How NOT to use a blower?

Lisa_PAMay 9, 2002

In these drought conditions, I felt it was a good idea to start using a blower to clean off the terrace rather than use up a bunch of water. I am now the proud owner of a very, very nice blower with a very long extension cord.

I used said blower for the first time yesterday. I blew the terrace, the front courtyard and walk and the garage. I thought about blowing the entire one acre but decided that that would be silly.

I created such a vortex in the area between two tall walls and the double set of sliding glass doors, I thought I was going to be lifted right off the ground.

I inhaled nasty stuff and I wasn't wearing safety glasses.

I didn't read the instructions. I mean, I know how to use a vacuum cleaner and the blower seemed sort of the same to be only it blows out instead of sucks in.

Along the way, I decided that I would make time to go to the tools forum and ask those people how to use a blower.

I did not have any injuries but in retrospect, it seems that my brain must have been temporarily in the shut off mode yesterday.

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Oops, I hit post before I meant to.

The question is:

Do any of you people know how to use a blower? Or, where a good article on the topic is?

Thank you. ;)

    Bookmark   May 9, 2002 at 6:27AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Nope. I use a broom. (live on 10 acres, energy conscious, my energy that is.)

    Bookmark   May 9, 2002 at 5:34PM
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I've never used a blower. I associate them with dark skinned men on weekdays in upscale neighborhoods and think they are tools of imperialist oppression.

(That's supposed to be mildly tongue in cheek, by the way!)

    Bookmark   May 9, 2002 at 8:22PM
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Yes, but they are very, very effective. I blew the terrace in about five minutes and it would have taken at least 20 to sweep or hose.

(And my tongue is mostly always in my cheek.)

    Bookmark   May 9, 2002 at 8:34PM
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Elizabeth(z6 S.E. PA)

Some towns or homeowners associations have outlawed blowers, or at least tried to, often accompanied by heated debates between the affluent & articulate anti-noise & pollution folks vs. the advocates of the (usually less affluent and less articulate) "dark-skinned men" who would have a very hard time trying to earn their meager livings without them.

Somebody needs to invent a quiet, inexpensive, solar-powered blower.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2002 at 8:56PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

I'm retired and have a lovely time thinking pure and impure thoughts as I sweep.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2002 at 10:33PM
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laa_laa(Sunset /8 or 9)

If you live in an area of air pollution; just DON"T use a blower.
signed.... 'an allergy sufferer'.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2004 at 11:42AM
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live_oak_lady(Zone 9)

They should be outlawed. They help with our "fattest people in the world" problem in the U. S. Too noisy, too much pollution and too much stopping up the drains in the city areas.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2004 at 5:13PM
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I was at a nursery once and as a rounded a corner the managar was pointing a blower in my direction. Though I was a good distance from him suddenly I felt something like a small rock or large grain of sand strike me in the eye. I rubbed my eye and didn't think too much of it but it continued to hurt for two years. For that reason I don't think just anybody and everybody should be allowed to operate a blower without safety training.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2004 at 2:24PM
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What goes up must come down. When you sweep, the intention is to pick up what you sweep up and dispose of it. When you blow, apparantly, there is no intention to pick up, just to blow it somewhere else.
The historical content of this thread is lost somewhat in the resurrection but it is nevertheless current.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2004 at 6:19PM
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Tools are tools ... used by morons or the uninformed any tool can be down right annoying or outright dangerous. The blower is no exception ... I manage 20 acres of landscape and use the broom and blower at the right time and place with good results and no complaints.

Although .. the broom is meditative the blower can be used with care to corral certain debris much faster which then can be swept up using the broom ... very high tech ... the biggest offense I see is those that blast the thing at full throttle all the time ... you need to vary your air speed to move and not overly blast debris into the air ( Not the goal ) .. also it is a noisy machine so operator must wear ear protection and give right of way and adequate space to citizens as with any powered machine ...

Used carefully the blower is a very efficient tool.

In the old days .. some "dubious" gardeners ... would blow all the the debris from house to house until it landed on the house that did not have a weekly gardener ... when the poor chap complained of the mess at his house ... the reply .. "Hire a gardener" !!

Good Day ...

