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Crusty

Gas VS Electric Kiln

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I am seriously thinking of finding a used Elec. kiln "not working" and modding it over to gas.  Our elec. bill doubles with 1  load firing a month which equals 1 bisque and 1 cone 6 glaze.. on our bill it puts us at $135.00 to $150.00 a load...  we have a 18x27 kiln

we recently contacted L&L and ran the tests on the elements- we are replacing them as soon as they come in with the HD elements.  that was $318.00  ... the ceramic work i was doing before, we only had to bisque fire.. 

for those of you using Gas, propane or natural . how much does a load cost you ?  what kind of maintenance do you have?

 

 

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It comes down to electricity rates as far as costs go. I pay 9 cents per kwh, so my kiln firings are cheap.  About 5 dollars per firing with my 18x23 kiln.

I don't have natural gas so propane would cost about 4 times that price.  When I was gas firing in a 1.7cuft kiln it took a 20lb tank (which is 18.99 here) for bisque and a tank and a half for glaze firing 

Edited by liambesaw

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My 18x27 kiln costs about $9 for a glaze firing. I don't know how you could be using $70 per firing unless your electricity is $1.50 per kilowatt hour. Take a look at your electric bill and see what your actual cost is. There are a lot of numbers on the bill- just take the total cost for the month and divide it by the kilowatt hours used.

Are you doing a very long firing of some sort, or long hold times or anything like that?

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I live where a kilowatt is more like 34 Cents and electric rates are to the moon. Electric kilns make little sense for production work.I fire in electrics for a needed bisques when I have to have more than my gas kiln will fit.Those in the east and midwest get electric for near free I feel.The whole deal is where you live and what fuel costs.For me its natural gas as it cheapest. 

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Electric kiln firing cost calculator here. Looks like @Crusty is in KY and the rate there is between 9 - 11kwh. Maybe rural and way more than that but just plunking in a basic glaze firing using figures for a typical 4cubic foot kiln into the calculator at 65% load comes in at well under $10- Something seems really wonky having a bill at 135 - 150 a load!

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1 minute ago, Mark C. said:

That calculator seems flawed -I know my bisque is higher cost than 15$ for my near 10 cubic footer skutt

The calculator seems extremely generic and approximate. 

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(Price per kwh)*(wattage/1000)*(.5)

That's all it does.  It's generic but I've seen the whole "elements are powered on average 50% of the total firing" figure before.  It's close, it puts mine a little high but I have a prolonged bisque firing.

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The old school method of calculating firing costs puts the elements on 62.5% of the time- 25% for the first 1/4 of the firing, 50% for the second 1/4 of the firing, 75% for the third, 100% for the fourth. That averages out to 62.5%. If you take a 10 hour firing at 15 cents per kilowatt hour in a 48 amp kiln, that comes out to just under $11 for a firing. That's fairly close to reality. The only way to know for sure is to use the firing cost function in your controller.

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@liambesaw, I bumped it up to 65% and put in Skutt's figures for a 10 cubic foot kiln and a 12 hour bisque. It doesn't specify what cone bisque or glaze is so I guess you would have to guestimate how long the elements are on low, med or high to get a ballpark figure.

This is what I got using Mark's rates, is it close Mark?

519563018_ScreenShot2019-11-12at7_28_27PM.png.78dfd130b8e7d44818309598f64a465a.png 368001482_ScreenShot2019-11-12at7_28_41PM.png.9817f06ff8c3aa5e03ac3b1cc683199a.png

Edited by Min

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That's interesting, I'm sad to see that I could have a 10 cubic foot kiln on my circuit for roughly the same wattage as my 4.3 cu ft kiln.

Also cone doesn't matter, it's based on time.  A cone 04 bisque is 13 hours on the bartlett slow bisque program so 13 hours is what I used.  My glaze firing is 7 or 9 hours depending on if I use a fast fire or slow firing cycle.

Edited by liambesaw

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1 hour ago, liambesaw said:

Also cone doesn't matter, it's based on time.

hmmm, so a 9 hour cone 6 firing takes the same as a 9 hour cone 10 firing? I do think it matters and the only way to use that calculator is to allow more time at 75 or 100% for hotter firings so the time the elements are on needs to be factored into the duty cycle.

 

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I'm going to guess the 50% on time is based on the Bartlett firing schedule, I don't know if they have a 9 hour cone 10 firing or if many people fire to cone 10 in an electric kiln.  But supposedly at cone 6 the kiln averages to 50% on time.

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Neil, we do not have a digital controller on this kiln. it's the J230 , 10,500 watt , 240 Amp..  Our meter is in the back yard which is fenced in .. they said our previous month was pro rated , the meter reader guy could not check our meter due to our dogs being out. we have 4 , biggest is 14 lbs. so there is 2 bisque and 2 ^6 ..  still sounds high to me.

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27 minutes ago, Callie Beller Diesel said:

You're all going to hate me. I pay .068 per kilowatt hour. Or I did in September. I have a variable rate. It goes up in the winter, but I'd have to go digging for other bills.

.068 Canadian?! 

My base rate is .08 but with all of the local taxes it goes to .09, and if you use over a certain amount it goes up to .11

If I ever go big-time I can apply for commercial rates which are more like yours, .06 but I'd have to have a separate meter installed and all that noise.

 

Edited by liambesaw

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Min I do a 8-9 hour bisque and the cost is around $30 or so ,thats not to far off.

I pay around a 1$ a therm for natural gas and can bisque 35 cubic feet (lots of electric loads for sure) at around 35-40$

One can see why electric makes no sense for me as a business move. 8-9 tons  a year thru and electric and I'd be broke.

I rarely use the electric kiln-this year more than most with 12 fires (all bisque) and 21 Car kiln (35 cubic foot) bisques so far

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3 minutes ago, liambesaw said:

Oh wow that's a long glaze firing!  

I fire down. i do not have a digital controller so i cant soak. takes about 1.5 to 2 hrs i guess..  keeps my glazes looking nice , no pin holes etc. 

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7 minutes ago, liambesaw said:

Oh wow that's a long glaze firing!  

how do you fire yours? maybe I can change it up and see how it goes?

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