What about firing the kiln at night unattended?

What about firing the kiln at night unattended?

Some people decide they need to fire their kiln unattended. Often this is at night.

  1. There are several reasons that you may want to fire a kiln at night:
    1. Sometimes you can get cheaper electrical rates.
    2. Often, there is not a voltage drop at night in areas where power conditions are not great.
    3. Sometimes you need to if the cycle is too long for you to be near the kiln the whole time.
  2. If you decide to do this, you must be extra careful of conditions near the kiln.
    1. Make sure there are no flammables nearby.
    2. You should have a good fire alarm or automatic sprinkler system. Check the temperature rating of the sprinkler head. It should be the maximum temperature rating allowed by your local authorities. One of the worse things that can happen with an unattended kiln is to set off a sprinkler. This can cause many thousands of dollars of damage in an unattended building.
    3. You may want to check with your insurance company or the local fire marshal to see if there are any restrictions for your specific location.
    4. Make sure your kiln room is properly ventilated for heat buildup.
    5. You will need an automatic control to do this because of the Time Delay feature.
  3. You must be sure to be around the kiln when it is at the end of its firing to protect against overfiring. This can be accomplished easily with the Time Delay Feature. Estimate the cycle time first and then calculate the start time of the kiln cycle so that it reaches maximum temperature when you are present.
  4. If you are doing this in an institution such as a school we recommend letting a night custodian know of it so they can check on it during the night.
  5. We recommend making a checklist for yourself. For instance:
    1. Exhaust Fan on
    2. Door to kiln room open or some way to make sure there is no heat build up
    3. Delay Time set properly
    4. No flammables nearby (within 10 to 15 feet)
    5. Kiln lid closed (and locked if you have a latch on the kiln lid)
    6. Use the Program Review to make sure the program is proper (i.e. especially make sure you are firing to the correct cone with the clay and glaze that you are using)
  6. There is always the danger that something can go wrong. Remember - it is your total responsibility to make sure that all conditions are correct and acceptable. Automatic controls can fail. Almost always this is in a failsafe condition where the kiln just turns off. However, if something in the kiln were to melt and burn a hole through the bottom ask yourself what is the floor made of and what is likely to happen? In other words you need to exercise common sense and take responsibility for the entire action.
  7. Consider getting the KISS software system and setting it up to allow remote monitoring of the kiln through a computer.
  8. See this Caution.