    Bookmark   June 19, 2004 at 8:41PM
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I have seen my neighbors screaming and cursing and practically come to blows and call the police out because the tree that dropped the leaves was in one yard and the leaves wound up falling over the property line. When the offending leaves were blown back over the property line the problem ensued. (Even so, this is a weak topic for Garden Writers Forum)

    Bookmark   July 11, 2004 at 5:25PM
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The_Foliage_Kid(Zone 6)

Mohave Kid....

In steps The Foliage Kid....

Anyhow, electric blowers can eliminate the pollution of gas blowers, but a gas blower used with skill, can do a lot in merely 2 to 5 minutes.

It will lift leaves and petals that a broom can't touch - especially when wet and tacked down.

An electric blower is no worse than an electric hairdryer.

Some blowers are designed to inhale fine debris through the fins. These can be used to spread peat moss or fine dyed green straw over seeded areas for new lawns. Just rub the peat or straw over the intake screen and let the blower pulverized it finer and blow it in a film over the seed without tracking the area.

A blower is an awesome way to blast dust and grit out of a garage - takes about 30 seconds.

By the way - small engines - remember that there is a fine screen in the exhaust that plugs. Same symptoms down the line as a plugged air filter. Only it plugs the exhale. I remove them from day one by opening the muffler with a socket driver.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2004 at 2:23AM
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"Anyhow, electric blowers can eliminate the pollution of gas blowers, but a gas blower used with skill, can do a lot in merely 2 to 5 minutes."

Ofcourse to generate electric fuel must be burned ... unless your electric is all hydropower ...

Good Day ...

    Bookmark   July 14, 2004 at 8:00PM
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I have some pointers. It took me quite a while to get the hang of it. First, and foremost, plan where you're going so you don't get the cord tangled up in furniture, plants, umbrella stands, chairs, etc. move them out of the way if you can.

Always start at the farthest corner first, and blow toward a wall or boundary. Be sure to try to get behind the most difficult things first. Keep the blower at a fair distance, because otherwise the yard debris goes up in the air. Use the low speed first. If your blower doesn't have two speeds, go return it for one that does. It's worth the extra money. And always use glasses of some kind. And remember it takes practice to get it right.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2004 at 1:58PM
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I see a lot of bizarre animosity directed at an inanimate object, must be a lot of Democrats here, heheh. For the record, plenty of petrolium product goes into, both directly and indirectly, into the prodsuction of the computers we're all clearly using, so there is a sort of "tossing stones when ya live in a glass house" aspect to the "evil petroleum use" line of . . .er . . . "reason".

The one post that discuss what the original post actually asked was pretty good, I'd just add that the part about directing the blast toward a wall was accurate, but figured I'd expand on that, as someone who has blown off literally thousands of patio areas as a landscape manager at a large motel in Kissimmee Florida. Direct the blast at the walls, about 18 inches of so above the floor level, at a slight downward angle. Since you will likely be holding it at about waist level, the angle will be quite natural, unless you are really, really short, heheh.

If the blower has a reasonable amount of power, that'll push the debris at least 2-4 feet out from the walls. At that point, ya just back off the throttle, get around behind the debris, and finish blowing out with a direct blast.

Also, if you get a lower angle (movng the blower nozzle closer to ground level), you'll get less noxious crap floating around in the air, and as the person above mentioned, don't feel the need to use any more throttle necessary than seems to be working well.

For the record, forests and stuff get destroyed to grow the stuff they make brooms out of, and synthetic brooms are made of petroleum products.

Finicky neighbors whining about yard equipment are best dealt with by simply placing a boot up their butt. They may call the police and prosecute, but hell, when ya get out of jail, just put another boot up their butt again and let them know that this will continue until they stop having you arrested and complaining about inanimate objects used in the care of your yard. I mean, unless you fire up the gas blower at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, it's THEIR problem, not yours.

If risking 72 hours in county lockup doesn't sit well with you, another way to deal with crybaby neighbors is to just laugh at them. Pathetic whiners are kinda funny actually, and they really get snitty when ya laugh in their face. Which is even funnier, of course! Florida is filled with anal-retentive people who whine and make ya laugh.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2004 at 4:13AM
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live_oak_lady(Zone 9)

Was sitting in a courtyard between two hospital buildings today with my elderly sister who had just had laser eye surgery. She was in a wheelchair and we were waiting for the lift van to come for her. The gardener (and I use the word very loosely) came through the courtyard with a blower and made so much noise and so much flying debris that it was hazardous to one's health. And, it didn't bother him at all that people were running for cover. Blowers really should be outlawed!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2004 at 4:33PM
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njcher(Zone 6)

A few years ago I obtained a list of leaf blowers being sold in the U.S. and ordered the manufacturer's warranties and operations manuals. I studied them all and every single one of them tells the operator to stop using the leaf blower if an animal or person is within 50-60 feet of its use. This makes these machines impractical in many neighborhoods in places like NJ, where I live.

