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A heat gun is an indispensable tool. It can be used to tackle a variety of home improvement jobs as well as help do unthinkable tasks such as searing the steak, drying out damp wood, and roasting beans. Everyone, including DIYers, homeowners, and professionals, can count on this versatile gadget.
You can buy a heat gun inexpensively at a hardware store or order it from an online retailer. Depending on the model, many heat guns have built-in LCD screens and digital control panels.
If this seems interesting, here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Use the heatgun to strip paint
- Remove labels, stickers, and decals from all kinds of surfaces
- Roast coffee beans to prepare fresh coffee
- Decorate cookies
- Heat a steak to get a perfect sear
- Defrost a freezer
- Remove rusted nuts and bolts
- Thaw frozen pipes during cold weather
Strip Paint Off Walls
A heat gun can be used to remove the paint from wooden surfaces and tiles. The paint is removed by applying heat to the painted surface. Using a heat gun to strip the paint is probably the easiest and the least expensive method.
Since the heat is dispersed evenly, all the layers of paint will come off at once. Any residue can be scraped off using a putty knife. The only drawback is the amount of time it can take to complete a task. For instance, it may take anywhere from 15 minutes to 30 minutes to remove paint from the front of a cupboard drawer.
While it’s an inexpensive technique, it also requires physical effort. If you want to remove the paint from a large surface area, get ready to do some hard work. Similarly, it’s important to carefully manage curvy areas because the heat does not distribute evenly in the corner.
If you think that there are particles of lead in the paint, it’s better to wear a high-quality respirator before the paint stripping job. The safety equipment will prevent the lead from entering your lungs. Also, keep the heat gun in a lower temperature setting. It will ensure that the temperature does not reach the vaporization point of lead, which is somewhere between 800 and 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove Labels Stickers and Decals
If you’ve tried your grandma’s tips to remove labels and stickers, you already know that such home remedies are a waste of time. Honestly! Orange peels and peanut butter do not work anymore. Instead, you can use the heat gun to remove stickers in a matter of minutes.
To remove stickers, use a scrapping tool and the heat gun to achieve desired results. You can buy a scrapping tool from a nearby hardware store and attach it to the front of the heat gun. Start with the lowest setting before increasing the temperature, if required.
Once the sticker is peeled off, use warm water to clean off any residue. At this stage, you can even replace the original sticker with a new one.
For decals, there is no need for a scrapping tool. When using the heat gun to remove decals, the trick is to move the gun smoothly over the surface without keeping it on any one spot for more than two seconds. Keeping the gun moving over the decal will easily remove the layer without damaging the underlying surface.
Roast Coffee Beans
If you don’t want to invest in a coffee roaster, heat guns can surprisingly do a great job of roasting coffee beans. In fact, people have written entire blogs on the method.
Using the heat gun, you can use more than one method to roast coffee beans. However, the simplest method is to take the beans, put them in a metal bowl, and start stirring beans under the gun.
Before roasting, make sure that there is enough outdoor space to contain the smoke. Similarly, it’s better to have a heat gun that has some sort of a protective cover to prevent beans from entering the nozzle of a gun.
Preheat the gun for a minute or two. It will help clear any residue that can potentially catch fire. Start with the lowest setting, and start heating the green beans by keeping the nozzle 1 inch above the beans.
Move the gun in circles while stirring the beans inside the bowl. Stirring helps distribute heat evenly. After reaching your desired level, you can stop heating. Usually, it takes anywhere from eight to 15 minutes to get results.
You must have seen cooking show contestants making delicious cookies in an instant. This is because they have a heat gun at their disposal. A heat gun is a great tool for decorating cookies because it quickly dries the icing on the cookie.
Using the heat gun to dry the icing also makes sense because it takes care of the small pesky craters that pop up whenever you try to fill a space on the icing. The radiant heat source from the heat gun will also ensure the icing layer is smooth.
Besides decorating, the heat gun is also used to speed up the decoration. Instead of waiting for the ice to dry, the heat gun dries the icing instantly. It means that you can decorate a lot of cookies in less time without worrying about the big ugly holes that often form when the icing sinks after a few minutes.
Another reason to use the heat gun is the sheen that you can get from using the heat gun. If you let the icing set for at least 10 minutes, you will notice a distinctive shine that is usually absent from icing that dries naturally.
You can prepare seriously delicious steaks using a heat gun. It’s done by searing the meat at high temperatures. Since a heat gun can reach temperatures of up to 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit, the hot air can sear an entire steak within short order.
