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Buying A Kiln

kiln new buyer

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#1 ashleigh_arts

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 02:17 PM

Hello, all.

 

I am REALLY wanting to buy my own kiln and have been researching, etc. I stumbled upon an ad at the community college of a kiln for sale, but I have a few questions. The specific kiln is the Duncan 1029-2 for $425 with shelves, stilts, etc.

 

I live in an apartment, and from what I'm reading, kilns can require specific wiring. I'm thinking that if there are no options that I just plug in and go, this isn't a good idea right now. I'm looking to buy a house within the next year, and it may be something I have to wait on (because I'm not spending so much money to alter an apartment that I won't be staying in forever).

 

My question about this is...will this kiln require special wiring/breakers? How do I know?



#2 JBaymore

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 02:23 PM

Unless it is a very unusual apartment...... you'll need to install special wiring for it.  it is a 240 V 10K watt unit......... your apartment likely does not have that kind of supply.

 

Even the typical 110V AC small test kilns typically require wiring guage and a breaker size that the average apartment does not have.

 

best,

 

................john


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#3 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 02:24 PM

I am sure others can be more specific but yes. The amperage variations have different shaped plugs. The kiln manufacturer will have specs for the right gage wire needed.My large 58 amp kiln is directly wired to the specially designated box.
You should wait until you have your own home. A kiln in an apartment would need special wiring , venting and fire proofing.

Marcia

#4 schmism

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 03:29 PM

you may have to move to an apt with a washer/dryer hookup.

 

most electric dryer hookups are 30 amp.   that should power a smaller kiln fine  

 

FYI there are standard plugs for 30-50 amp connections.   above 50 amps you have to move to commercial pin/sleave style connections if you dont want direct wire.

 

another option would be to see if your electric stove is plug in or direct wire.   If its plug in then those are 40-50 amp (check the breaker in the pannel to find out)   

 

it might be a pain to move stuff around when you want to fire the kiln but its another option without having to do any wire modifications to the apt.



#5 neilestrick

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 03:35 PM

Even if you have a dryer plug, you probably don't have a safe place to put a kiln that size in your apartment. You can't just set it next to the dryer in the hallway. But even small test kilns, those as small as .3 cubic feet, are going to need a 20 amp circuit, which is larger than a standard household circuit (15 amps). Plus your landlord probably wouldn't allow any sort of kiln due to fire concerns. Save up for a good kiln when you have your own place.


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#6 schmism

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 03:41 PM

the pottery studio i go to has a fireing membership.   Its about 1/3 the normal monthly fee but you get access to their glazes and then just have to pay for shelf space in the kilns for fireing.  (few bucks per large piece) The upside is you dont have to worry about mixing glazes, and the guy who runs the studio has been running his kilns for 15+ years, ie he knows what he is doing.      FYI they run 3 electric kilns bascily all week.  spread between bisque and cone 6 ox.   about once a month they fire up the large gas kiln and do cone 10 redux in it.  so they do lots of fireing.  If i go just once a week,  i can throw pots on week 1,  trim on week 2, they will be bisqued by week 3 and fired by week 4.    The nice thing is i can run a steady supply of just 4-8 pieces a week and get "instant" results instead of having to throw an entire kiln full of wares.



#7 potterbeth

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 04:51 PM

In addition to electrical requirements, space, and other safety considerations, you also need to consider the heat and fumes created by firing a kiln. Yes, you can also buy a kiln vent and find a way to vent it to the outdoors, but that doesn't magically take care of everything.



#8 Mark C.

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 05:03 PM

Just wait until you are iin your own home-when house shopping lok at the electrical system and make sure its a newer one with circuit breakers.

200 amps is always beter than 100 amps for a main service. Just another thing to keep in mind when home shopping.

Mark


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#9 Arnold Howard

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 06:13 PM

Duncan 1029-2 is not the full model number. The kiln could be manual, semi-automatic, or digital. Nevertheless, if the kiln is 240 volts, you will need at least a 50 amp, 240 volt circuit.

 

Sincerely,

 

Arnold Howard

Paragon Industries, L.P., Mesquite, Texas USA

ahoward@paragonweb.com / www.paragonweb.com



#10 Stephen

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 06:14 PM

Small test kilns usually need a $10 outlet but no wiring and the thebigceramicstore.com had Paragon make them a 3 cubic foot one for use on a dryer plug with a 10 foot cord, it's on the opening page.  Nothing can run on the same circuit when the kiln is running.

 

Either a test kiln or this one I assume could be vented out the dryer vent. If you do put one in the apartment I would caution not to leave it unattended when firing and make sure it is vented. The fumes would be bad for you and your neighbors. I knew a guy in college that was a ceramic major and used one of the large kilns on campus for loads but fired his small test kiln on his apartment patio (that was 1980 and before the digital controllers ;-).  

 

Test kilns are small but would still hold a number of things like mugs, small bowls and such.



#11 neilestrick

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 06:34 PM

Small test kilns do often need wiring, because the wire size for 15 amp circuits is not the same as 20 amp circuits. The breaker for the kiln will be larger than the actual amperage draw of the kiln by 25%, so 15 amp kilns need 20 amp circuits, which means also having the appropriate wire size for that breaker.

 

The heat coming off of anything but a small test kiln would also be an issue in an apartment. The neighbors above you won't appreciate it, and neither will you.


