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Tips, Techniques, and Questions -- Technical questions or tips

View Poll Results: Fire hazard or reasonable risk? (choose all that apply)
Do you leave the house, while your kiln is on? 105 42.34%
Do you sleep, while your kiln is on? 165 66.53%
Do you stay at home, doing stuff in other rooms, while your kiln is on? 158 63.71%
Do you stay in your studio, near your kiln, while your kiln is on? 41 16.53%
Do you sit and stare at your kiln, doing nothing else while your kiln is on? 3 1.21%
Something else, please explain? 9 3.63%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 248. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 2012-02-03, 12:55pm
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Lyssa Lyssa is offline
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Default Do you sleep with your kiln on?

I made some beads and ran my *BRAND NEW* kiln for the first time last night, and asked my hubby to stay up to watch it. (I work out of the house and he's a stay-at-home dad who plays video games into the wee hours anyway, so it wasn't asking too much of him )

I'm wondering what other people do about this. Do you leave your kiln running when you are asleep? Do you leave the house? Do you sit and stare at the kiln until it's done running? Or do you stay home, but awake and doing other stuff?

I know I've seen at least one thread about this before, but I have no idea what search parameters to use to find it so I thought I'd start a new one. (It seems that a lot of people use the words "kiln" and "night" and "sleep" in their posts. LOL)

Also, now I'm debating how I should go about scheduling my time to make beads. With a 9-5, Monday through Friday j-o-b, I get home in the evening and only have about an hour or two to make beads before I have to go to bed. Is it worth the cost of the kiln's electricity to make just a handful of beads in the evening, or should I just leave all my beadmaking until Saturday when I can work for several hours and make a couple dozen beads at one time. I'd get fewer beads made each week, so does the decrease in cost of the electricity out-weigh the decrease in potential income I'd have from producing fewer marketable beads and from not increasing my marketable beadmaking skills as fast?

But, then there's another issue. Having a 2-1/2 year old, shouldn't I be spending as much time with her as possible? Gah, I hate having "mommy angst." I still don't know how to deal with that.

If Emma went to sleep at 8 or 9 every night maybe it wouldn't feel like such a big deal. I'd just wait til she went to bed to make beads and damn the cost of electricity. But Emma often stays up until I go to bed, maybe 'cause she's so excited to have me home, maybe 'cause her dad lets her sleep in, or maybe 'cause she naps late until I get home after work. I don't know. I just know that last night Emma was standing by my chair asking me for a hug when I was in the middle of making a bead, and it broke my heart when she started crying 'cause my husband had to pull her away from me.

OK, so I know I'm having a lot of issues right now in my head about when to lampwork, how long to lampwork, how to spend time with Emma, and now that I have this kiln it just makes my schedule that much more complicated.
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  #2  
Old 2012-02-03, 1:13pm
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Lorraine Chandler Lorraine Chandler is offline
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When we purchased our Tuff Shed we placed it strategically on the patio and planned out the layout inside of the shed so that the kiln controller could be placed right in front of the window in the shed so that I can see it from inside the livingroom glancing through the patio doors.

I check frequently to see that the temp is okay. I never leave the house with the dryer on in the garage or any large appliances for that matter either. It is second nature to me now.

On the eve before my mother in laws funeral about 10 years ago we woke up at about 2 AM to flashing red lights, loud fire truck engines, men yelling and watched our next door neighbors house burn down while oursselves and one other neighbor were busy spraying down our houses and roofs etc to keep the flying embers from catching our homes on fire. It was a terrible time.

The house was only about 15 feet from our backyard fence and about 30 feet from our home. Their teenage son had a bedroom in the basement and had left a candle burning in a Catholic prayer ritual for someone and it caught the curtain on fire and they all just barely made it out with their lives. Some of the animals did not make it.

We always play it safe. That is something we do not want to see again. EVER.
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  #3  
Old 2012-02-03, 2:50pm
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if i'm working in the evenings, i'll leave the kiln (has a digital controller) on and go to sleep - there's smoke detector right outside the door of the studio (spare bedroom), a fire extinguisher right at the entrance and i always leave the studio window cracked open (even in the dead of winter). My kiln is also on a wheeled cabinet so it can be pulled the requisite 24" or so away from all flammable materials during the cycle as recommended by the manufacturer. If it's going during the day, i'll leave the room but never the house.

