One of the signs that a heating element has been over-fired is that the element coils begin to collapse, or lie flat, in the element grooves. If you are buying a used kiln, use a small mirror to look at the elements. If you notice collapsed coils, assume that you will need to replace the elements before firing the kiln.
After removing such an element, examine the element groove. You may see discolored areas where the coils shorted out and melted the element wire. These discolored spots must be removed from the groove before installing a new element. You can dig out the melted element wire using a screwdriver.
With best wishes,
Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P. - Better Designed Kilns 2011 South Town East Blvd. Mesquite, TX 75149-1122 Voice: 972-288-7557 & 800-876-4328 / Fax: 972-222-0646 email@example.com / www.paragonweb.com