Tips on using a leaf blower | Living the Country Life

Tips on using a leaf blower

Leaf blowers are an efficient and effective way to move leaves and other lawn trash, and also to clean patios, porches, sidewalks, and driveways.

There are three main types of leaf blowers: handheld, backpack, and wheeled. Gasoline handheld units are a typical choice for larger properties. Backpack blowers are another good option. They have the engine and fan mounted on a backpack frame with a handheld hose and spout to direct the airflow. Wheeled blowers are less versatile but can be used to blow the leaves from an entire lawn.

Some blowers can be used in reverse to vacuum leaves and yard waste. Those units typically reduce the volume of waste by chopping and packing it.

A maximum rated output air velocity of 150 mph should be adequate. A maximum rated airflow of 250 cfm is more than adequate. You can purchase leaf blowers with sound levels as low as 65 decibels -- the lower the better.

Follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper use. Operation at part throttle is usually sufficient for most jobs. Be sure to close home and car windows when using a blower; they kick up a lot of dust.

Spark plugs on two-stroke engines need to be replaced regularly -- perhaps annually. Be sure to mix the right amount of oil in your fuel. Clean or replace the air and fuel filters as needed. Keep the tool clean -- especially the engine's cooling fins.

Watch the eyes and ears

Always wear eye protection when using a leaf blower. Goggles are better than safety glasses at preventing swirling dust from getting into your eyes. Hearing protection is advisable, especially if you'll be running a blower for more than a few minutes. Thick, padded gloves are a good idea when using a handheld gasoline-powered blower. The vibration from the blower can cause your hands to shake an hour or more after using the machine.

Ricochet problems

Don't use a blower around other people; it may throw objects at them. Be careful of ricochet problems when blowing around obstacles. Objects can come back at you. Never point the blower at people or pets.

Remember to be courteous of your neighbors and to use your blower at the lowest possible throttle setting and during times of the day when it is least likely to offend.

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