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What is a register plate and do I need one? Make your own save £££'s...

From The Stovefitter's Manual (install a logburner) by Julian Patrick

Register plate for a wood stove

A closure plate and a register plate are not the same.

A register plate is the default choice when a chimney has no stainless-steel chimney liner. The register plate closes off the chimney at its base, just above a wood burning stove.

The register plate acts as a barrier to prevent the smoke and fumes in the chimney from entering the room. For this reason the register plate MUST be made of galvanised or stainless steel (or other non-rusting metal) at least 2mm thick.

Why must a register plate be made of metal? If the plate failed then smoke could enter the roomand this could happen, for example, if a brick fell from inside of the chimney. A metal plate is deemed to be strong enough to withstand such a rare ocurrence.

A register plate will usually have access doors to allow the sweep to access any chamber above it in order to remove fallen soot that may otherwise collect and turn into a fire hazard.

In the image above the register plate is for a large fireplace recess. There is a hole in the middle for the flue pipe and two hatches either side for accessing above the plate to retrieve soot. In smaller fireplaces there may be little room for these hatches and this causes difficulty. It is usually the wisest choice to fit a chimney liner and avoid the need for a closure plate. Instead you can fit a more simple "closure plate" (see lower down in this article). A closure plate does not have to be metal and does not have to have access hatches.

If a 904 316 chimney liner is being fitted then a register plate is not required. A plate is still required (to prevent heat being wasted by travelling up into the chimney and also to prevent "old soot smells" into the room as a chimney warms from the heat of the liner) but this plate is called a closure plate which we will come to shortly. It is rare nowadays that chimney liners are not fitted (although stove flue pipes might be connected directly to pot lined chimneys) and register plates are rarely fitted nowadays.

Closure plate instead of register plate

A closure plate is used when a chimney liner, containing flue gases, is present. The closure plate is therefore only required to seal the chimney for cosmetic reasons, to stop soot old soot falling on the stove but also to stop heat disappearing up the chimney and being wasted. If a closure plate developed a fault (e.g.hole) smoke could NOT enter the room as the smoke is contained in a chimney liner.

A closure plate can be made of any non-combustible material. In the picture on this page the closure plate is made of 12mm Hardiebacker concrete board which is arguably much easier to cut than metal. Hardiebacker available from Travis Perkins/B&Q etc. about £15 a sheet 1.2m x 0.8m.

Note that the small square plate around the stove pipe is our sealing plate (included in our liner fitting pack). This sealing plate can be removed so inspection of the joint between the black vitreous pipe and the liner "adaptor" can be inspected to check the joint is good (a small gap appears but with a torch one can usually see what is happening). No access hatches are needed in a closure plate but some installers add one if there is room for inspection purposes.

How do I fix a closure plate?

Do I have to fit a register plate or closure plate?

I do not believe that there is anything in Doc J of the Building Regulations says that you must have a closure plate if you have a liner (unlike a register plate which is a must-have if there is no liner).

It is a very good idea though. Chimneys can smell "sooty". Soot can fall from the old chimney onto your wood burner. The chimney may draw air from bottom to top (finding gaps around the cowl) and this is all draw denied to your stove.

By Julian Patrick

Julian Patrick is the author of The Stovefitter's Manual and an experienced installer of wood burners (including solid fuel heating systems).

Laid down tools in 2013 to write The Stove Fitter's Manual and open a small shop in North Wales (the Wood Stove Hut). Launched Stovefitter's Warehouse soon after due to fast growth of sales.

Own stove is a DG Ivar 5.

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Julian Patrick, author of the Stovefitter's Manual

Stovefitter's Warehouse is owned and managed by Julian Patrick, blogger and author of The Stove Fitter's Manual. Julian was previously a full-time installer of logburners (including solid fuel heating systems). He laid down the tools in 2013 to write his stove manual and open a small shop in North Wales (the Wood Stove Hut, soon to grow into The Stovefitter's Warehouse).