractors of OHC donate their time and expertise — free of charge. Many of the National Association of Oil and Energy Service Professionals chapters have fundraisers of their own to benefit OHC.
One such event is the OESP Oil Heat Retreat in September 2016. This event features the annual Oil Heat Care to Ride, where attendees can ride a motorcycle or bicycle, walk or run for a good cause. “There are many families that fall through the cracks and need help,” says David Bessette, chairperson of Oil Heat Cares. “Our goal is to help as many as we can.”
No more mopping
Leone Grim of Bristol, Conn., is one such example of someone who fell through the cracks. She had an ongoing leak in her cast-iron boiler with a domestic coil. Being an elderly woman who underwent recent hip surgery made it even tougher for her to get hot water this past summer. Her service company marked the temperature/pressure gauge with a marker and told her to hand-fill the boiler to the described mark when too much water leaked from the unit. Then she had to mop up the boiler water before slowly making her way back upstairs.
Oil Heat Cares was contacted for help. Rick Glownia, sales rep for manufacturers representative JAD Associates and a member of OESP’s CT Valley chapter, visited the home and confirmed there was an immediate need for OHC to get involved and stop this dangerous condition.
“This project was referred to us by OESP Executive Director Judy Garber,” Glownia says. “The homeowner’s daughter got Judy’s information from the local social services department in Bristol and reached out to her. We came in and replaced the boiler with a new indirect-fired water heater, circulator pumps, oil line and an automatic feeder.”
Howard Dyson, president of manufacturers representative Dyson Associates, was asked to help with this project. Thanks to Dyson and boiler manufacturer ECR International, OHC was able to replace the old boiler with a Utica TriFire and H2O-40 indirect water heater.
On Halloween day, Glownia, Dyson and the other volunteers — Al Breda, service manager of service provider Sippin Energy Products and national OESP president; Adam Schmitt, service technician at Sippin Energy Products; Berkley Little, HVAC department head and instructor at technical school Porter and Chester Institute; John Sirois, student at the Porter and Chester Institute; and George Pavlik, HVAC product manager at distributor Plimpton & Hills, and president of the CT Valley chapter — got together and replaced the equipment.
Grim and her daughter, Kathy Martin, were ecstatic to hear they would get this help. “My mother is a widow living on a fixed income and she has depleted all her savings,” Martin says. “We didn’t know what we were going to do for my mom, especially with the winter coming. It was such a worry and then just a great relief and joy. It was a godsend. Those guys were really kind and amazing. We will be forever grateful.”
Thanks from a grateful homeowner
Geraldine Melisse, from Union, N.J., is another elderly woman who found herself in a tough financial position and in need of a new boiler. Thanks to the people at Woolley Home Solutions in Maplewood, N.J., she got one at no charge.
Kevin Ball, service manager at service provider Woolley Home Solutions and N.J. Garden State chapter member, coordinated the efforts and worked alongside service tech Ed Postol, licensed plumber Todd Williams, service tech Joe Fealey, and helper Chris Juliano.
Ball has been in the HVAC industry eight years and the oil-heat service management industry for almost two years. “I became a member of the OESP shortly after I joined Woolley Home Solutions,” he says. “I knew nothing of anything like Oil Heat Cares before this project, but I had a long-time customer who had a bad boiler and was experiencing financial difficulty. I started to investigate what I could do to help her out and that’s when I came across OHC.”
Melisse’s boiler was leaking due to a crack and needed to be replaced.
“We used a Weil-McLain SGO-3 steam boiler with a Beckett AFG oil burner — complete repiping and everything,” Ball explains. “I started this process in November 2014. Everything needed to be cleaned out of the basement before we could do anything with the boiler. So, we went back and forth with that — waiting for her to have someone come out and help her clean it up. Finally, we did it in September 2015.
“Initially, she was very happy and grateful, but the best reaction was at the end. She was crying tears of joy, overwhelmed because I showed her the invoice of what it would have cost and then gave her the no-charge invoice. Between us and Oil Heat Cares, we covered everything. I got quite a few hugs. It was a very rewarding and gratifying experience.”
Thanks also go to Bill Edelman, manufacturers representative for Weil-McLain, for securing the boiler at no cost to OHC; Charlie Masone, manufacturers representative for Beckett, who donated the burner at no charge; and Richard Epstein, owner of New Jersey Plumbing Supply, who provided a credit of $400 for piping and materials needed.
Melisse thanked Ball and stated how grateful she was. “Nobody has ever done anything like this for me,” she told Ball. “Nobody does anything for me. I have to do everything — I can’t believe this.”
She also wrote a letter back to Woolley Home Solutions following the installation: “How can one say ‘thank-you’ to such a great group of human beings! All included in this endeavor were polite and gracious.”
Being a good neighbor
The Tuccitto family has eight children and one has special needs. Garber spoke with Christine Tuccitto and she seemed like a perfect fit for the Oil Heat Cares mission — helping neighbors in need. Three companies were involved — F. Perrelli & Sons Fuel, East River Energy and Wilcox Fuel.
George Perrelli, spokesperson for the New Haven (Conn.) chapter’s project and president/owner of F. Perrelli & Sons Fuel, has been in the industry for 42 years. Having been involved with OHC since its inception, Perrelli has worked on many OHC projects.
Upon inspection, Perrelli found that the boiler was in bad condition — the combustion chamber was completely destroyed, the tankless coil plate was severely rotted and starting to leak, the flue pipe also was in very bad condition, and the boiler was completely plugged with soot.
“I was the lead contractor on the project and was able to procure the equipment,” notes George McQueeney, service manager at East River Energy. “I asked for a reduction in price but Jim Quincy, owner of Quincy Hydronic Technology, stepped up and donated the boiler. Also, Tony Pellagrinofrom Plimpton & Hills donated the indirect water heater and Ken Punzeltwith distributor Branford Winnelson provided a deep discount on the related components.”
In addition to Perrelli and McQueeney, four others worked on the project: Nate Terrible, service tech at East River Energy; Nicholas Perrelli, service tech at F. Perrelli & Sons Fuel; and service techs Nick Tedescoand Roger Shoreyfrom Wilcox Energy. The team installed a new Biasi B10-4 cast-iron, oil-fired boiler with a Riello burner and a 60-gal. Triangle Tube indirect water heater.
Perrelli notes the homeowners were surprised and thankful that people were willing to help and donate their time to get this job done. “It is one of the most satisfying feelings you get when you’re able to give back to someone who really needs the help,” he says. “I am truly happy to help on any OHC projects that come our way. It is one of best feelings you get when the job is done and the homeowners can’t thank you enough.”
McQueeney agrees: “All these projects give you a good feeling when completed and you see the family’s joy in having a new heating system. I have been involved in six in the past few years and have another to be completed soon.”
Contractors can learn more about how to help by visiting www.oilheatcares.com/get-involved.