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Safety -- Make sure you are safe!

View Poll Results: Do you babysit your kiln while it's running?
I am always in the room and paying attention when the kiln is on 16 3.07%
I don't leave the house - but I do other things and don't watch it like a hawk 218 41.76%
I have been known to run a few errands away from the house when the kiln is on 56 10.73%
I put the beads in, close the door, and leave the house/go to sleep 232 44.44%
Voters: 522. You may not vote on this poll

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  #61  
Old 2008-01-30, 12:51pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by River Horse Studio View Post
I was talking to a fire marshall the other day and she told me that one of the number one causes of person releated accidental house fires right now was becuase people often leave there cell phone chargers plugged into the wall without the cell phones plugged into it. I guess they overheat and catch on fire.

I had no idea that would happen. I ALWAYS leave mine plugged in.
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  #62  
Old 2008-01-30, 2:43pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ptbeads View Post
I had no idea that would happen. I ALWAYS leave mine plugged in.

ack...me too!
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  #63  
Old 2008-02-01, 5:19pm
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I will dose if the kiln is on but nat really sleep. I was out in the kitchen once with the tv on and it started on fire. Did you know that the second mostly likely appliance to cause a fire next to the dryer is the TV?
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  #64  
Old 2008-02-01, 6:39pm
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Thank you for this thread. I have thought about what to do with the purchase of my kiln imminent now(Yay!) and I feel better having read these posts.

I'm going now to unplug the cell phone charger...
Tracey
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  #65  
Old 2008-02-05, 5:11pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nanette Marie View Post
I usually stop beadmaking by 6-7 pm so I'm still up when it gets down to 500 so I can just turn it off before I go to bed. I mainly do that cause the program makes it beep a whole bunch of times to signal the end of the ramp schedule and it's a really loud beep and wakes me up. If necessary I can go to bed with it still running because I have a smoke detector, carbon monoxide dectector and a fire extinguisher in my studio so if something happened, I'd be alerted right away.

I would never, ever leave the house with the kiln, dryer, washing machine or anything else on. I'm a nervous nellie, I even unplug my hair dryer and put it away to make sure I don't leave it plugged in.
I have a quick question, is it ok to turn the kiln off while it's ramping down? I won't go to bed with it on so I've turned it off in the process of cooling but I'm not sure if it'll damage the kiln or controller eventually. Does anyone know?

Thanks. Nancy
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  #66  
Old 2008-02-06, 10:30pm
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I voted the last choice. I don't actually leave the premises, but I do go to bed.

Until recently, my studio was in an enclosed back porch, but still attached to the house. I would run the annealing program, flip off the lights and go to bed.

Now, my studio is in the basement. I have a solid fire brick kiln with no painted shell sitting on cinder blocks. It is 3 feet from any surface all the way around (even above) and the nearest wall is concrete.

If my kiln were to catch on fire, I don't think it would be from the elements. It would have to be from wiring inside the controller and as soon as the insulation on the wires and the plastic box housing the digital guts burned itself off, there wouldn't be anymore fuel for the fire to burn. The flames from this would have to be over 3 feet high to reach the floor joists above it and I don't think the flames would get half that big.

I'm more afraid of my stove, clothes dryer and toaster than my kiln. I've actually had a toaster do quite a bit of damage and just this year my neighbor had the fire trucks in her drive for a smoking clothes dryer.

Do I trust it 100%? No, I don't trust anything 100%, but I don't have trouble sleeping. I have hardwired with battery back-up smoke alarms on all 4 floors of the house. I have 3 fire extinguishers. No pets. Lots of escape routes from the house and emergency second story fire ladders for the upstairs windows.

It would have to be a freak accident for the kiln to burn my house. The same kind of 'accident' that catches toasters, tv's, stoves, wiring and dryers on fire. I feel relatively safe.

THAT said, if I had a red powder-coated bead annealer sitting on a wooden table up against my kitchen wall firing away at 1000 degrees I wouldn't leave the room til it was off.

Especially after reading this thread. I never knew the ignition point on that powder-coat was around 1200 degrees.

~~Mary
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  #67  
Old 2008-02-10, 3:09pm
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I don't leave the house with my dryer, stove, dishwasher, kiln, or anything I can think of on. I did once and was scared that I would come home to a house that was gone along with my poor dogs. One day we were driving home and could see alot of smoke in the direction of our house. The first thing hubby ask as we were trying to hurry home was did you leave the kiln on. I never used the kiln that day and our house was'nt on fire but we were all worried that our pets would be gone. The kids were with us. A farmer was burning his wheat fields and it was very smokey out. What a relief when we made it home.
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  #68  
Old 2008-02-13, 8:27pm
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I just can't wait for the babies to come out of the kiln....I wait as patiently as I can but I still stay up and get them out - I want to see them ... Maybe I'll get over that one day BUT I hope NOT>>>>>>>>>>>>>LOLOL
Karen
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  #69  
Old 2008-02-15, 6:28pm
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I also usually end up shutting the kiln off late at night - sometimes I work till around 2am. So I start the annealing program and go to sleep.

