Edward Cowell on fri 18 apr 97
I am very aware of the danger of kiln fumes and avoid, as much as possible,
being in the ventilated room when my electric kiln is firing. However, I
was wondering if it is considered "safe" during those times when you cannot
Donna Sternbach on thu 13 nov 97
Hello all....I'm new to pottery and currently work in clay much less than my
heart desires. But, that is another story. My concern is about the electric
kiln which I fire in my basement. I usually fire to cone 06 although do some
cone 6 firings as well with the intention of cone 10 at some point. I only
use commercial glazes(again, another story). After reading some postings, I
feel the need to inquire about health risks from firing without venting. I
know I should vent, but I haven't and probabaly won't unless I hear that I'm
putting my family at risk. I fire 1-2 times a month but as other demands
decrease I hope to fire more frequently. Thanks for any input...Donna
Don Prey on fri 14 nov 97
You will most likely hear this from a lot of sources....Vent the kiln!!! As
an absolute minimum, position the kiln under a basement window and mount a
good exhaust fan in that window. All kiln firings result in the release of
toxic fumes. It is just a question of which ones and how much, depending on
the clay, glaze and firing temperature.
Presently, my kiln is in the garage (attached). My previous two were in the
basement. All were (are) vented.
Don Prey in Oregon
LINDA BLOSSOM on fri 14 nov 97
I used to have a small electric kiln in my basement, years ago. I noticed
that when I fired it that I had a soreness in my throat and glands. It has
been moved. Perhaps coincidence, but my neighor back in the midwest had a
hobby kiln in her basement and fired it for many years. She recently died
of breast cancer and her husband is now fighting cancer - the male one that
for some reason I cannot think of the name of right now. All of my kilns
are in an adjoining room to the studio with its own windows and door and
the door between this room and the studio is kept closed. I would never
keep one in the studio, let alone in the house.
2366 Slaterville Rd.
Ithaca, NY 14850
>. My concern is about the electric
> kiln which I fire in my basement. I usually fire to cone 06 although do
> cone 6 firings as well with the intention of cone 10 at some point. I
> use commercial glazes(again, another story). After reading some postings,
> feel the need to inquire about health risks from firing without venting.
> know I should vent, but I haven't and probabaly won't unless I hear that
> putting my family at risk. I fire 1-2 times a month but as other demands
> decrease I hope to fire more frequently. Thanks for any input...Donna
Huck4u on mon 17 nov 97
I would say Never keep your kiln anywhere there is no venting of fumes . Kilns
give off dangerious fumes . Many known to cause cancers of all kinds . There
are studies to back these facts up . Just as you wouldn't put leaded glazes on
your childrens dinnerware , you won't want to expose them to leads and other
things that burn off in your firings . Venting is very important for you and
your family's health . You can get hoods, vent fans, and other equipment to
keep your home safe . I would never keep my kilns any near people , pets , and
yes my family .. Be safe & have fun. Huck4u@aol.com
ArialMT on thu 4 dec 97
I got knocked off for the holidays and missed the answers to your question and
it reminded me of my daughter's experience. Our elementary school had the kiln
in her classroom firing while the class was in progress and my daughter had a
lot of respiratory complaints she is 30 now and i too worry if there will be
any reesults. I tried to get the school to refrain firing during classes but
they said they would have to fire over night and due to fire possibility would
not.I WENT AROUND AND AROUND ON THIS TO NO AVAIL..When I later became a dealer
for Cress I REFUSED TO SELL TO A SCHOOL OR INSTITUTION THAT DID NOT HAVE A
DEDICATED KILN ROOM WITH A VENT,
Margaret email ArialMT@aol.com
p.s. i missed any glazes and info from the 21 st of nov. anyone have anything
worth sending i'd appreciate it as i've not been able to acccess archives.
i have some used pottery books to sell that i accumulated in my attempt to
replace stolen.Anyone want a list watch future posts from me or email me for a
list then please be patient as my daughter had surgery this week but as soon
as i can i'll respond.
mel jacobson on wed 3 nov 99
i think that anything that comes from a firing kiln is bad for you.
bisque, glaze, fumes, smoke, crud. keep away from kilns while firing.
it makes sense.
and speaking of nils' book....see the cute little vent that i use for
my electric kiln. it is tucked in there someplace.
thing works like a dream. and no motors.
from minnetonka, minnesota, u.s.a.
