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Wow the Quadrafire Brick is Crappy!

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by velvetfoot, Sep 24, 2007.

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  1. thechimneysweep

    thechimneysweep Minister of Fire

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    I've seen two types of firebrick splits used to line wood stove fireboxes: high-density and high-refractory. Some manufacturers use smaller or cut-down bricks to fit their fireboxes, but the typical size used is 4.5" x 9" x 1-1/4". Pre-epa models used high-density bricks weighing 3.5 lbs. apiece, but most of the newer, epa approved models I've seen use high-refractory bricks, which are extremely porous, weigh only 2 lbs. apiece, and appear to have chunks of vermiculite or some similar material in them.

    The lightweight high-refractory firebricks do break down at a much faster rate than the heavier high-density bricks, but I've been told that high-refractory bricks make for hotter firebox temperatures, which in turn create better combustion efficiency and lower emissions.

    Within the average wood stove firebox, the bricks that take the big hit are the floor bricks, which are subjected to more abrasion from fuelwood and ash shovels than the side bricks. This is one of the reasons we advise our customers to always leave an inch of ash protecting the floor bricks.

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  2. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Sand Lake, NY
    This is the response I got from Quadrafire corporate (a loss of 1/2 the brick thickness does not seem too acceptable to me):


    Thank you for your inquiry; we recommend that your appliance is serviced annually by a qualified service technician.

    Cracks, breakage and or wearing of the firebrick in our Quadra-Fire wood burning models are normal. The firebrick is a consumable part for it will wear and through the loading process may develop cracks or break. We recommend replacing the firebrick when it wears more than ½ of the way through or if it has a breakage and creates an open area of the firebox.

    Please do the following to place an order through a dealer:
    1. Make a copy of the section of the installation manual that shows the firebrick placement and size.
    2. Circle the bricks needed.
    3. Give this copy to the dealer when placing the order through them.

    We will custom cut the bricks to fit.
    Please note that we offer individual bricks like this or a precut set.
    You may want to verify the costs with the dealer to determine which option costs less.
    Warranty doesn't cover firebricks for they are a consumable part.


    Please contact one of our dealers to place an order for parts if necessary.

    If you are in need of further assistance you can find a local dealer by visiting our web site at www.quadrafire.com

    Customer Service & Support
    Internal Code: CSPD
  3. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    29,153
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    Good grief. My old stove never broke or wore out a brick in 21 years of 24/7. And I don't think the new one is going to either. At least they are the $2.60 jobbies from the stove shop dusty pile in the back.

    Hmmm... Come to think of it I still have the ones from the old stove too. :)
  4. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    Sorry I have not been in the office because one of my guys was out. Maybe I can find time to call tomorrow and get something better than the cookie cutter response.
  5. yukiginger

    yukiginger Member

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    Yes, the quad bricks are junk. I posted on this a while back. I bought a few replacement bricks from my dealer and the ones with the holes were something like $15 each. I had a couple bricks cracked through/crumbling after my first season of burning. No, I don't really find it acceptable. I posted here about replacing them and the consensus was something like "replace it with the ones the manufacturer recommends or you will change the burning tolerances ..." I have no doubt that the device might perform differently, but be unsafe, or pollute substantially more - come on?! I seriously doubt that. I will replace all future bricks with the denser ones that I cut myself. A Lopi dealer I spoke with suggested Quad used the lighter brick to save on shipping. Who knows but I will not replace these inferior bricks with more inferior, expensive bricks.

    MarkG
  6. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    My rebricking job turned out quite nice.
    I used a masonry blade on a table saw and a 1" high speed masonry bit with some wiggling to make the aire tube hole.

    I can't believe they actually said that losing 1/2 of the thickness was acceptable.
  7. jqgs214

    jqgs214 Minister of Fire

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    Along these lines - how do the PE bricks hold up?? they seem light like the quad ones. maybe a better quality?? Lets brag some more about our PE's!! :)
  8. Gunner

    Gunner New Member

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    Brag...Hmmm, were to start :lol: how about PE blowing the mitten racks off of VC in the Klamath Falls and Portland Oregon study, the most modern scientific study on GPH ever conducted
  9. Jimbob

    Jimbob New Member

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    Had 1 brick in the back of our Summit crack, probably because I hit it when chucking a hunk of wood in. Replaced it with another light brick. The bricks on the bottom of the stove have been fine, though.
    I will eventually replace all the light firebricks in the back of the stove with the heavier ones.
  10. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    My bricks are holding up fine fire wise. Now wood smacking them is another store. Just a few minor nicks on the edges & such.
  11. MarkG

    MarkG New Member

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    Central PA
    I was told these light weight ones are used to save shipping costs and after1-5 years should be replaced with ceramics.....

    makes sense to me but I wish I had the option to pay the shipping on better bricks or buy a stove without brick and add it later.

