Euclid's Elements Kilns & Pottery Tools

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FAQ's / How to

Frequently Asked Questions about Kiln Elements

 

Here at Euclids we get asked many questions. Below are some of the questions we get asked regularly. Hopefully you find the information useful!

 
How do I install an element?
 

Turn off power to kiln and remove the terminal cover. Note the connection sequence, and make a connection diagram if necessary. Remove old element, clean element grooves.

Top-Loading Kilns:

Bend tails at right angles and coil the element up and place the coil in the kiln on the kiln floor. Push one tail through the brick and connect it. Feed the element into the grooves, compressing it slightly as you install it. If you compress it too much, the element will bulge toward the center of the chamber. If this happens, compress with a little less force. When you reach a corner, gently bend the element to suit the corner. If you over bend the element, again the element will bulge toward the center of the chamber. If this happens, just adjust the amount of bend. If the element is a little short, stretch it to suit. Push the other tail through the brick and connect it. Cut off any excess tail length.

Front Load kilns:

Feed both tails through the brick, adjust element and hairpin if required until the element is straight and lies flat in the element slots. Pull the tails to tension the coils. Join tails to feed or jumper wire with connectors. Connectors must be clean and tight. Cut off excess tail length.

 

Tips:

Clean the element grooves thoroughly - especially in the area of element burnouts. Any foreign debris left in the element grooves can cause the new element to fail. When connecting the element, try to have the screw of the element connector contact the element tail instead of the connection/feed wire. If the screw contacts the feed wire, it can cut through strands of wire and create a bad connection that may overheat. Element connections can come loose over time, Check and tighten them periodically. Always make sure the connection/feed wire and the element connectors are in good condition. If there is any doubt, replace it.

 
How do I pin elements and should I?
 

Click here for information, instructions and illustrations for pinning elements.

 
My elements are coming out of their grooves, can I put them back?
 

Elements coming out of their grooves is a very common issue especially as kilns get older. The element slots get worn with each element replacement and they often lose sections of their ledges making the issue worse. If caught early when the elements are just starting to come out, they can often be pushed back into the groove and pinned into place. Since the elements become very brittle with use, if they have already left the grooves, or just won't return to their slots without coming out elsewhere, you will have to use the heating method to avoid breaking the elements. If an element is heated until it is glowing brightly, it will not break in the section that is glowing when stretched or compressed. Elements often come out of their grooves because they have shrunk and the whole element wants to move toward the center of the kiln. In this case the element needs to be stretched out a bit in some or all of the straight sections to return it to the back of the grooves. On the other hand, if the element has fully escaped the grooves, it will begin to droop toward the floor of the kiln. In this case you will have to compress and straighten the element first before other adjustments are made. Before performing any adjustment, unplug the kiln or remove power from the circuit. For repairs requiring heat, any standard hardware store propane torch should work. Heat the section of the element that you want to adjust until it is glowing brightly. Next, using needle nose pliers or similar, grab the element and stretch or compress it as required. Adjust the element while it is still glowing to avoid breaking it, reheat as required. After the element is adjusted, it can be pinned in place if required to prevent further movement. Click here for instructions and illustrations for pinning elements.

 

Tips:

When performing heated repairs, sometimes the element will have "memory" and want to return back to its original position while cooling. You can prevent this by just holding the element in place as it cools. If the element is in very poor condition or badly out of shape, it may not be worth the time and effort to repair it.

 
My element broke right at the element connector. Can I fix it?
 

This is a very common problem, and it is usually fixable. The issue is usually caused by a loose or corroded connection. This fix also requires the use of a torch. Before performing any adjustment, unplug the kiln or remove power from the circuit. Any standard hardware store propane torch should work. For this repair to work, you will need to be able to grab the now too short tail with a pair of needle nose pliers from the outside of the kiln where the connection was made. On the inside of the kiln, heat the element where it exits the brick, and heat it until it is glowing brightly. From the outside of the kiln pull the element tail with steady pressure until you have just enough element tail to reconnect the element.

 

Tips:

This repair does not take long, but is much easier with a second person at least for the first time. Ensure the element stays as hot as possibly to avoid breaking it.

 
Why and how should I pre-oxidize my elements?
 

Pre-oxidizing the elements is recommended for customers using their kilns at elevated temperatures (cone 6 and higher), or under corrosive or reducing conditions. To oxidize the elements, heat your empty kiln to a temperature above 1922F/1050C with the peep holes open and the lid raised slightly. Holding the temperature there for 6-8 hours will ensure thorough oxidation of the elements, but most of the oxide growth occurs in the first 1-2 hours. This procedure grows a protective oxide coating on the elements before the elements are exposed to any harmful atmospheric conditions. This procedure is usually only done once, but can be repeated as required if the kiln is fired under harsh conditions such as a reducing atmosphere (which actually removes the protective coating).

 
How much does it cost to fire my kiln?
 

The formula to figure out, or estimate the cost of a firing is very straightforward. Figuring out what rate your electricity supply is charging though is getting more difficult in many areas especially when they charge you different rates for different times of day and consumption levels. The good news is that its usually less than most people expect. Click here to learn how to calculate estimate the firing costs for your kiln.

 
I don't get a very long life from my elements, what could cause this?
 

This can be very frustrating and costly. There are several possible causes of this, like an underpowered kiln design, low line voltage, poor power distribution etc. We recommend you give us a call to help you figure out how to get more life out of your elements. Customizing elements is our specialty! Call us at 1-800-296-5456

 

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