When temperatures approached single digits recently, the family’s furnace decided to call it quits.
The couple, their four children and the three nephews they’d recently taken custody of huddled around a space heater in the living room.
“We put sheets over the doors to try to keep the heat in and had a campout,” said the mother, who asked not to be named.
A foster care worker happened to be visiting that evening and submitted the family’s name to a new effort from some of the city’s heating and cooling contractors.
On Wednesday, employees for Fahnestock Plumbing, HVAC and Electric and Cook’s Heating and Cooling installed a new furnace – and they threw in a new air conditioner as well.
The mother described the furnace, air conditioner and other equipment as “an awesome gift.”
Scott Pennington of Fahnestock estimated the retail price for the work done at the South Spruce house at between $4,000 and $5,000.
The contractors will install five furnaces this winter to families in need. The donors are the distributors and contractors in the Kansas Cooling Contractors Association.
“We compete against each all year long, scratching for business, but we wanted to put all that aside this Christmas and do some good for the community,” Pennington said.
Larry Beckman of Custom Heating & Air Conditioning, who is a board member of the Kansas Cooling Contractors Association, said they hope to expand the program in the future. He said the family on South Spruce seemed especially deserving because of taking in the three children.
“We’re helping somebody who is helping somebody else,’ he said.