Dewitt on thu 4 nov 99
I think you had a diagram for your "cute little vent" on your webpage at
one time, but I don't see it there now. Could you make it available
again? And do you prop the lid when using this vent or leave it closed
through the entire firing?
At 05:55 PM 11/3/99 -0500, you wrote:
>i think that anything that comes from a firing kiln is bad for you.
>bisque, glaze, fumes, smoke, crud. keep away from kilns while firing.
>it makes sense.
>and speaking of nils' book....see the cute little vent that i use for
>my electric kiln. it is tucked in there someplace.
>thing works like a dream. and no motors.
>from minnetonka, minnesota, u.s.a.
Heidi Haugen on thu 30 dec 99
I recently installed a kiln vent (stand version) and have been using it
for about 6 weeks now. I'm firing to cone 6 and have noticed that for
about the last 4 hours of the firing I can smell a strong odor. I feel
that I installed the vent properly as it passed the Orton "match test"
(turning the vent on, lid closed, and holding a lit match to the hole in
the lid and if the flame is pulled into the kiln the vent should be
functioning.) I'm curious if there is just an unavoidable "hot metal"
smell associated with taking a kiln to such a hot temp. Any
comments/thoughts would be helpful as I'm in the studio with the kiln
firing away several times a week.
Thanks in advance,
John Hesselberth on fri 31 dec 99
Heidi Haugen wrote:
>I recently installed a kiln vent (stand version) and have been using it
>for about 6 weeks now. I'm firing to cone 6 and have noticed that for
>about the last 4 hours of the firing I can smell a strong odor. I feel
>that I installed the vent properly as it passed the Orton "match test"
>(turning the vent on, lid closed, and holding a lit match to the hole in
>the lid and if the flame is pulled into the kiln the vent should be
>functioning.) I'm curious if there is just an unavoidable "hot metal"
>smell associated with taking a kiln to such a hot temp. Any
>comments/thoughts would be helpful as I'm in the studio with the kiln
>firing away several times a week.
>Thanks in advance,
Before you conclude that it is an unavoidable "hot metal" smell, try
check the ductwork from the exit of the kiln through the wall of your
studio. If you have one of the kiln vents that has the blower attached
to your kiln (either underneath or on the side wall of the kiln) this is
particularly important. In this type of system the suction side of the
blower (the kiln) is under slightly negative pressure and air will be
drawn into the kiln through any small opening as your match test shows.
However between the blower outlet and the wall, the ductwork is under
positive pressure. This means any leak--even a tiny pinhole--will result
in kiln fumes being blown right back into the room. That part of the
system must be absolutely air tight for the vent to work properly.
This is why I much prefer the design of the Bailey and L&L vent systems
over the Orton. With Bailey and L&L the blower is mounted on the wall
and therefore the kiln AND the ductwork are under slightly negative
pressure. This design is inherently much more likely to vent the fumes
out of your studio instead of dumping some of them right back in.
Frog Pond Pottery
P.O. Box 88
Pocopson, PA 19366 USA
EMail: email@example.com web site: http://www.frogpondpottery.com
"It is time for potters to claim their proper field. Pottery in its pure
form relies neither on sculptural additions nor on pictorial decorations.
but on the counterpoint of form, design, colour, texture and the quality
of the material, all directed to a function." Michael Cardew in "Pioneer
Heidi Haugen on wed 5 jan 00
Just an update on my kiln fume saga. Thanks to all who've responded, on
and off list. Many good ideas/theories. Tim Frederich from Orton Co.
contacted me directly with his phone number and a message to call.
