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comparing downdraft venting systems


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Has anyone experience of both the Orton Ventmaster and the Skutt Envirovent 2 downdraft systems? I am in the process of researching a new kiln (in the UK) and  the only downdraft venting available come from the US. Very few people seem to use them here in the UK but I see it as a much better option than alternative venting systems. My kiln will be a toploader around 152 Litres ( 5.4 cubic feet) and I fire to around cone 8 typically. 

I'm interested in quality over price, although they both seem to be similar in cost. Has anyone had the opportunity to compare them and has a view on their performance and/or longevity?

Many thanks. Julie

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Good question!

I use a home built downdraft system and a separate 400 cfm (with variable speed switch, as full on is loud) overhead exhaust as well - the overhead removes waste heat and residual fumes. The overhead also doubles as dust management; I set up to weigh out glaze ingredients, using the top of the kiln as a work surface (when cool/off, of course), where the fan removes the inevitable dust...

Depending on where you install your kiln, the heat and any residual fumes may be a nuisance. My studio is in the second garage, and although there is a rollup door on one end, and a man door on the other, I still chose to set up an overhead vent for aforementioned heat and residual fumes ...then I feel comfortable working near the kiln whilst firing. Otherwise I'd be staying out of there.

Second point, when you run your vent system(s), allow for adequate make up air - entering the space to take the place of the air being evacuated - a window or something.

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All the downdraft systems available- Skutt, Orton, L&L- work very well. With the Skutt and Orton, you just have to make sure that the connection cup is solidly pushed up against the bottom of the kiln. If you bump the ducting, it could be moved out position. The L&L, if used on a non-L&L kiln, gets screwed to the side of the kiln so it can't be moved out of position. Plus the L&L is adjustable so you can fine tune the draw. Any of them will work well for you.

As @Hulk said, you may also need to deal with the heat coming off the kiln. This is especially true if you have a larger kiln and it's in a basement or near a living area. Open windows and fans can do the job in many situations, otherwise take a look at the Vent-A-Kiln overhead hoods, which vent heat and fumes, or use the downdraft and rig up your own vent fan for heat. You can get 400CFM vent motors on Amazon for under $75 that will do a good job in most smaller spaces.

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Thank you very much Neil. I had forgotten about the L&L and I do think we can now get it here. I'll speak to the people who are building my kiln for me as they will have to source it.  It is not a big kiln, just 152litres, and will have 100mm (4 inches) of K23 insulation - significantly more than the standard 2 1/2 inches of many kilns. Also, my studio could do with a bit of heat much of the year and I do have doors and windows opening to the outdoors, so I'm not too worried about the heat gain, although time will tell..  Thanks again, wonderfully useful advice as always. Julie

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