CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) — A Cheektowaga family went through Erie County’s Home Energy Assistance Program to fix a heating problem in their home and its been a nightmare ever since.

They reached out to News 4 — calling for action.

News 4 has been looking into this issue for the past few weeks, our calls have resulted in additional inspections to the home and the discovery that specific equipment had not been installed. We’ve also received numerous updates from the Erie County Executive’s Office and assurances that the current contractor will visit the home Friday to try to correct the problem.

“It was a nightmare for two months this has been going on,” said Charolette Jefferson, a resident of Ivanhoe Road for more than 20 years.

We all know Western New York winters are long. For Jefferson and her mother, Brenda, this winter has been even longer.

There is a loud, annoying, knocking sound that’s coming from their new boiler and it’s driving them crazy.

“It would either be sometimes 20 minutes, sometimes an hour, sometimes every hour on the hour, but it would be a constant bang, bang, bang, bang and then, it would vibrate through the pipes so there was no sleeping,” Jefferson said.

Their problems started when their old boiler started leaking right before the Christmas blizzard.
They applied to Erie County HEAP and got a new boiler from a local contractor, but the piping was put in all wrong.

“It was all incorrect, the incorrect sizing and that’s when the banging started and the banging was so bad you could hear it on the second floor and sometimes my mother would just get up in the middle of the night and go outside you could hear it outside on the porch,” Jefferson said.

That sound has been haunting them for over two months. At one point, when the heat was turned off during the repair process they used a space heater to keep warm.

Then, a new contractor came in and installed new piping. The banging sound… remains.

“We don’t know where to turn to, which is why we turned to you to see if you can find out why is it taking so long for two months,” Jefferson said.

We contacted Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz’s office on this last week — a spokesperson promised to look into it and wrote back to us that after an upgrade to the plumbing “the situation was resolved earlier this week.” But, that’s clearly not the case.

“It’s beyond frustration, no one should have to go through this for two months when the problem persisted for the first week it should’ve been handled,” Jefferson said.

A spokesperson for the county executive’s office says the current contractor, who is Emerald Heating, will visit the home again Friday. Once the work is completed there, it will have be inspected by Cheektowaga’s building department.

Emerald Heating’s operations manager Darrell Nurmi says the company has serviced this home numerous times, since March 7, and is trying to resolve the situation. Emerald Heating says it was unfortunate that after re-installing the near boiler piping, the banging continued. The company adds that it has attempted to troubleshoot the system and has scheduled meetings with service representatives from the manufacturer.

Jeff Preval is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2021. See more of his work here.