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Electricity cost of firing small ceramics pieces in a kiln?

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#1 Lef56



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Posted 23 June 2013 - 10:26 AM

Can anyone give me an idea for firing times for small ceramics pieces (plates, bowls, etc.) and what the electricity cost might be for firing such pieces? It's a long story, but I'm building a pottery wheel for two longtime ceramics artists, and since the space will be shared they want to know the electricity cost of running a kiln. Attached you will find a couple photos of the kiln (230 volts, 45 amps, 10350 watts, 2300 degrees F max temperature):

Attached File  2013-06-13 16.36.26.jpg   2.01MB   76 downloads

Attached File  2013-06-13 16.36.07.jpg   3.2MB   56 downloads

#2 Chris Campbell

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 10:34 AM

The way I would use would be to check the electricity meters to see what the hourly usage is without the kiln firing. Then fire the kiln and see how much it uses. The difference times the actual utility price per hour would be the cost ... then divide it by the hours it ran.
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#3 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 10:36 AM

Check with your electric company to find the cost of a KWH. It varies tremendously from place to place. My costs in Brownsville is .095 cents. In Montana 7 years ago it was .14 cents.
On the West Coast it was more..much more. Next time you fire, write down the KWH on your meter. When you are done firing, write it down again and figure how many KWH you used, multiply that by your Electric company rate. Some rates vary if you fire off hours.

Marcia Selsor, Professor Emerita,Montana State University-Billings

#4 Lef56



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Posted 23 June 2013 - 10:44 AM

Hmm...okay. I will try this. But let me also ask the question a different way. Generally speaking, is this (firing) something that's going to be a dollar? Ten bucks? Twenty bucks? Just a ballpark figure or a general idea of what it costs to fire things is all I'm looking for.

I'm going to try to get that KWH cost figure shortly...hold on...

#5 Denice


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Posted 23 June 2013 - 10:47 AM

There are a lot of variables in the cost of firing, to start with the cost of electricity in your area and that can even be a little tricky. Where I live they charge more for it from June to October because of our hot summers. Then you have the cone they fire to, length of the firing, the age of the kiln wiring and maintenance, ect. Since they are potters this is something they should research and gain the knowledge of how to figure it, then they could use it in the future. Denice

#6 MichaelP


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Posted 23 June 2013 - 11:22 AM

VERY roughly...

Let's say your bisque firing takes 12 hours and your glaze firing takes 8 hours. 20 hours total. Let's assume that, in average, the kiln elements are ON half of this time, 10 hours. Your kiln is 10.4 kW. So it comes to 104 kWh. If the cost of energy in your area is $.12 per kWh, you'll need to spend $12.48 total to bisque and glaze fire your wares.

#7 ayjay


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Posted 23 June 2013 - 02:40 PM

My kiln is 6.3 KW, it costs me less than £3.00 (that's pounds sterling, cos I'm in the UK) for either a bisque or glaze fire - leccy cost is about 10p per kwh, (100p to the pound).

#8 Bill T.

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 09:35 PM

I put a new control board in my Skutt 1027, 7 cu ft, and it allowed me to input the cost of electricity per KWH. Last week fired to cone 6 about 8 1/2 hours and the cost was $6.58. I am lucky cause our cost per KWH is only about $.08. Probably a little slow in the firing, my elements are getting old.

#9 Mark C.

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 10:40 PM

That wood stand needs to be replaced with a metal one otherwise the cost will be a new building after the fire.
On the power issue I have a time of use electric meter (TOU) so the power costs less 7pm to noon- and more the other times-this is just another cost issue as everyone has noted so its hard to nail cost down without more info of what the costs for power where this kiln will live.
Mark Cortright

#10 clayshapes


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Posted 24 June 2013 - 09:32 AM

I'm in Toronto - simply put, a cone 04 bisque firing costs less than $10, and a cone 6 glaze firing costs closer to $10 never more - usually less. I mostly use TOU rates (cheaper after 7 p.m.)

#11 Bobg


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Posted 24 June 2013 - 10:39 AM

I mainly use my little Skutt 181 for everything I fire. I know how long it takes to fire for bisque and for glazes. To give myself a good fudge factor I just use the max wattage for the total length of firing, which I believe on that kiln is 4800 watts. And multiply that by what a KWH costs me. You can easily figure the cost of each piece if they are comparable in size.


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