I use a crockpot with heated vermiculite to cool beads when i'm only making a few, esp. if they're small or test beads. I haven't noticed the electricity cost being a big deal tho so if i'm working on a bigger and more complex bead i'll sometimes anneal with as few as two beads in the kiln (some of mine take over 2hrs to complete) since i don't want to risk thermal cracking a bead with that much labour invested.

in terms of the work/life/torch balance, i'd suggest having your daughter skip the afternoon nap and get her on a consistent evening play/dinner/bath/book/sleep schedule where she's in by bed by 8 or 9pm at the latest. My son wouldn't sleep either when he had afternoon naps so i cut those out at about age two (even fought with the daycare cuz at first they wouldn't agree ) otherwise he was laughing, bouncing around the place wanting to play or cuddle til past midnite. Drove us completely crazy, LOL.

I work full time at a non-bead job as well and often long hours so i booked myself a weekly torch nite (like any other evening appt) so i don't work late, cook, clean, etc. that nite, i just come home (usually around 6-7pm), eat leftovers or something my son has prepared, and i'm in the studio by 8pm and work until i'm tired. And everyone knows to leave me alone cuz it's MY nite - i'm just having it in my studio rather than out of the house. It works great so far - feeds my creative side and i'm much less cranky. Any other times i get to torch now seem like a bonus.

Hope this helps...
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  #4  
Old 2012-02-03, 2:51pm
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I know I'm probably a bit paranoid, but I wait until it has cooled enough to shut down, then I unplug it and go to bed.
Could you use a crock pot during the week if you make anything, then batch anneal those along with the ones you make on Saturday (or whenever you are able to use the kiln)? I do that sometimes, if I only make a few I put them in the crockpot in hot vermiculite, then unplug it when I go in and let them cool down in there. The next day I put them in the kiln, and next time I turn it on to torch, they anneal at the same time.
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  #5  
Old 2012-02-03, 4:05pm
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i have a paragon bluebird, its brick so it holds the heat, i have it programmed for a 12 hour max garage time and when i finish and add the last bead, i give it 30-45 min depending on the size of the bead and then i just switch it off

sometimes if i have a lot of beads or a lot of really big beads i hit the skip segment button and ramp down but not usually

i would never ever leave it on while i'm sleeping or if i leave the house, i have it well away from any walls on a metal trolly but you just never know what might happen

the only time i actually unplug it is during storms, i dont want a power surge to fry the controller
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  #6  
Old 2012-02-03, 4:16pm
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Because our shed is only powered by a lead with conduit, I don't leave anything to chance.
While the kiln might be ramping up for a session, with a few week's worth of batch annealing in there, it's ok, unless it's been too damp, and it keeps tripping the meter.
I have to keep checking for that if it's been very rainy, because the power supply to only the rear of the house is affected if the meter does trip out. Otherwise, I go out every half hour or so to check that it's ramping up at a proper rate (mine's manual).
I usually have to set the alarm in my phone, because if it gets busy in the store, I'll get sidetracked and forget about it.

As for ramping down, I can turn it off after having it on hold for half an hour or so once I've stopped torching, and it cools down slowly enough by itself, if it's loaded with furniture/shelving.
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  #7  
Old 2012-02-03, 4:17pm
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I usually put my last bead in the kiln between 7:00 and 8:00 PM so it ramps down while I'm sleeping. The room the kiln is in is a remodeled attached garage and I've installed a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector and we have fire extinguishers at both doors to the studio...just in case. So hopefully if it ever lost it's little digital mind and started a fire one of my alarms would go off and wake us (or the Corgi) up.
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  #8  
Old 2012-02-03, 4:28pm
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I don't run it if I am asleep or ever leave the house with it on. I wouldn't leave my house or sleep if my kitchen oven was on so I think it is safer. I just think how awful I would feel to have others belongings burn up. Some stuff can't be replaced and that goes without saying people can't ! I just time things so I don't have to worry....
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  #9  
Old 2012-02-03, 4:33pm
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I sleep while the kiln ramps down and I leave the house with the kiln ramping down. It's in an attached garage. I run the kiln every time I torch, even if I just make 3 or 4 beads.

