Be Prepared When the Power Goes Out

Port Sydney, Ontario (January 3, 2018) – Living in Canada, we’ve all experienced a bad winter storm. Freezing temperatures, piles of snow and, every so often, the power goes out. This begs the question: Is your home ready for a power outage?

Be Prepared

It’s important to be prepared for power outages. Be sure to have enough water (2 litres per person, per day) and non-perishable food available for up to 72 hours.

Heating Your Home

Are you prepared for your furnace and stove to be turned off for an extended period of time? Luckily, there are many products available that don’t run on electricity. Wood and gas fireplaces, stoves and inserts are a great addition to the home, especially when the power is out. Gas hearth appliances are actually designed to operate during a power failure. Some generate their own electricity or have battery back-up systems. It’s important to know which system you have for circumstances such as this.

Wood fireplaces, stoves and inserts are also a great alternative heat source. Be sure to have an adequate supply of fuel on hand. The radiant heat these units produce can warm your living spaces for days when necessary, despite not having an operating fan.

Using your Wood or Gas Stove for Heating and Cooking

When necessity demands some wood or gas burning stoves can also be used for heating food and water on top of the stove. Some wood and gas models have a second top layer. To improve the heat conductivity on these stoves, place your cook pot directly on the inner top. If your model is equipped with a trivet, remove it to access the inner top and maximize the heat conducted from the stove top.  Some cook stoves even include an oven or a water reservoir for cooking and washing. Ovens or Dutch ovens can also be purchased separately to allow for even cooking on a stove. Take care to ensure there is not risk of the pot tipping over and it’s a good idea to purchase a thermometer with these units to maintain the heat more easily while cooking.

Cooking on your wood stove does require some forethought to allow the stove to function properly. Unlike an electric stove top there is no dial to regulate the temperature. You control the heat by the amount of wood you place in the stove and attention is required to manage the heat properly. For high heat, it’s important to establish a good, large fire. For slow cooking food, such as chili, soup or leftovers, the fire should burn low and steady for a long time by adding only one or 2 pieces of wood at more frequent intervals. You can also let the fire die down to a bed of coals and cook foods in a small Dutch oven or a foil packet directly on the hot bed of coals. Practice cooking on your wood stove before a power outage occurs to give yourself a better idea of how your wood stove will heat and cook foods!

Cooking Without Electricity

For many Canadians with gas stove tops, these hearth appliances will continue to work even if the power is out. Similar to your water supply, natural gas continues to be delivered during a power outage because back-up generators are used by your supplier to maintain the delivery of gas. Propane fueled gas tops also work during power failure. Gas stoves are equipped with both oven and cooktop valves that not only adjust the flame height, they also adjust the heat output up or down. For slower cooking foods, turn the control valve to a lower setting. Do not use your gas range as a source of heat for your home given the risk of producing Carbon Monoxide over prolonged usage. As with woodstoves, we recommend you become familiar with how your gas stove cooks at different regulator settings before you lose power.

Another great appliance to use during a power outage is your barbecue! Although this may seem like a surprise to some, 61% of grill owners continue to grill all year long, according to the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association’s (HPBA) 2015 State of the Barbecue Industry Report. Although winter grilling is a bit slower compared to grilling in the summer months, it is still a great way to prepare foods – even when the power isn’t out.

Make sure you are dressed for winter weather before beginning your grill session. It’s important to make sure your grill is positioned away from surrounding buildings and is never used indoors or inside a garage. Be prepared with a fire extinguisher and water on hand in case of an accident, and make sure you inspect your grill for critters before firing it up. You might consider purchasing a head lamp to ensure adequate lighting and stocking up with extra fuel for these situations. The barbecue will take longer to heat up in freezing temperatures and will require more fuel to maintain temperatures, especially if the lid is opened frequently while cooking. The HPBA estimates cook times are about 25% longer when cooking out in the cold.

Make sure you are prepared for when the unexpected occurs. Hearth and barbecue products are a great addition to your home under any circumstance, but can become a crucial appliance during a power outage. Be sure to always follow the safety instructions and stay warm through the winter months!

About the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association of Canada (HPBAC)

The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association of Canada (HPBAC), based in Port Sydney, Ontario, is the Canadian industry association for manufacturers, retailers, distributors, representatives, service firms and allied associates for all types of barbecue, patio and hearth appliances, fuels and accessories.  The association provides professional member services and industry support in education, statistics, government relations, marketing, advertising and consumer education.

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*HPBA’s most recent barbecue lifestyle, usage & attitude study was conducted online via Rockbridge Associates Inc. in July and August 2015. Rockbridge conducted a 20-minute online survey with 160 grillers in Canada who were at least 18 and the primary griller or shared grilling responsibilities. The margin of sampling error for aggregate results is +/- 7 percentage points. Use of the HPBA State of the Barbecue Industry Report findings should be credited to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association. Visit for additional information.


 Media Contact: Laura Litchfield, HPBAC, 705-385-2223, ext 1

Download Power Outage Press Release

Empire Purchases Ownership in Stove Builder International Inc.

BELLEVILLE, IL – The Empire Group, the parent company of Empire Comfort Systems in Belleville, Illinois, has purchased majority ownership of Stove Builder International (SBI), a Canadian manufacturer of wood-fired and pellet-fired heaters and hearth products, along with venting. Empire manufactures gas-fired heaters, hearth products, and grills.

Both Empire and SBI are family owned manufacturers and both have undertaken aggressive product development programs that have spurred growth in recent years. While SBI’s primary market is Canada, they also distribute into the US, South America, Europe, and Australia. Their brands include Osburn, Caddy, Enerzone, Valcourt, Drolet, Century Heating, Nexvent and Vortex. Empire’s brands include American Hearth, White Mountain
Hearth, Broilmaster Premium Grills, and Empire Heating Systems.

