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How can I help my friend's family?

His furnace died today and it will cost roughly $6000 to replace. He's in Massachusetts where he said the temperature is currently 12 degrees and will hit 0 tonight. Both him and his partner, as well as his elderly mom who lives with them all have COVID.

They can't afford a furnace and neither can I. Christ, if I was wealthy I'd see to it people never had to suffer.

What are my options to help?

by Anonymousreply 62January 13, 2022 5:17 PM

Call their local police/sheriffs office (not 911) and explain the situation. Have them come up with the solution. They likely have things in place for this kind of emergency.

by Anonymousreply 1January 11, 2022 9:28 PM

He should check with his utility company. Ours will carry the cost of a new A/C or a new furnace and then collect the money on the monthly bills.

by Anonymousreply 2January 11, 2022 9:28 PM

Yeah, but they need to get through the next night or two

by Anonymousreply 3January 11, 2022 9:29 PM

Can you afford matches?

by Anonymousreply 4January 11, 2022 9:31 PM

Are there warming shelters for people without heat? They have cooling centers in the summer - is there something equivalent for winter?

I would google his town's social services numbers and try to get someone on the phone and ask?

Can you afford to have a space heater delivered to them?

That's awful :(

by Anonymousreply 5January 11, 2022 9:32 PM

Start a GoFundMe?

by Anonymousreply 6January 11, 2022 9:35 PM

Space heater -- the kind that has oil inside. They're great and not dangerous or expensive to run.

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by Anonymousreply 7January 11, 2022 9:37 PM

R5 here - realized they can't go to a warming center with COVID. oops.

Sending them a space heater seems like the fastest solution.

by Anonymousreply 8January 11, 2022 9:37 PM

He has a space heater but said the draft in the home is rendering it pretty much useless.

He lives in Feeding Hills/Agawam.

by Anonymousreply 9January 11, 2022 9:44 PM

R1, I am not sure calling the police is such a good idea, a house must have a working furnace to be considered habitable, they might get kicked out and the house condemned if they are unable to replace the furnace, surely there are better calls to make than the police..

by Anonymousreply 10January 11, 2022 9:48 PM

OP check this out.

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by Anonymousreply 11January 11, 2022 9:49 PM

Also you don't want adult protective services to step in and take his mom away.

by Anonymousreply 12January 11, 2022 9:49 PM

R11 is all on top of this -- at least that should work for tomorrow.

I hang blankets over the top of my curtains; you can also stuff newspapers in the cracks around the windows.

There's also plastic wrap you can buy that seals windows. You attach it by heating it with a blow dryer.

by Anonymousreply 13January 11, 2022 9:54 PM

Maybe multiple space heaters? Probably not the best solution but until a better one comes along.

by Anonymousreply 14January 11, 2022 9:56 PM

r6 if they head that route should really hire a fundraising specialist to expedite the procoess and handle relations, they may require an upfront cost or a portion of the funds raised. Though one might check into sites like fiverr for the prices of social media promotion as an alternative.

lay out the costs for the fam in question and maybe make the goal a bit higher for other immediate needs and excess going to a related advocacy group or charity.

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by Anonymousreply 15January 11, 2022 9:57 PM

Pretty sure that there are HVAC companies that offer equal billing or some other type of payment terms for situations like these. I would call them and ask as well, start with maybe the larger companies. This can't be a unique situation.

by Anonymousreply 16January 11, 2022 10:00 PM
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by Anonymousreply 17January 11, 2022 10:04 PM
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by Anonymousreply 18January 11, 2022 10:05 PM
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by Anonymousreply 19January 11, 2022 10:07 PM

Go on their town/ local Craigslist and post. they will likely get tons of help. I am basing this on how it would work in Vermont, ymmv.

by Anonymousreply 20January 11, 2022 10:08 PM

Have him check with his city or county to see if either has an emergency repair loan program. Many areas with alotof older housing stock have these. Depending on home value and household income, homeowners may qualify for an outright grant of funds for a necessary repair or replacement, or a low interest loan. Some programs will forgive the loan if you continue to live in the home for a set period of time. The programs have HVAC companies they work with to do quick installs.

