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The Fear of Buying your First Kiln

Don't sweat it!  We've got you covered.

From glass to pottery, heat treating to annealing... we have handled thousands of questions that revolve around buying your first kiln. So, we thought we would share our favorite nuggets of advice from some of our most frequent questions.

Q1: I am considering buying my first kiln. The choices and information seem overwhelming as they all look so similar. How do I know which one is right for me?

It can be an instant information overload. We think that choosing a kiln becomes simpler when you narrow the search with these factors:

  • The size of the electric circuit in your studio... your kiln choice will be limited by the number of amps available.
  • The size of the kiln... estimate how much firing chamber space you need. For glass and clay, you may also want to consider the shelf size, too!
  • Front loading or top loading.
  • Max firing temperature.

After you reduced the kiln selection search with those four factors and make a list of models that you are considering. Then, compare those kilns and manufacturers in greater detail. This process will make everything better, promise!

Q2: I’m nervous about ordering my first kiln... and, have so many questions. Do you have any pointers that will help? 

We totally understand that ordering a kiln can be complicated. But, it doesn’t have to be. Here is a great checklist to help you avoid any issues:

  • Is your dealer knowledgeable about firing? This can be as important as the price of the kiln.
  • What about warranty repair? Make sure you understand how the manufacturer handles the warranty.
  • If comparison shopping, have you asked about the cost of crating or residential delivery? Are you paying extra for the stand as some are not included?
  • Do you need to order a kiln shelf?  Most kilns do not include them.
  • Do you have a covered, well-ventilated location for the kiln, protected from the weather? Is the area free of flammable materials? If you are going to use the garage, plan on parking the car in the driveway during firing.
  • Is the kiln room large enough? You will need 12" of additional clearance on all sides of the kiln during operation. We do not recommend small, enclosed rooms such as closets.
  • Will the kiln fit through the doorway? Measure to be sure. Sounds crazy but, we know of cases where doorways had to be torn down to move the kiln into the firing room.
  • Are you sure about voltage and electrical phase? 240 and 208-volt outlets cause confusion because they look the same. Check with your electrician, if in doubt. Ordering a kiln of the wrong voltage can be very difficult to remedy!
  • Will you need special wiring? Figure this into your budget before ordering the kiln.

Q3: How will putting a kiln in my garage affect my homeowner’s insurance? 

Our friends at Paragon shared this info regarding homeowner’s insurance:

  • Some insurance companies simply don't insure kilns. No matter what you tell them, they won't change their minds.
  • Other insurance companies need extra information--i.e., the kiln is UL Listed--before they will OK the kiln. If they need more information about safety, we will be glad to supply it from the manufacturer.
  • Still, other insurance companies have no problem with kilns and don't even care if you have one.

A properly installed and operated electric kiln is very safe. Do not leave it unattended during operation, and disconnect the power when not in use. Keep flammable materials out of the firing room. If you fire the kiln in a garage, remove cans of paint and gasoline. Store them in a separate building such as a garden shed. If you follow these basic rules and the others listed in the manual, your kiln will be a source of joy rather than of worry.

As always, if you need help or have questions... call us!  We are happy to help!



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