This Grandmother Gets a Furnace After 2 Years Without Heat (So Many Feels!)

Purple friday

Can you imagine living without heat?

In West Virginia?

For two years?

That was Helen’s reality.

So when she entered our Purple Friday giveaway — which helped our readers spend time, not money — she simply asked to “be warm.”

“I’m widowed and have a hard time making ends meet,” she wrote. “When I think I’m getting ahead, something else comes up that needs repairing. If I could have a new furnace installed, it would probably last me the rest of my life. What a dream that would be.”

Want to see if that dream came true? Keep reading…

This Woman Got a Furnace — After 2 Cold Years

Helen lived without a furnace for two years, and while electric heaters helped her keep one room warm at a time, it wasn’t enough for her West Virginia home.

“I love having dinner for my children and grandchildren, but… it’s hard to enjoy it when your house is cold,” she explained. “Would love to feel the warmth coming from the vents again and everyone taking off their coats to enjoy their time with me.”

This story touched many of us here at The Penny Hoarder — and although we had 11,000 entries and only 50 winners, we knew Helen had to be one of them.

We wanted her to be able to spend (coat-free!) time with her family the day after Thanksgiving.

As her brand-new furnace was being installed, Helen was understandably thrilled.

“As we were watching them do the installation today, my granddaughters, ages 2 and 4, were dancing and jumping around in the basement,” she wrote. “The 4-year-old said ‘It feels good to be happy,’ and that about sums up our day today!”

Honestly, I don’t think there are many people more deserving — or appreciative — than Helen and her family.

“If you all were closer, we’d give you big hugs for this,” she said. “I will never forget the kindness you showed us. Purple Friday should be a time when families are enjoying each other’s company, instead of out in stores.”

We couldn’t agree more, and hope you continue to celebrate Purple Friday with us for many years to come.

If you need convincing, read this: “We’re supposed to get snow later this week,” said Helen.

“Now the little ones will be able to go out and build a snowman and come in the house to get warm.”

Isn’t that a pretty picture?

“Just wanted you to know you’ve made our holiday and life a lot brighter and warmer.”

Your Turn: Have you ever lived without heat? How did you manage?

Susan Shain, senior writer for The Penny Hoarder, is always seeking adventure on a budget. Visit her blog at, or say hi on Twitter @susan_shain.

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