If there is no such program, call his power utility, as noted above. They have the loan programs and HVAC installer partners. Having an elderly person in the home will make them a priority.

Now the bad news: furnaces and replacement parts are also affected by the supply line crisis. Worst case scenario would be no available furnaces for a week or weeks. That's why he can't delay on this. They may end up having to move into a hotel or short term rental until a furnace can be installed.

by Anonymousreply 21January 11, 2022 10:08 PM

Apologies OP, I meant local reddit, I had a brainfart.

by Anonymousreply 22January 11, 2022 10:10 PM

R11, thank you for posting that. Just forwarded it to him.

I posted on here hoping to reach some DLers in Massachusetts who are familiar with these situations.

I'm in Virginia.

by Anonymousreply 23January 11, 2022 10:13 PM

This is why everybody in colder areas should have a wood burning stove.

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by Anonymousreply 24January 11, 2022 10:14 PM

Also, the emergency heat ideas involving burning stuff in rocket stoves or pots are worthless and incredibly dangerous. They cannot heat more than a few square feet of space, meaning you have to huddle over them. Huge fire and carbon monoxide risk from them, too. DON'T DO IT.

If he 's gonna heat with a non electric source, he should buy one or more Mr. Heater Buddy portable propane heater. They run on 1 lb or 20 lb tanks of propane, and burn cleaner than kerosene. Even with one of those, they'd all have to retreat to one room with the heater and blankets to keep warm.

by Anonymousreply 25January 11, 2022 10:15 PM

#1 – Secure Your Home to Prevent Heat Loss

Block Cold Air Entry Points

Common cold air entry points include:

Gaps around doors and windows Kitchen exhaust fan Dryer vent External wall outlets and switches Fireplace flue damper Chimney Furnace or water heater vents and cold air returns Any other place that allows cold air in or heat to escape

Be careful not to seal up your home so tightly that you have issues with moisture buildup or stale, unhealthy air inside of your home. There is a balance.

You can block cold airflow by rolling up towels or blankets and stuffing under the doors. Some can be easily blocked by using painter’s tape to seal leaks around doors or windows. I would avoid using duct tape because it damages the paint.

Cover Windows to Insulate

Windows are a significant source of heat loss. Insulate the windows the absolute best you are able. Start by closing curtains and blinds.insulate them by taping plastic sheeting over the window, cutting cardboard to place next to the window, or even draping an extra blanket over the top of the curtain rod. You can make bubble wrap stick to the inside of the window by spraying the window with water before putting it up.

#2 – Create Microclimates

Set Up a Tent

The best way that we have discovered to create a microclimate is by setting up a small tent inside the house and toss blankets, tarps over it or insulate with styrofoam

Create a makeshift tent by placing blankets over the top of a table.

Another expedient microclimate can be made by throwing a couple of blankets over the top bunk of a bunk bed. The occupants can sleep and play in the lower bunk. A cozy little cave is created by increasing the body heat generated and trapping it inside of the blankets.

Confine Activity to One Selected Living Area This enables you to use alternative heat sources in a smaller area and conserve fuel.

Select an area that makes the most sense.

Shut all the doors or block off areas by hanging blankets or sheets. Confine alternative heating to this one area. Be sure to monitor carbon monoxide levels with a working carbon monoxide detector. If anyone starts to feel headachy or sick, stop using alternative heating immediately and get fresh air. It is better to be cold than dead.

#3 – Dress Appropriately to Stay Warm

Dressing to stay warm indoors can be just a little bit confusing. It is important to be comfortably warm, but not sweat. Moisture will quickly wick heat away from your body.

The best way to accomplish this is by dressing in layers that can be easily removed or added to accommodate the changing temperatures. Dressing in layers is simple if you remember these basics:

Base layer – The purpose of the base layer is to wick moisture away from your body. Synthetic fabrics tend to work the best for the layer right next to your skin.

Mid-layer – The middle layer is designed to keep you warm by insulating and helping you to retain your body heat. This layer could consist of a wool sweater, a flannel shirt, or perhaps a hoodie.

