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yappystudent

Shopping for My First Kiln

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Yappy, the plug/receptacle info is on pages 45-46 of the user manual. The KM818 uses a 6-50 plug and the KM818-30A uses a 6-30.  Make sure you show both of those pages to your electrician - it has other information they will need to know. I have the KM818-30A and it’s terrific! 

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Just an update: 

Ordered the kiln mentioned above, have an electrician coming out this week, told them which plug for the kiln. However, I have not discussed a quote with them yet, I have the feeling they would prefer to bypass that question, show up, install the outlet and stick me with w/e bill. Will be calling them back tomorrow and asking them about that since I should have in the first place. I was just a little too happy about getting hold of someone who wanted to do it, maybe. 

Decided yes it has to go into the metal shed for the following reasons: this allows me to not buy the optional $500 venting system, the shed has double doors and it's usually pretty windy here. No worries about the air temps overheating in there and causing it to shut down: summer temps rarely reach even 75f here, plus shade from hillside/trees, so with the double doors open it should be cool and vented adequately. A venting system would have been nice, but Skutt says it can be retrofitted, so if I find I can't work without it, I can drive the thing back to the shop to have it put on eventually. 

Taking the advice about cement board x2, I'd also like to put a layer of bricks or concrete pavers under the kiln, even for just ornamental reasons if no other. Also the shed is unbearably ugly on the inside and I'd like to dress it up, also not be standing on cement board when I load/unload.  

Welp, just waiting to chat w/ electricians tomorrow again, and 4-6 wks left before the kiln is built. Almost ready to let myself get excited about it, hard to do when vital things are still unfinished. 

Thanks again for all the advice and support. ^_^

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You can build your own vent system pretty cheap. I just ordered the attachment box for the stand and I built the rest myself. There is no reason to pay 500 dollars unless you just want to.

I think mine ended up costing 150 bucks all said and done. I later upgraded($80) the piping to the stuff that Neil recommended. I would start with that now if I was doing it again.

 

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Yappy you really do want a downdraft vent to keep fresh oxygen in the kiln.

Below is the difference between a piece from a non-vented kiln then from the same kiln a piece, with same glazes, from the when the kiln was vented. Big difference in brightness!

post-13363-0-11760900-1487263517_thumb.jpgpost-13363-0-70265400-1487263440_thumb.jpg

 

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Two things. 

1) I have my kiln in a metal shed outside with no further venting. It works a treat! I don't have brightness issues with my glazes, but I also have a very different palette than dhPotter. You can stalk me through the links in my signature below to get an idea.

2) I found the electrician that did my install through my local clay supplier. I paid him about $500, including parts. Has your supplier got a recommendation or two? Who else do you know with a kiln, and can you get their electrician's name?  I know nothing about US rules, but in Canada, kilns have their own section of the electrical code. Because of this, my cousin, who is a journeyman commercial electrician, wouldn't touch my install because he didn't know enough and didn't want to cause a house fire. The guy who did it knew his stuff, and was done in a few hours. 

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The closest supplier is 200m away. I've been trimming slipware at a local shop in exchange for ^.06 firings. They say they can't afford to buy inventory to start selling supplies no matter how few (in reality I think the owner is letting the business go under for personal reasons but that's not my call). She only has one of her 2 kilns running and the guy currently fixing it lives in the woods and smells like he could knock a buzzard off a manure wagon, and I'm not going to hire him, ever. They have no electrician and formerly she called the 220m away supplier I mentioned who had an outside repair woman and would give advice over the phone.  

Had appointments that ate the entire day up, will have to call the electricians back tomorrow, argh. 

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Just to add to the confusion of this thread.  In virtually every residential installation in this country the electric supply to the house is 220/240 volts.  And they are for all useful purposes the same thing. There are typically three big wires that come from the power pole to the house and into the supply meter.  From there the power usually is directed via the same size three wires to the main junction box where there are usually fuses, breakers or combination of both.  One big wire is the neutral or Ground leg.  Each of the other two big wires are considered hot and each carries 110/115 volts.  For most household uses the circuits that feed the plugs lights etc are connected to one hot leg and the ground or neutral.  It is desirable to try to balance the household circuits evenly between the two hot legs.  even though most modern plugs have three prongs, you are really only using the two flat ones to complete the circuit, the third round prong is a second ground, intended to act as a safety device to prevent electric shock when something goes wrong with an appliance.  

