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Wyatt

Wiring a Paragon Kiln

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Hi,

We have a Paragon TNF kiln. Moved into a new house and the breaker box is a solid 50 feet from where the kiln needs to sit. The house has 200 amps service. Is it possible to have an electrician run copper wire for the 50 feet and just install a plug for the kiln or will this set-up require a sub-panel installation? We had an electrician come out and they recommended just doing a plug but I have been told in the past that the kiln plug should be within a few feet of the breaker box. Any help is appreciated. Thank you. 

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I like the disconnect but your electrician likely was trying to save you money or his labor or both. The general requirement is that you have a means of service disconnect within six feet of the kiln. Most AHJ (authorities having jurisdiction) allow a plug and receptacle as a suitable means of disconnect.

since this is a service disconnect, it needs to be near the machine being serviced, not the breaker box.

 

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Thank you for these responses. We will definitely make sure that there is a disconnect within a few feet of the kiln. My main question is, will we have problems if we have the electrician run 50 feet of wire to a plug versus installing a sub-panel? Is this too far from the electrical panel? Sorry, my understanding of electrical wiring is limited. 

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The issue of "distance" from the panel is one of voltage drop. In order to deliver the necessary amperage and voltage to the target device, the wire needs to be the proper thickness. More amps requires thicker wire. That's standard stuff, kiln manufacturers list the requirements in their specifications. But excessive length of the wire may cause a decrease in the voltage. 50 feet is about as long as you can go without incurring some voltage drop. However, this can be remedied simply by increasing the thickness of the wire. When your electrician installs the wiring, ask him or her to calculate the voltage drop and upsize the cable as needed.

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No 50 feet is fine. If the voltage drop in his opinion is excessive he will increase one or more wire size. For a 100 foot run this is almost automatic for most. He will likely increase one  wire size regardless just out of caution to limit any voltage drop. Most electricians I know do this automatically.  

I would suggest just out of caution to always increase wire by one size just to limit potential voltage drop to the kiln and it is rarely that significant in price. 

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Whether you use a disconnect, as Neil suggested, or an actual sub-panel, you're still going to be 50ft from the main panel - so the wire to get from there to the kiln will be the same. 

Only reason to put in a sub-panel, instead of a disconnect, would be if you want/need to add a separate circuit (i.e. for a kiln vent) in addition to the one for the kiln itself.  In that case, it might make sense to put in a 4-space sub panel, instead of running both circuits from the main panel (especially if you don't have a lot of space in the main).  Just make sure the wire feeding the sub, and the breaker that it connects to in the main, are sized to handle the total load that's going to be connected to the sub.

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Okay, thank you for these replies. Does the wiring need to be copper? I am asking all of these questions because a kiln technician once told me that the kiln needed to be within a few feet of a subpanel or main panel and have copper wire. The electrician who came out did not really know about kilns and so I would like to be as informed as possible when I talk with him. 

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Yes, copper for everything, our experiment with aluminum interior wiring ended 20 years ago. Aluminum interior wiring, especially in homes, is not a good thing, use copper ........ for everything for that matter.

 No it does not have to be within a few feet of the panel or a sub panel unless that is your only means of disconnecting it for service and even then many jurisdictions will require a specific means to disconnect the machine. The logic is, the device needs to be able to be disconnected from power with reasonable ease for service or in an emergency. Looking for the correct breaker generally is not the greatest way, even if it’s close.

Same rule applies to air conditioning condensers. Big load (like many kilns) there must be a service disconnect within 6 feet to shut the power off to the device.

Most locations allow the use of a plug as a service disconnect. Unplug it and power is definitely shut off to the device.

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Okay, thank you very much for this response. One last question. Will this setup still work for a much larger Skutt kiln(we may upgrade in the next year or so)? Thank you. 

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5 hours ago, Wyatt said:

Okay, thank you very much for this response. One last question. Will this setup still work for a much larger Skutt kiln(we may upgrade in the next year or so)? Thank you. 

Totally unsure here,  What size kiln do you have now?  Make, model number, Rated volts, amps and you say your distance is 50 feet. What kiln are you contemplating, make, model, size. Will both operate concurrently? Will you need cooling or are these installed outside? Any other electrical loads you will be adding?

Virtually all the TNF models call for a 6-50 amp receptacle so the base wiring is likely rated 50 amps or above (with voltage drop) with the breaker sized to the actual load. If you intend to set up a studio then I think you should plan out all these loads with some expansion capabilities for the future.

None  of this leads to whether your kiln needs to be located close to an electrical panel. If you do set up a room where you determine you will have a number of electrical loads then a sub panel may be appropriate. My suggestion is to design your sub panel to accommodate as such and check that your main panel can accommodate. Your sub panel will need to remain clear of obstruction and all the loads connected to it generally will need their own means of service disconnect regardless of whether the panel is in the same room.

The cost for adding a one hundred amp sub panel will probably be significantly more than adding two fifty amp receptacles.  Your sub panel will need to be sized for voltage drop but this time at the higher potential operating amperage and will likely require its own main breaker or means of disconnect for the sub panel.

thorough planning is probably most beneficial at this point.

