What A Baffle Plate Is In Wood Burning Stoves (And What It Does)

In Indoor Fireplaces, Multi Fuel Stoves, Wood Burning Stoves by James O'KellyLeave a Comment

The baffle is an important component of both wood burning stoves and multi fuel stoves.

A wood stove creates an enclosed environment in which to burn wood more efficiently, and a baffle plate plays a role in helping to produce the most amount of heat from every piece of wood burnt.

So what is a baffle plate in a wood burning stove?

The baffle is a heavy duty component located at the top of the firebox inside a wood burning stove, typically made from metal to cope with high temperatures. A baffle plate helps to keep heated air and waste gases inside the firebox for longer to produce even more heat from burning wood.

A baffle plate in a wood burning stove can also be known as the baffle or the throat plate.

I’ve explained what baffle plates are and how they work in more detail below, and show you what the baffle looks like in both our wood burning and multi fuel stoves.

What Is A Baffle Plate In A Wood Burning Stove?

Wood burning stoves help to burn wood more efficiently and effectively compared to burning wood in open fireplaces, and wood stoves help to produce a much higher heat output as a result.

Wood burning stoves are able to achieve efficiencies of 70% or higher by helping to burn off waste gases that are released by the fire when burning wood. A wood stove helps to increase the total heat output of burning wood by burning the waste gases through a process known as secondary combustion (more about secondary combustion in another article here).

For secondary combustion to occur, the stove needs to provide an environment where higher temperatures and pressures can be reached.

A baffle plate plays an important role in helping wood stove to generate more heat from wood, by helping to keep waste gases inside the stove for longer and reflecting heat back into the firebox.

In a traditional open fireplace fire, much of the heat generated by the fire will be lost up the chimney because there’s nothing above the fire to help keep the warmth in the room for longer. If your fireplace has a damper, it can sometimes be used to help control the loss of warm air from your home during, but won’t be able to create the temperatures needed for secondary combustion to occur (more about fireplaces dampers here).

A wood burning stove helps to solve this problem by creating an enclosed environment where the loss of warm air and waste gases from the stove are restricted by the baffle plate.

Both our wood burning and multi fuel stoves have baffle plates. Both baffles are made from thick pieces of metal and direct the flow of air towards the front of the stove before it passes through a small gap.

Here’s what the baffle plate looks like in our wood burning stove:

Baffle Plate
The baffle plate in our wood burning stove (the angled piece of metal at the top of the firebox)

This is what the baffle looks like in our multi fuel stove:

The baffle in our multi fuel stove.

What Does A Baffle Do In A Wood Stove?

The purpose of a wood burning stove baffle plate is to:

  • Prevent waste gases and heat from being lost out of the stove too quickly through the stovepipe.
  • Reflect heat from the fire back into the firebox to aid in secondary combustion of waste gases to produce even more heat.
  • Prevent the heat of the fire from damaging components at the top of the stove such as the stovepipe.

How Does A Baffle Plate Work?

The stovepipes of our wood burning and multi fuel stoves stick out the top of the units. The baffle prevents heated air and waste gases from leaving the firebox too quickly, by guiding them through a small gap at the top of the stove.

You can see the outlet to the flue behind the baffle in our multi fuel stove:

Without the baffle plate in the way, stoves wouldn’t be able to produce as much heat because all of the warm air would be rapidly lost up the flue. Heat wouldn’t also be reflected back to above the fire to aid in secondary combustion of gases.

Here’s how the airflow works in a wood burning stove, showing how the cooler air enters and how the heated air has to travel around the baffle plate to leave the stove:

How Wood Burning Stove Works
A diagram showing the airflow in our wood burning stove around the baffle

I’ve explained how a wood burning stove works in more detail here.

Baffle plates are typically angled up towards the front of the stove. Because baffle plates are subject to the intense heat from fires, they are also generally made from a thick plate of metal.

Baffles can also typically be removed from wood burning and multi fuel stoves because they can be damaged over time, causing them to warp and sag. When a baffle warps, it can disrupt how efficiently and effectively a stove is operating, and so will need to be replaced for the stove to return to fully working order.

As long as the stove has been properly operated and maintained, baffle plates can last for long periods of time. This means having fires that are kept within the recommended temperature range for your particular model of stove.

We have a thermometer for our stove, and the picture below shows the temperature range for the ‘best operation’ of the stove where it’s burning wood the most efficiently.

Stove Thermometer
Our stove thermometer showing the temperature ranges

Wood burning stoves can also be operated too hot. Overloading a stove with fuel and air can cause the stove to be generating too much for what it was designed for.

Our thermometer shows that anything over the best operation temperature range is too hot.

Multi Fuel Stove Too Hot
The higher the temperature of your stove, the more likely that damage will be caused to the baffle

Overloading your stove with wood can lead to what’s known as ‘over firing’. Regularly having fires in your wood stove that are too hot can cause damage to the stove’s components, and in particular the baffle plate.

You can read more about over firing on wood stove and how to prevent it here.

Putting too much wood into your stove at any one time can lead to over firing because more wood means more heat, and too much heat can cause your stove to reach temperature too high for what is was designed.

Therefore, to help maintain the baffle inside your wood stove and prolong its life, ensure to have fires that aren’t too big and hot for your particular model of stove.

Our wood burning stoves has a set of air vents at the back of the firebox, just below the baffle plate. These vents aid in secondary combustion of waste gases to produce more heat by providing a fresh supply of air to just above the fire.

Wood Stove Tertiary Air Vents
A fire in a wood stove shouldn’t be built above any air vents inside the firebox

To help the stove produce the most amount of heat and to prolong the life of the stove’s components, including the baffle, we make sure that we don’t build a fire any higher than these vents and put too much wood in the stove at any one time

As a result, the baffles in our wood burning stove and multi fuel stoves are still in good condition even after years of use.

Further Reading

How To Use A Wood Burning Stove

How A Wood Burning Stove Works

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