I also have one dog with separation anxiety, so I'm afraid that if I left the house, he might cause trouble and do something like cause my work chair to roll too close to the kiln, possibly starting a fire.

One time I did start the annealing around 4pm and had to run to the bank. As I was coming back, I turned the corner and saw a huge black cloud of smoke from a fire that looked like it was where my house was located, I totally freaked out and I almost had a heart attack thinking it was my house and kiln on fire... and I've never left it alone since.

Oh.. and I also never leave the dryer on when I leave. I don't know what was up with my mother's dryer when I was growing up, but I can't tell you how many times I'd open the dryer to find flames in there!!
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  #70  
Old 2008-03-05, 9:26am
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I've changed my kiln baby-sitting habits since I had a "run-away kiln" situation described above.

I used to set it and forget it, basically. My kiln is in a detached garage, it's fire brick, on a steel stand, etc. I tend not to put stuff on top of it or too close to around it, but things can encroach over time without you realizing it.

But I had the exact situation described above. The relay failed and stuck shut, meaning constant power to the kiln, which is set on "high."

The next day when I went out to begin work, I could smell heat when I opened the door. The kiln was at 1858. Was it on it's way up? Or down? No way to know at which point in the process the failure occurred. All beads melted well into the floor of the kiln, and the mandrels well on their way to annealing nicely.

So now, I set it, and I go back out before bed to check it. If it's low enough, I shut it off completely.

Take a lesson! I've been making beads a long time. This could've started a fire in a variety of ways. I lucked out.

FWIW, I was told you should replace the relay about every three years, depending on usage of course. I now have a spare for that purpose.

Best,
Patti
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  #71  
Old 2008-03-12, 7:19pm
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If your kilm is on a safe fire proof something and away from anything that can catch fire your as safe as can be.
when a kiln fails on, it can get to about 2900 - 3000 f ,it wont last long at that temp befor the element burns out ,but at 2800 your 2300 f kiln brick will be glowing and the outside of the kiln will be about 5 -600 degrees ,it could start a fire if the was something close to it,so,Dont have anything close to it.Ive tested my kilns to this point to see what the max damage would be in that case.
2300 d kiln brick will crack a bit but will still be ok.Fiber kilns with 2200 degree fiber should be ok but at real high temps the fiber breaks down leaveing you with a dusty crust you dont want to breath and should be replaced.
So keep you kiln on fire proof stuff and away from anything that can catch fire and you will be just fine.
I own a glass blowing studio with a furnace at 2200 f at all times,I cant watch it all the time so its built so if it fails it wont fire up the building,its just something you have to get comfy with.

Mike
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  #72  
Old 2008-04-05, 9:01am
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Time to pipe up
Kiln failures have brought down many studios and quite a few homes (including ceramic artists). But probably not as many homes as toaster failures. A good rule is to treat your kiln as a pot belly stove. Pot belly stove surfaces are known to get up to 700 deg. Check local codes for this, usually if you make sure that there is 12 to 18 inches of air space around the kiln and plenty of space above and that it sits on a fire proof space you should be ok. Ceramic tile on top of plywood table is not fire proof. If the kiln fails it can transfer enough heat to start the plywood smoldering. If the kiln is sitting on bricks with an air space before the tile this is better. (Some kilns have that airspace built in).
Wiring (I cannot express this enough) must be the proper size for your kiln. Just because you are plugged into a circuit with the right size breaker does not mean that the wire going to your outlet is the right size. The breaker is set up for total load on that circuit, IE if you have a 20 amp breaker; this is the total load for that circuit. When the electrician builds it they will start out from the breaker box with wire designed to handle 20 amps and as he splits the load up ( to outlets and lights) he will use smaller and smaller wire, to the point that he may be down to 10 amp wire at the last outlet. A dedicated line for you kiln is always safest. The wire is like a fuse, if you over work it, it will fail. You cannot depend on your breaker to save you. These can fail too. Electrical failures are a major cause of house fires.
What kind of controller you use is important too. Does it have any fail safes such as what happens if there is a thermocouple failure. Will it shut off or run wild. Newer ones should shut off. Also, do you really need to ramp down. My bead kiln is an old Norman kiln really well insulated. I built the controller myself, using a set point controller with mercury switches. This holds temp forever. When I finish at night I let it sit for 15 to 20 min. and just shut it off. This works so well that 8 hours latter it is still 200 deg or so (my annealing point is 925).
Test your kiln, run it up to your annealing point, let it soak for an hour. This is to make sure that you have soaked all the insulation to saturation point, then shut it of and see how long it takes to get to 200 deg or so.
A little background: I am a journyman lineman, have been for almost 20 years, and work for a power company. I am the one who comes out and fixes the power lines (sometime in ungodly weather). I am also the first responder to house fires. To kill the electric so the fireman are safe to put out the fire.
George
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  #73  
Old 2008-05-10, 8:33pm
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I do not have my kiln yet, but I am one person who is so phobic about fires that I'd sooner cover with 3 quilts in the winter time than have the heat on all night while I'm asleep. I will not run the oven, dryer, or anything that heats up while I'm not awake. So count me in on the paranoid end of the spectrum.
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  #74  
Old 2008-06-02, 6:30am
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What Denis Brady says in post #47, page 2.
Fear is grand when it's appropriate - but out of place if it sticks us to a point where we are not free to make informed decisions.

