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Is it okay to fire a kiln when the room gets hot?

Switches, relays, and controllers on an electric kiln fail when the room temperature gets too high. For example, a customer kept sending us burned-out infinite control switches. They eventually sent us one of the switch knobs, which had gotten so hot that the plastic distorted. We called to ask where they were firing the kiln.

The customer had fired it in a small room at night during the summer. They locked the door and windows and left the kiln on while they were away.

Blowing a fan across the ventilation louvers is the easiest way to lower the kiln's switch box temperature. The fan should be positioned so that air does not blow into a peephole. The air should be directed toward the side of the switch box so that it goes in one side of the box and out the other.

By the way, if switches keep burning out, it may be due to a bad push-on connector. When a push-on connector gets too hot, it loses its spring tension. Even if you tighten the connector by squeezing with pliers, it will loosen again. A loose connection causes electrical arcing, which overheats the switch.

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