Nicest guy...thought that another hole in the base would do the trick,
increase the draw. I had just one 1/4" hole in the base and one of the
same size in the lid. The hole is drilled, kiln loaded after and firing
currently so I will let you all know if my problem is solved.
Thanks again, I was telling John Hesselbeth this morning that had I not
asked, I probably would have passed the smell off as "normal" knocking
a few years off my trip here--YIKES!
Enjoy your day.
Michael A. Costanzo on sun 11 mar 01
I am new to this and just got my first kiln. I want to set it up in my
basement, but have been reading about dangerous fumes that come out while
firing. My kiln is an electric Cress B-23-H. It was made in 1978. I asked
one person about this and was told as long as the products used to fire are
safe then no dangerous fume will come out. Is this true? I have many
exotic finches and am afraid fumes will kill them.
I was wondering if it would hurt the kiln to set it up in a tool shed like
building. What little instructions I have for it says not to set it up
outside. How can I make things safe?
This is something I have wanted for most of my life, now I am disappointed
that I may not be able to have it in my basement. I wanted this for a nice
WARM wintertime project! :-)
Thanks in advance!
David Cowdrill on sun 11 mar 01
There's been a lot of discussion about electric kiln venting. Check
clayart archives http://lsv.ceramics.org/archivedata/clayart.html
http://www.potters.org/categories.htm under "Kilns & Firing / flues and
David Cowdrill in Great Falls, Virginia
Cindy Strnad on sun 11 mar 01
You have a couple of options. First, you can vent your kiln with a well-made
venting system. Second, you can set it up in an outbuilding--the cold won't
hurt it, and you won't need to be out there much. Just long enough to load
and unload and check the kiln periodically as it fires. Mine is in an
unheated outside room, and I don't find it terribly inconvenient.
Finches and other birds, as you know, are very sensitive, and I don't think
either the finches or your lungs will benefit from kiln fumes. If the birds
die, you'll know this is not a safe environment for you or your family, but
maybe you don't want to use your birds as an indicator. Even if you use no
toxic ingredients in your clay or glaze, there will be fumes emitted which
you don't want to breathe.
Ventilation systems aren't necessarily all that expensive. Certainly cheaper
than putting up a shed. Check out your options, but be certain you do get a
venting system which will be effective for the things you'll be firing.
Paraffin fumes, in particular, can be difficult to vent. Using a fan,
however powerful, and open windows, however many, will not suffice.
Earthen Vessels Pottery
RR 1, Box 51
Custer, SD 57730
Robert Fox on sun 16 apr 06
Hi I was thinking about getting an electric kiln to put in my garage, but I
am worried about the fumes given off during the firing. First, what is
given off that could be harmful to your health, and second, how effective
are venting systems? Thank You for your help.
liz gowen on sun 16 apr 06
Robert I had 2 kilns in a garage attached to my house for many years. I =
a kiln vent, to vent the kiln directly and had a whole house fan =
in the ceiling of the garage on a dimmer switch. This would definitly =
the room of fumes and was one of the best things I put in my studio. I =
not smell fumes in the house with this set up. Go for it.
Liz Gowen Port Penn De.
Hi I was thinking about getting an electric kiln to put in my garage, =
am worried about the fumes given off during the firing. First, what is
given off that could be harmful to your health, and second, how =
are venting systems? Thank You for your help.
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Linda Ferzoco on sun 16 apr 06
Me too Robert. I plan to install the vent to an
exhaust pipe to above roof line to get the fumes up as
high as my fireplace chimney. I want to keep the
smell of the kiln from the noses of any neighbors so
that they are not bothered by them.
Here in coastal California, we have afternoon winds
from the west when the fog comes in. That works to my
advantage and will blow the vent gases far above my
I think it's important to remember those prevailing
winds. And maybe not to fire during a temperature
--- Robert Fox wrote:
> Hi I was thinking about getting an electric kiln to
> put in my garage, but I
> am worried about the fumes given off during the