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Kiln Hasn't Reached Temperature, Has Been Stuck Just Below For Hours!

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Hi everyone, I'm really hoping you can give me some advice on possibly what to expect from this event.

Our kiln is electric and was set going yesterday for a bisque firing at 3pm after school finished, I came in this morning to find the kiln still on, hovering at 987*c, the target temperature on the electronic control was 1000*c before ramping down. I can only assume that its been stuck at almost the top temperature for around 8-9 hours.


The main problem being that the only option I've had is just to switch the kiln off and let it cool down, and if it was just my work I wouldn't be so worried, however the kiln currently contains final exam pieces from our students so I am very worried, I am new to ceramics and learning every day but this is something I've never encountered.


How will being held at so close to top temperature for such a long time affect it? Am I going to open the door to a kiln full of shards?


Thanks for any help you can give.

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Don't think you will find a kiln full of shards but will probably find overfired pots. Could be a problem if it's earthenware, less so with midrange clay. Sounds like a relay stuck, time to change them. 

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