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Pottery and ceramics-making can be incredibly rewarding activities, but they involve using a piece of equipment that fires at extremely high temperatures. The first kilns date back to 6,000 BCE and could fire up to 1,652 degrees Fahrenheit. Today's kilns fire at an average of 1,800 to 2,400 degrees Fahrenheit. While ceramic coating suppliers ensure that your objects fire safely inside of the kiln, you need to take safety precautions for yourself. Know these important safety measures when working with a kiln and keep yourself safe.

  • Vent the kiln: Kilns kept outdoors have natural ventilation, but any indoor kilns need proper venting to the outside. When a kiln fires, it releases gases that are irritating to the body, and sometimes are even toxic or lethal. Follow any instructions provided by the kiln manufacturer for the proper venting procedures. Consult with a licensed HVAC contractor to install a quality system. Be sure to always turn on your kiln hood or vent before you load it to prevent any ceramic glaze dust exposure.

  • Protective gear: While ceramic coating suppliers have ensured that your kiln has the necessary ceramic insulation coating it needs, you need to wear protection to stay safe from the extremely hot outer surface. If you brush against the outside of a kiln with bare skin, you run the risk of seriously burning yourself. Always wear kiln mitts or gloves when handling any part of the kiln while it is firing or cooling, as it will remain hot for hours after you turn it off. Invest in a pair of dark protective glasses from a safety supply house to protect your eyes from the kiln's radiant heat.

  • Be aware of kiln gases: Kilns emit gases that can cause respiratory problems, especially if it is a reduction or salt firing. During fuel-burning firing, kilns release carbon dioxide, which can raise your blood pressure and decrease your pulse. During reduction firing, the kiln releases carbon monoxide, leading to headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and drowsiness. Carbon monoxide exposure can be fatal. Salt firing can release sulfur dioxide, which is a strong lung irritant.

The best way to stay safe when working with a kiln is to know all of the possible dangers. Protect yourself against these dangers and you'll be able to enjoy using your kiln.