Mechanical techs volunteer to keep heat on

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There's a lot of money that goes into keeping a furnace maintained to survive a Wisconsin winter.

Saturday, donated parts and time will helped over 60 Madison families say the "heat's on" during cold days.

It's something homeowners do once a year. But when turning on the furnace, the pilot light may not always spark up.

"People go to the furnace and they turn on their thermostat, and just a lot of times they assume it's going to run, and a lot of times it doesn't," said Doug Smithback, the Mechanical Contractors Association President.

For those who dont have the means to call for repair ,one day a year, "Heats On" is here to help. The program has celebrated its silver anniversary thanks to sponsors. The service is completely free to those who receive the repairs. It's meant to help those who just may not be able to afford furnace repairs.

"Most of it's elderly, a lot of it's low income -- people that just can't afford maintenance on their furnace," said Jim Van Willigen, with All Comfort Services, Inc. He's also a volunteer for "Heat's On."

Van Willigen worked on furnaces in east Madison, Saturday. Through the program, he'll check out the furnace and replace what's needed.

"They check them over and make sure they're running proper, and give the owners a warm feeling, I guess, so to speak, that their furnaces are going to be running throughout the winter," said Smithback about "Heat's On."

It's a days work, but some clean wires and a few new parts will make all the difference in a Wisconsin winter.

"When you have no money and you have no heat it's definitely a scary situation," said Van Willigen.