During firing, check the kiln from time to time. Observe the normal sounds that it makes and the length of firing time. Once you are familiar with the normal operation of your kiln, you will be more likely to notice when something goes wrong.
Following these 28 pointers adds very little extra time to your daily routine:
1) Place the kiln on the stand recommended by the manufacturer. When a kiln is safety-tested by UL, the lab fires the kiln on the stand designed for the kiln. Cinder blocks or bricks can inhibit the flow of air under the kiln. They can also change the kiln’s heating characteristics.
2) Place the kiln on a non-combustible surface.
3) Do not install closer than 12” from any wall or combustible surface.
4) Fire only in a well-ventilated, covered and protected area.
5) Do not open the lid until kiln has cooled to room temperature and all switches are off.
6) Dangerous voltage: do not touch the heating elements with anything.
7) Disconnect kiln before servicing.
8) Do not leave kiln unattended while firing. Do not leave a kiln turned on at your studio while you are at home sleeping.
9) Wear firing safety glasses when looking into a hot kiln.
10) Keep the kiln lid or door closed when the kiln is not in use. This keeps dust out of the kiln. Also, should someone turn on the kiln while you are away, the closed lid will keep the heat safely inside the firing chamber.
11) Never place anything on the kiln lid, even when the kiln is idle. If people become accustomed to placing papers and other objects on the kiln, they may forget and do that while the kiln is firing.
12) Remove all tripping hazards from around the kiln. Keep the kiln’s supply cord out of traffic areas.
13) Do not let the cord touch the side of the kiln, which may damage the cord.
14) Avoid using extension cords.
15) Do not remove the ware from the kiln until the kiln has cooled to room temperature. It is possible for thermal shock to break hot ceramic pieces. The sharp edges of broken ware can injure hands.
16) After firing glazed ware in your kiln, examine the shelves for glaze particles. Sharp slivers of glaze stuck to the shelf can cut hands. Before rubbing a hand over a shelf, be sure the shelf is free of glaze shards.
17) Fire only approved materials purchased from a knowledgeable supplier. Do not fire marbles, pieces of concrete, rocks, and other miscellaneous objects. Rapid heating to high temperature can cause violent reactions in many materials.
18) Avoid firing toxic materials inside the kiln, such as moth balls. Burning moth balls create toxic fumes.
19) Never fire tempered glass inside a kiln. It could explode.
20) Greenware, which is unfired clay, must be bone dry before firing. Moist greenware can explode inside the kiln, damaging the ware and the kiln. Place a piece of greenware against the inside of your wrist. If it feels cool, it is too wet to fire.
21) Do not fire cracked shelves. They can break during firing, damaging the ware inside the kiln.
22) Store kiln shelves in a dry area. Moist shelves can explode inside a kiln.
23) If you smell burning plastic, turn the kiln off. Examine the wall outlet and supply cord for signs of burning.
24) Never place extra insulation around the kiln in an attempt to conserve energy. The extra insulation can cause the wiring and the steel case to over-heat.
25) Do not wear loose-fitting clothing around a hot kiln.
26) Unplug the kiln, or turn off the electrical shut-off box or circuit breaker when the kiln is not in use, especially if you are concerned that someone could turn it on while you are away.
27) Remove flammable materials from the kiln room. If you fire a kiln in the garage, park your car outside. Remove the lawn mower, gasoline, and other flammable materials. Keep packing materials such as shredded newspapers out of the kiln room.
28) Keep unsupervised children away.