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lighting a gas kiln safely

updated fri 28 dec 01


chris clarke on wed 26 dec 01

Amen Dave!!

I was standing in front of our big sprung arch, door nicely bricked up =
when my professor lit it. Making a long story short, fire shot out on =
either side of me and the door pushed out about halfway. Five more =
minutes of gas filling that old hag and I'd still be pickin' bricks out =
of my...well, you get the picture. But the look on Don's face, I still =
remember it. Makes me laugh =3D )


temecula, california

Dave Finkelnburg on wed 26 dec 01

Hi all,
I have read with interest the posts about thermocouples and pilots.
I want to repeat a post I sent some time back about lighting gas burners
safely. This is information which I learned from more knowledgeable
ALWAYS light the pilots BEFORE you close the kiln door. This is so
simple, so often ignored. It is not possible to damage the kiln (or you or
anyone else) with an explosion if the door is open when you light the pilot
If you plan to light the pilots or burners and then do something else
while the kiln heats up, install a safety system. Whether you use
inexpensive thermocouples, or a flame detection system like a FireEye,
install something which signals a solenoid valve to shut off the gas on loss
of flame.
Yes, sooner or later you will have the gas shut off because of a loss of
the electrical signal, even if the flame is still fine. That's OK. That
won't hurt you, or anyone else. It's a mechanical problem you can fix.
Better that than losing the kiln, or worse, seeing someone hurt.
I have forced air burners, so I have two solenoid valves in my gas
train. One shuts off the gas on loss of temperature at the pilot flame
thermocouple. The other shuts off the gas on loss of electrical power. I
don't want the kiln filling up with loads of gas if the fans aren't running!
If you aren't sure what is safe with your kiln, ask. And do it now,
while everyone is safe.
By the way, I always light my burners with one match. It's the one I
use to light the propane torch. Makes a great igniter for the burners. :-)
Yours for safer firing.
Dave Finkelnburg in frosty Idaho