A kiln is a vital tool for any potter. Since it is a type of heating chamber that is used to fire pottery objects or materials at a very high temperature, great care should be used when installing a kiln. You have to figure out the place for the kill installation very carefully.
While some kilns look like ovens or furnaces and use dry wood or coal to generate the temperature required for firing the pottery items, modern kilns are powered by electricity. Hence, you can also install a kiln in your house. Besides firing the clay potteries, these kilns are also used to dry wood and tobacco leaves by some people.
If you are planning to install a kiln in your house, you need to collect some essential knowledge about the kiln. In this guide, we are going to tell various crucial things about using a kiln at home. Without wasting much time, let’s get started.
Reasons for Choosing a Kiln for Your House
- Affordable: Compared to traditional kilns, modern kilns are usually more affordable. It is generally faster and cost-effective to operate.
- Convenient: Unlike traditional kilns, modern kilns are small in size. Hence, if one is traveling to some other location, it is even convenient to carry the smaller portable kilns.
- Reliable: As kilns come with a controller, one can adjust the firing schedule; it is very predictable and reliable. Nowadays, they even come with automatic functions, such as a kiln gets automatically turned off after a definite cycle. It makes it easier for the user to control the kiln functions as per the needs.
- Flexible: Right from the big-sized kilns to the small sized ones, all are available in the market nowadays. As a result, it offers flexibility to the users and allows them to test several firing processes like glazes, lusters, and decals.
- Quick: Not only the kilns are fast in heating up but also cool down quickly. Within 24 hours, a kiln can be run and emptied. This convenient feature prevents the potter from waiting for two days or more.
The Ways to Use a Kiln Safely at Home
As a kiln produces a lot of heat, it releases several volatile compounds in the air, which are quite toxic. So, installing a kiln in the house is a bit dangerous, but by following some basic prevention measures, it can be used safely at home. To prevent injury or an accident, one needs to abide by some safety measures. Such precautions are stated below.
- Wear Personal Protective Equipment: Even after having proper insulation, the outer surface of the kiln can be so hot that it can easily burn someone if touched or brushed on the surface with bare hand or skin. So, it is necessary to put on some personal protective equipment before operating the kiln. The essential ones are as follows:
- Kiln Mittens or Oven Gloves: Before holding or handling any part of the kiln, no matter whether it is being used for firing or in the state of cooling, the oven gloves or mittens must be worn. Even after the power supply or the fuel is turned off, the kilns do not cool down instantly, and the kiln remains hot for a long time. The kiln should not be opened or touched until it gets fully cooled. Protective kiln mittens like UTOI BBQ grill gloves can be used.
- Dark Glasses: Looking directly into the kiln with naked eyes can be dangerous. So, the usage of dark glasses is recommended. Regular glasses are inefficient for this purpose because they may melt. The dark glasses are perfect, and they also protect the eyes from radiant heat. It also allows the user to see the cone pack more clearly. You can opt for Heat Wave Visual Vise Sunglasses, as it is one of the best and cost-effective dark glasses available in the market.
- Venting Kilns: Every kiln must be installed by the professional, and proper ventilation must be provided. The kilns release toxic gases, which can be harmful to people working around it. Sometimes, it can be deadly if safety preventive measures are not taken.
Properly Vent Kilns
Electric kilns should be installed according to the local electrical and fire safety codes. It is important to abide by the manufacturer’s instructions and use a licensed heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) contractor for the proper installation of a kiln at your house.
- HVAC Contractors: As the HVAC contractors have the necessary equipment to test the efficiency of the kiln’s ventilation, it is necessary to contact them. It can also be checked by lighting a matchstick in front of the hood of the kiln, and if the system is working properly, the match will be blown out by the hood draw of the kiln.
- Prevent Dust Exposure: The hood of the kiln should always be turned on before loading to prevent ceramic glaze dust exposure.
- Toxic Gases Produced by Kilns: While firing, the kilns release gases that can lead to respiratory problems. It gets worsens, especially in the case of a salt firing kiln or reduction kiln. Some of the specific gases produced by kilns are:
|Gases||Cause of Emission||Effects|
|Carbon dioxide (CO2)
|Fuel-burning firing||Blood oxygen level falls, pulse rate and hearing decreases, and blood pressure rises.|
|Carbon monoxide (CO)||Reduction firing||Headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and drowsiness.|
|Sulfur dioxide (SO2)||Firing soluble metals||It causes strong lung irritation.|
The lid should not be kept open while the kiln is operating. Until the kiln is cool to touch, unloading must not be done. One foot of clearance should be given to the kiln. Unless the circuit is off, the kiln must not be plugged in or unplugged. Apart from this, there must be a potter to control the temperature and kiln functions, even if electric kilns are operated automatically.
A kiln is similar to ovens, but the heating capacity is much higher. Potters usually use the kilns to harden their clay-based artworks. But nowadays, modern kilns can also be seen in many houses that use it regularly for their basic needs. As kilns can be dangerous, children must not be allowed near these, and it should not be operated in a wet area. Besides keeping a kiln in the house, proper maintenance of it is also necessary.