KILN MAINTENANCE AND REPAIRS
Routine maintenance of your electric kiln helps to increase the life of your kiln and keep each firing as consistent as possible. Always read the written materials provided by the kiln manufacturer very carefully, even if you already own other kilns. Information may differ slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer or even from year to year. Suggested firing schedules written in kiln manuals are usually intended for slip casters and are too fast for most potters. If you make pottery that is wheel-thrown or handbuilt, please refer to the Quick Facts Firing Schedule.
Always consult a trained kiln repair technician with kiln problems. An electrician may not be familiar enough with kilns.
AFTER EACH FIRING
1. Check the inside of the kiln for broken pieces of kiln shelves, clay, or glaze spots on the elements or bricks. If left there, they may melt during the next firing, causing the element to break at that point. Remove any foreign particles with a small vacuum.
2. Check shelves for glaze drips, and reapply kiln wash if necessary.
3. Check all interior kiln sitter parts and/or thermocouple for excessive corrosion, blistering, or glaze buildup that can cause failure. You may carefully use steel wool to remove minor spots.
4. Check (and save) the cones you used in the firing. If they look distinctively different from the cones used previously, the kiln sitter may need to be adjusted.
5. Make an entry into your firing log and tape any cones used to that entry.
Position the kiln so power cords DO NOT touch the exterior of the kiln to prevent the cords from melting.
It is not necessary to perform the following every time you fire, but you should create a personal schedule based on your experience with your kiln. Perhaps start with a schedule of every 5 to 10 firings.
1. Spot-vacuum any areas that may have accumulated debris.
2. Check the kiln sitter with a firing gauge to verify that it is adjusted properly.
Never leave a kiln unattended when firing. It is especially important to be there when it is firing off in case anything goes wrong.
EVERY 6 MONTHS
We recommend scheduling this routine maintenance during the daylight savings time change twice a year to make it easier to remember when you preformed this maintenance.
1. Check all kiln sitter parts for irregular wear. Make sure that all of the parts move freely and that none of the parts have excessive wear. The sensing rod (the cylindrical metal rod that is placed on the top of the cone) should be a perfect cylinder, and should not come to a point. If it does, it should be replaced.
2. Look inside the tube assembly of the kiln sitter. If you find glaze deposits inside, you should replace the tube assembly. Glaze deposits inside the tube assembly could interfere with the movement of the sensing rod when the kiln heats up and the glaze deposits melt and become sticky.
3. Check any power cords for corrosion or blistering of the insulation around the cord, or blackening of the metal prongs. This could indicate a problem with your electricity, and an electrician should be called to test the circuit. A kiln repair technician should also be consulted to determine if it is a problem with the wiring within the kiln itself. Verbal consultations with a kiln repair technician at Bracker’s are free of charge.
4. Thoroughly vacuum the kiln chamber. Use a small brush attachment to vacuum, paying close attention to the element grooves.
WHEN YOU DO CALL
Please be prepared to give a general description of the problem, when it occurred, and how the problem was noticed. You should also mention if this is the first time you have noticed the problem, or if it has been an ongoing problem. Many times, small changes can make a big difference in how your kiln fires. Changing an element, adjusting a kiln sitter, loading the kiln differently, a change in the weather, and the firing schedule are all common changes that can vastly affect your kiln. Always have the following information readily available when you discuss any problems with the repair technician:
Approximate Age of Kiln
Items 1-6 can be found on a small metal plate on the exterior of the kiln itself. If you are unsure of what the information is, copy down all of the information on the plate as it appears.
*NOTE: The kiln sitter will also have similar information, but this information is generally not necessary for most kiln problems. Kiln sitter model numbers usually start with LT-3, LT-3K, K, or P.