Outer layer – The outside layer is usually intended to protect you from the elements. However, when you are trying to stay warm indoors you do not need to worry about rain or snow. This layer can help provide a little bit of extra warmth when temperatures drop and can easily be removed when you are comfortable.

#4 – Drink Warm Liquids and Eat Hot Foods

#5 – Get Up and Move Around

Moving around will help you stay warmer. Twenty minutes of mild exercise can keep you warm for an hour. It is important to exercise moderately and not break a sweat. Sweating will wick the heat way from your body and cool you.

#6 – Explore Potential Heat Source Options

visit friends or neighbors

extra body warmth; human or pets

heating bricks, stones, garden pavers, rice bags, water bottles, thick heat retaining clothing and sleeping bags straight out of the dryer before sleep,

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by Anonymousreply 26January 11, 2022 10:23 PM

Send a nice card and a pot of jam!

by Anonymousreply 27January 11, 2022 10:26 PM

Gofundme! Most places will do a repayment program.

by Anonymousreply 28January 11, 2022 10:28 PM

Set up tents indoors. Won't solve the bigger problem, but it will help with the draft situation. Body heat will help keep a tent warm. Close off rooms and stick to heating just a couple, block the drafts with blankets and such, but make sure there's some ventilation. Cooking things that take a long time, like stews and using the stove to help heat the house also helps.

After what happened to Texas last year, I got a lot less willing to give up my gas stove.

by Anonymousreply 29January 11, 2022 10:28 PM

Call the Salvation Army in their town. They will put them up on a motel for a couple of nights until they get a furnace in their home.

by Anonymousreply 30January 11, 2022 10:33 PM

Buy Thermacare disposable heating pads. They have large ones and small ones

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by Anonymousreply 31January 11, 2022 11:11 PM

Thanks R11 but that was a bust. The household income exceeds the amount. Which is ridiculous since my friend makes the most with $37K/yr but just started his job last month. His partner made $12K at McDonalds and his mon is on disability.

[quote]to qualify for heartwap our income has to be less than 60% of the median income in Massachusetts. which this year the median income was 90.000. so our income has to be less than 54,000 and its not.

by Anonymousreply 32January 11, 2022 11:15 PM

Kero heater. They will all have to stay In a room or two. Electric space.. would can get their account nand prob pay half or so online. Or buy 3 space heaters and let them deal..

by Anonymousreply 33January 11, 2022 11:29 PM

R10 This is obviously a temporary measure. I highly doubt they would split up the families and condemn the house because of a cold snap.

The motel room idea might work. The local LE agencies I'm sure have backup plans for when this kind of thing happens and that might be one of them. Call.

Space heaters in these kinds of situations are very dangerous fire hazards. They aren't built for this kind of hardcore usage.

by Anonymousreply 34January 11, 2022 11:37 PM

R21 has a good point. I'm currently having a full HVAC system installed and nearly every step has been delayed by shortages of equipment and materials.

by Anonymousreply 35January 11, 2022 11:45 PM

Yes get them into a hotel tonight. American Red Cross might be able to help. Have them run all faucets as slow as possible so the pipes don’t freeze. Meantime, they need to get the oil or gas company to install a new furnace that they can finance.

This makes me think of Alicia Witt’s parents who recently froze to death inside their Massachusetts home.

by Anonymousreply 36January 11, 2022 11:45 PM

Time to sell some ass

by Anonymousreply 37January 11, 2022 11:46 PM

My furnace went out last December. It was going to take two weeks to repair it. I bought two tall space heaters, and put one in the den and the other in my bedroom. (My condo is 1300 sq. ft.) They worked fine!

I was told I was going to have to pay a much higher electric bill because I was using them, but I actually saved about $200 on the next bill.

Granted, I wore my heaviest sweater and a wool cap on my head, but I managed. As my British grandmother would say during the war, "Keep Calm, Carry On." This gets me through many unexpected challenges.

by Anonymousreply 38January 11, 2022 11:59 PM

You could send him some electric blankets. Hey they get nice and toasty.

by Anonymousreply 39January 12, 2022 12:16 AM

TX-LA border here.

