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Mesi

Envirovent Suddenly Not Venting Fumes

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I installed a skutt envirovent 2 several months ago to help deal with fumes when firing (especially wax resist). My studio is in my basement and as I've transitioned to being a full time potter, I'm firing 2 or 3 days a week. The fumes were definitely shortening my life. Lol

 

Vent worked perfectly until about a week ago when I started noticing fumes again. And tonight the smell was so bad it woke me from a dead sleep to open all the windows (even though its snowing with 60mph wind).

 

So, I'm sitting in my living room at 2am in a parka and bunny slippers hoping someone has some experience troubleshooting these vents.

 

-outside there is still warm air actively blowing from the vent

 

-ducting is still attached at plenum cup,the joint between the first piece of duct house and the extension, and up at the motor

 

-checked the holes in kiln floor and lid after I first noticed the smell last week and none were obstructed. Plenum cup seated correctly around the floor holes

 

-the two half shelves on the kiln floor are raised up and spaced with a gap between them.

 

I did notice that my lid doesn't seem to really seal when closed. The gap seems to be where two bricks are a little lower than the others, but we're Talking like 1mm difference maybe. The kiln hasnt been moved or bumped though, so I don't see how that could have been a recent development, and like I said, the vent has worked fine for over a month.

 

Any thoughts or suggestions on what to check?

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The peephole plugs must be inserted. Maybe one fell out.

 

What happens when you hold a match flame outside a vent hole while the vent is running?

 

Sincerely,

 

Arnold Howard

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

ahoward@paragonweb.com / www.paragonweb.com

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I live in Kansas where it is windy all of the time, sometimes it switches direction and forces the fumes back in.  My shop in separate from my home so that isn't a problem but I do check the weather before I fire to make sure I won't loose my electricity.  When I have wind like that I turn off the fan so the motor doesn't have to fight it.   Denice

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All the peephole plugs were in.  I'll try checking with a match when I get home (kiln is off now, but the vent is still running).  I guess it could be the wind interfering with it.  I dont remember what the weather was like when I first noticed the problem.

 

Another thought- does how the kiln is packed make a difference in the vent's functionality?

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The wind may be forcing air back down the venting-think about what the weather is doing when it is not working?

You could put up a wind sheild at termanation end of vent system.The match will tell you if its working as the smoke/flame gets sucked in.

Mark

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Okay, so 4 or so firings later, and I'm still no closer to solving this mystery.

 

Everything is still attached correctly. I even uninstalled the duct and used a shorter more direct route from kiln to vent.

 

Seems to stank up my house even when there is no wind.

 

Holding a match over the lid holes, I do see the flame being pulled in a bit, and when I go outside there is a lit of air being blown out the vent.

 

Anybody have any other suggestions? Do I just call skutt and try to troubleshoot? At this point I'm really frustrated because I spent $400 and got this thing, and my house still smells like death by cancer. :/

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The intake and exit holes must be of the correct number, size, and location in your kiln. You should double-check to make sure.

 

Are you sure the motor is spinning freely? Is it the correct voltage?

 

Is the lid flat against the kiln at higher temperatures? If the hinge binds, the front of the lid can rise half an inch.

 

Does the vent flapper outside open freely?

 

Sincerely,

 

Arnold Howard

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

ahoward@paragonweb.com / www.paragonweb.com

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You have some very good advice about troubleshooting the vent on the kiln (including some from Arnold, one of the best in the business...). Now consider how your house "vents" itself. When the vent is running, you are creating negative pressure in kiln (obviously) which in turn creates negative pressure in the room, and in turn, the rest of the house. New air has to come in from somewhere. Look at the outside of your house near the vent outlet. Is there any opening or attic vent near or above the kiln vent. If there is, you might be creating a circular loop of stinky air going out the vent and being pulled back in by the negative pressure in the house. When running a kiln vent in an enclosed area, you must provide a source of an equal amount of fresh air coming in from a location either below (warm air from the kiln vent rises) or from a widely separated point on the house, such as another side of the house.

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You have some very good advice about troubleshooting the vent on the kiln (including some from Arnold, one of the best in the business...). Now consider how your house "vents" itself. When the vent is running, you are creating negative pressure in kiln (obviously) which in turn creates negative pressure in the room, and in turn, the rest of the house. New air has to come in from somewhere. Look at the outside of your house near the vent outlet. Is there any opening or attic vent near or above the kiln vent. If there is, you might be creating a circular loop of stinky air going out the vent and being pulled back in by the negative pressure in the house. When running a kiln vent in an enclosed area, you must provide a source of an equal amount of fresh air coming in from a location either below (warm air from the kiln vent rises) or from a widely separated point on the house, such as another side of the house.

Its called make up air-you put out some thru the vent so the space needs the equal amount to make up. Is this space an air tight space (where kiln is )or is it drafty???

Mark

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Mesi  what they are saying about make up air is very important, if your house is tight it very well can be your problem. Also how is your vent pipe ran, is it horizontal? You do have to have some rise to it even with a envirovent, a minimum  1/4" rise per foot in length. So if your vent is 4' long you would need at least a 1" rise and no low spots.

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I have an L&L kiln so maybe your envirovent works differently than mine.  For mine, aluminum ducting leads from the bottom of the kiln to the vent motor.  The exhaust end of the vent motor is situated so that fumes are vented outside my studio.  I have had my kiln for over 10 years but twice during that time I have had to replace the aluminum ducting leading from the kiln to the vent motor because of cracks/holes developing in the duct.  Could this be the case with your system?  Joan Klotz.

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I have an L&L kiln so maybe your envirovent works differently than mine.  For mine, aluminum ducting leads from the bottom of the kiln to the vent motor.  The exhaust end of the vent motor is situated so that fumes are vented outside my studio.  I have had my kiln for over 10 years but twice during that time I have had to replace the aluminum ducting leading from the kiln to the vent motor because of cracks/holes developing in the duct.  Could this be the case with your system?  Joan Klotz.

 

Excellent point. If there's a hole in the ductwork, it will spoil the draft. Inspect it carefully- sometimes there are holes on the underside, or around the clamps.

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