Heat guns can be incredibly powerful tools that help complete difficult tasks quickly and efficiently. However, they also hold the potential to damage objects and injure people if not used properly.
Before plugging in your heat gun and turning it on, be sure you understand how to use it safely.
Prepare your environment
First, unclutter your surroundings so you don’t create any unsafe circumstances. Heat guns can reach temperatures of up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which means they cause a lot of damage if not used correctly. Make sure there are no flammable or explosive items in your work area. Additionally, remove anything that will melt easily.
“Don’t create any unsafe circumstances because of your surroundings.”
If you need an extension cord to reach your project, choose it carefully. If you’re using the heat gun outdoors, the extension cord must be compatible for heat gun use. Many indoor extension cords don’t have the capacity to support heat-producing appliances, according to Gizmodo. Check the amp limitations of the one you choose to ensure they correspond with your heat gun.
Finally, identify a safe place to set the heat gun down when you’re not using it. Some heat guns, such as the Master Heat Gun from Master Appliance, have an adjustable nonslip stand that makes it easy to momentarily set the heat gun down during a task.
Using the heat gun
Before you turn on the heat gun, identify the temperature you’ll need for the project.
- Vinyl and leather repair: 450-750 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Shrink wrapping: 825-925 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Thawing frozen pipes: 750-1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Shaping plastics: 325-425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Also, if you’re planning to use a nozzle or attachment for specialized work, select the one that best suits the application. A cone-shaped attachment focuses the heat on a single area, while a fishtail or flat attachment widens the area the heat reaches.
Set the temperature and begin working. Keep the gun positioned at about a 45-degree angle relative to the item you’re heating up.
Continuously move the heat gun so as to not overheat one single area. If you do, you could burn or melt the material you’re working with. Heat guns such as the Proheat 1600 and 1615 STC from Master Appliance display the temperature of the working surface as well as the degree of heat being emitted from the heat gun, making it easier to ensure the work area isn’t getting too warm.
After the project is finished
Turn off your heat gun as soon as you’ve completed your task. Keeping it on unnecessarily increases the risk of damage or injury.
When you’re done, your heat gun will still be hot for a short period of time. Master Appliance’s heat guns cool fairly quickly, but it’s still important to wait until they’ve reached room temperature before putting them away.
The surface of the materials you were working with will also retain some heat for a while after you move the heat gun away. Be careful not to touch the surface until you know it’s safe to do so.