search  current discussion  categories  kilns & firing - elements 

sagging kiln elements - new advice

updated wed 29 mar 00


GSM_ENT on tue 28 mar 00

Hi Mike; Hi Di:

As a traveling kiln repair technician and kiln repair instructor sometimes I
loose contact with this board for a while. However, I try to monitor the
board as much as possible to assist those with kiln problems.

Mike-I just got in and saw your posting. When I took my first kiln repair
seminar I followed the instructions on the manual and those given by the
instructor at the time. As you stated to "move" a heating element,
particularly after it has been fired several times and has become brittle,
it is necessary to get it hot so that it would move without breaking. When I
tried this there was smell of burning chicken feather-it was the hairs in my

Do not attempt this method. It is best to use a small propane torch and heat
the sagging area to be moved to include 1-2 inches over at each side, then
with the needle nose pliers you can move it. It is best to get the heating
coil red hot so that it will be most maleable. If there is any resistance to
movement while attempting to place the element into the firebrick groove,
reheat the area, then proceed. Once in place if the coil has not settled
place a couple of element pins to keep it in place and to prevent it from
coming out again.

Normally elements do not require element pins. However, some companies put
an element pin in each corner as an additional precaution. Normaly elements
come out of their grove:
1. when the element has not been installed properly.
2. When you only do could firing (022-016)
3. When while installing the element you "wrestled" the wire instead of
alllowing it to extend by itself.

If you desire additional information on this subject contact me at my
private E-Mail with your address and I will send you some.


Manuel R A "Tony" Diaz Rodriguez
MAJ., US Army (Ret.)
Master Kiln Repair TechniciaR
Multi-Company Qualified - Factory Educator
Multi-Product/Media Factory Qualified Teacher

----- Original Message -----
From: Mike Obrien
Sent: Friday, March 24, 2000 1:14 PM
Subject: Re: Sagging Kiln Elements

> ----------------------------Original message----------------------------
> Hi Di,
> They come out when they are not held in place REALLY well with pins. When
> they get hot they expand and gravity takes over and they stretch.
> I''ve had elements that have hung down as much as two feet, and continued
> without problem until the normal replacement time. They will continue to
> work as long as they don't interfere with your shelves or ware. It's a
> idea to make sure that they don't touch any other elements. They will
> themselves together and burn out much faster than would be normal.
> It's a good idea to fix them the first time you notice movement. This is
> what you can do.
> 1. Turn on your kiln to heat the element and get it hot.
> 2. Turn off the kiln and use needle nose pliers to squeeze the coils back
> together. Squeeze 3 or 4 coils at a time until the element is short
> to fit back into the groove. Pin it securely.
> They don't have to be red hot, only warm enough to be a little
> to your hands. Cold elements break when you try this.
> Mike