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Jason
Jason, Service Technician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 3616
Experience:  Over 15 years of experience in all types of installations, troubleshooting, and repairs.
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What kiln is safer to run in my home (electric)

Resolved Question:

I am wondering if I can fire a kiln in my basement, hooked to the dryer outlet, but I am wondering the difference in wiring between these two kilns.

Biggest Little Kiln
http://www.bigceramicstore.com/Supplies/kilns/BCSBLKKiln.htm
it is 240V, 28 amps, 6720 watts, I am not sure what the gauge of the copper wire is.
Requires 240v, 30 amp fuse
(comes with 6-30 plug)

Skutt KS 818 - I already have this one, but am wondering why, if it draws less amps, does it need a higher rated receptacle??
http://www.skutt.com/products/ks-818.html
240 Volts 27.8 Amps 6660 Watts
208 Volts 26.7 Amps 5550 Watts
Copper Wire Size: 8
Breaker Size: 40
NEMA Receptacle Configuration: 6-50


The receptacle that I currently have is NEMA 14-30

http://www.dostarchina.com/en/product_2_show_xx.asp?BigClassName=Plug%20and%20socket&Smallclassname=NEMA%20Series&id=367

I was told not to change the plug on the Skutt kiln because plugging it into a 30 amp receptacle could cause some overheating and potential fires.
Can I change the plug on the Biggest Little Kiln and be ok firing that?
Why does the skutt draw less amps, but need a bigger fuse?


I do not have the option of upgrading my electrical, so which kiln would be best to use, if either?
Or, I have an oven outlet that is nema 14-50, and the breaker for that is 40amp. Is it safe to run an adaptor, such as the one peter suggested, from there to outside? it would be about 20 feet. I know the current drops off as you move the electricity further way from the outlet, would there be any danger in running this?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Jason replied 3 years ago.

Jason :

Hello. Thank you for asking your question on Just Answer...

Jason :

You can use the "Biggest Little Kiln" on a dryer outlet, because the wire to your dryer outlet is AWG #10, which is rated for 30 amps. However, one thing to keep in mind is that dryer outlets can be 3 or 4 wire. If your kiln requires a neutral, and your dryer currently only has 3 wires feeding it, that could be a problem.

Jason :

If you want to use the Skutt kiln, it would need to be on your range outlet, not the dryer outlet. This is because the wire for the dryer is not rated high enough to be connected to a 40 amp breaker. As for the amperage ratings for the two kilns... when two amperage ratings are that close, they are essentially the same. If you are using this in a house, you won't have 208 volts available. It will be connected to 240 volts. That means the Skutt will draw 27.8 amps, and the BLK will draw 28 amps. That's only a difference of .2 amps, which is negligible.

Jason :

If the BLK does indeed draw 28 amps, it would be pushing it to connect it to a 30 amp breaker. Ideally, you only want to load a breaker to 80% of its rated capacity. That would mean a 30 amp circuit should not be loaded to more than 24 amps.

Jason :

Basically, the difference in overcurrent protection (breaker) requirements is due to one manufacturer upsizing the circuit to keep from tripping the breaker. But you can't go up from a 30 amp breaker to a 40 amp breaker without also upsizing the wire to #8.

Jason :

The wire for your range is #6, which is one size larger than #8. It will easily handle either kiln. If you need an extension cord in order to use the range outlet, 20 feet is not a long enough distance to create a substantial voltage drop.

Customer :

Ok, so the BLK is ok for the dryer outlet, only because of the smaller wire size, yes? My dryer outlet is 4 prong, and the BLK is 3 prong, I would be using an adapter, is that safe?

Customer :

Which in your opinion would be safer?

Jason :

Yes. The adapter most likely eliminates the neutral wire. I like the BLK better.

Jason :

The kiln probably onle needs two hots and a ground, so 3 wires total.

Customer :

ok, one more thing, im not sure if my house had enough electrical supply to support a kiln. on the electric panel it says mains 70 amps. so does that mean that's all i have coming to my house?

Customer :

it should be fine if I am not using any major appliances at the same time shouldnt it?

Jason :

That is an odd size main. Here in the US, there are still some older homes with 60 amp services. How old is your house?

Customer :

1950's

Customer :

and why do you say the blk is safer, if it is drawing more amps off a smaller outlet?

Customer :

sorry for so many questions, im just trying to understand

Jason :

That makes sense then. My house had a 60 amp service when originally built, in the 60's. You will be fine using the kiln at the same times you would be using your dryer, as the electricity doesn't know or care what the load is. As far as the wires and breakers are concerned, running the kiln is the same as running the dryer. But you wouldn't be able to run the dryer and the kiln at the same time. The reason I like the BLK better is because I don't like the idea of feeding a load that calls for a 40 amp breaker with a circuit that is protected by a 50 amp breaker. The 40 amp breaker would trip at a lower amperage draw, which is safer. You can ask me as many questions as you like, it's not a problem at all. I'm here to help.

Customer :

ok, but im pretty sure the breaker for the dryer is 30amp and the breaker for the oven is 40amp. (i have two double pole breakers on the panel, one is 30, the other, 40.) so does that mean the BLK kiln will trip the breaker if it is running at 28 amps?

Jason :

It could, but the manufacturer seems to think it won't. I doubt it really draws 28 amps. It's probably a little less than that, or they would have upsized the circuit. Since your range circuit is protected by a 40 amp breaker, that opens up the option of using the other kiln on the range circuit. But whoever told you not to replace the plug on the Skutt is absolutely right. Doing that could very well cause problems.

Customer :

ok, and using an adapter, like this one: http://www.stayonline.com/detail.aspx?ID=17435 would be safe too?

Jason :

Please stand by while I check out that link...

Customer :

ok thanks

Customer :

or is it better to get an electrician to change the plug on the BLK to fit the 14-30 outlet?

Jason :

Yes, that will be fine, since both ends of the cord are rated for the same voltage and amperage. The function of the adaptor is to eliminate the neutral wire at the 4 wire dryer plug. You could go either way, as far as using the adaptor or changing the plug on the kiln. One thing to consider is changing the plug could potentially void the warranty. You would have to check with the manufacturer to find out.

Customer :

ok. do you have any ideas on how much it would cost to switch the plug?

Jason :

Most electrical contractors would charge you for one hour of labor. Here in the states, that's around $70. My employer tacks a $15 trip charge onto every service call, due to high gasoline prices. The cost of the plug would be around $10 after they mark it up. You can buy one for less than half that at a home improvement store. So you are looking at a total of approximately $100 if the electrician supplies the plug. If you can find a retired or unemployed electrician, it will likely cost much less than hiring a contractor.

Customer :

can i get an electrician to make me an adaptor?

Jason :

Yes, but it could be somewhat expensive. What was the cost of the premade adaptor?

Customer :

$150 and i think its in the states.. im in canada

Jason :

That's pretty steep. If you bought the parts, it would cost you about $20 or so, and I could tell you how to do it.

Customer :

oh wow! thats cheap!

Jason :

Yes, much less expensive than buying a premade part.

Customer :

I think I will wait on the instructions though, until I actually get the kiln, and sell the skutt.

Customer :

Thank you so much, you are extremely helpful!! I guess if you want good advice you've got to pay for it!

Jason :

OK, you can come back here at any time, and I'll tell you how to proceed. If you want me to answer any future questions for you, you will need to put "For Jason" in the subject line. Otherwise, any other electrical expert can take the question.

Customer :

Ok, thanks so much! have a great day!

Jason, Service Technician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 3616
Experience: Over 15 years of experience in all types of installations, troubleshooting, and repairs.
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