About the FiAir Blower
What sparked the first Truly Portable Powered blower for fires?
In a word — impatience.
I love the taste of charcoal grilled food but hated waiting for the coals to turn white so I could start cooking. That became a real problem when the kids were young and every time we grilled, there came the repeated mantra: Is it ready yet?
We switched to a gas grill to quiet the kids and speed things up, but taste went down the tubes.
Same with our fireplaces. We really loved a real wood fire on a cold winter’s night but hated the time it takes to get it going and keep it at blazing.
One night I was having an especially hard time starting a fire in our bedroom firesplace. I finally resorted to blowing on it until I hyperventilated. As I lay recovering on the hearth, I yelled in frustration: “Why is this so hard? All it needs is AIR!
So I grabbed our hairdryer from the bathroom, turned it on low and aimed it at the kindling. Wow. It worked almost TOO well!
I know I’m not the first to try this trick, but it got me thinking — air really is all it takes, right? Why not make a “hairdryer”— without the heating element (no heat, no power cord) — that can direct a controlled, continuous flow of air to fire from a safe distance? Make it elegant, portable, battery-powered and affordable and we’re in business. I WANTED ONE! My search began.
I looked at every catalog that came in the mail, searched websites and roamed through every store I could think of that might carry a product to feed fires like the one I had in mind. I bought anything I could find. None had the combination of features I envisioned. I wanted a sleek, lightweight, handheld tool with a battery-powered motor to create continuous airflow. Existing blowers either required users to blow into a tube, crank by hand or plug into an electric power source. After exploring the size and segments of the market, I decided I wanted it badly enough to make it myself.
I chose Industrial Designer Justin Aiello to do the heavy lifting. He designed, built and refined a prototype. The prototype arrived by FedEx where we were vacationing at a cottage on a pond of a Pennsylvania farm. We tried it with lump charcoal and some nice steaks in the small Weber Smokey Joe we found at the cottage. We lit a natural starter and had our flame. Then I aimed the prototype low into the Smokey Joe, pressed the orange button and slowly moved in. I watched as the flame flickered out, but I wasn’t worried because I was aiming the air at the orange embers that were going to be the source for this fire. From just inches away I continued the airflow and watched as the embers grew and spread. After 30 seconds or so I release the button and flames instantly jumped up. I waited a bit and then added more FiAir. In the end, I was putting the steaks on a searing grill in 8.5 minutes. FiAir really worked!
After months of redesign and engineering for even greater airflow and eliminating possible “breakpoints,” FiAir was ready for mass production. Then came the question of where. Within a few weeks after submitting the prototype designed to factories in China, I had 3 quotes. But, even with the scarcity of Contract Manufacturers who would create or source all the parts and components and assemble them in a finished product, I knew I wanted to make it here in the US. I believed in bringing manufacturing back to America and I wanted to be part of it. Made in America would mean a higher end price, but it would also mean greater control, faster communication and Quality (my personal FiAir is still going strong since I first used it in 2013).
We’ve been shipping since Mid-2013 and the response has been most gratifying: FiAir users in all 50 States and 54 Countries!
Are you ready to change the way you work with your fires?
Finally, FiAir — real firepower in the palm of your hand.?