Using a Heat Gun

Summary: Advice on when and how to use a Heat Gun to strip paint safely

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A heat gun is a device that produces a stream / jet of heated air usually used for stripping paint.

The heat is produced by a fan drawing air in at the rear of the gun, passing the air over heated elements to create a stream of hot air.

One could say this power tool is a glorified hair dryer except it works at a much higher temperature so therefore needs to be treated with respect. (Working temperatures range from 100°-550°C). Do not attempt to dry your hair with a heat gun!

Heat guns should be held at an angle of approximately 45 degrees from the work and never kept in one place for more than a few seconds. As the paint begins to bubble under the heat then move the gun and strip the paint with a scraper.

The higher the wattage of a heat gun, the more powerful (hot) it is and a gun of about 2000 W is plenty for DIY Work.

Using a heat gun for stripping paintIn the DIY market Heat Guns vary in price from £15 - £50 depending on the number of accessories that come with the gun.

The Heat Gun has many applications such as paint stripping, heat shrinking tubing, bending plastic pipes (ref to plumbing), drying materials, welding plastics, breaking down glues and adhesives and defrosting pipes etc.

Heat guns should always be used carefully around copper pipe work where solder joints have been used or scotch connectors as there is a possibility of melting the solder or weakening the joint.

Most heat guns will have a built in safety thermal heat switch which will terminate the device if a dangerous heat level is achieved. If this occurs then there will have been a fault with the device or user (too close to working object) check all options or the manufacturers guide.

The heat gun when purchased should come with an assortment of nozzles for directing the flow of hot air to the working area usually:

  1. Reflector nozzle
  2. Reducer nozzle
  3. Glass protector nozzle
  4. Flat nozzle

Here are some safety considerations to be taken into account when using a Heat Gun:

Turn off the Heat Gun before putting it down.
Do not use to strip lead paints.
Do not insert any thing into the gun when working.
Do not touch the end of the gun where hot air comes out.
Allow the gun to cool before storing.
Do not use the heat gun near anything that is flammable.

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