In order to get 220/240 you have to use all three wires, the neutral plus two hot wires.  2X110 =220, 2x115=230/240   In order to give you the voltage you want for the kiln the electrician can either add breakers to your existing box and run three wires to your new plug or he can splice into the three wires inside the main panel and run wires to a new breaker panel in the kiln area and then install the proper plug.  If an electrician starts to explain how difficult this will all be due to amps and voltages, chances are they are trying to justify a bid.  The hardest part of an electricians job on an existing structure is trying to route wires in areas that are hard if not impossible to get at.  

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Yeah but Viking he already has 220 out to the shed because he's running a dryer out there. I would expect he easily has enough power to run his purchased kiln. It draws 28 amps and needs a 40 breaker and a dryer uses 30 as well. I know they usually put a 30 breaker in for a dryer but I bet they brought more like 60 out there to be able to run a few more things.

May not be enough to run both the dryer and the kiln at the same time. But since its a detached shed it really seems unlikely that he will want to do laundry in that building while the kiln is firing and even if he tried it would just kick the breaker. 

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My only question is whether the 220 that goes to the shed is coming straight off the feeds in the main box or is it off of a set of breakers or fuse in the box.  And that is because I have seen several garages where they have a breaker in the house (40) and a line to the garage or shed with a secondary box with multiple breakers for stuff like welders and compressor, table saw etc.  Want some fun? run the saw while  the heater is running and when the compressor kicks in, half the shop goes dead.  After you check and see all the shop breakers are on, 40 min later you think to go check in the house and find one leg of the 220 has tripped in the house.  Then you get to curse the numbskull that removed the interconnect between the two halves of the breaker.  Hopefully you are right and they have 60 out at the shed.  So nice to have things right the first time. 

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I'll just start a new thread when the (second) electrician shows up again and has something to say. Actually they showed up unannounced today after saying they wouldn't be able to until next week. I was asleep of course and they drove away before I made it to the door. Shenanigans. 

Also, wasn't planning on running the laundry same time as the kiln. 

I'm female but no hard feelings. 

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9 hours ago, yappystudent said:

I'm female but no hard feelings. 

whoops, I actually don't know why I thought otherwise. Maybe being a guy, unless it comes up in  a post or the user name is gender specific, I naturally read it from a male perspective by default? Anyway thanks for being a good sport about my blunder!

I suggest considering keeping this one going. These threads often get read years later by someone with a similar issue and it might be helpful if the conclusion is in the same thread, just a thought though. Good luck with your electricians.  I know your going to love having your own kiln.

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Update: The project is in indeed going  slowly and painfully as expected. It's going to cost me a fortune to have the plug installed and I'm still trying to settle on which electrician to give my money to, still getting estimates which are about. let's be honest, 4-5 times what I'd hoped for. A significant chunk of my modest nest egg will soon disappear, I hope this is worth it. Driving to Eugene at some point soon to pick the thing itself up. Once home it will wait who knows how many weeks until the plug is installed. After all this I hope it works perfectly, it ought to work perfectly after this kind of expense and aggravation. 

Edited by yappystudent

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hope it goes well, you really have been put through the wringer.   is there no other potter within 50 miles?  someone with some experience might be able to make this easier for you.  

my first kiln, the same size as yours, went into a basement with the breaker box only a few feet away.  the house dated back to 1940 and had only 60 amps service.  fortunately, i found someone who seemed honest who replaced the breaker box with an upgraded one and left me with a very long cord in case i wanted to move the kiln away from the box at some future date.   i did, i moved to another city and was very grateful for that cord.   the kiln went into the 3rd bedroom, carpet, (pale ivory!!!)and about 15 feet from the breaker box.   first thing down was a metal floor protector about 3x3 feet, then i raised the kiln on cinder blocks with holes in them so i could reach into the kiln without bending down so far.  when i moved out, a brisk brushing with a stiff broom raised the nap that had been protected for so long.

this was during the time that wood stoves became popular so finding a metal floor protector was easy.  maybe you have one nearby.

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Well, let's see. 