Read Whole Press Release

Written by Empire Comfort Systems Inc.

Wood Heat – New technology improves a time-tested sustainable fuel

(Nov 8, 2017 – Port Sydney, Ontario) – Over half a million homeowners in Ontario get some or all their space heating from wood stoves. While most use it for supplementary heat, as part of an effective zone heating system or to combat power outages, many others use it as their primary source of heating.

Whether you are a power wood user, with logs being your primary heat source or you use wood at the cabin or chalet, creating a cozy ambiance at the cottage, this is the time for a refresher on smart wood heating.

Laura Litchfield, Executive Director of the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association of Canada (HPBAC), the Canadian wood heat industry association, observed, “With the advent of new clean burning wood stove technology, wood is increasingly seen as a smart fuel choice in many parts of Canada. Wood heat provides warmth when the power goes out, it is easy to obtain and is locally sustainable. The reduced GHG’s from clean burning wood stoves is recognized in the Ontario Climate Change Action Plan and pending wood stove changeout program. Finally, not to be ignored, money paid for firewood very often stays in the local economy.”

A new clean burning wood stove and dry wood are key to successful heating with wood. No matter the type of wood you have available, it needs to be “seasoned”, which usually means splitting the logs and ensuring covered storage over the summer season for drying. The sweet spot is to have wood which has less than 15-20% moisture content, using wood with over 30% moisture means it will be hard to both light and burn. Wood that isn’t being burned completely risks dangerous creosote buildup in your pipes and chimney.


Hand-held moisture meter testing a woodpile for its moisture level

Calculating the moisture content of your woodpile is fast and easy if you use a hand-held moisture meter.  While virtually any dry wood can be used in your fireplace or wood stove, more dense hardwood species such as maples, oaks and beeches require less volume to get the same heat output (measured in British Thermal Units – BTU’s) as a much larger pile of softwood like spruce, pine or poplar. Red Oak has roughly 40% more BTU per volume than White Pine. Low density wood will keep you warm, but will require more work transporting, splitting and greater storage area.

Ms. Litchfield, went on to say, “New wood heat units with proper fuel are a clean burning energy source that deliver more heat per unit of wood than older units.  Many people see the reduction in wood use including less splitting, stacking and carrying as sufficient motivation to replace stoves over 20 years old, while others tout the indoor and outdoor air quality benefits of the cleaner burning units.”

Whether your stove is old or new, to ensure optimal performance and safety, make sure you have your chimney cleaned regularly.  This should be done annually by someone with WETT certification. Your local wood appliance retailer can refer you to a qualified company.

Other common-sense tips include having smoke and CO detectors with fresh batteries installed when you start your wood heating season. You should also have a designated place outdoors to dump ashes safely away from combustible sources.

If you have questions visit or your local wood stove retailer for reliable answers.

For more information, or to schedule interviews (French or English) please contact:
Laura Litchfield, Executive Director, HPBAC 1-705-385-2223 X 1

For French interviews, Dominique Pagé, Board President (418) 803-3494

Most wood heat retailers and manufacturers in Canada are represented by The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association of Canada (HPBAC). The HPBAC is the Canadian industry association for manufacturers, retailers, distributors, representatives and service firms in the hearth industry. The Association provides professional member services and support and consumer education. There are more than 575 members in the HPBAC.


New Woodstove Rebate Program for Kelowna BC

As overnight temperatures begin to dip, the timing couldn’t be better for anyone thinking of changing out their wood burning appliance, says the Central Okanagan Regional District.

There’s a new cash incentive available for Central Okanagan residents who upgrade their old wood stove to a cleaner burning one.

The provincial government is now offering a $400 rebate for replacing an uncertified wood stove with cleaner appliances, such as new pellet stoves, electric heat pumps or gas or propane stoves.

The new cash rebate is effective immediately through the Central Okanagan Air Quality program, while funds last.

The original $250 rebate that the government offered is still available for those who replace and recycle their old wood burning appliance with a new EPA/CSA-certified wood replacement.

Participating Central Okanagan retailers will take care of recycling your old stove and provide all the necessary paperwork for the applicable rebate, says the regional district.

See the full story here.
See details for the program here.

Bill 59: New Ontario Government Bill Sidelines Bill 14 in Effort to Manage Door-to-Door Sales

Bill 59: New Ontario Government Bill Sidelines Bill 14 in Effort to Manage Door-to-Door Sales

In the spring, a well-intended but poorly drafted legislation proposed by MPP Yvan Baker. That private member’s Bill (Bill 193) was challenged by HRAI, CIPH and CWQA because of its potentially devastating impacts on all forms of water heater, in-home water treatment, hearth and HVAC equipment sales, including those initiated by the customer.

Continue reading “Bill 59: New Ontario Government Bill Sidelines Bill 14 in Effort to Manage Door-to-Door Sales”

HRAI Insight: Shutting the Door on Bill 14 in Ontario

Read more about The Ontario Government’s Bill 14 which would ban in-house sales of HVAC products. Designed to stop dubious door-to-door HVAC sales techniques, will actually put a great deal of stress on those who offer home assessments to ensure customers are getting the appropriate equipment as part of their high-quality customer service plans.


The Greening of Vancouver: Surely the city council is going too far

Most Canadians understand that climate change is one of the greatest threats the world faces. Perhaps the greatest one. Many Canadians would also agree that we, as a nation, should play our part within the global community in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, with only 1.6 % of the world’s GHGs being attributed to Canada, there is a limit to the effect we can have. Continue reading “The Greening of Vancouver: Surely the city council is going too far”