I'd be more worried about spending time with Emma. She won't be a child forever and lampwork still will be there when she is grown and gone.

I know that isn't what you want to hear and I do understand the draw of the torch.

Maybe you could find a good preschool program during the day to keep her engaged and stimulated (and awake) which it sounds like your DH is not doing. Then he could work, you could have family time until an appropriate bedtime for Emma, and you'd still have an hour or two to torch after she goes to bed.

Just a few thoughts ....
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  #10  
Old 2012-02-03, 4:43pm
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Lyssa Lyssa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elizabeth Beads View Post
I'd be more worried about spending time with Emma. She won't be a child forever and lampwork still will be there when she is grown and gone.

I know that isn't what you want to hear and I do understand the draw of the torch.
That's what I think about every time I torch and she's asking for my attention.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elizabeth Beads View Post
Maybe you could find a good preschool program during the day to keep her engaged and stimulated (and awake) which it sounds like your DH is not doing. Then he could work, you could have family time until an appropriate bedtime for Emma, and you'd still have an hour or two to torch after she goes to bed.
I think about that too. We will be putting Emma into Montessori school next August, so I'm looking forward to her getting more exercise and needing to go to sleep earlier. For now, I just had a talk with Jon earlier today and I will remind him every day that either Emma naps early or not at all. Hopefully that will help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elizabeth Beads View Post
Just a few thoughts ....
Thank you for your thoughts. I do appreciate them.
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  #11  
Old 2012-02-03, 5:19pm
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I'm lucky in 2 ways, firstly I have a completely freestanding workroom/studio that is away from the house & secondly I don't work a 9-5 job. I never torch after about 6pm as that's when hubby gets home from work & it's family time after that, so I usually torch during the day while the kids are at school & go back to it after I've picked them up, then my kiln ramps down as we have dinner etc & once it gets to a certain temp it switches itself off & I let it cool overnight. I do often go out before I head off to bed to check that it's switched off but it's more a quick check because if something did malfunction I wouldn't want it running all night more than anything else.

Deb, that's a good point about frying the controller, I hadn't really thought about that, I must start turning mine off or unplugging it too.

Lyssa, I agree with the others, at 2 your daughter should be going to bed a lot earlier, skipping the afternoon sleep will help with that. When my boys were almost 3 we cut out their afternoon sleep & it made bedtime so much better, they were in bed asleep by 7.30pm & hubby & I had the rest of the evening to spend together. Also make sure she is waking at a reasonable time in the morning, if she is up before you go to work you could spend some quality time with her then. Your hubby letting her sleep in & have long afternoon naps means *his* job during the day is easier, but it certainly doesn't make it easier for you, I feel your angst.
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  #12  
Old 2012-02-03, 5:28pm
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PittsGlass PittsGlass is offline
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I usually have 100lbs of molten glass in a kiln 24/7. It is in its own building that is not attached or close to the house. I also sleep or leave when my kiln is running. I have the luxury of seeing all of my equipment when it is being built. My marbles took about 1 1/2 hrs a piece, so many days there are only 3-5 in there. Those don't do batch anneal well, so every run was a kiln day. I used a lot of CZ's.

In my opinion, a kiln is a space heater inside an insulated case. If leaving a heater on when you sleep makes you worry, the kiln should too. I actually am more afraid of my space heaters.

If it worries you, the Glass Hive kiln is insulated enough that you can skip the vermiculite and just use the kiln and turn it off when you are done after a 30 min soak while you start your bed time routine. I'd just put the fiber blanket up to block the mandrel gap. Since we know glass has an attitude, do a test with one of the already etched beads first. Even my marbles held with turning off the kiln as opposed to fiber blanket or the crock pot of vermiculite. Comfort of the kiln while you work, and the security of it being off when you are sleeping. They won't be annealed, so you'd use your batch program, but they should be whole.

Holding a kiln at 950 for a soak and turning it of IS NOT ANNEALING, it is gambling, and should not be advertised as annealed. It must go through the strain point at a controlled rate or it is going to break prematurely. It may happen on the mandrel or someones wrist, but it is not full strength. I would never sell or buy a bead that did not complete a cycle.

