A heat gun is one of those tools that you may not use every day, but when you do need it, you really need it. So what is a heat gun used for? A heat gun is a device that emits hot air to help you quickly and efficiently complete various tasks. From drying paint to loosening stuck screws, there’s almost nothing a heat gun can’t do.
Types of a heat gun
When shopping for a heat gun, you’ll likely come across two types: conventional and infrared. While both types of heat guns serve the same purpose, they have distinct differences. Here’s a quick rundown of each type:
- Conventional heat guns: These are the most common type of heat gun on the market and are typically more affordable than infrared models. Conventional heat guns use a heating element to generate hot air, which is then blown through the gun’s nozzle.
- Infrared heat guns: As the name implies, these heat guns emit infrared radiation instead of hot air. It makes them ideal for precision tasks, such as soldering electronic components. However, infrared heat guns are typically more expensive than their conventional counterparts.
How to use and stay safe while using a heat gun
Now that you know a little more about heat guns and the available different types, it’s time to learn how to use one. Here are some tips to help you get started:
- When using a heat gun, always start with the lowest setting first. You can always increase the temperature if needed, but you can’t undo the damage that’s already been done.
- Be sure to wear protective gear, such as gloves and safety glasses, when using a heat gun.
- Keep the heat gun moving at all times to avoid damaging the material you’re working on.
- Never aim the nozzle of a heat gun directly at someone else, even if the setting is low.
- Never use a heat gun near flammable materials, such as gasoline or propane.
- Always unplug the heat gun when you’re not using it and store it in a safe place.
Most common usage methods
Here are some of the most common ways people use heat guns:
Drying painted surfaces
If you just painted a wall or piece of furniture and the paint takes forever to dry, use a heat gun to speed up the process. Just point the nozzle at the wet paint and move it back and forth until the paint is dry to the touch.
Removing stickers and decals
Heat guns are great for removing unwanted stickers and decals. Just point the nozzle at the sticker and hold it there until the adhesive melts. Then, you should be able to peel the sticker right off.
Defrosting a car windshield
During the winter, it’s not uncommon for your car’s windshield to freeze over. To defrost it quickly, use a heat gun.
Loosening and removing rusty or stuck parts
If you’re working on a project that requires removing rusty or stuck parts, a heat gun can come in handy. Just point the nozzle at the part and heat it until it’s loose enough to remove.
Softening adhesives, caulking, and other materials before removal
If you need to remove caulking, adhesive, or another material, use a heat gun to soften it. It will make the removal process much more manageable.
Welding plastic parts
Welding is commonly done with metal, but did you know that you can also weld plastic? Just point the nozzle of the heat gun at the plastic parts you want to weld, and they should melt together.
Drying wet carpets or floors
If your carpet or floor is wet, use a heat gun to speed up the drying process. Just point the nozzle of the heat gun at an area of your carpet or floor and hold it there until it dries completely.
Stripping paint from surfaces
Use a heat gun if you want to strip paint from a surface. Just point the nozzle at the paint and hold it there until the paint begins to blister. Then, you should be able to scrape it right off.
Shrinking heat-shrink tubing
Heat shrink tubing is commonly used to insulate wires, but sometimes it needs to be shrunk down first. You can quickly shrink the tubing using a heat gun without damaging the wires underneath.
Thawing frozen pipes
If your pipes are frozen, you can use a heat gun to thaw them out. Just point the nozzle at the frozen section of the pipe and hold it there until the ice melts.
Soldering electronic components
Another everyday use for heat guns is to solder electronic components together. Just point the gun’s nozzle at the two parts that need to be joined and hold it there until they are melted together.
Non-standard uses for a heat gun
There are many other ways to put a heat gun to good use. For example, did you know that you can use a heat gun to make your homemade chips? All you need is a bag of potatoes and about 20 minutes. Just slice the potatoes thin, place them on a baking sheet, and heat them with your heat gun. Voila! You’ve got yourself a tasty snack.
It is another task that’s typically easier with a heat gun. You need to attach the bacon strips to a wire rack and turn on your heat gun. The constant flow of hot air will cook the bacon much faster than your oven, making it crispy and delicious in no time.
Phone screen repairing
If you have a cracked or shattered phone screen, you can use a heat gun to remove the old one and install a new one. Just be sure to use extreme caution and follow the instructions carefully to avoid damaging your phone.
If your refrigerator is freezing up and you need to defrost it quickly, a heat gun can come in handy. Just aim the nozzle of the heat gun at all the ice buildup inside your fridge and watch as it melts away in no time. You’ll be able to get back to enjoying cold drinks and delicious leftovers in no time.
If you’re looking for a fun and creative way to use your heat gun, why not try making your candles? It’s actually pretty easy. All you need is some wax, wicks, and molds. Then melt the wax with your heat gun and pour it into the molds. Once the wax has cooled and hardened, you’ll have homemade candles that you can use or give as gifts.
Roasting coffee beans
If you love to roast your coffee beans at home, a heat gun can help get the job done. Place them on a baking sheet and use your heat gun to roast them until they’re perfectly dark and aromatic. You’ll soon have delicious, freshly roasted coffee that will make every morning much better.
If you need to laminate some essential documents, a heat gun can get the job done. Just place the document inside a laminating pouch and use your heat gun to seal it. The heat will cause the plastic to melt and adhere to the paper, creating a durable, water-resistant barrier that will protect your document for years to come.
You can use a heat gun to sterilize surfaces like countertops, doorknobs, and light switches. Just turn on your heat gun and hold it close to the surface for a few seconds. The heat will kill bacteria or viruses, keeping your family safe and healthy.
Using a hairdryer instead of the heat gun
You can use a hairdryer instead of a heat gun in some situations, but it’s not as effective and can be dangerous. A heat gun produces a much higher temperature than a hairdryer, so it’s better at loosening stuck parts, drying wet surfaces, and stripping paint. However, you can use the hairdryer to defrost a fridge or thaw frozen pipes. Just be careful not to overheat the area, as this can damage your appliance or cause a fire. So, while a hairdryer can be used in a pinch, it’s not the best tool for the job.