Why stove bricks crack – and how they are easily replaced

Most multi-fuel stoves and woodburners in the UK are fitted with internal bricks around the sides and back of the grate.  Some are made from vermiculite (including the top  ‘baffle’  plate in some models) while others are made from clay. And they all have something in common – they crack.

This is nothing to be alarmed at. Infact, when you think about it, it’s something to be expected.

After all, the bricks come into contact with intense heat from the firebed. Repeatedly going from cold, to hot, to cold again, they naturally expand and contract, so over time begin to lose their strength. They also, in some models (like Firefox, Hunter and Carron), take a large part of the weight of a heavy baffle plate – putting even more stress on them. And if you’re a little heavy-handed when refuelling, that can contribute to brick failure if you catch the brick at a weak point.

Bricks, along with door rope seals, stove glass, baffle plates, grates, ashpans and fuel retainer bars, are all classed as ‘consumables’ so aren’t part of the manufacturer warranty. This is precisely because they are expected, at some point, to need replacing. Some may show signs of failure. while others may fail when moved – precisely because they have been weakened through use.

When this happens, simply check your stove make and model, and order some new ones. It’s a good idea to do this shortly before you get your appliance swept, so if the bricks have lost their integrity and fail, your sweep can simply replace them there and then. Some may charge for this, others may just do it as part of the service while some also supply and fit.

So remember, far from being a show-stopper, having to replace your stove bricks regularly is part and parcel of the service and maintenance aspect of owning a stove, and one which every diligent stove owner should be aware of and make provision for.

Mr Soot Chimney Sweep is a HETAS Approved Sweep, and member of the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps, offering a professional and friendly chimney sweep and stove service in Wigan, Stockport, West Lancashire, Chorley and surrounding areas. Book Mr Soot online or call 0800 0541154.


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