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MikeSievers

Firing Costs In An Electric Kiln

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Norm Stuart    80

Slow-firing below 1,100 F (593 C) is generally not too costly.

 

Once your temperature is above that range, you start losing a lot of heat to the environment through 2.5 inch or 3 inch soft brick.  This becomes an even bigger problem above 2,000F (1,093 C). 

 

So once your temperature is hotter than 1,100 F (593 C) faster ramps speeds are less expensive firing.

 

We have a kiln with 10 kilowatts per cubic foot, which can ramp to 2,232 F (1,222 C) at 950 F per hour.   If your kiln has a lower wattage per square foot, there's a much lower absolute limit to how fast it can actually ramp at higher temperatures, even if you tell it to go faster. 

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ayjay    119

My controller tells me exactly how many KWh I've burned up in each firing. (insert smug smiley here)

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Mart    23

We fire our small kiln to 1249C when glaze firing and it's not that expensive at all. We also have a meter for the kiln so we know exactly what it costs.

 

BTW, with our small kiln, the difference between fast or slower firing (lets say 2 h difference) about the same kWh of electricity is used. For some reason, I am absolutely convinced that fast firing will ware out the elements faster.

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neilestrick    1,381

We fire our small kiln to 1249C when glaze firing and it's not that expensive at all. We also have a meter for the kiln so we know exactly what it costs.

 

BTW, with our small kiln, the difference between fast or slower firing (lets say 2 h difference) about the same kWh of electricity is used. For some reason, I am absolutely convinced that fast firing will ware out the elements faster.

 

Two things cause wear on elements- high temperature and cycling. I did an informal test a few years ago when I was firing cone 8. Instead of firing all the way to cone 8, I started firing to cone 6 and holding for 40 minutes to put down cone 8. My elements were cycling a lot more in order to hold temp, but they were never firing as hot. The result was that my elements lasted about 25% longer, possibly more (as I said it was an informal test). So higher temps seemed to negatively affect element life more than switching.

 

When firing fast, the elements spend more time 'on' than when firing slow, switching less. Because they run slightly hotter than the interior temperature of the kiln, they are, in essence, spending more time at a higher temperature than if you were firing slow. That could mean decreased element life. But even in a slow firing the elements spend a great deal of time 'on' when the kiln gets to the top half of a firing. If you had data logging capabilities you could test how often the elements cycle at the top half of the firing and compare slow to fast.

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Chilly    331

 

Electricity is included in my studio rent  :wub:

 

That's good, don't let on how much you use !

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ashley    0

I have a super small 120v, 20 amp kiln and am looking to get the exact electricity reading.  I have been looking at metors and stuff like that but the ones that are for a 120v only do 15 amp.  This does not make since to me.  Does any one know of a good metor that will tell me the total kw over a set amount of time?

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Babs    386

 

Electricity is included in my studio rent  :wub:

 

My controller tells me exactly how many KWh I've burned up in each firing. (insert smug smiley here)

 

Now you need to duct he hot air around kiln to heat your house....

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Ashley, try calling your electric company. Tell them that you're trying to get an idea of what it will cost per firing. The front desk should be able to connect you to their technical guy and he can do a run down on cost for you. I did that with our local power company (I love Inland Power and Light! :wub: ) and they were VERY helpful.

 

Granted, we live in an area with abundant, renewable hydroelectric power generation and our rates are much lower than the national average. But such a low amperage kiln shouldn't cost much to run.

 

You could also take a reading of your meter just before you start your kiln. Then, take a reading after she shuts off. That will give you just a rough ballpark figure on which to base your cost estimates. Additionally, you could take a reading for a 24 hour usage rate the day before your firing. This will give you an average of your normal daily consumption of electricity. Compare that to the reading you get on the days that you fire and you'll have an even more accurate picture of how much electricity it takes to run your kiln. ...... Just a little food for thought.............. ;)

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jolieo    45

Hi Ashley, your electric company might have an hourly break down of power usage. FPL does , probably because the want to control shut off of some appliances. It is in w my account info.

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A smart meter will give you a very good idea.  I get a weekly email from the power company that includes a graph of that week's usage with about 1 hour resolution.  When I fire (computer controlled) you see a ramp up to the max temp, and the peak is several times my normal high hour for the week, even for bisque (cone 06).  For glaze firings you can watch it hit peak, then drop while my kiln gyrates for the crystalline schedule.  Great fun.  All that being said, it looks like it costs on the order of $10-15 to do a cone 6 crystalline firing.  Your mileage will vary.

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