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#12 schmism

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 11:56 PM

 The breaker for the kiln will be larger than the actual amperage draw of the kiln by 25%, so 15 amp kilns need 20 amp circuits, 

 

So unless the manufactures are wiring them incorrectly,   it would be impossible for a 15amp breaker kiln to draw more than 15amps.  In theory they could wire them so not all the load goes through that breaker, but it would open them up to sooooo many lawsuits it wouldn't be worth it.

 

by code a kitchen has to have an 20amp "appliance circuit" which is dedicated to the kitchen for such use.   



#13 neilestrick

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 09:25 AM

 

 The breaker for the kiln will be larger than the actual amperage draw of the kiln by 25%, so 15 amp kilns need 20 amp circuits, 

 

So unless the manufactures are wiring them incorrectly,   it would be impossible for a 15amp breaker kiln to draw more than 15amps.  In theory they could wire them so not all the load goes through that breaker, but it would open them up to sooooo many lawsuits it wouldn't be worth it.

 

by code a kitchen has to have an 20amp "appliance circuit" which is dedicated to the kitchen for such use.   

 

 

The national electric code states that continuous heating appliances (kilns) must be on a breaker that is at least 25% greater than the draw of the kiln, but no more than 50% greater. Slight variations in the elements, or the age of the elements, or the actual voltage of the electrical service can result in a higher (or lower) amperage draw. It is rare that the electrical service is right at 240 volts or 208 volts. I have seen a 24 amp kiln flip a 30 amp breaker due to higher than normal voltage.


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#14 JBaymore

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 12:27 PM

Small test kilns usually need a $10 outlet but no wiring and the thebigceramicstore.com had Paragon make them a 3 cubic foot one for use on a dryer plug with a 10 foot cord, it's on the opening page. Nothing can run on the same circuit when the kiln is running.

 

Ditto what Neil said. You'll potentially start a fire inside the walls as the wiring heats up if the wiring is not sized for the 20 Amp circuit even if the typical 15 Amp homes style breaker does not blow.

 

best,

 

.......................john


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#15 JBaymore

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 12:29 PM

 

by code a kitchen has to have an 20amp "appliance circuit" which is dedicated to the kitchen for such use.   

 

 

In more modern places.  Bet old apartments don't have that consistently.  Gamble.

 

best,

 

........................john


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

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#16 DirtRoads

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 01:03 PM

I would not put a kiln in a rented apartment.  I know for a fact if there was a fire, the insurance company would most likely go after you.    I've been around the insurance business my entire life (family).     Many (not saying ALL) insurance companies would go after you in the event of any fire, saying the kiln caused it  even if there was no proof or they even knew something else cause it.    If you or spouse is "collectible" they will go after you and win unless you hire an attorney (typical fee for this would range 10k-20k in my area) and you would most likely still "settle", with you paying something.  I've seen cases where they blamed fires on curling irons, hot plates, coffee pots, toasters, etc.  And in some instances these items weren't even plugged in, with them saying they got torn out of the plug by water or falling debris. The investigators have a "list" of items that can cause fires and they dig these out of the burned areas.  For sure a kiln is on such a "list".  Apartments are covered under commercial policies.  Commercial insurance are not as reputation concerned and will go after individuals related to an incident while still being supportive of the policy holder.   Way more aggressive than residential coverage (more laws protecting individuals).

 

Don't chance this. 



#17 Mark C.

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 04:51 PM

Neil nailed it a 15 amp kiln can draw a tad more

 

(by code a kitchen has to have an 20amp "appliance circuit" which is dedicated to the kitchen for such use.)

Most kitchens are wired with #12 wire good for 20 amps and the typical outlets are usually 15 amps unless speced in the plans.

Thats 20 amps for all outlets on curcuit not one so in theory you could hook up your 15 amp kiln into a replaced 20 amp outlet and not use any other outlets. But that is not true most of the time.

There are a few major points-this curcuit is usually running one outlet to the next and not a DEDICATED curcuit meaning one wire all the way to ONE outlet as it must be to be safe at maximum draw instaed its running thru all the connections and outlets thru the whole kitchen. This can be problematic and unsafe

Many codes now have the refrigerator on a dedicated curcuit so you could if knew run it on that 

You really need an electricain to sort these issues and we have not even begun on the fumes and fire safety stuff.

Mark


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#18 neilestrick

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 05:53 PM

Regardless of what current code says, any given dwelling may or may not meet the current code. It all depends on when your dwelling was built, when your local municipality adopted the code (a house built in 2005 was not necessarily built to the 2005 code), and whether or not those codes were even followed by the person doing the wiring. A lot of remodel work gets done without permits. I would never plug in a kiln without verifying the size of the wiring and breaker.

 

Basically I think we've all come to the conclusion that putting a kiln in your apartment is a bad idea, for safety and liability reasons. Find a good studio that will fire your work until you get your own place. You'll learn a lot from them, and be able to make an educated decision when it is time to buy.


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#19 Benzine

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 07:17 PM

Find a good studio that will fire your work until you get your own place. You'll learn a lot from them, and be able to make an educated decision when it is time to buy.


And if there is a kiln fire, it's not your fault.....
"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#20 High Bridge Pottery

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 09:12 PM

I thought my kiln was meant to be on fire  :unsure:


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