It always comes as a shock to new wood burner or multi fuel stove owners that their baffle plate (also known as a throat or deflector plate) is classed as a stove 'consumable' and is therefore not covered under their stove warranty in the same way that most of their other stove components are. This is because baffle plates are positioned at the top of the fire chamber specifically to deflect flames and heat back into the stove instead of letting them go straight through the flue system – and this is partly why stoves are much more efficient at delivering heat to your room than an open fire. However, it's also why, even on top quality stoves, baffle plates tend to burn out.
Baffle plates are positioned at the hottest possible part of the stove and take the full brunt of the very high temperatures day-in and day-out. So whether your baffle plate is made of traditional cast iron (Baby Gabriel), heavy steel plate (Dunsley Highlander 5), stainless steel (Esse 100) or vermiculite board, you'll eventually have to replace it. How often this needs to happen depends on the type of fuel you burn, the size of the fuel load and how you burn your fuel.
Some stove owners can burn through their stove baffle plate in a matter of months and conversely some owners can make theirs last for years. A baffle plate on a boiler stove, for example, will not tend to last as long as a baffle plate on a non-boler stove, simply because boiler stoves generally need to be burned 'harder' over longer periods to maximise the heat to the hot water, especially where there are lots of central heating radiators in the system. As a matter of interest, smokeless mineral fuels (eg Homefire Ovals) do not have the same flame height as an equivalent wood log load and therefore can be easier on a boiler stove baffle plate (but not necessarily on your CO2 emissions!).
If you regularly need to replace your stove baffle plate then you should review how you operate your stove by referring to your owners manual which should contain advice on recommended fuel types and fuel loads, as well as instructions on how to effectively operate your stove. One thing's for sure, quickly burning out a baffle plate means that you are probably not only wasting money on replacement baffle plates but also wasting money on fuel. This is probably because you're over-firing your stove and producing excess heat which is wasted through the flue system. An easy to use magnetic flue pipe thermostat will help you to monitor your flue gas temperature and can clearly indicate when you're over-firing your stove. In The Stove Yard's opinion a flue pipe thermostat is one of the best value-for-money stove accessories you could buy, not only because it helps you to maximise the efficiency of your stove, but it also makes you aware of when your stove is potentially operating dangerously by being over-fired.
Since it is very easy to abuse a stove and burn out a baffle plate within a heating season by simply ignoring the manufacturer's recommended fuels and operating instructions, it's also easy to see why most manufacturers now exclude baffle plates, fire grates, fire fences and glass from their normal Warranty terms.
Remember, you can buy a replacement baffle plate or any other wood burner or multi fuel stove spare from Stove Spare Parts.
This burned out cast iron baffle plate is about three years old. The owner used mainly softwood (it was free) which required a substantially bigger fuel load than the equivalent hardwood load needed to generate the same heat. This meant that the fuel and flames were too close to the baffle plate and the extremely high temperatures which were created caused the baffle plate to warp and eventually fail (there is no middle left!). This stove had a rear fitted flue and it wasn't until the owners noticed the flue pipe was glowing red that they realised they had any kind of problem.