Pro-Fab Industries, Inc. Wood Furnaces
Updated: Jul 10, 2018
Pro-Fab Industries, Inc. was a subsidiary of the Pro-Fab Group, and went out of business in 2016. The company manufactured indoor and outdoor wood and biomass furnaces, boilers and water heaters.
The Pro-Fab Group was founded in 1989 and spun-off several companies focused on manufacturing and alternative energy. The company was headquartered in Arborg, Manitoba Canada.
- A History of Pro-Fab Industries
- A summary of Pro-Fab's Product Lines
- How to Find Parts and Service for Existing Pro-Fab Units
- Ex-Empyre Dealers that are Still in Business
- Pro-Fab's Old Contact Information
- Status of Pro-Fab Warranties
Pro-Fab was founded in 1989 to market a homemade pellet stove, the Cozeburn. The company went on to design and manufacture a variety of indoor and outdoor wood furnaces and boilers.
In 2012 the Winnipeg Free Press reported that a fire in the ventilation system of the company's Arborg headquarters and production plant caused the evacuation of approximately 60 employees. No one was injured, and the fire was ruled an accident.
In 2013 radio station 680 CJOB reported that Pro-Fab was moving up to 25 jobs from the Arborg plant to Tennessee. By early 2014 the Interlake Spectator reported that Pro-Fab had moved all of its manufacturing to the United States, partly due to a long-standing complaint that the government was not improving the roads that connected the plant to the rest of the country.
(As of July 10, 2018, the Interlake Spectator is no longer available online.)
By May of 2016 forums were reporting that Pro-Fab's phone number had stopped working and that the company was out of business. While there was speculation that the company went out of business in response to warranty claims and new regulations from the US Environmental Protection Agency, we have been unable to find a reliable source to confirm that or provide another explanation.
At various times in the company's history it maintained websites at profab.org, profabgroup.com, pro-fab.ca and cozeburn.com. It had manufacturing facilities in Alberta, Canada and in Lawrenceburg, TN, USA.
According to Pro-Fab's LinkedIn page and an archive of their website, the Pro-Fab Group spun off several companies including:
- AgLand Industries, Inc (acquired by Machineries Pronovost in 2011)
- Hocan Industries
- Millway Industries (apparently out of business)
- Precision Laser & Mfg., LLC
- Solar Wind Depot
- British Columbia: North Central(Smithers, BC)
- Nova Scotia: Northern Climate (Chester Basin, NS)
- Price Edward Island: Corrigan Stove Centre (Charlottetown, PE)
- Iowa: Cedar Hearth / Mick Gage Plumbing & Heating (Charles City and New Hampton, IA)
- Kentucky: Kentucky Wood Heat (Lexington, KY)
- Maine: EverGreen Home and Hearth (Ellsworth and Brewer, ME)
- Massachusetts: Higgins Energy Alternatives (Barre, MA)
- Nebraska: Grone's Outdoor Power (Grand Island, NE)
- New York:
- Ohio: Buckeye Stoves (Fredericksburg, OH)
- Vermont: HouseNeeds.com (Waitsfield, VT)
There are at least two other companies with similar names that are not affiliated with Pro-Fab Industries, Inc: the Pro-Fab Group, Inc. (profab.ca) and the ProFab Corporation (profab.net).
Pro-Fab marketed several lines of residential outdoor wood furnaces included the Cozeburn, the Empyre, the Empyre Pro series, and the Empyre Elite XT series. The Empyre Pro and Elite XT series were high efficiency gasification models.
Their line of residential indoor wood furnaces included the Empyre Elite, which was a high-efficiency wood gasification unit.
In 2012 the Empyre Elite XT 100 and the Empyre Elite 200 series both won Vesta Finalist awards, which honor innovation and technology, from Hearth & Home Magazine.
The Empyre 450 can no longer be sold in US, but as of 2017 some inventory is still available online and can be sold in Canada and South America. Remaining inventory for the Elite XT can be sold in the US and meets EPA standards until 2020.
Light Industrial Products
Pro-Fab manufactured the Pelco light industrial multi-fuel boiler. The Pelco could burn coal or biomass such as wood pellets, corn or grain). The Pelco has been used in applications such as farming, manufacturing and for commercial greenhouses.
They also sold the HeatHandler, which was a water-to-air heat exchanger.
Parts and Service for Existing Units
The most common complaints about Empyre boilers listed on forums include leaks, often from creosote-related corrosion. In some cases owners believed that the volume of creosote could be controlled by using 3rd-party additives or burning wood that had a lower moisture content. In other cases, owners believed that the problems were caused by design defects. There were also reports of damaged fire bricks, broken thermostats and broken blower motors.
We called 7 ex-Empyre dealers to get tips on what homeowners should do if they need to repair their existing Pro-Fab equipment. Most were out-of-business or could not be reached. Of the two that we spoke with, neither currently sells boilers and neither wanted their name used in this article.
When we asked a Massachusetts dealer if he still services Empyre boilers today, he explained: "Parts can be hard to find, and I let my liability insurance lapse when Empyre went out of business. So I don't service them anymore."
Both dealers said that many of the parts are generic, which means that many issues can be resolved with parts designed for other brands of stoves. However, one dealer mentioned that stove doors, in particular, are difficult to find.
Ex-Empyre Dealers that are Still in Business
If you are a home or business owner that needs skilled support for a Pro-Fab boiler or furnace, one place to start is with an ex-Empyre dealer that still sells other brands of outdoor wood boilers. If these companies cannot help you, they may be able to point you in the direction of skilled contractors.
Contacting Pro-Fab Industries
The following address and phone numbers are no longer valid. (In fact, if you call the 888 phone number you will be routed into an automated service that tries to match you to commercial offers).
PO Box 112
Arborg, Manitoba R0C 0A0
Phone: (888) 933-4440, (204) 364-2211
Pro-Fab offered a 10 or 20-year prorated warranty, depending on the model. However, since the company went out of business in 2016, the units are no longer covered under the warranty.