TO KILN VENT OR NOT TO KILN VENT?

This post was made by Lora Olivieri of Piece of Mind Pottery. If you’re interested in posting on our blog, shoot us an email!

To Vent or Not to Vent?

Recently I was asked by a fellow potter if I use a kiln vent system. I do. I use the L&L Vent-Sure Kiln Vent System and I love it!

But that got me thinking...I know plenty of professional potters that don’t use vents when they fire, even for glaze firing, and their work comes out perfectly. It’s been so long since I purchased my first kiln and the vent system. I used to have my kiln right in the studio with me – so not using a vent was out of the question. Nowadays, my kiln is in my attached garage.

So why do I continue to use a vent system? Here are three reasons:

Reason 1: Safety

The fumes that come from a firing, even a bisque firing, are not good for you to breathe in. Since my kiln is in our attached garage, it’s really important for me to make sure the fumes go outside and not back into my house.

Reason 2:  Even Firing Temperature

When you use a kiln vent system, the air is pulled into the kiln and this helps to even out the temperature during a firing. The air is circulated constantly so the temperature in all areas stays within a few degrees difference. This is important for accurate firing times and final temps.

Reason 3: Better Results

An air vent system also helps by removing the chemicals from the kiln during a bisque firing, producing a “cleaner” bisque. This process then helps for the glaze firing. By removing certain chemicals (called “burning off”) during bisque firing, you reduce the risk of your glazes pitting or crazing or other common glaze issues. Better air flow throughout the kiln also brings out the vibrancy and special effects of certain glazes and colors.

The L&L Vent-Sure Kiln Vent System is easy to install as you just drill a small hole through the bottom of the kiln where you attach the fan, and then another small one in the top of the kiln and reliable.

In fact, I just added a second kiln to my set up and will be purchasing another system in the near future as well as the Vent-Sure Kiln Vent System Doubler, a super neat product that takes two vent systems and pulls them together into one vent leading outside (so I don’t have to cut another hole in my garage wall!).

Kiln Vent To-Dos

  1. Turn the vent on at the same time you turn the kiln on – this way you don’t forget to go back out and turn it on. It doesn’t delay the heating of the kiln – firing schedule will be normal.
  2. For super sensitive glazes (high-fire) that require a slow cool, you probably want to turn the vent off when the kiln shuts off so you don’t cool the pieces too quickly. This can help prevent cracking, bubbling of the glaze, etc.