Beadanna
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  #75  
Old 2008-06-05, 11:08pm
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I always run mine at night when I go to bed. My kiln is a little over a year old and at first I was in my shop every 15 minutes to check on it. I still go and check on it, just not as often. Have smoke alarms in my shop, outside my shop door and all through the house. Most are wired so if one goes off they all go off. (not that I count on that) I like to run it at night when less power is being used in the house. Not sure why that is, for some reason I think everything is going to overload and have a meltdown... Just like I run my dishwasher at night.
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  #76  
Old 2008-06-27, 9:33am
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I stick around... but do go in & out to the yard sometimes. When I turn it off late at night... I'll go to bed. But I just read till I hear the alarm that it's shut off... I doubt I'd be able to sleep knowing it was on.
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  #77  
Old 2008-07-25, 5:01pm
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I was pretty nervous at the beginning, but am known to occasionally leave it (Ken Jen Chili Pepper) on....some Friday nights when I shut down and me and DH go out for dinner. Must admit that I think about it while I'm out, and it can dampen the mood. I AM a worrier! I would NEVER leave the oven or dryer on...duh! What a hypocrite huh!
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  #78  
Old 2008-07-25, 5:07pm
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I tend to be very cautious....never leave the oven or dryer going...EVER! I've lightened up a bit with the kiln though. DH and I normally go out for dinner on Friday nights so I have left the kiln on....yikes! I'm a worrier, so I do think about it while I'm out, and that can dampen the mood, but hey, I recognize that it's a terrible idea to leave the kiln unattended! Matter of fact, today is Friday and we "stayed in" cause I was on the torch until later afternoon. Guess I'll give myself points for being conscientious tonight! Bottom line is we should never leave the house while the kiln is on!!!!!!! OK...I'll remember that next Friday too! : - )))
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  #79  
Old 2008-07-25, 5:08pm
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oops..double post...I didn't think the first one went through and I went "to town" on the 2nd one....ha....ha..... GOT ME THINKING!!!!!
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  #80  
Old 2008-12-14, 7:34pm
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Thank you everybody for responding to this thread. I am getting a quote from my local glass studio to set up my own home studio and I have been debating whether to get my own kiln or just batch anneal at the member's studio. I wondered whether I should be concerned about fire. This thread has been very educational.

I'm glad to see I'm not the only person who worries about the dryer, toaster, coffee maker, hair dryer, curling iron....
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  #81  
Old 2008-12-17, 8:32am
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I leave the kiln as soon as I've got the lid shut and go to bed usually. Have been known to leave for a couple hours or more if the kiln is shut. But I'm doing a bit different stuff than you guys too. My kiln ramps up then is mechanically shut off when the cone bends.

In over 20 years I've never had that malfunction except once when I had a shelf support too close to the cone rod and it got stuck on the shelf support so the weight wouldn't fall because the rod expands when it gets hot. That was a bit of a melt down but not a disaster. Ruined the ware in the kiln but no damage to shelves or kiln. Other than that I've had a few odd things happen like forgot to turn up the kiln all the way and it was still on in the morning. Did that with egyptian paste and it wasn't a good thing for the paste but again no kiln or other damage. I've had about 3 or 4 cases where the kiln was still running for one reason or another but not past temperature. ie. forgot to turn it up to high, set the pyrometer to hold instead of shut off by accident, didn't close the kiln. None of those resulted in any sort of problems other than the kiln was hot when it should have been cool and I probably burned 3X the electricity I should have.

