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Firing Kiln Outside In Very Hot Weather


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#1 artjen

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 07:39 PM

I need information about firing a kiln in very hot sun/weather. I am an art teacher and my classroom is being used for a summer ceramics class. The summer teacher is a knowledgeable art teacher from my same district and knows how to use the kiln. The kiln is a fairly new (about 3 years old) kiln, electric Skutt with a programmable keypad. The kiln is outside on a semi-enclosed patio. It does receive direct sunlight at certain times of the day. There are plans to enclose this area more, but for now the kiln remains exposed to the weather.

We are in a very hot desert climate and temperatures reached 115 degrees in the past week. The summer teacher emailed me to let me know the kiln is not working properly. For the past week, when the weather has been the hottest, the kiln hasn't completed a firing. She tried 3 times and each time the kiln shut off early and the keypad showed two error messages. One message related to wiring and the other related to being too hot. That was all she told me, so I don't know the exact language of the error messages from the kiln manual.

There is a work order put on the kiln. In the meantime, I want to prevent this from happening in the future. I believe that the weather is too hot for the kiln to fire properly and that is why it is shutting off early. Of course, I don't know this for sure until the repair-person (from a local kiln/ceramic store) tells me exactly what is wrong.

My question to you is: does anyone know for sure what the specifics are in regards to firing a kiln in this kind of heat? I know it was fired during the day because the teacher is only there from about 9-noon. So the kiln does fire during the hottest part of the day.

Thank you for your help/information!
Jennifer

#2 bciskepottery

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 10:30 PM

Check the Skutt website for safety information on your particular model. Manufacturers' may recommend not firing a kiln when the room temperature is above or below certain levels.

#3 artjen

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 11:25 PM

Ah, I found it! For this kiln:

"Kilns obviously generate heat and this heat must be
managed through your HVAC design. The controllers
on the kiln are rated to withstand a maximum ambient
temperature
in the room of
105 degrees
F. The larger
the room, the
more the heat
has a chance
to naturally
dissipate."

#4 JBaymore

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 07:55 AM

Like any computer system, the controller has a range of ambient temperatures that the board was designed to work within. If the board gets colder or hotter than this range, the computer will not work correctly. It is also possible that the controller designer put in temperature sensors right on the circuit board and coding in the ROM programming that cause it to deliberately shut down outside a specific range to prevent worse potential failures ..... like failing to turn the elements off at all.

On my noborigama I have a very sophisticated digital pyrometer system from Omega Engineering (nice splurge Posted Image ). The electronics for this system is mounted in a small cabinet next to the kiln. If I fire in winter, I have to turn on a heating system inside the cabinet to keep the electronics within the operating temperature range.

So for those hot summer days, looks like you might have to enclose the kiln and give it a dose of AC. Just enclosing it even with fan type ventilation likely will not change the situation much....and during later stages of the firing might cause it to be even hotter than it normall gets.

best,

..............john
John Baymore
Immediate Past President; Potters Council
Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

http://www.JohnBaymore.com

#5 artjen

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 04:52 PM

Thanks for the great information! Wow, a noborigama! :)

#6 clay lover

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Posted 25 July 2010 - 10:27 AM

We have this happen inside the kiln room at school when all of the kilns are firing and we put a fan under the controll box for each kiln, took care of the problem. The book with my Skutt says it won't fire in temps over 105, I think.

#7 hansen

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 03:59 PM

Try using a fan to cool the control unit. Try to do it so you aren't just blowing dust and dirt into it
h a n s e n

I need information about firing a kiln in very hot sun/weather. I am an art teacher and my classroom is being used for a summer ceramics class. The summer teacher is a knowledgeable art teacher from my same district and knows how to use the kiln. The kiln is a fairly new (about 3 years old) kiln, electric Skutt with a programmable keypad. The kiln is outside on a semi-enclosed patio. It does receive direct sunlight at certain times of the day. There are plans to enclose this area more, but for now the kiln remains exposed to the weather.

We are in a very hot desert climate and temperatures reached 115 degrees in the past week. The summer teacher emailed me to let me know the kiln is not working properly. For the past week, when the weather has been the hottest, the kiln hasn't completed a firing. She tried 3 times and each time the kiln shut off early and the keypad showed two error messages. One message related to wiring and the other related to being too hot. That was all she told me, so I don't know the exact language of the error messages from the kiln manual.

There is a work order put on the kiln. In the meantime, I want to prevent this from happening in the future. I believe that the weather is too hot for the kiln to fire properly and that is why it is shutting off early. Of course, I don't know this for sure until the repair-person (from a local kiln/ceramic store) tells me exactly what is wrong.

My question to you is: does anyone know for sure what the specifics are in regards to firing a kiln in this kind of heat? I know it was fired during the day because the teacher is only there from about 9-noon. So the kiln does fire during the hottest part of the day.

Thank you for your help/information!
Jennifer




h a n s e n
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americanpotter.blogspot.com
thesuddenschool.blogspot.com

#8 Seasoned Warrior

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 04:50 PM

Yep, that is a great argument for having a seperate kiln room outside your classroom. opf course in my neck of the woods everyone hangs out in the kiln room to stay warm even in the Summer. Posted Image Especially in the Summer when it is really cool and foggy.




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