Written on: March 15, 2019 by Erin Holohan Haskell
That was the case in November 2018 when Michelle Leone shared photos of her heating system in the discussion forum on HeatingHelp.com. A few months earlier, Michelle Leone purchased a charming Connecticut bungalow that was built in 1912. Since winter was right around the bend, she invested in a new boiler installation for her steam-heating system. Banging and clanging pipes, however, soon dashed her new-homeowner excitement. Leone came to HeatingHelp.com and posted, “Please help…Not sure where to go from here. If I had the money I would definitely get someone else in here to make it right. Unfortunately, I’m on a tight budget.”
Forum members began offering advice and then Peter Owens of SteamIQ had an idea. “If anyone else in MA/RI wants to get a work party to help out Michelle, I’m happy to donate my labor,” he posted. The holidays were approaching and it was the midst of heating season, but one after another, forum members offered to help by volunteering labor or supplying parts for the job. They planned to begin work on December 14 and by the time that date arrived, a Steam Dream Team had come together to generously donate their time and talent to get the job done.
The team included Peter Owens (SteamIQ, MA), Bob Boan and Bobby Gates (Bob’s Heating, Cooling, and Electric, VA), Ezzy Travis (E. Travis Mechanical, NJ), Jamie Hall (Registered Civil Engineer, CT), Paul E. Charczuk (North Fork Refrigeration Services, NY) and Ryan Donoghue (MA). Forum members and companies, including SupplyHouse.com, R.I.S Wood Heat, Barnes & Jones, F.W. Webb, SUNTEC Pumps, SPX FLOW, Westwood Products, Watts, W.P. Haney Co. and Bolt Depot, contributed money and parts. In total, over $3,000 worth of products were sent to the jobsite.
Most members of the Steam Team had never met in person, but they have been sharing their knowledge with one another on HeatingHelp.com for years. “We have such a great knowledge on Heating Help of how things should be done. And I thought it would be a great opportunity to showcase the skills from some of these contractors,” Owens said.
Boan and Gates made the trip all the way from Virginia. Boan added, “I have learned over my lifetime that you get more than you give and I have found the group on Heating Help to be some of the most helpful people I’ve seen.”
They had a big job ahead of them. All of the piping was incorrect, so they ripped it out and started over. Over the next two days, they worked on everything from the mains to the branches to the near-boiler piping. At the end of the two-day project, Owens posted on the forum, “Hands are tired, back is tired, feet are tired, but heart is happy.”
Leone was overwhelmed by their kindness. “It’s amazing,” she said, shaking her head. “I still can’t wrap my head around it.” She later added on the forum, “Steam is a beautiful thing when it’s done right and these guys certainly know how to do that.”
When people sign up for the discussion forum on HeatingHelp.com, they’re asked to take what they need and leave what they can. This often goes beyond generously answering questions. Time and again, community members have stepped up to help those in need.
Here’s to the Steam Dream Team and all of the HVAC heroes who warm homes and hearts. ICM