The child component, however, is way out of my element. I take the dog to work with me. Your amazing to me for just being able to juggle all of that in your life.
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  #13  
Old 2012-02-03, 5:35pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PerfectDeb View Post

the only time i actually unplug it is during storms, i dont want a power surge to fry the controller
That is a great practice. I do keep my kiln unplugged when it is not in use. We don't get lightning storms here often, but the surges from down transformers and such could play havoc.

It is also good to use a back up timer if you are using a controller with a set point, or even pyrometer. The power goes out, then when the power comes on many controllers will come back up to the garage temp again, even if you finished the cycle. If the switch on the kiln is not off, it will ramp back up and hold there until you notice.

Here is an example of a timer:
http://www.amazon.com/Simple-Touch-C...7190761&sr=8-3

I'd rather use one of the analog versions, like the old sprinkler timers. That has no electrical need and won't default when power returns.
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  #14  
Old 2012-02-03, 6:13pm
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Fortunately for me, my studio is 300 feet away from the house (converted barn). I start torching in the morning, and am usually finished (read tired) by about 3 pm. I have the kiln start going down about 30 minutes after that, and it is finished by about 8:30 -9:00.
I always go out to check it is finished and turn it off before I go to bed.
When I had it in the house in the basement, I would never go out and leave it. Just as I would never go out and leave on the oven, dryer, washing machine, etc. Now, if I want to go out to dinner, I just check that the kiln is well on it's way down, and go out. If the barn burns down, well it will be sad, but at least I will have the house.
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Old 2012-02-04, 10:12am
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I won't leave my kiln unattended - I live in a 200 year old wood framed structure, and I just don't trust it. I don't sit in the studio with it, but I plan tasks I can do in the next room where I can SEE the kiln, for the time it's running.

My suggestion for your time issues is that you cool the beads in vermiculite and batch fire - that's going to be my method, since there's no way I'm running hours of kiln time every day.

And in terms of your child - mine are in their 30s now, with kids of their own, so I know a little bit about this one. You want your daughter to grow up to be a balanced, happy, healthy adult - that's what this is all about, after all. She needs to know that you are a person with interests of your own, not just Mommy. She ALSO needs to know that she's not actually the center of the universe - there seems to be an epidemic of that lately.

Also - my Mom's creativity directly informed mine. I wouldn't sew/paint/scrapbook/play with fire if Mom hadn't indulged her own creative muse.

So go for it, in as smart a way as you can - if you're happy, your whole family will be happier.
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Old 2012-02-04, 11:05pm
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Old 2012-02-05, 12:06pm
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Never. These days I watch it by checking every 10 minutes or so while it's on the annealing cycle, because it's 10 years old, and none if the parts have ever broken down yet. I want to be there to protect $300-$400 worth of beads should the relay break and it starts either cooling down rapidly or heating up to temps high enough to melt. My small beads cooling down fast from the annealing temp won't hurt them because they can be batch annealed later, but the relay going crazy and the elements getting hotter than normal, that's a little scary. I have to watch for that, or I might seriously regret it later that I didn't. lol!

Even when the kiln was new I might have left the room, but I never went to sleep while it was in the annealing and ramping down stage until it shut off at the end of the cycle. I would never leave the house either until it was done.

Better safe than sorry.
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Old 2012-02-06, 8:56pm
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Just because it tickles me, I will say that I keep reading the title of the thread wrong.
Do you sleep with your kilt on?
Do you sleep with your coat on?

are 2 most frequent misreadings
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Old 2012-02-07, 12:48am
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I keep reading, "Do you sleep with your kiln?"

I bet some of us have more meaningful relationships with our kilns than we do with people.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Eileen View Post
Just because it tickles me, I will say that I keep reading the title of the thread wrong.
Do you sleep with your kilt on?
Do you sleep with your coat on?

