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Hi,

I am new to this forum and I am looking for some advice.

 

My wife and I are looking to install a kiln in our home. She primarily throws on the potters wheel, small bowls & dishes. We have an electric kiln & potters wheel, however due to our breaker box situation, there is no way for us to run a 220V line to the electric kiln without spending a pretty penny to expand and draw more power.

 

We found a good sized, used gas kiln for sale, about $250. Great shape.

Few questions on my mind: 

1. Can you run a traditional natural gas line (like you would for outdoor grill, fireplace, stove, etc.) for a  gas kiln? I see that some of them actually run on propane tanks.

2. If you are running an average sized gas kiln, what are you paying per firing? 

3. If you run the kiln with the proper ventilation in the garage and supervision, would this setup work? 

4. If you have a gas kiln in Indiana for sale, please contact me. 

 

Any other advise for our situation would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! 

 

Edit as of 10/4/18: We decided to go with an electric kiln. Thank you for all the advice. 

 

Edited by Blake Kennedy
update

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I fire in a small gas kiln, and I can answer some of your questions based on my experience.

1) I use propane, but as long as your burners can be used with natural gas, it's a much cheaper option.

2) I don't know that there's an average sized gas kiln, but mine is 2x2x2 ft and I go through about 15 lbs of propane on a bisque (15 dollars), and 25 lbs on a cone 6 glaze firing (25 dollars).

3) I wouldn't fire in a garage, sometimes there's a 2 foot flame coming out of my 5 foot chimney and I'd hate to see what that would do to my garage ceiling.  Albeit a 2 foot flame isnt normal, but there's usually a 6 inch flame.  

4) I don't have one for sale, but you can make any of the kilns at http://www.ian-gregory.co.uk/kilns.html for 200 or less.  You'll need to buy appropriate sized kiln shelves and posts but you'd probably have to do that with any gas kiln.

5)  it will be cheaper in both firing costs and overall if you buy a used electric kiln and pay an electrician to run 240v to it.  I've seen the 300 dollar figure bandied about pretty regularly as to how much it costs for an electrician to wire it up.

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Any gas kiln can be fired on propane or natural gas, but the orifices on the burners may need to be changed. The size of the kiln will determine the size of the propane tank you need.  It will also determine whether or not it can be fired on a regular household natural gas line.

If you want to have a gas kiln in your garage, you'll have to have a vent hood built and installed to deal with the heat and flame and fumes. There may also be building and fire codes that prevent it from happening at all. Before you even start looking for a kiln, you need to check with the local authorities about whether or not you can even have one, then find a sheet metal contractor than can build and install a vent hood. If the gas kiln is anything larger than a round sectional top loader, then you'll need a forklift and truck to move it. Once you add up everything it will take to do a gas kiln in garage, I think you'll find that upgrading your electrical system will be cheaper. Also, if you've never fired a gas kiln, I wouldn't recommend buying one until you'll have some training.

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Ya know the electric is going to cost under $10 to fire, maybe $5 and that's substantially less than gas, propane or natural. 

Had to add a sub-panel to hook up two this past spring. I paid $1200 but that was overpriced. After I committed to a bid and had the job scheduled I found a local, bonded shop that works by the hour, $150 first hour and $90 additional. Had already committed to the other but used them on a split AC install and saved a bundle. Had another one in Northwest done by the hour as well.   In my opinion (based on three installs) do not accept a job bid. Find an electrician that will do it by the hour.  It will probably be half the price and take some time to find because they mostly like to bid by the job.  Good luck!

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Yes you want to be very careful about using a gas kiln indoors. Surely not safe inside the house unless you have a dedicated brick or cement block area addition to your living space that's well ventilated and a commercial hood and gas hook-up.

In the gargage maybem but it better have higher than normal ceilings along with the hood.

Best to locate it in say, the back yard on a slab or set on cinder blocks.

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3 hours ago, shawnhar said:

You need to actively vent the kiln fumes to the outside and also have an adequate intake of fresh air in the room with the kiln.  

I will agree, and add that not only ventilate the kiln room with fresh air for fumes, you also need to ventilate to keep the room from becoming too hot; I recommend around 80-85 F.   

LT 
 

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On 10/5/2018 at 5:02 PM, Magnolia Mud Research said:

I will agree, and add that not only ventilate the kiln room with fresh air for fumes, you also need to ventilate to keep the room from becoming too hot; I recommend around 80-85 F.   

LT 
 

I was wondering about this very thing - how to ventilate the room while the kiln vent fan is on. I'm in a basement with small windows so there's a limit to the amount of naturally occurring air flow, especially in the summer. If I put a box fan in one of the windows away from the kiln, would that "fight" with the positive/negative air flow of the kiln fan?

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For basement kilns, you either need a fan pushing air outside and an open window on the opposite side of the room, or you can use an overhead hood like those made by Vent-A-Kiln. They pull out excess heat as well as fumes. If the basement space is large enough, and open to the upstairs, you may not need to have an open window with the hood in use. Fresh air always helps, though.

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We have CO detectors upstairs and down, have since our son was born; his doctor made sure we had smoke an' CO detectors, an' all the other baby proofing done. Hadn't thought about the studio though; we have smoke detector out there, but not CO detector, thanks Min!

My garage setup started out with a homemade vent a kiln fashioned from propane deck heater lid, squirrel cage (bathroom type) fan and some ducting.

From there, I've added a envy vent assembled from galvanized sheet metal, ducting, an inline fan, and a few small holes. We're on time of use electric rates, hence weekday firing window starts at nine p.m.; today's the day for first test! ...given I finish up glazing first...

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