10 September 2017

Things to think about before you order your kiln!

As we have been selling and shipping kilns for more that 15 years, we have had a lot of experience with customers not being prepared for their kiln delivery... including some truly epic fails!  With that, we wanted to share with you our TOP 10 things to think about BEFORE your order your kiln!

1. Is my door wide enough for the kiln to fit through? 
The outside dimensions are typically six to eight inches BIGGER than the inside dimensions. Use a tape measure to ensure the kiln can fit through the door. We hate to see you have to take off the door frame to get it inside.

2. What tools do you need to uncrate the kiln, and do you have those? 
Tools are NOT included. You’ll most likely need a crowbar, an electric drill with a Phillips-head bit, a pair of scissors as these do not come with the kiln, so be prepared.

3. If you don't have friends, family, or neighbors that can help, and you are not capable of unpacking the kiln alone, how will you handle this issue? 
Our free shipping offer covers delivery to the curb and most times the freight driver will be kind and roll the pallet into a garage. But, it’s not always the case. For an additional charge, most delivery companies have a “white glove" service that will unpack the kiln, get it set up for you and even dispose of the trash. If the extra fee is just too much, think about how you’ll handle this issue.

4. Your driveway… Do you live in a rural area with a gravel road or driveway? Do you have beautiful overhanging trees? 
You’ll need to let us know, in advance, so that we can notify the freight company and have your kiln transferred off of the 18-wheeler and onto a smaller truck. Be prepared that the truck could lop those limbs right off, or worse yet, the driver could refuse to drive up the driveway because of them. It’s happened, and it’s no fun. So, if your driveway is a mile long and uphill, and a large panel truck cannot make the trip, you need to prepared to meet the truck at the end of your road or driveway.

5. Are you a residential delivery, but are ordering a kiln that can’t fit on a lift gate because it’s too deep from front to back?
Kilns over 24” from front to back can be too large for the lift-gate, requiring loading dock only delivery. This means you’ll need a friend with a fork lift. Do you have a friend with a fork lift?

6. Did I check to see how much electrical capacity is available on my breaker box before I ordered the kiln?
Make sure you have the electrical capacity you need BEFORE making your decision. Don’t assume you’ve got what you need. Ask a person in the know, or call a professional.

7. How far is the breaker box from where the kiln will be plugged in? 
The further away you are from the breaker box, the more “drag” or electrical loss there will be on the line. This means that the further you are from the breaker box, the less amperage is getting to the kiln. Kilns need all their specified “juice” to run efficiently, so long electrical runs might make the kiln really slow, or even worse, the kiln could fail to make temperature.

And, the most important thing I might ever say... NO EXTENSION CORDS! Kilns must be plugged directly into the wall receptacle to do their job safely. Most extension cords are not rated for the amperage necessary to run a kiln and safety is our number one concern. Beside safety, see the previous paragraph for another reason this is ill-advised.

8. Do I have a dry, well-ventilated place to run my kiln?
Kilns can’t get wet, and moreover, kiln controllers cannot get wet. If they’re wet, they just won’t operate. They could short and be a safety hazard, and nobody wants that. They’re not waterproof like cars, so it’s important to place your kiln inside of a building. A garage is fine, a car port might not be, due to driving wind and rain. An enclosed porch may be okay, but a screen porch might not be for those same reasons. A balcony may be fine to run a kiln, but how will you handle a hot kiln if rain starts during a firing? This may see obvious, but it’s not always clear to some. Be careful and make sure you protect your investment by having a clean, dry, safe place to operate the kiln.

9. Ergonomics... Can a stand be too tall?
A tall stand is great if your tall, but if your on the shorter side, will ordering that prevent you from touching the bottom of your kiln? Yes, folks, this actually happens. Think about your hip height, your arm length and your eye level when ordering the kiln. Will its size, shape and configuration allow you to best operate, load, clean, and unload the kiln? Will how and where you place the kiln allow you to get to all parts of it for servicing, cleaning, and placing and leveling your shelves, molds, etc.?

10. Is this a safe area for my kiln?
Kilns need to be placed on a heat proof surface. Carpeting is a just a disaster waiting to happen, so go get yourself some concrete/hardy backer board from a home improvement store. Wooden tables are also a no-go. You can use large ceramic tiles on those and concrete board to ensure your safety. If you have animals, consider the kiln room a “safety zone”... no animals allowed! Lastly, make sure you place your kiln in area that is well ventilated, so closets and pantry spaces aren’t a very good idea.