How long does a kiln last?

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  • See the Sales FAQs for Frequently Asked Sales and Preorder Questions
  • The Knowledgebase is organized into a series of questions and answers having to do mostly with technical troubleshooting and understanding of kilns.
  • Although we write this for our own kilns many of these articles apply to other makes - although L&L takes no responsibility for that.
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  • Actions are specific actions for you to take during the troubleshooting or repair process.
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How long does a kiln last?

That is a difficult question to answer, as the longevity of a kiln is based much more on how it is being used and maintained, rather than how old it is. Answer these question for a better idea of the variables at hand and what to expect.

  1. What cone(s) do you fire up to?
  2. How many times a week do you fire?
  3. How many shelves do you use in a typical firing?

  4. Do you ever load ware past the edge of the shelf?
  5. Do you use a downdraft venting system with the kiln?
  6. How often is the kiln vacuumed out?
  7. How often are the stainless steel case tighteners tightened on the kiln rings and lid?
  8. Do you fire fast programs or slow programs?
  9. Do you hold or soak the kiln at the highest temps?
  10. What specifically is put in the kiln?

  11. Do you add organics to the clay or kiln?
  12. Do you use a lot of wax resist?

    Does it get hot in the kiln room ever?

  13. If so how hot?

    Is the air in the kiln room exhausted while the kiln fires?

  14. Is the kiln located near a large body of salt water?

  15. If you just need to put down a number of years and cannot find out all this stuff, a nice safe middle of the road number is about 10 years.

Additional Actions to Take

  1. Check the tightness of all connections. Do this by wiggling the connector to make sure it is not loose.
  2. Examine all connections for any sign of oxidation or discoloration.
  3. Examine all wires for signs that the wire may have burned.
  4. Make sure all wires are connected to their proper connection point. You may have to compare the kiln to the wiring diagram to be sure of this. This step would be particularly important if a wire has come loose.
  5. Look for any place where a wire may have shorted against the metal case or a component.

CAUTION: Turn power off to kiln form the circuit breaker or unplug the kiln.

  1. Make sure peepholes are plugged with peephole plugs.
  2. Make sure hole for vent is proper. Check Vent-Sure instructions for proper hole sizes.
  3. If you are using a different brand of vent make sure it is the appropriate size for the kiln. Check with the vent manufacturer and tell them how many cubic feet are in the kiln.
  4. If the lid or bottom is cracked check to see if it seems to leaking much heat at high temperatures. Patch or replace if extreme.
  1. Tighten the case by turning the screws of the case clamps. Do this 1/4 of a turn at a time on each of the clamps. Keep a balanced tighten (don't tighten one clamp too much at one time. Doing this around the bands on the top and bottom will help maintain the integrity of those slabs even if there is a crack.
  1. If uneven firing occurs persistently, vary methods of loading weight to match the firing characteristics of the kiln.
  2. If elements typically fire hot at the top of the kiln put more weight in the top to absorb that heat, and vice versa.
  3. Ensure that weight is put at posts under the bottom shelf. The bottom shelf should be at least 1/2" to 1" above the floor of the kiln.

TIP: The longer posts can be laid down on their sides to get a perfect amount of space under the bottom shelf.