Hearth Retailer Profile

Quadra-Fire a Trusted Name in the Hearth Industry

Quadra-Fire takes home heating very personally. This year, the Colville, Wash., hearth manufacturer celebrates an impressive 20 years of making the cleanest-burning noncatalytic wood stove on the market. The company’s pellet stoves and gas appliances have steadily grown in popularity as retailers and consumers have come to know Quadra-Fire as a name that they can trust.

In addition to its high level of customer service (which includes the fact that a person actually answers the phone when a retailer calls), the company continues to focus on developing innovative products and features that make consumers’ lives easier and their homes more comfortable.

As part of the Hearth & Home Technologies family, which boasts some of the strongest brands in the hearth industry—Harman, Heat & Glo and Heatilator—Quadra-Fire has made a name for itself as a leader in technology. The company’s claim to fame is its Quadra-Burn system, which was developed by founders Alan Trusler and Dan Henry (who still hold key leadership positions in the company and are active in daily operations) in response to the stringent regulations put into effect by the Clean Air Act of 1990.

While most stove manufacturers turned to catalytic combustion as a solution, the company chose, instead, to look at wood burning in an entirely new way. The Quadra-Burn system burns and reburns gases and smoke in four different zones in the firebox.
The technology set a new standard for clean, fuel-efficient heating with wood. Because it’s noncatalytic, the system does not degrade in performance over time. Jeni Forman, brand manager, says, “To this day, nobody does wood-burning stoves and inserts better than we do.”

In keeping with its tradition of innovation, Quadra-Fire has developed a number of other technologies over the years, including the industry’s first fully automatic, self-lighting pellet-burning appliances. The company has also solidified its commitment to developing products that make life easier for consumers. “After talking to hearth customers, we came to the realization that they really want products that require less work,” Forman says.

To address this, Quadra-Fire introduced a technology for its wood stoves called Automatic Combustion Control, which it often refers to as its load, light and leave technology. It gives homeowners the ability to load the stove with wood, light the fire and then set a control mechanism on the stove so that the fire will automatically adjust to the desired temperature.

On the pellet side, the company has developed Advanced Energy technology. Advanced Energy burns multiple pellet-fuel types, including wood pellets, shelled corn, wheat and black-oil sunflower seeds. A wall thermostat controls the system, so a homeowner can simply set the thermostat and walk away.

“As long as you have pellets in your unit, it goes up and down according to the wall control, just like a furnace,” Forman says. “It’s exciting to have advances that allow a homeowner to go to work in the morning and come home to a warm house in the evening.”

Advanced Energy and Automatic Combustion Control have garnered praise from the industry as well as consumers. The Mt. Vernon AE pellet insert received a 2006 Vesta Award for Best New Hearth Product. In 2009, Quadra-Fire plans to incorporate both technologies into an increasing number of its wood and pellet products.

In addition to its technology Quadra-Fire plans to continue to focus on efficiency and on how it can continue to offer the most efficient products available on the market. Forman explains that today’s consumers want three things when it comes to hearth products: efficiency, performance and cost savings. “We are always looking for ways to be a leader and innovator in these areas,” she says.

Forman adds that she is encouraged by the shift that is happening in the hearth industry, which has traditionally been more operations driven than marketing driven. “Companies are starting to look more at what consumers really want, and in the end, that’s healthy for competition and good for consumers,” she says.


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