All that said it isn't in the house. When it was in the house and about 3 inches from a combustable wall I did babysit it and have had the 'other' side of the wall hot to the touch many times but never a mishap. Now the kiln is in its own room with a fan and is at least a foot from the walls the floors are ceramic and its in a steel building. Very little combustibles anywhere around. I don't have a digital controller. I don't think I would trust a digital as much as I trust the one I have because it is computer and computer things are sensitive to heat. It sort of seems like a problem waiting to happen. Also most of my firings are pretty long so babysitting them would take forever.
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  #82  
Old 2009-11-14, 7:41am
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I am annealing in an Even Heat Hot Box table top kiln with an analog controller So yes, I do other things around the house and I don't hink I have ever left the house other than to take out trash or check mail.
I need to get a Glasshive Kiln!

Duane
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  #83  
Old 2009-11-19, 1:35am
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Nope, not yet. It's still in the BOX!!! Hoping strongly to get my studio set up before the end of the year. Pray for me please!
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  #84  
Old 2009-11-19, 5:36am
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I wake up in the morning 730am and get the girls ready to go to the sitters. I turn on my 7 year old Skutt kiln's program on and leave for an hour and take them to the sitters..
It is on all day long while I torch Monday - Friday... sometimes on Saturday.
I come and go as I please.. I have taken every precaution I can to make it safe.. I am not going to be held hostage by my kiln. Everything is insured, so while I don't want anything to happen, If it does, I will live with the aftermath..
Lord willing, nothing will happen.
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  #85  
Old 2009-11-20, 7:17am
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Quote:
I have a quick question, is it ok to turn the kiln off while it's ramping down? I won't go to bed with it on so I've turned it off in the process of cooling but I'm not sure if it'll damage the kiln or controller eventually. Does anyone know?
Nope unplugging it won't damage the kiln or the electronics in the controller at all. Its no different then turning the power switch off as far as effect on the kiln and controller go.

Just when unplugged there is no chance whats so ever of it accidentally turning on. and in some instances is safe from other things like lightning going threw the cord and in to the electronics.
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  #86  
Old 2010-01-16, 3:49pm
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I just had a runaway kiln!

Just changed the relay switch, put in the annealing cycle and left it to go upstairs like I normally do.

I just happened to go downstairs to see if the beads were cooled off enough and the kiln temp was over 1600! I turned it off and started crying (of course), after a good day of torching (10 sets of beads). Called Mike at GlassHive and ordered a new kiln (not what I have now). On the phone with a customer and we are talking and I go down to check to see how the kiln is doing, kiln is now over 1800! Remember I turned off the kiln!!!!! I unplugged it and almost had a heart attack. What if it had started a fire????

Beads are a puddle along with the mandrels!!!!!!
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  #87  
Old 2010-02-08, 4:49am
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Default OK, does anybody babysit Glasshive kilns?

While I'd like to see my first bicone attempts and the kiln is below 200F, I'd rather make beads more often and leave the kiln to do it's thing. So far I have waited for it to ramp down, but not managed to stay up long enough for it to be down to room temperature and unplug it before going to sleep. I'm pretty sure I could unplug it now and the beads would be the same, but I can't stay up this late on a daily basis, and I can't start making beads as early as I sometimes manage to do on weekends (and did today - um, yesterday).

So, for people who have Glasshive kilns, do you babysit them?

ETA: it's almost 2 a.m. here and I have a meeting at work at 9:30.
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  #88  
Old 2010-06-16, 3:52am
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HerbalBurn HerbalBurn is offline
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I wont need to watch my kiln when it arrives. digital controller!
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Old 2011-01-17, 11:56am
dlbirtwell dlbirtwell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JavaGirlBT View Post
I would never leave the house with the kiln running. Ever. Well, unless it was burning or something. I can't go to sleep for the night unless the kiln is off and unplugged. It's not because of the things in my house, it's because of the animals. I'd die if anything happened to them while I was gone because of some stupid mistake I'd made.
Yep, same here. I don't leave the dishwasher or dryer on either so why would I leave the kiln on.
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Old 2011-01-17, 12:00pm
dlbirtwell dlbirtwell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FishBulb View Post
I'm glad to see I'm not the only person who worries about the dryer, toaster, coffee maker, hair dryer, curling iron....
My sister thinks I'm OCD since I can't leave the house without checking on stuff. Maybe I am but my furbabies are in there so I can spend two minutes double checking!!
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