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Kiln Pointers

Kiln Room Ventilation

The basics of setting up a kiln room. Also, please do not leave the kiln unattended.


Kiln Room Ventilation

Reader Response: The stoneware soap dish at the Phoenix Hyatt Regency

Recent Q&As: Thermocouple connections; plugging a kiln into a ceiling outlet; digital kiln transformer voltage

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News: Square Glass Fusing Kilns



Yesterday a kiln technician told me about a school kiln that was fired in a storage room. The doors were kept closed during operation, and the room became too hot even though the kiln had an overhead vent.

The kiln room must have good ventilation. Open the doors and windows. If the room has no windows and the doors must be kept closed, install a duct to allow more air to enter the room. You could even install a grid-covered ventilation opening in the doors to allow makeup air to enter the room. Hot air removed by the overhead Vent-a-Kiln fan must be replaced by fresh air.

Avoid small, enclosed spaces such as a closet or small utility room. The kiln room must be large enough to avoid heat buildup around the kiln.

If you are installing a kiln in a school, mall, or other location with a central air conditioner, the building manager may ask how much heat the kiln will generate. A good estimate for studio kilns is 23,000 BTUs.

Consult building codes for recommended non-combustible wall material for walls that are near the kiln. Cement board or masonry tile are good choices.



The last Kiln Pointer was about a soap dish that I had seen at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Pat Hinz of Rancho Palos Verdes, California wrote, “I too was taken by the beautiful soap dish in our bathroom at the Hyatt. It is wonderful that a hotel recognizes local artists. A friend who lives in Arizona says many hotels there have things like this in the rooms.”



Q. The controller shows the wrong temperature. Tapping the kiln’s switch box makes the correct temperature appear.

A. This is a symptom of loose thermocouple connections. The thermocouple senses temperature inside the kiln. If the wires from the thermocouple to the controller are loose, the temperature in the display may fluctuate.

Check the connector screws on the thermocouple block. It is on the other side of the wall where the thermocouple appears in the firing chamber. Also, check the thermocouple wire connectors on the back of the controller circuit board. They must be tight. (Note: Some of the small kilns do not have a thermocouple block. The only thermocouple connections on those kilns are at the back of the controller.)

Q. Is it okay to plug a kiln into a ceiling outlet?

A. Most lighting circuits have 14-gauge wire, often extended over long distances from the breaker or fuse box. The ceiling outlet will likely have reduced voltage. That is why we don't recommend it. We also recommend that you avoid plugging a kiln into an extension cord, which introduces two additional connections between the kiln and wall outlet that can overheat.

Q. The voltage from the transformer to my controller is 32. Is that too high?

A. The transformer reduces the circuit voltage at a ratio of 10 to 1. For example, the transformer reduces 240 volts to 24. Sometimes, however, the voltage from the transformer is higher than a 10:1 ratio. This is usually not a problem, because the controllers can operate normally at 19 - 26 volts AC. The controllers can operate above 26 volts, but you risk damaging the controller when operating at higher voltages.

If the controller is not working properly on 32 volts, you should replace the transformer. But if the controller is working on 32 volts, it should be okay.



“Live well, laugh often, and love with all of your heart!” --Anonymous



We have just released the new Fusion-14 and Fusion-16 square top-loading glass kilns. The 14” square x 6 1/2” deep Fusion-14 operates on a standard household outlet; the 16” square x 6 1/2” deep Fusion-16 operates on a 5-20R, 120-volt outlet.


I enjoy the sounds of wind, rain, and thunder. Early Sunday morning, three thunderclaps shook the house and set off a car alarm across the street. I went outside to watch the storm for a moment. Touching a doorjamb, I felt the house shudder with each thunderclap.

Thank you,

With best wishes,

Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P. – Better Designed Kilns 2011 South Town East Blvd. Mesquite, Texas 75149-1122 Voice: 972-288-7557 & 800-876-4328 / Fax: 972-222-0646 /

PRIVACY NOTICE: Under no circumstance do we share or sell your email address.

Copyright 2009, by Paragon Industries, L.P.

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