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Gas Leaf Blower Etiquette

Mark Donovan

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If I was asked to put together a top 10 list of the worst inventions, a gas leaf blower would be near the top of my list.

It is an extremely annoying and loud machine that provides little to no value to anyone, including the person running it. Yes, it can quickly push a few leaves around, which may help in a few hard to reach locations, but overall it is an extremely ineffective and inefficient way to deal with fall foliage. As soon as a leaf pile or row begins to form, the blower becomes ineffective in quickly moving the leaves.

Even the more commercial grade blowers typically become impractical in moving large piles of leaves.

Gas leaf blowers, which are the type most homeowners purchase, are two stroke engines that require the mixing of oil and gas. Two stroke gas engines are great for being light weight, however they are notoriously loud and heavy air pollutants.

This all said, if you are still of the persuasion to purchase and use a leaf blower, you should at least follow a few basic rules of leaf blower etiquette.

First, unless you live in a rural setting where you're closest neighbor is no closer than a quarter mile away, refrain from starting it up until 9:30 am. Nothing can turn neighbor against neighbor more quickly, than the sound of a blower at 7:30am on an otherwise peaceful and tranquil weekend morning.

Second, know your gas leaf blower's limitations. It is not going to move a mountain of leaves, particularly if they are wet, in any quick manner. Once you have created a pile of leaves of moderate proportions, turn the blower off and employ your old fashion yard rake.

Third, blowing leaves off to one side of your property in hopes that they will stay put is just pure fantasy. As soon as the first wind picks up, the leaves will begin to all over your yard again. Collect your leaves and store them in bags or in a fenced in compost pile.

Finally, do not blow the leaves from your yard into your neighbor's yard, even though the offending trees may be on your neighbor's yard. Again, this is a quick way to turn neighbor against neighbor.

By following these basic rules of blower etiquette you should at least keep your neighbors from hating you too much during the fall foliage. However, before you decide to purchase or use a gas leaf blower you should also ask yourself what real value does it provide to you. Will it really save you time? Will you enjoy the fall outdoors even more? If your answer is still yes, then consider an electric blower. Though dragging a cord around is somewhat of a pain, they are quieter than than the alternative blower and do not pollute the environment. There are also cordless electric blowers as well to choose from, though there is always the hassle of having to recharge them. If the answer is no, or I don't know, then hold off on buying or using a blower. Instead, pull out the yard rake and enjoy a fall afternoon raking leaves. You might actually find the task of raking leaves to be peaceful and cathartic as you enjoy the peace and quite and fresh air.

About the Author: Over the past 20 years Mark Donovan has been involved with building homes and additions to homes. His projects have included: building a vacation home, building additions and garages on to existing homes, and finishing unfinished homes. For more information about Home Improvement and Home Additions , and Home Remodeling and Repair visit and homeaddition.


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