How to use a heat gun proper and safety

A heat gun can be a useful tool in various do it yourself projects. There are a variety of uses for a heat gun, but the most common use is paint stripping. It can also be used for adhesive softening, tile removal, softening and forming plastic laminates, and electrical tubing. Heat guns can also be useful in removing caulking from windows and bathroom fixtures and for wallpaper removal.

A heat gun resembles a hairdryer in appearance; however, the heat it emits is far more dangerous if used improperly. An element inside the heat gun gets hot and the air is forced over the element and blown out through the nozzle. Some models can run as hot as 1200 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a lower heat setting, a heat gun can be used for drying out damp wood or paint and to bend plastic materials.

Using a heat gun for paint removal is a pretty simple process. It is best used when you have multiple layers of paint to remove at once. If you are stripping paint from something with intricate woodwork designs or small work areas, you might want to try a chemical paint stripper instead of a heat gun. One thing to remember is that some older Victorian-style homes have trim made of ceramics and a chemical paint stripper can destroy this material. It’s best to use the heat gun in this case as well.

The process of using a heat gun to remove paint is pretty simple. Use the heat setting recommended by the manufacturer. Guide the heat over the area in slow circular motion. Never allow the gun to point directly at one spot for more than ten seconds. Though the heat gun does not produce a flame, the heat is hot enough to cause scorching, and in some cases, can set the wood on fire. As the paint begins to bubble, gently scrape the softened paint from the surface with a putty knife or paint scraper.

Before you use a heat gun there are a few very important safety issues to consider. Below is a list of things to remember to keep your project, and yourself, safe.

-Only plug units into grounded power sources.

-Always wear safety glasses and dust respirator or dual filter respirator mask at all times. The fumes produced by heating the paint are very harmful.

-It is recommended that you wear chemical resistant gloves.

-If possible, do your work outside. If this is not possible, make sure work area is well ventilated and protected.

-Pregnant women, nursing mothers and children should all be kept clear of the work area.

-Keep work area clear of debris, wood shavings, paper products, and anything else that may catch fire from the heat of the gun. Also, keep long hair tied back and avoid wearing jewelry.

-Keep in mind that flammable gases can be present behind walls and in other closed off areas.

-A heat gun should never be used on lead based paint. Be sure of what you are working with before you start. If you have lead based paint, or are unsure if you do, please consult a professional to assist you.

-Be very careful when you are using a heat gun near panes of glass or any type of tile. The intense heat can loosen the adhesives and cause cracking and breakage.

-Do not press the nozzle of the heat gun directly against the surface while gun is in use. Keep the air slots free of debris and other obstructions. Either of these will restrict airflow and cause the gun to malfunction.

-Use special care when using a heat gun near soldered items, such as copper pipes. The heat may cause the soldering to loosen and weaken the joints.

Remember to keep the gun away from your skin and clothing while in use and directly after you turn it off. The gun will be extremely hot. Take extra care when choosing where you place the gun after use and be sure to unplug it to prevent accidents.

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