Are Kilns Dangerous?

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A kiln is the most vital part of pottery crafts. It is a type of oven that generates high heat and widely utilized from ancient times to convert clay into pottery or create bricks or tiles. The kiln is used for several processes like solidifying, drying, or intermixing chemicals.

 

Types of kilns

There are various types of kilns having various features based on their specifications. Here, we provide a brief idea of the types of kilns that are popularly used along with some of their specifications.

 

Kiln Types

Temperature

Works on

Shape

Size

Ceramic Kilns
1828-2345°F
Electricity
Cylindrical Top shape.
Small to large
Glass Kilns
1700°F
Electricity
Large oval/ rectangle- tabletop design
Medium
Metal Clay Kilns
1650°F
Electricity
Top and front-loading tabletop design.
Small

 

Now, depending on your purpose of use, you can choose the kiln type that’s perfect for you. However, unlike standard ovens, they produce so much heat that sometimes, it is risky to work with it. It can attain the highest temperature of up to 1287°C, which can melt metals with ease. The electric energy that it consumes is powerful enough to electrocute a person. In order to avoid any mishap and for the proper functioning of the kiln, it must be installed properly. Here are the ways to install a kiln.

 

How to Install a kiln?

  • Inappropriately measured or connected circuits could result in fire, and also raise the chances of electrical shocks. Thus, it is mandatory to install by an authorized electrician or other qualified professional.
  • Install ovens in such a way that the hot surface of the kiln is 18″ (46 cm) away from the wall. If they get in contact, they can burn your skin. So, so it is better to maintain a minimum gap of 36″ (91 cm) between the hot surfaces. Also, make sure that the floors aren’t combustible.
  • Ditch the idea of using wooden or other combustible materials, and instead use metal shims to level the kiln properly and eliminate various types of vibrations. If the kiln isn’t leveled, this could prompt the breaking of the base and top of the oven. Specifically, the base could break easily when you initially set the weight of the furnace at the bottom.
  • There must be a gap of at least 1″ (2.5 cm) within the surface of the kiln while inserting the thermocouple. If the thermocouple’s measuring tip is buried in the kiln, then it will measure lower temperatures than the actual temperature.

 

 

 

How should we use the kiln to maintain safety?

Since a kiln generates a lot of heat and may risk the persons working with it, it must be used cautiously to maintain safety.
  • Maintain proper ventilation: Many materials that get airborne after turning into fumes contain metals that are poisonous to human health. They affect us when we breathe, and also get stuck on the surfaces that are in contact. So, proper ventilation of the kiln is needed. It is advisable to locate kilns outside the house as some ventilation systems aren’t appropriate enough to push out the poisonous gases.
  • Wear a mask: Kilns must be used for heating the clay at a high temperature. But this produces dust that contains silica, and it can cause Silicosis if regularly inhaled. A dust mask should be used to prevent dust from entering the lungs.
  • Maintain the surrounding temperature: Be sure of keeping the environment around the kiln under moderate temperature. It is better to keep the temperature of the flammable substances around the kiln beneath 71°C as overheating might result in fire.
  • Choose the right power supply: Locate the kiln in proximity to the power supply outlet, connecting directly with its own wire, rather than using secondary power extension cables. Kilns that pull more than 48 amps are wired directly with the main supply.
  • Choose the right place: Installing kilns in well-ventilated areas is mandatory as the warmth that develops in a small room can cause significant fire problems. Also, make certain that the vents aren’t located anywhere near the windows, which anyway lets those poisonous gases get inside the room.
  • Use gloves: Try not touching the surface of the kiln as it can leave your hand being burned because kilns can get extremely hot up to 260°C. Instead of touching the kiln with bare hands, use gloves to guard against burns. You can check out RAPICCA Leather Gloves Heat/ Fire Resistant for Oven/ Grill/ Fireplace, which is excellent in protecting against heat.
  • Keep inflammable items away from the kiln: There can be severe chances of items getting exploded or catching fire when they are kept near a kiln, especially the highly flammable and sealed containers. It is so because they have a high tendency towards igniting themselves.
  • Use the right sand type: Try using alumina oxide or zirconia oxide sand, instead of silica sand in the kiln to support or stabilize your load. The thermocouples get hugely affected by the use of silica sand.
  • Wear protective gear: Garments play a huge role in protecting against the heat generated from a kiln. Some low-quality or loosely fitted clothes easily catch fire because of their low resistivity. Thus, protective gear should be used to prevent any mishap.
  • Use eyeglasses: Special dark glasses should also be used to protect the eyes from the radiant heat generated by the kiln. You can buy the Iruv 3.0 Safety Glasses for Kiln Work that is perfect for works related to the kiln.
  • Installations must be done by professionals: Local electrical and fire safety codes and ethics should be followed before installing an electric kiln. It is necessary to follow the manufacturer’s proposed installation steps or call an authorized and proficient electrician to do the job of installation. Avoiding the codes and conduct of the electrical department can result in penalties as well as electrical explosions.
  • Turn off power to the kiln while loading or servicing: Electrocution may happen when a person gets in contact with the elements of the kiln. To avoid getting electrocuted during loading and unloading the kiln, one should totally turn off the kiln. It will cut off the constant power supply, keeping the users safe. Most factories use a lockout device that has a disconnect switch to cut the power supply instantly.
  • Ensure the lid is open: Make sure to lock the lid after loading, and also don’t place anything over the lid. Even when not in use, the lid shouldn’t be kept open as an additional weight on the lid forces the hinge to move down, which may cause the lid to break. The closed lid will also prevent fire hazards in case the kiln is turned on accidentally.

 

Conclusion

So, concluding with the conception that a kiln operates at high temperatures and draws heavy electricity. If it is not installed and used correctly, then it is a threat to everyone exposed to it. Thus, these above-mentioned points should be taken into practice to operate a kiln safely and eliminate any probable chances of it being dangerous to human health.

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