For over 30 years, ECA has operated Philadelphia’s only emergency hotline for income eligible residents facing heating system breakage during winter. We coordinate free heater repair or replacement to keep residents safe and warm.

Heater Hotline

For homeowners with a broken heating system, call our Heater Hotline at:

Due to the volume of calls we receive during heating season, you will likely reach our answering service. Please know that our team will call you back as soon as possible!

Eligibility and Requirements

This is a city funded program and has strict eligibility requirements for free repair. You must:

  • Own and occupy the single-family home
    • Not own more than one property
    • Apartments and businesses are not eligible
    • We cannot support renters
  • Have a heating system in need of repair, not replacement
    • This program does not provide new systems and does not work on hot water heaters
  • Have a household income not greater than 150% of the Federal Poverty Level

The repairs that our team can make include:

  • Oil burners
  • Gas valves
  • Thermostats and heating controls
  • Chimney and flue
  • Circulators and blowers
  • Heating pipes

If our technician finds that your heating system is beyond repair or our scope of services, we will refer you to Basic Systems Repair Program.

If you are a renter or know that you need a whole heating system replacement, you can apply to LIHEAP by calling the LIHEAP Energy Assistance Office at:


Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally funded program that provides utility bill and oil assistance to mitigate energy burden. This program can also support renters with heater repairs and anyone in need of a whole heating system replacement.

After submitting an application, the LIHEAP office will coordinate finding a contractor to do necessary repairs or replacement. They will direct you back to ECA or to PHDC. This program is generally open from November to April annually but dates are subject to change.

Immediate steps to take if your heater stops working:

After calling our Heater Hotline or LIHEAP Energy Assistance Office, here are some things to check with your heating system:

Check the thermostat

  • The heater won’t come on unless the thermostat pointer is set above room temperature.

Check the emergency switch

  • Most oil heaters have one near the top of the basement steps and one near the heater.
  • Gas heaters have one near the heater.

Check the fuse or breaker

  • Replace blown fuses or reset tripped circuit breakers.
  • Most heaters use 15-amp breakers.

If you heat with gas, check the pilot light

  • If the light is off, read instructions on the unit.
  • If no instructions are present, DO NOT attempt to relight.

If you heat with oil, check the oil levels

  • If empty, you’ll need to prime after oil delivery.
  • After priming, push reset.
  • If the burner doesn’t stay lit, DO NOT continue to push.
Two ECA employees fixing a heater.

Call the Philadelphia Heater Hotline

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