First there's the "70 feet of trenching" for about $1200? -there's only 4' of concrete walkway they'll have to tear up to bury a line so I had to call them about that somewhat bizarre inclusion, no response yet, and about $1500 for labor and blabbity-blabbity-blah. ((Excuse me, I've had a cranky day, including a lady who backed into my car on my kiln-fetching trip and was going to drive away, when of course, my kiln was in the back...I hopped out to check the kiln, and her first response was to yell at me out her window that she didn't hurt my car)) While I'm waiting to annoy them (the 2nd electricians) on the phone again I got another electrician out here and I'm currently waiting on his estimate. The 2nd place wants to charge me $40 (? the paper is currently in the stack somewhere, it's been about a week...) -for the outlet, if that were all I'd turn a blind eye, trust me. With the mistake about the trenching included, the second outfit's estimate is $2600 approx. Yes. that's right. 

As I complained before the very first electricians informed me they only do "big" jobs and it would cost me $90 just for the blessing of their estimate, I have dismissed their offer. So, waiting on the third electrician, fingers crossed.  Wish me luck, I fear will be needing it. 

 

Edited by yappystudent

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yappy, why do you need a trench with a new wire?  you already have a dryer out there, right?  did i miss something that would prevent your adding a second outlet on that cord?  i is obvious that you would not use both at the same time.  is there something illegal about it?  (might be cheaper to fly in a tech from another state)

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Yes, trenching is expensive. They have to pay the employees, and pay for the machines they'll use. Yes, all of the parts like outlets will cost more than if you bought them yourself. They're going to make money on every part of it. I make money on every kiln part I use in my repair business. Some more than others, but there's still a little profit on everything. I don't mean to sound insensitive, but this is the reality of electrical work, or anything else that requires the hiring of someone with specialized knowledge and skill. The best you can do is get several quotes and hope that one comes in that fits your budget.

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@Oldlady -there will be an inspection so all the I's have to be dotted, so to speak. The trench is needed because otherwise there is no way to get the wiring across a concrete walkway and into the shed, legally. 

@neilstrick -while realizing my griping by now may make me sound like an ungrateful wretch to some ears, who is unappreciative of men's skilled labor in general, let me express my opinion that people tend to see things from their own perspective, and assume that the world is just as respectful to them as it is to those of the opposite sex. Griping about the stress I'm having over the electricians helps me work up the nerve to actually get estimates, not just roll over and be fleeced without a fight. 

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Realizing that you may not have time or inclination to do it yourself, We recently laid a power line out to the garage and rented a trenching machine at the rental place.  The line may need to be inspected, but as long as you  know how deep you have to go, the machine is not hard to operate.  very small excavators are also available for rent.  And depending on the soil, you can often trench up to each edge of a walkway or driveway and  drive a pipe from one trench to another  then pass the wires through the pipe.  4 feet would  usually be pretty easy to do unless there was a lot of rock or roots in the  way.  And as long as you are at it you could easily string the wire yourself and back-fill the trench after  inspection saving even more money.  Then the electrician can do electrical stuff like hook up electricity at either end.  And maybe a local excavation or lawn sprinkler outfit would do all the trenching for less than the electrician,  or, as is often the case around here, a neighbor with a backhoe or such would do a favor for a favor.

An on line check at one rental place  in Coos Bay showed trenchers and mini excavators each renting for about $250 or so per day, and sometimes we have picked stuff up on Sat  and returned Monday for the single day rate.  it would be really unusual that you would have a trench that you could not finish in a single day.

Edited by Viking Potter

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Thanks for all the suggestions, it's hard to explain why/what/how at this point in regards to the electrical work as I'd just be repeating stuff I said elsewhere, when something new happens I'll add it. At least I'm now convinced it will happen. I enjoy patting (OK, hugging...) my new kiln as I walk by it in the living room. 

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Good luck with the bid process. Trenching does adds to the overall project.Any chance you can place this kiln closer to your power source ? Maybe a new shed would be cheaper than this trenching job?

If Trenching is the only way heres an idea-Go buy a trenching shovel (that are stout and about 4 inches wide and hire a kid to dig the trench. Use spray paint to mark the grass with stretched string. You can dig under a 4 foot walkway without tearing it up and slip conduit thru.Use a shovel to undercut and blast it thru with a garden hose on taped to a short pipe . kid job)That way the job is just placing the conduit and wire-

way cheaper

Just some options to lower your costs

Edited by Mark C.

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