    Mark
  12. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    If that was the case Quad would not sell the same brick in a replacement set. They are intended to be used the life of the stove. They last differently depending on how people use their stove. I have seen many stoves that have seen many seasons (that are used to heat the house all winter) with the original brick still in. Sure they don't look brand new, but they are still functional.
  13. MarkG

    MarkG New Member

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    Central PA
    They guy who told me that works as a consultant for Quad....
  14. nshif

    nshif New Member

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    Well after burning 24/7 with mine for 4 months they look fine, no cracks, chips and hardly any discoleration.
  15. unbroken

    unbroken New Member

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    SE PA
    I'm brand new here; was looking into replacing some firebrick on my 3100i this morning and came across this thread...I have had the same experience with the bottom front center bricks flaking away every time ash is removed from the stove. The area of the fire where the single large underfire air hole discharges gets locally extremely hot, and the surface of the brick there seems to chemically combine with wood/ash under the intense heat and form something that's not brick and not ash, but not clinkers. Probably half the brick thickness is gone in this small area in front center. I have burned 90% seasoned oak, with a bit of maple, locust, cherry, and yellow birch. I haven't overfired the unit, though it's performed at capacity for long stretches. All the other bricks are in fine shape after 3 seasons of primarily heating 1800 sq. ft. I'm an R&D;guy in the boiler industry and have entertained the idea of using a 22 ga. piece of SS I have lying around on top of the bottom brick as a heat shield, to interrupt the chemical process that seems to be taking place there. I load the stove carefully, so the only significant physical damage to the brick comes from shoveling the ash. This shield should remove both sources of wear on the brick, and while it may burn out relatively quickly, it shouldn't melt or stick to the brick..or would it? Has anyone tried anything like this? Is there a good reason not to do this I'm missing? Any ideas will be appreciated...I love the stove, btw; I use very dry wood and tinker quite a bit, and I routinely produce thin smoke for no longer than 2-3 minutes at startup, <5 minutes when reloading, and zero visible emissions the rest of the time. :)
    Tom
  16. madrone

    madrone Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like a good move for the bottom line. Cheaper shipping, plus a custom cut consumable to be replaced every so often. "Use only Quadrafire brand refills. Other refills may void warranty."
  17. karri0n

    karri0n New Member

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    Precaud made some findings in regard to the lightweight bricks. The lightweight, white bricks that Quad uses are much higher refractory than tha heavy"yellow" bricks in a lot of other stove(standard firebrick). The lighter mass of them also gives them less thermal mass. these lighter bricks reflect much more of the heat back into the firebox, and pull less heat out due to thermal mass. This results in a very large increase in both efficiency and stovetop temp. Durability is absolutely an issue. Precaud found that out of his findings, the best material was skamol, but the price was very high in compariosn, and durability remains an issue.

    Personally, I wouldn't recommend putting heavy firebrick into a quad unit. You will drop your efficiency by a lot considering it was engineered for the lightweight bricks.
  18. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I'd try replacing just the bottom bricks with standard firebrick. The are the most vulnerable to bangs by logs and scrapes by rakes and shovels. This is where I would expect to see the most wear.
  19. madison

    madison Minister of Fire

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    Image of firebox/brick of PE T6, with 24/7 burning 10/08 - 5/09, (OEM firebrick)

    Attached Files:

  20. precaud

    precaud Minister of Fire

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    I think the Skamol (i.e. vermiculite) panels would be a good replacement for pumice bricks on the bottom of the firebox. It's certainly more rugged than the pumice. And since it has very good convective/conductive insulation but pretty high absorption of radiant energy, this is probably the best place in a stove to use the stuff, since it will be covered by embers and ash.

    Not to mention, it can be had quite cheaply right now. Do a search on eBay for "vermiculite baffle" and you'll see a seller in Utah who must have tons of the stuff. These are the same vermiculite panels, made by Skamol, that I bought from them this spring for my experiments. It's good stuff and is easy to work with.
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