During last year's ice storm I was beyond worried for my cat colony, who were all 8+ years old. I went to Harbor Freight and bought two ENORMOUS tarps with radiant heat features, several rolls of high-quality duck tape, and several packs of C-shaped screw-in cup holders. Got on a ladder and measured out the space between tarp rings, then screwed in the C-screws. Hung tarp on the rings, then pulled each section taut, then duck-taped all around, anchoring the bottom of tarp with more heavy cement blocks and more duck tape. Essentially I created a sealed-off porch with one tiny flap left unsecured so cats could leave/return for elimination puropses.

It was about 23°F while I was working, with high wind gusts. I finished up by putting out 4-5 cat beds on the top 2 steps, and on the bottom I placed chow/wet food/water dishes. I sewed 7 face towels on 3 sides, and put two Hot Hands inside each towel, then put one in each bed.

By the time I finished and brought the ladder in, my sister (who would run the heat in August if she could) was marveling how quickly and thoroughly the porch heated up and more important, RETAINED that heat. It was toastier on the cat porch than it was in the back of our house!

OP, your friend can buy Hot Hands at any Walmart, big box store, even at Dollar General and Walgreens. Two of them placed inside a cloth pocket will put out incredible heat for 8-15 hours.

I am in straitened circumstances as well, OP, and all on I spent less than $100 for the diy house wrapping: Three 60' tarps, duck tape, Hot Hands, cotton terry cloths, and C-screws. Each morning I would lift one bottom corner of the tarp and secure it to one of the top C-screws, so mail/deliveries could access the mailboxes. At night I dropped it back down and re-secured it with the cinder block. I left the apparatus in place until the last week of March, and everyone came through the ice just fine, even the possums.

by Anonymousreply 40January 12, 2022 12:21 AM

Any update on your friends OP?

by Anonymousreply 41January 12, 2022 1:59 AM

Let them freeze to death!

by Anonymousreply 42January 12, 2022 2:06 AM

[quote]They're great and not dangerous...

Unless you live in Brooklyn.

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by Anonymousreply 43January 12, 2022 2:15 AM

Kerosene heater. I used one, indoors, when I lived in Japan. At first, it seems crazy, but everybody there uses kerosene space heaters.

by Anonymousreply 44January 12, 2022 2:22 AM

R40, I am amazed and impressed by you!

by Anonymousreply 45January 12, 2022 2:24 AM

Your friend and his loved ones are in survival mode. They all have Covid. They can't leave. Are we sure there are good batteries in the thermostat? Clean furnace air filter? Furnace won't run if they get too dirty.

The need to cordon off a room. Being in Mass and income level, I'd say they live in an older home with real individual rooms. They need the use of the kitchen stove. If the kitchen is room size, then move some things out the kitchen to create space. Table and chairs in the middle of the room? Move them to another room. If Granny has a recliner or easy chair, then bring it into the kitchen along with any other easily moveable sleeping furniture. Bring a mattress into the kitchen. No matter if the stove is gas or electric, get some hot water into some large pots and set the to boiling to get some good, hot steam heat going. Fill bathtub and washing machine with water for later use. Have plenty of water for future use. Shut off water supply at main line, drain all pipes to avoid pipe freeze and burst. Have several buckets of water to manually flush toilet. They need to hang heavy blankets over the door ways to close off the room, retaining the heat to that room. If there's no space in the kitchen, galley or whatever, and the stove is electric, then move the stove into the living room and close that room off with blankets. There is plenty they can do to battle the cold. They just need to know what to do. Now is not the time to worry about comfort of personal space. Hope this helps.

by Anonymousreply 46January 12, 2022 2:33 AM

So much good and empathetic advice here. ❤️

by Anonymousreply 47January 12, 2022 2:37 AM

[quote] Thanks [R11] but that was a bust. The household income exceeds the amount. Which is ridiculous since my friend makes the most with $37K/yr but just started his job last month. His partner made $12K at McDonalds and his mon is on disability.