Of course, most operators don't care. A good example of what I mean is "studpossum's" post above.

Those of you who suffered any type of injury could have sued and I certainly would have.

A couple other interesting gems I turned up from reading all those manuals was that they warned the operators should have training before using the machines and should be dressed appropriately. Appropriate dress was boots, slacks, long-sleeved shirt, eye and ear guards. Around here, you never see anyone dressed like that. Boots maybe, but that's about it.

Operators are not supposed to use matches or smoke cigarettes around these machines and that's another thing you see all the time.

Real gardeners do not use leaf blowers. Real gardeners understand that leafblowers blow away the topsoil. Topsoil is humus and this is what feeds the plant. Done on a repeated basis, properties that endure the assault of a leaf blower regularly strip their plants, trees and flowers of nutrients. Anyway, ask yourself how you'd like your esophagus assaulted with winds of 160 mph during dinner hour.

My final comment on leaf blowers comes from interviews I did with operators. I did close to a hundred interviews and found a high degree of hearing loss. Nearly every operator knew it could be attributed to the use of these machines. Even those who wore ear protection had it. It was sad, seeing these guys--most of whom were not even 40--ask me to repeat the question. They really could not hear.

Probably the most annoying thing that can happen as a result of being in proximity to such noise as is emitted by leaf blowers is tinnitis. This is ringing in the ear that never goes away. It is there when you try to fall asleep at night, when you awake and when you're trying to think. It is there 24/7, ringing inside your head, driving you nuts. There is no cure for it.

Most of the operators I interviewed had tinnitis. Now mind you--many of these people had used hearing protection. They had these injuries despite taking precautions.

In short, the health hazards of these machines and their gross inconsideration to others preclude their use. No sensible or considerate person would use them.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2004 at 10:45PM
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"In short, the health hazards of these machines and their gross inconsideration to others preclude their use. No sensible or considerate person would use them."

Thats a bit extreme ... trucks .. motorcycles make a racket should we outlaw them too ?? How about air liners ... jack hammers the list goes on ...

Safety and common sense is the answer ofcourse ...

Good Day ...

    Bookmark   August 6, 2004 at 2:53AM
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Well, you're from New jersey, of course you'd sue! And it isn't that I don't care, it's that I'm not a moron. Having literally hundreds upon hundreds of hours on such equipment, I've never hurt anyone, including myself.

For the record, I've been to Jersey, and there is not a person every 49 feet. Every 51 feet, at worst, so it's pretty safe unless one of the litigation-happy buggars moves or something. So, as long as one isn't a moron, they can safely use a leaf blower, even in Jersey.

For the record, I am a real gardener, and I use a leaf blower. And I can be on pretty safe ground when I tell you I can likely garden you into a tiny corner, be it a flower garden, a veggie garden, or turf managment, so spare me your sanctimonious holier-than-thou crap.

Frankly, if you interviewed 100 blower operators, which I find so outlandish as to likely be a 'factual stretch', you need to find a hobby. A writer who would need to interview THAT many people to write a relevant piece about a relatively simple mechanical device, would either be dumb as a stump, or so anal retentive they felt the need to . . .well . . . interview 100 people about blowing stuff around the yard. Further, if you found that many of them with hearing loss, you must have found the 100 dumbest leaf blower operators in the biz, because us smart folk use hearing protection. Further, can we really trust an opinion indicating a cause for said hearing loss from someone naive enough to not use hearing protection in the first place? My hearing is fine, I can even hear the steam shooting out your ears about now, all the way from New Jersey. Before you decide to insult me and engage in a battle of wits, be sure you have more than half of one, please.

By your line of reason, no human should be allowed to use anything that might cause injury. Sorry, but I'm not cooped up in a hovel in Jersey reading small gas equipment manuals and interviewing deaf leaf blower operators. Musta sucked having to ask every question twice, eh?

Please, don't insult me by using me for an example of an uncaring boob again. You simply aren't witty or clever enough to pull it off without me making you my intellectual cat toy.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2004 at 3:58PM
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njcher(Zone 6)

First of all, "stud," I'm an academician and researcher and interviews is what we do.