are 2 most frequent misreadings
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Old 2012-02-07, 10:41am
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my kilns are in the garage. The smaller ones are on stainless steel tables, and the big one is on a steel frame on the floor. Flames would have to shoot out pretty far on any of them to reach anything, and if that were to happen, whether or not I was here would make little difference. So I've been known to leave, sleep, or generally ignore them while they are running. The big one is on its own panel board, with a master circuit breaker that I keep shut off when not in use.
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  #21  
Old 2012-02-07, 12:02pm
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Originally Posted by karin View Post
The big one is on its own panel board, with a master circuit breaker that I keep shut off when not in use.
This is a really good idea, Karin. I wish we could do that. I live in a "duplex", in the converted garage portion, and the breaker panel is inside the other tenant's unit. It was a pain when we needed to map the electric sockets in our section of the house to make sure the kiln was on it's own circuit.
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Old 2012-02-08, 12:00am
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I leave and sleep with my kilns running if I need to for a long program. Most of the time my torch kilns have come down through the strain point by the time I am ready to go to bed so I will shut them off. The fusing kilns are another story, they sometimes are running a long multi segment program so I will go away from the house or sleep or whatever. Even if there were to be a problem with one of them they are both made out of 4" kiln brick cased in steel, on their own custom made iron stands above a concrete floor. If one was to over fire it would take MANY hours for it to burn through all that brick and steel, even my torch kilns are brick cased in steel not as thick as the fusers but still above concrete floors. All of the kilns are on their own breakers that are shut off when the kilns are not in use, which is most of the time no mojo
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  #23  
Old 2012-02-09, 7:29am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lyssa View Post
I keep reading, "Do you sleep with your kiln?"

I bet some of us have more meaningful relationships with our kilns than we do with people.
well...i really LIKE my kiln...maybe once we get to know each other better
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Old 2012-02-09, 7:44am
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Now sleeping WITH your kiln--that would be dangerous.
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Old 2012-02-10, 10:55am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lyssa View Post
This is a really good idea, Karin. I wish we could do that. I live in a "duplex", in the converted garage portion, and the breaker panel is inside the other tenant's unit. It was a pain when we needed to map the electric sockets in our section of the house to make sure the kiln was on it's own circuit.
One of the advantages of having an electrical engineer for a husband He's installed wonderful lighting for me in the garage and my work room as well - big daylight flourescent tubes - run all the electrical for my various things so I have plug molding on the back of all my benches and don't have wires snaking everywhere. He's a keeper
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Old 2012-02-10, 2:43pm
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I sleep with the kiln ramping down and leave the house- I have fire sensors and smoke detectors installed- plus I have a wonderful husband who happens to be an electrician (taught by his electrical engineer father ) and he frequently checks to make sure there are no shorts or troubling issues. I agree if you are afraid of space heaters or things like that don't leave it on- Also my studio is outside on my patio and everything is maintained and spiffy no fire hazards unless you count me ROFL!!!!!!
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Old 2012-02-10, 2:43pm
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If I am home though I will sit and watch the kiln cuz I wanna see what comes out
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Old 2012-02-11, 11:27pm
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I have one program that is 26 hrs long. So, yes I leave it and get busy with living! My big kiln sets on a concrete floor with no flammables within 7-8 ft. Fire brick kiln with dedicated ground fault circuit. Lost a relay once, slumped the pieces into puddles(around 1800 when I got there), and tripped the GFI breaker. No harm done.
I also have a "rate of rise" type of detector in the studio. If the temp in the room rises quickly the detector goes off. It won't go off if the room gets hot slowly. Keep it back from the hood.
If you don't have your kiln in a similar setup, I would err to the side of caution.

By the way, I'm a 18 year Fire Captain. And I teach Fire Safety at work. Space heaters and clothes dryers are a lot more dangerous IMHO. Mostly because peeps ignore the risks that hot things represent.
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Old 2012-02-13, 10:53am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karin View Post
One of the advantages of having an electrical engineer for a husband He's installed wonderful lighting for me in the garage and my work room as well - big daylight flourescent tubes - run all the electrical for my various things so I have plug molding on the back of all my benches and don't have wires snaking everywhere. He's a keeper
I'm envious - I'm trying to talk my one single daughter to settle down with an electrician. Sh'e been hinting to her current boyfriend into going to school lol).
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Old 2012-02-13, 10:55am
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On the serious side... The table my kiln sits on is covered in sheet metal and then ceramic tiles. I have a smoke alarm, carbon monoxide alarm and gas alarm in the room. I don't have any combustibles around, even my walls are covered in sheet metal on top of fire resistant wall board. AND I don't sleep with my kiln on.
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