It’s an ideal tool for a thin sear. You can easily get the desired browning on the meat within six to eight minutes. The method is also used by professional chefs because it helps keep the inside of the steak tender without overcooking.
While the typical cast iron method is more common, the heat gun can give us a better idea of when to stop heating. If the steak is heated properly, it always results in nice tender meat that is thick brown on the outside and rich pink color on the inside. For a more appetizing look, you can also apply additional heat to get the charred blackening on the meat.
Nowadays, many heat guns come with an attachment that can help direct the airflow. Modern heat guns also include LCD panels and a control interface allowing the user to set optimum temperature.
Defrost the Freezer
Most freezers require you to defrost them at least once a year. This is often a tedious process that can take many hours. For instance, you can spend an entire day breaking the ice if you’re using a traditional hand tool.
Alternatively, if you have a heat gun, you can often complete the same task quickly. Put your heat gun to good use by directing the heat towards the open freezer. The process seems a bit like a blower, which will help melt the ice quickly, often in less than an hour.
For an upright freezer, a heat gun can be placed on a stand near the freezer at an appropriate angle. For the chest freezer, which has a horizontally positioned door on top, you can place the heat gun somewhere on a shelf above the freezer from which to aim the heat gun into the open chest. Another much safer method is to unplug the freezer and place the chest freezer on its side before placing the heat gun away from it on the floor.
Irrespective of the method used, make sure that the freezer is unplugged and that there are no flammable materials near the freezer. Try not to leave the freezer unattended. For best results, continue to wipe off water from the melting ice. Many freezers have a drain tube that can route the water to a bucket or a water container.
Remove Old Wallpaper
Removing old wallpaper is a time-consuming process, which is often extremely tiring. However, heat guns can remove wallpaper much quicker than most traditional methods without leaving behind residue and chemical odors. Depending on the type of wallpaper, its age, and its stickiness, the entire task can be completed within a day.
To do it, you will need a heat gun, leather gloves, and a paint scraper. Start by peeling away loose ends of the wallpaper. When ready, set the heat gun temperature to approximately 325 degrees Fahrenheit, and apply the heat by holding the gun 6 inches away from the wallpaper.
Slowly move the heat gun in the direction of scrapping, and ensure that the gun doesn’t stay at any one spot for more than fifteen seconds. Scrap the paper while holding the heat gun in your dominant hand. The wallpaper should start to come off the wall. Keep scratching the surface until you’re satisfied that the paper is removed from a particular spot.
It’s even better if you have a partner to help you with the task. One of you can hold the heat gun while the other can scrap the wallpaper. If anything is left on the wall, use water to make the paper wet before removing the residue.
Remove Rusted Bolts and Nuts
Unscrewing a rusted bolt takes a lot of patience. It’s a painstaking job because applying extra pressure on the bolt can break it completely. Therefore, if you can’t use a wrench or another tool to unscrew the bolt, use a heat gun.
Applying high temperature to the rusted part will expand the joint between the bolt and screw assembly, which ultimately compresses the metal. As soon as the metal cools off, it will loosen.
To unscrew a rusted nut, point your heat gun on the rusted part for 30 seconds. Once the metal is heated, it will expand. You can now use a wrench to open it. If the nut doesn’t budge, use penetrating oil or a liquid thread loosener before heating the part once again.
There is no optimal temperature for this procedure. Try setting up the heat gun to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. For stubborn or larger nuts, try increasing the temperature to 650 degrees Fahrenheit.
Thaw Frozen Pipes
If you live in a cold climate, a heat gun is an indispensable tool to melt the ice formed due to freezing temperatures. There is no rocket science in learning the technique because you just need to gently move the heat gun around the pipe. Under normal circumstances, it will clear any blockage within a few minutes.
Since the heat gun can produce temperatures upwards of 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s important to use the gun carefully. Never use the heat gun on plastic pipes as the excess temperature can easily damage the unit. Similarly, use caution when heating joints because a joint can easily expand, which can cause the pipe to burst.
You can use aluminum foil or sheet metal behind the pipe to deflect the heat from the heat gun. It will also protect any vulnerable surface around the pipe.
As a precautionary measure, keep moving the heat gun to reduce its impact on a single part of the pipe. Also, keep the heat gun at least 6 inches from the pipe. Do not use a hairdryer or a blow torch to thaw a frozen pipe. In most cases, a hairdryer doesn’t produce enough heat, whereas a blow torch will likely melt the pipe.
It’s Your Turn!
Now that you have multiple ideas for your heat gun, it’s time to put these to the test. However, always remember that a heat gun is a powerful tool which requires absolute care. Always wear protective gloves, and stay away from the heat source.
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