A heat gun is a flameless, handheld tool that can be used for a variety of different projects. It functions by drawing air through the device from a fan. The electronics heat up the air as it is blown out, producing a high temperature of heat that can be useful for a number of different jobs.
These include but are not limited to bending pipe, stripping paint and varnish from objects such as furniture, soldering (adding or removing solder), thawing frozen pipes, shrinking tubing and much, much more. There are also several different nozzles and accessories that allow this hand tool to be very versatile.
The application and functionality of this tool can be very similar to that of a common household hair dryer. So, you may be wondering if it’s possible to just use a hair dryer instead of a heat gun for a given task at hand.
The answer is… maybe.
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The biggest difference between these two products, without a doubt, is the level of heat that they produce. While they may operate similarly, heat guns are capable of producing over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, while your average hair dryer may only produce around 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
This significant heat difference will limit the number of things you’re able to do with a hairdryer.
While producing two very different levels of heat, heat guns aren’t that expensive. In fact, you may end up spending more money on a high-end hair dryer than you would for a heat gun.
If you require temperatures of such extreme levels regularly, it would be in your best interest to just go ahead and purchase a heat gun and leave the hair dryer to what it does best—drying hair.
That said, if there isn’t a regular occurrence where you need this high amount of heat or if it isn’t an emergency, a hair dryer may be able to get the job done if you’re in a pinch.
If it’s the middle of winter and the temperature gets below freezing, you may find that water isn’t running in some part of your house.
Dependent on the insulation of your pipe system, a likely cause is that a pipe is frozen. In this situation, if you don’t already have a heat gun, a hair dryer may be able to get the job done depending on how frozen your pipes are.
It won’t work depending on the severity of the frozen pipes, and it certainly won’t be solved as quickly as if you were using the high heat of a heat gun. However, if you can find the location of the frozen pipe in a crawl space, plug up a hair dryer and turn it on its highest setting, it may be the solution to your needs.
Moving the nozzle back and forth along the pipe, the temperate of the pipe will increase, and your hair dryer may be able to melt the ice away, allowing water to once again move freely across the pipe.
It’s recommended to put insulation around all exposed pipes to prevent this from happening in the future.
At the average heat of a hairdryer, as secondary heat gun alternative, a hair dryer may be able to produce a level of heat capable of removing some types of paint, though typically, this will not be enough.
If you feel like giving it a shot, heat the paint evenly, as it begins to warm up, you can attempt to peel it off with a metal scraper.
Hair dryers can be used for some alternative projects, such as removing stickers and wax, but in most situations, you’ll find that the level of heat required is much greater.
Make sure you don’t run your hair dryer for too long. It can overheat if it’s used for a continuous amount of time. You can usually dry hair in five minutes; therefore, it’s best to not use your hair dryer for a given job for longer than this duration.
If you’re feeling like experimenting, a hair dryer may be useful in some situations, but for most cases, if the level of heat required is that of a heat gun, you’ll find yourself wasting time with your hair dryer.
Heat guns are not really expensive and provide a much greater heat source and added safety. This is one situation where it would be best to purchase the required tool and not try to find a workaround.