Your kiln business or hobby would go belly up in a minute if you did not take care of the oven that fires your pottery. The insulated chamber hardens your art pieces and is indispensable when perfecting your craft. With just a little routine maintenance, your kiln will last for years continuing to turn raw clay into a masterwork.
Basic Considerations Before Kiln Installation
Schools and hobbyists use electric kilns more than any other type of oven. The first consideration when setting up the kiln is to match the voltage with the wiring. Check the specifications on your kiln before attempting to fire the unit. Any fluctuation in voltage reduces the lifespan of the heating elements thereby affecting how well your electric pottery kiln operates. Not enough amperage also drastically cuts the amount of power available to the kiln. Many kilns require wiring separate from the main power box using an individual junction box. Many do-it-yourselfers make the mistake of installing the wires running to the kiln. If you have any doubts at all about whether you can complete the task, consult with a licensed electrician.
Routine Kiln Upkeep
- Make sure your pottery kiln stays in a dry area. The electrical plug could corrode if too much moisture gets to it.
- Use a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter to adequately pick up brick dust and sand which could collect near the elements causing overheating. The filter also keeps you from breathing in the contaminants when vacuuming.
- Make sure there is nothing combustible near the kiln such as shop rags, paper, and even curtains too close for comfort. Never store gas cans in the same room as the oven.
- Check the kiln often as to whether it powers up correctly and holds a temperature per specifications.
- Tighten the lid band. With every firing, the kiln lid expands and contracts. Significant cracking may cause the kiln to heat improperly. Repair all cracks as soon as possible.
- Remove silica sand, pottery clay, glass, or any other residue from the sidewalls, which can damage the unit over time after a series of continuous firings. The elements, bricks, and shelves should also be free of these deposits.
- Replace rusty elements.
- Check any electrical connections for damage. A kiln produces a great amount of heat for an extended period. While the kiln is in operation, check cables and plugs for overheating. Should you find any faulty electrical components after an inspection, replace immediately.
- Always keep the lid closed between firings so pets, bugs, and dust do not take up residence.