 

Edited by Bill Kielb

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12 hours ago, Bill Kielb said:

Virtually all the TNF models call for a 6-50 amp receptacle so the base wiring is likely rated 50 amps or above (with voltage drop) with the breaker sized to the actual load.

Many kiln companies use the same 6-50 plug on all their 240/208 volt kilns up to 50 amps, regardless of the actual draw of the kiln. It makes inventory easy for them, and the only have to specify one size outlet for all their kilns. For instance, the TNF823 only pulls 30 amps, needs a 40 amp breaker, but has the 6-50 plug.

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2 minutes ago, neilestrick said:

Many kiln companies use the same 6-50 plug on all their 240/208 volt kilns up to 50 amps, regardless of the actual draw of the kiln. It makes inventory easy for them, and the only have to specify one size outlet for all their kilns. For instance, the TNF823 only pulls 30 amps, needs a 40 amp breaker, but has the 6-50 plug.

Agree,

Sort of why I needed to know the model he has now

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10 hours ago, neilestrick said:

Many kiln companies use the same 6-50 plug on all their 240/208 volt kilns up to 50 amps, regardless of the actual draw of the kiln. It makes inventory easy for them, and the only have to specify one size outlet for all their kilns. For instance, the TNF823 only pulls 30 amps, needs a 40 amp breaker, but has the 6-50 plug.

So...  If I buy a TNF823, and already have a 30amp outlet, wired with #8 wire and a 40amp breaker - would I install a 50amp outlet, to match the plug on the kiln, even though the circuit is only wired for 40amps - or change the plug to match the outlet ?   (Or, more importantly, if I change the plug to match the existing outlet, does that affect the warranty on the kiln ?)

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Hi Rock!

TNF823 draws 30 amps, hence 40 amp breaker and #8 wire could be sufficient* - depending on how long that wire run is.

Paragon's website indicates that model comes with a 6-50R plug; I'd match the outlet to the kiln - new outlet, good. Likely not recommended  to downgrade the plug to a 30 amp to match your outlet.

   *Paragon's website indicates 50 amp breaker and #6 wire, hmm...

 

Paragon.JPG

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1 hour ago, Rockhopper said:

So...  If I buy a TNF823, and already have a 30amp outlet, wired with #8 wire and a 40amp breaker - would I install a 50amp outlet, to match the plug on the kiln, even though the circuit is only wired for 40amps - or change the plug to match the outlet ?   (Or, more importantly, if I change the plug to match the existing outlet, does that affect the warranty on the kiln ?)

In general The breaker always matches the load, the wire and downstream wiring always should match or exceed the breaker rating for resistive loads such as a kiln or resistance heaters. 

The breaker protects everything downstream. Wiring  and connection equipment that is oversized will run cooler, last longer. In essence the first thing to trip has to be ..........the breaker, and it should trip long before the wiring or receptacle or cord end begin to overheat and melt.

often an electrician will look at this and wire everything for 50 amps or greater and install the 40 amp breaker in your specification  as required to protect the kiln..

Like selling pottery to one user and worrying about the next potential user they realize they cannot predict what someone in the future will hook up and often  choose to match the highest rated device throughout. Which would mean 50 amp receptacle, so 50 amp  or greater wire and of course the required 40 amp breaker matching your specification.

I your case if I read the spec right above, everything needs to be upgraded per the manufacture, including wire and breaker. Manufactures are smart that way sometimes.

Edited by Bill Kielb

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22 minutes ago, Bill Kielb said:

Like selling pottery to one user and worrying about the next potential user they realize they cannot predict what someone in the future will hook up and often  choose to match the highest rated device throughout.

I definitely understand that...  I managed the electrical department of a local home-center for several years in the 90's...  I still shake my head when I think about how many people would come in asking for a 30 amp fuse, because "the 20 that's in the box keeps blowing every time I turn the microwave on while the window air-conditioner is running".   

In my case, I already have a 40-amp circuit, and was trying to figure out whether if/when I buy a new kiln, I would need to install a 50A outlet on that circuit, to match the kiln plug - or maybe change the plug on the kiln to match the outlet.  (If I were installing a new circuit, I would definitely use #6 wire - or maybe #4, depending on length - with a 50 amp outlet.) 

I've done a fair amount of residential wiring over the years, but most of it 15- and 20-amp 120v circuits, so less familiar with the 240v requirements.  After thinking it through a little more, it looks like Paragon & others use a 50A plug in this situation because a 30A plug would not meet the requirement (somewhere in the code book) that the connector be rated higher than the actual load.  And, since there are no 40A plugs or receptacles (at-least not in the NEMA standards), the next size up would be 50A  ...    (They spec #6 wire because that's the minimum for a 50-amp circuit.)  

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I don't know why Paragon is saying it should be on a 50 amp circuit when it's only a 30 amp kiln. A 40 amp circuit is within code (and the 50 is, too, technically). It's okay to have a 50 amp plug on a 40 amp line. Just put in a 50 amp receptacle to match. It's fine if things are rated higher than the breaker.

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