Heather S. of Reading, Pa., was in the middle of washing dishes when she noticed something odd – the hot water was just lukewarm.
She called upstairs to make sure no one was showering, but that wasn’t the issue. Heather braced herself and went to check on the water heater.
“I knew this couldn’t be good, and I went down, and I didn’t hear the pilot (light),” she said. “I knew the water heater was on its last days, and I was stressing. I had to figure out what to do with the water heater. I had been having a tough time, and things couldn’t get any worse.”
Heather is a single parent of four children, including one with special needs, and her family is on a fixed income. The average cost to replace a water heater is $1,200, and Heather simply didn’t have that. She also was beginning to understand how difficult not having hot water on tap was going to make her life – she now had to boil water any time she needed hot water, including doing the dishes and bathing. It was a grim and eye-opening experience.
“We were boiling water just to do the dishes and looking at continuing to do that for who knows how long,” she said. “It was my first time dealing with no hot water.”
She didn’t know where to turn, but help came from an unexpected place.
Don Readinger is an employee at UGI Heating, Cooling and Plumbing in Reading, and is one of the company’s lead installers. He also attended the same church as Heather’s father.
“Things have been tough, just a lot, but God answered my prayers faster than expected. What a blessing it was, thanks to Don.”
“So, I actually know Don through my father, because they go to church together, and I got to know him a little bit because he’s really good friends with my dad,” she said. “He called and we were talking about my situation, and he was trying to figure out how to help me.”
As soon as Don learned about the situation, he started to look for a solution.
“I was trying all sorts of ways to help, from going to our local supply house for scratch and dent models, but they were way out of her price range,” Don explained. “I had her register for a raffle for a free water heater install, but that wasn’t guaranteed. My last resort was to go to a home improvement store and see if they could help in any way. I laid awake in the middle of the night, trying to solve this problem.
Being in the city, the water heater needed to be inspected. I could have gone to my local church to buy a water heater, but I could not have installed it without a permit.”
Heather herself had struck out, calling around to see if any organization in the community could help her with an emergency repair.
“I had called a lot of different places, and no one had any programs to help,” she said.
However, Don didn’t have far to look. UGI Heating is owned by HomeServe North America, the leading provider of emergency home repair services, and HomeServe also is the home of the HomeServe Cares Foundation, which supplies pro bono emergency home repairs to qualifying people in need.
“It was by prayer that God gave me an answer about 5 a.m. in in the morning and that I was to send HomeServe an email for help,” he said. “It solved all the problems with the install and I knew UGI Heating would install it right and safe.”
“I knew this couldn’t be good, and I went down, and I didn’t hear the pilot (light),” she said. “I knew the water heater was on its last days,”. Don sent off an email that read, in part, “Their water heater sprung a leak and Heather had to shut it down. Now they have no hot water for bathing, and they are trying to make do. I have lost sleep over trying to help with no success. I know that HomeServe is always doing charity work in the community.”
The Foundation team received the email Thursday morning, and before lunch, the crew at UGI Heating were looking for the earliest installation they could manage to accommodate Heather’s schedule.
“We absolutely want to help out,” Bob Young, UGI Heating Cooling and Plumbing general manager said. “Don is an excellent employee, and we can get it done.”
By Monday, Heather had a brand-new water heater installed by UGI Heating techs and was enjoying having hot water again.
“I knew HomeServe did a lot of charity work, but who am I?” Don said “Thank you for helping from the bottom of my heart. You blessed a family in need, and it happened fast.”
Heather herself was surprised by the speed with which the installation was accomplished.
“I want to say it wasn’t any more than three days without hot water,” she said. “It all happened so quickly, and I wasn’t expecting that. It was such a blessing.
Things have been tough, just a lot, but God answered my prayers faster than expected. What a blessing it was, thanks to Don. Don led us to (HomeServe Cares). Thank you again.”