By Trish Holder
I’ve been keeping a secret from you, and it’s really not right.
Many people who know me, know this site, or have heard me speak are well aware that I frequently bemoan the lack of skilled, reliable, and/or professional contractors, especially HVAC contractors. However, about four years ago I found a keeper–Dwain Strader, owner of Cellusun Heating and Air—and I’ve been working with him ever since.
I haven’t kept Dwain’s name under wraps in an effort to keep him all to myself. I have and do recommend him to friends and family. But I have not (until now) been inclined to share his identity on Greenspiration Home for a couple of reasons. First, I impose rather strict editorial guidelines that, with a few specific exceptions, prohibit the mention of specific products or companies in my blogs. Second, it is a slippery slope for any publication (even a small time, labor-of-love blog like Greenspiration Home) to endorse any one company. After all, Dwain has skillfully and reliably installed and serviced HVAC systems in my homes, but I can’t guarantee that everyone will be as pleased as me.
What I can tell my readers is that, having experienced my share contractor woes, I feel fortunate to have Dwain on my side.
What Makes This HVAC Contractor Different
It’s not just hard finding a good contractor – it’s hard to recognize one when you do. The residential industry is a bit of a melting pot for anyone and everyone who ever wore a tool belt and drove a truck. Skill levels are all over the map. Even a fancy fleet of service trucks and uniformed service people, trained to put on little shoe covers before entering your home, is not (I repeat NOT!) a sure sign of a good contractor. I’m not even sure you can eliminate all the trial and error associated with finding a good contractor, but I do know one clue is how a contractor chooses to communicate with you.
I often hear builders and contractors say that homeowners just don’t want to listen to anything technical. Often I’m thinking to myself, “No, they don’t want to listen to YOU.”
So many times contractors simply don’t know how to talk to a homeowner – especially female homeowners. Case-in-point, not long ago I was speaking with a builder who told me flat out he only builds spec homes because he “can’t stand bitchy women.” Indeed, the longer I listened to him, the bitchier I started to feel.
On the other hand, I thoroughly enjoy “talking shop” with Dwain. Even as he’s working, going from thermostat to thermostat, or taking readings on my geothermal heat pump, he’s giving me a play-by-play of everything he is doing and why he is doing it. We’ve had extended conversations about everything from the latest variable speed technology in geothermal heat pumps to comparative approaches to in-home filtration. When I don’t understand something I ask; and he doesn’t make me feel stupid for doing so.
The fact that Dwain takes the time to provide these detailed explanations (and never in a condescending way) shows me that he respects my intelligence. At the same time, he’s personable and likable. It is apparent that he is speaking to me for the purpose of helping me understand – not to impress me with long dissertations and terminology that only a tradesperson would know.
If you are a homeowner who has called upon the services of more than a couple of contractors, then you realize how rare this is.
Specializing In Geothermal
Cellusun Heating and Air installs and services both residential and light commercial geothermal systems as well as more conventional hvac systems. Dwain is well versed in both, though he prefers installing geothermal systems. He offers turnkey service from sizing and design to loop field digging and installation. Everything is in-house which helps keep his prices for geothermal systems competitive. He is also exceedingly current on the latest technologies – something that your average residential HVAC installer is not.
Alas, Cellusun services a limited region in North Carolina, primarily Guilford, Rockingham, and Forsyth counties. But he does serve as an example of what one should expect from an HVAC contractor—no matter where you live. That’s reason enough for me to break my silence and say, “Yes, Virginia, there are good contractors out there.”
Dwain Strader may be contacted at:Cellusun Heat & Air, Inc. Phone: (336) 342-1094 1175 Oregon Hill Rd Reidsville, NC 27320-8257 firstname.lastname@example.org
P.S. Here’s another little tidbit about Dwain. He just recently retired as chief of the Oregon Hill Fire Department in Reidsville, NC, a position he held for 30 years. For more on that – and a bit more background on my favorite HVAC contractor – read this story from the Greensboro News & Record, Fire Chief Retires But Continues To Run Calls.