What is the metal plate ‘roof’ at the top of the inside of a woodburner?

We’re regularly contacted by people asking about a metal plate at the top of the inside of their wood-burning stove.

Sometimes they call it a ‘roof’ or a ‘ceiling’, sometimes they call it a ‘panel’.

Often they want to know what it is and what is its purpose. Usually they haven’t even noticed it was there until there was a problem, such as the plate has fallen from its position.

No doubt plenty more people are searching Google for information on the metal plate ‘roof’ at the top of their woodburner, so we decided to write this blog post in the hope that we might be able to offer them some assistance.

The plate in question is called a baffle plate. Once you know that, you will be able to find out a lot more information about the mystery panel.

As the descriptive queries we receive suggest, the baffle plate sits at the top of the inside of a woodburner, just below the top of the firebox.

Its purpose is to stop gases escaping straight up the flue pipe. The baffle serves as a barrier to the most direct route for gases to leave the firebox. By delaying the gases’ exit, the baffle allows more of the flammable gases to be burnt rather than leaving the stove unspent. The benefits of this of two-fold.

Firstly, it means you get more bang for your buck from your fuel. By ensuring as much as possible of the fuel’s flammable gases are burnt, you’re getting the maximum heat generation from each load of fuel.

Secondly, it is better for the environment for the flammable gases to be burnt inside the stove rather than disappearing up the chimney and into the air unspent. A baffle plate makes for a greener burn.

Fitting the baffle plate

If your baffle plate has become dislodged, it is important to restore it to its correct position to ensure your woodburner continues to be as cost-effective and environmentally friendly as possible.

To make this process as easy as possible, it is best to consult with your stove manual or the stove manufacturer. If that’s not possible, you ought to be able to see a ledge or notch upon which the baffle plate will rest. Sometimes it is a screw, sometimes a bit of metal that juts out. In any case, it will be slightly higher up the inside wall of the firebox than the highest point of the stove liners/firebricks.

Maintaining the baffle plate

If your baffle has fallen down because you inadvertently dislodged it, you should be able to simply put it back in place. If the baffle is repeatedly falling down or isn’t sitting properly, it is possible that it has become warped. This can be caused by overfiring your stove (i.e. allowing it to be burn too hot by using too much fuel or allowing too much oxygen in).

The other main wear and tear issue with baffles is holes appearing. Overfiring can contribute to this, but it also caused by ashes being allowed to sit on the baffle and gradually corrode the metal. This can be avoided by regularly cleaning the baffle plate and removing any ashes that have gathered on top of it.

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