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Re: Re:[teacherartexchange] Buying a kiln..advice from Judy (formerly at Sax)


From: jdnag (jdnag_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Mon Feb 05 2007 - 08:28:31 PST

Hi All, I know this is well after the discussion but I have been on vacation
and am just now reading messages. Tim's advice is right on the money.
While working at Sax, I devised a worksheet that had to be filled out with
all pertinent information that HAD to be filled out before we would even
process an order. I have an additional hint to suggest. Please remember to
check with the powers that be to make sure you even have wiring in the kiln
room. I had an inexperienced teacher contact me who thought you could just
plug the kiln in and it would work. She was extremely disappointed when she
received shipment of her kiln and had to wait for an entire year so that the
following year's budget could include wiring for the art room.

To all of my old friends I send my greetings. FYI We are enjoying
retirement very much! Best regards and hugs to you...Judy, Formerly of Sax
Arts & Crafts

Judy Nagel

----- Original Message -----
From: "Tim Reed" <>
To: "TeacherArtExchange Discussion Group"
Sent: Tuesday, January 02, 2007 11:09 AM
Subject: Re:[teacherartexchange] Buying a kiln

I thought it would be helpful to expand a little bit
on the previous comment about kiln electrical
requirements that might help folks avoid a mistake
that they simply CAN'T afford to make. First off,
Randy's comment yesterday was right on the money in
that the kiln you install must come PREWIRED to the
same electrical configuration ALREADY IN PLACE
wherever you intend to install it. In other words, in
order to install the properly configured kiln you must
FIRST know the "voltage" and "phase" of the electrical
service already running to the location where you want
to place the kiln and then order the kiln to match.

For instance, most schools have an electrical service
based on either 208 or 240 volts. For the sake of
comparison, understand that a residential home
generally has a 240 volts coming into the main
electrical box, which is then reduced down to 120
volts before feeding power to the outlets and light

However, because the electrical needs of a school or
large commercial building amount to a huge expense,
significant electrical cost are saved by converting
all the heavy equipment and motors to operate on 208
volts, instead of the standard 240. Schools can
actually have BOTH types of voltage running throughout
the building, but since an electric kiln requires so
much energy, it is most likely to be setup on a 208v
circuit when available.

Voltage is not the only important factor concerning an
electrical supply. The "phase" of the electrical
supply also directly effects how much power (and,
therefore, running cost) a piece of equipment uses.
Generally speaking, the electrical service running
through a school will either be single phase or
3-phase. This is EXTREMELY important to know! Get this
information wrong, and your firing schedule will be on
a short trip to NOWHERE!

Every school, industrial facility and studio will
probably be configured differently, so be sure to
TRIPLE check what your building is currently supplied
with, and make sure the source of that info is really
accurate! Why? Because a kiln must match the
electrical supply ALREADY in place (NOT the other way
around), and it?s a fairly big deal (not to mention
big expense) to convert a kiln over to a different
voltage and phase.

NOTE: Ceramic supply companies take great precaution
to ensure that a kiln is outfitted EXACTLY as YOU
ordered it. In fact, many suppliers will not even
start the process until you supply them with the
voltage and phase requirements IN WRITING and on your
school?s official letterhead! Once you buy it, "it?s
yours, baby!" and if YOU supplied the information
backing that order, then guess who pays for any
mistake to be corrected? So, DON'T GUESS; be SURE of
what you really need before you order!

Don't rely on what someone thinks is the right
electrical specifications for the building, do
yourself a great favor and nail it down for sure! And
be sure to collaborate well with the person who will
actually install it, because they might be aware of
something concerning the planned installation location
that you aren't.

Here are a couple of scenarios illustrating what would
happen if a kiln was hooked up to the wrong power
supply. If the kiln is configured to run on a 240v
supply, but was instead hooked up to 208v, then the
rise in heat during firings will be slow, and might
not even reach the target temperature. On the other
hand, if the kiln was configured for 208v, but
installed to run on a 240v circuit, then all of its
electrical wiring, switches and elements will
eventually be damaged and fail prematurely from having
WAY too much juice flowing through them. Obviously,
neither of these scenarios will serve your situation
well, but simple verification of electrical
information avoids such trouble altogether.

I hope this helps a little. If you have any other
questions feel free to ask and I'll do the best I can
to help. If you would like to have all those answers
at your fingertips, though, I would like you go one
better and give you this special link:

This link is one that I give out sparingly, for it
comes close to practically giving away some very
valuable information that others have paid a lot of
money for. Included in the special offer (only with
THAT link) is an eBook that tells you EXACTLY how to
select, equip, furnish and load the PERFECT kiln for
your situation. You'll not only know WHY you should
acquire certain features and items, but also know
exactly HOW to talk to and order them from your
favorite supplier. It covers every electrical question
you might have. In fact, there's Nothing left out, all
the way down to how you can determine which supplier
is really best for YOUR program. There's a whole
series of guides in that offer giving all the best
tips and info out there for firing your electric kiln.
Regardless where it comes from, EVERY teacher should
know the stuff in THIS collection.

Also in that collection is the highly acclaimed
"Avoiding Trouble in Claywork Paradise" series praised
as "the greatest single collection of clay work
troubleshooting information ever written for the
ceramic classroom". It's simply not possible to use
this information and not benefit. I know it will make
a difference for you.

Well, have a happy new year, my friends, and I'm
always wishing you the greatest ceramic success!


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