OP, Normally those income limits are on past income, not on future income, they might just want last years tax returns as proof. I think they should still apply, even if they don't qualify those people with the state agency might know of other sources that might help. Surely they run into other people who don't qualify, I find it hard to believe that they just tell people sorry you don't qualify, see ya.

by Anonymousreply 48January 12, 2022 3:14 AM

Wrap small thermacares around your faucet with towel, drip water.

by Anonymousreply 49January 12, 2022 3:21 AM

They are asking for help...

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by Anonymousreply 50January 12, 2022 10:49 AM

[quote]On Tuesday I called the HVAC company that fixed our furnace on December 5 and they came out to investigate a new noise. After 45 minutes of tinkering. the technician told us we have a carbon monoxide leak and that he has to shut down the unit and turn off the gas. This left us with no heat on the coldest night of this winter so far, and after applying down a number of avenues for credit including with the company's lender, we have been turned down. The company will install a new unit as soon as today but they are asking for all payment up front, and we don't have that kind of money with my just returning to work after being unemployed for 2 years. We are pleading with anyone that can help, even in the smallest way. My elderly mother is living with us and she is already sick. Please help if you can

by Anonymousreply 51January 12, 2022 10:53 AM

If they're well enough, have them put blankets on the walls over the windows to help with drafts.

If the bathroom is big enough, have them stay in there with the space heater and run the tub full of the hottest water they can get, the steam heat will help keep them warm and probably also help with any coughing or congestion if they have it.

First thing in the morning, contact the gas company and ask them if there are any programs that can help. Call other companies that install furnaces and ask them if there is any assistance program they know of. LIHEAP may also be able to help, but that may only be for bills.

Don't call the cops. Please, I don't know why that has 14 WWs but it's a terrible idea, OP.

by Anonymousreply 52January 12, 2022 10:59 AM

Oh, and on the GoFundMe, find a couple of friends to donate $10 or $20 to it to "seed" it, there are no donors right now and that makes people wary.

by Anonymousreply 53January 12, 2022 11:00 AM

R51, you need to tell your friend that the GoFundMe page sucks. No information, no back story, it looks like a scam that most people with a brain wouldn’t give to.

It sounds like they can’t afford the home they live in. Tell them to sell it and move to a cheaper rental that a landlord has to pay to keep up. They obviously don’t own it outright or even have much equity built up or they could have taken out a home equity loan.

by Anonymousreply 54January 12, 2022 11:52 AM

Thanks for the help guys.

Just got DM'ed that a relative is helping out and a new furnace will be installed this afternoon.

Please disregard the GFM as they are about to take it down.

Thanks again for all your suggestions and help.

by Anonymousreply 55January 12, 2022 2:42 PM

That's good news, r55.

by Anonymousreply 56January 12, 2022 2:47 PM

Yippieeeee, R55!!!

You're a good friend.🥰😍

by Anonymousreply 57January 12, 2022 3:06 PM

OP, why are you so poor? Why do you have poor friends? You and your friends don't have a measly $6000 in savings??? What happened?

by Anonymousreply 58January 12, 2022 3:09 PM

Why did the unit need to be replaced instead of having the carbon monoxide leak fixed (at least temporarily, if it's an old furnace)?

by Anonymousreply 59January 12, 2022 8:36 PM

Yeah, why wasn’t carbon monoxide leak fixed? Why didn’t furnace guy contact his company & make them aware of situation? ‘I’d open basement windows & tell him to put that fucking gas back on til we can get this sorted out. Why was the furnace guy called in first place?

by Anonymousreply 60January 13, 2022 3:33 AM

It’s also very concerning that your friends didn’t have a working carbon monoxide detector near the furnace.

by Anonymousreply 61January 13, 2022 3:35 AM

OP, your friend should have called out a second company immediately. The "carbon monoxide leak/cracked heat exchanger" claim can be true, but it is the most common scam used to pressure people into replacing furnaces. Furnaces should never be red-tagged and shut down without a second opinion for this reason.

Also, according to LIHEAP your friend is almost certainly eligible for assistance. I've included the link to the 2022 income guidelines, which shows an annual income limit of $66,151 for a three-person household. It's probably not too late for him to reach out to them again.

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by Anonymousreply 62January 13, 2022 5:17 PM
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