The difference between a heat gun and a heat stripper
Heat gun, heat stripper, flameless torch, hot air gun, are some of the terms that are commonly used for the same multifunctional tool. The heat gun is an ultra-powerful hair dryer that sends out hot air without a flame and which can be used for a variety of functions.
What are the uses of the heat gun
The heat gun has multiple functions, both for professional and personal use. It is used to strip paint, stain, or varnish from furniture or walls. It can also be used to remove tiles and linoleum from the floor, as well as wallpaper from the wall. You can also remove adhesives found on professional displays or vehicle decorations. You heat the surface, while using a spatula to loosen the layer to be removed.
You can also use your heat gun to loosen screwed parts that have welded together, often due to rust. Heating the nuts and screws expands the materials; when they cool, the parts shrink and separate from each other.
The heat gun is also used to unjam locks, as well as to thaw them, just like pipes.
Finally, the heat gun is used in plumbing to soften PVC pipes, in order to bend or interlock them. When thermowelding, although it is better to protect the walls, you are less likely to damage them than with a flame torch.
How a heat gun works
The heat gun looks like a hair dryer. It is called a gun because it has the same shape with its handle that ensures an excellent grip. It can be powered by plugging it into the mains or by gas.
When you turn it on, the heat gun activates a turbine that uses the air in the room to heat it up by passing it in front of an electric resistance. The air is then expelled through the nozzle of the heat stripper.
There are different types of nozzles depending on the work you have to do.
- The flat jet nozzle is used for stripping.
- The angled nozzle with reflector allows for de-icing, bending, and welding.
- The diffuser nozzle is used to remove plastic tiles and linoleum.
- The more centered nozzle allows you to cut plastic, etc.
How to choose a heat gun
The power of the heat gun is expressed in Watts (W). This determines the temperature your heat gun can reach and is usually between 1500 and 2300 W.
It is in your best interest to choose a heat gun that has a temperature control feature. Some entry-level tools only offer a very limited choice, while the more high-end heat guns have an LCD liquid crystal display that lets you know the precise heating temperature.
You should be able to adjust the power depending on the material you are working on. The higher the power, the faster and more effective the action of the stripper, but it should not be too high, so as not to damage the most fragile surfaces. If you are stripping a piece of wooden furniture, for example, you must be careful not to damage the structure.
On some models, you can also adjust the air flow rate, which is expressed in litres per minute. It helps you reach the temperature of your choice more easily.
Finally, the weight is a determining factor in the choice of your heat gun, especially for prolonged use.