VALLEY VIEW, Ohio - A team of 100 volunteer contractors from the Plumbing, Heating, Cooling Contractors Association of Northeast Ohio (PHCC) and the Greater Cleveland Chapter of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) traveled to 17 communities in Cuyahoga County to provide free furnace tune-ups, water audits and plumbing repairs for senior and disabled residents.

The seventh annual Heat and Plumb the County service event kicked-off at Refrigeration Sales Corporation in Valley View. Heating and cooling contractors paired with plumbing contractors to visit as many as three homes during the day. Participating residents were pre-screened by county organizations and do not have the physical or financial means to make the repairs themselves.

“We’re helping keep residents safe,” said Don Van Horn, ACCA co-chair for the event. “It’s an opportunity to service homes that wouldn’t have been checked.”

In past years, technicians have identified and fixed problems that could have been dangerous to the customer.

“A few years ago, we found a gentleman with a serious gas leak,” said Jim Haberek, PHCC co-chair for the event. “We had to evacuate the house, but thankfully no one was hurt.”

According to Michelle Adams from the Cuyahoga County Department of Development, the event is a great partnership between public and private organizations who want to help.

“We go out and service our most vulnerable families living within the county,” said Adams. “We feel it’s an important service to make sure they live in a healthy and safe home.”

All residents have been pre-screened by Cuyahoga County Senior and Adult Services, Cuyahoga County Department of Development and the Cleveland Department of Aging. Residents must meet certain criteria, including being the owner of the home and having financial income of no more than 175 percent of the national poverty level. In the event that a home has more serious issues, PHCC and ACCA will make sure residents receive the appropriate assistance.

The event’s materials, supplies, and additional funding were donated by local plumbing and HVAC supply companies. According to ACCA and PHCC, they are always looking for more technicians in member companies to volunteer their time to meet the growing demand for the program.

ACCA of Greater Cleveland first hosted Heat and Plumb the County in 2004, and PHCC joined the event in 2008.

Publication date:11/01/2010