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What is a heat gun?

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A heat gun is a tool that emits a stream of hot air. It is similar in appearance and construction to a hairdryer, but the air it emits is at a much higher temperature. Air is forced over the element and heated. Typically, the emitted air can reach temperatures between 93 ° C and 537.7 ° Celsius (200 ° F and 1000 ° Fahrenheit).

A heat gun can be used in a variety of construction applications. It can be used for drying, heating, welding and shrinking. Practical applications of a heat gun include drying and stripping paint, drying wet wood, softening adhesives for tile removal, and thawing frozen pipes.

The most common use of a heat gun is to remove paint. When using the tool for this purpose, the gun should be guided in a slow, circular motion over the painted area. The gun should never be pointed at the same location for more than 10 seconds, as hot air can burn the material under the paint and cause a fire. When the paint begins to bubble, it can simply be removed with a putty knife.

When using a heat gun to remove paint, the operator should always wear safety glasses and a breathing mask. Heated paint fumes are very harmful. For the same reason, the gun should never be used over lead-based paint.

A heat gun can also be used in electronics for the purpose of de-soldering. Electronic components are usually soldered to a printed circuit board. It may be necessary to remove these components for repair or recovery in a de-soldering process.

All soldering accessories contain heat guns. To de-solder an electronic component from a printed circuit board, the air flow is directed to the component that will be removed. When the solder material is melted, the component can be extracted freely. Toxic fumes may be released during this process. It is therefore important that the tool is used in a well-ventilated area. The operator must also be careful not to damage the electronic components with the heated air.

The high operating temperatures of a heat gun mean that several safety factors must be considered when operating. The work area must be free from flammable materials. Wood chips and paper should be cleared from the area, long hair should be tied back and jewelry removed. The heat gun nozzle should never be pressed directly against a surface. Immediately after using the heat gun, be sure to keep it away from clothing and skin as its surface can be extremely hot.

Both hobbyists and professionals alike use a heat gun for different tasks. What are they? How does a heat gun work? Are there several types?

How the heat gun works?

A heat gun looks like a drill or a hair dryer. Its operation is identical to the latter: it sucks air through a turbine, then the air is heated by an electric resistance. The hot air comes out through the nozzle on the front of the gun. There are different forms of nozzle: they allow the tool to be adapted to perform various types of work.

Types of existing heat guns and nozzles

There are two families of heat guns: gas heat guns and electric heat guns. Gas-powered appliances are appreciated for their mobility. Cordless, they are easier to use and can be used anywhere. Electric scrapers are more common. However, electrical energy can be a constraint because construction sites do not always offer an electrical source.

Wearing protective equipment is imperative to use a heat gun. Glasses and work gloves are compulsory. A mask is also necessary for paint or varnish stripping.

Criteria for choosing a heat gun

Different characteristics must be taken into account when choosing a heat gun. First of all, you have to choose between a gas or electric heat gun. Gas is recommended for carrying out small jobs in the absence of an electrical source. Then comes the choice of the power of the device. The more powerful it is, the more effective it will be regardless of the use. Other features to consider are hot air flow, temperature control and accessories supplied with the gun. Some models include an anti-overheating option or are ergonomically better worked.

Maintain a heat gun

After using a gun, it is advisable to clean it in order to optimize its operating life. This task consists of inspecting the air inlets and outlets to verify that they are not blocked. The nozzle used must be disassembled and cleaned. For safety reasons, it is advisable to let the heat gun cool down before proceeding with its maintenance and storage.

To go further

  • Thermal weeder, gas mosquito repellent: garden appliances requiring a gas cylinder
  • Using your gas cylinder: the 10 essential tips
  • Safety & gas cylinder: bad practices to forget


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