Second, you wouldn't know if you hurt anyone because you most likely failed to ask. If you did have the consideration and respect to ask, you'd probably get an honest answer which you wouldn't want to hear because it would interfere with profit. Profit is always much more important than concern for others, isn't it?

At any rate, "asking" isn't practical because you'd have to query every house within a half a mile. In NJ, that's a lot of people--it could easily be thousands. By using such a noisy machine, you're effectively saying to thousands of people, "My need for 'clean' is worth a lot more than the peace and quiet of a couple thousand people." Don't delude yourself--these machines cause more complaints than anything else in suburban areas. My city council members told me it is their number one complaint. I have seen similar statements in the publication for NJ municipalities.

You failed to address the issues I brought up, such as blowing away topsoil. How smart is it to blow away topsoil? Not very smart but then again, probably real profitable to you because you can then advise the homeowner to let you fertilize!! LOL!! Fertilize!!! This allows you to get in your truck and drag fertilizer over to the homeowner and replace all the nutrients you just blew away. Meanwhile, you just used up more fossil fuel and put about 20 or 30 more pounds of pollution into the air (fertilizer, transportation) in this silly exercise.

You also failed to address the issue of tinnitis, which occurred regardless of the use of hearing protection. I'm very surprised you wouldn't jump on this because it's a "me first" issue.

Your last point, where you say by my "line of reason," is actually a logical fallacy. It's called the "slippery slope." You can go read up on logical fallacies at

As far as being your intellectual cat toy, I encourage you to gain a basic working knowledge of the English language before you engage in that delusion. I challenge you to find as many errors in my post as you made in yours. Here are yours:

-capitalize "Jersey"
-comma splice in first sentence (and throughout)
-don't start sentences with coordinating conjunctions ("and")
-correct usage of commas (you grossly overuse the comma)
-incorrect spelling ("buggars")
-incorrect use of single quotation marks
-incorrect use of ellipsis

That's just a quick glance. If I really decided to inspect your post, I'm sure I'd find many others.

I'm waiting for your list. Tap, tap, tap.


    Bookmark   August 8, 2004 at 5:46PM
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Those who can support a position do,
Those who can't . . . stick to correcting errors in grammar.

And yes, you make a pretty good cat toy. All you really have going for you is your ability to utilize spell-check, and frankly, it isn't that impressive a feat.

As for tinnitis, if the dumbasses you interviewed had used proper hearing protection, they wouldn't have tinnitis, simple as that. The decibel reduction brings the noise levels, particularly at the higher end of the frequency ranges relevant to tinnitis, to well within less damaging spectrums. I suspect most of your assertion are simply made up as you rambled on to suit your purpose.

As for blowing away topsoil, well, it isn't like a blower is gonna blow it to Kansas. A bit of common sense minimizes this apparent risk, which seems scarier in theoretical assertion than in reality. Note that many people who use blowers have rather fine yards, gardens, etc.

A healthy turf tends to minimize topsoil movement to boot. As for my not addressing all the issues you raise . . . well . . . most of them are just silly, and anyone with half a brain is already aware of it. In a nutshell, you are stuffed full of catnip.

(Tip: This type of messageboard format is an informal method of communication. I rarely proofread in such informal situations. I'm simply not that anal retentive . . . . you probably don't understand, heheh.)

    Bookmark   August 9, 2004 at 2:34PM
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Are you asserting that because I didn't poll everyone within half a mile of my work area I was socially irresponsible? Are you asserting that this is the only way to be sure? Are you aware of how asinine an assertion that is? How weak it is as a supporting statement to your position?

Are you aware that you yourself have numerous fallacies chalked up on YOUR score sheet? "Begging the question" comes to mind, as well as a few others.

And about that topsoil erosion:
The original poster was blowing off her terrace. Now admittedly, I haven't polled all the original posters neighbors as to the composition of the surface of their terrace, but I'll make a wild speculation that the terrace is rather unlikely to be composed of topsoil.

Further, some of the debris they were blowing off may have been topsoil though. I am also supposing she blewq that topsoil back onto the yard. Imagine that!

A strong healthy turf, for the record, minimises topsoil movement. I suggest you quit making wild assertions, grossly overblown suppositions, and general inserting of your foot in your mouth. When squeezed, you clearly make squeaky noises. As amusing as they are, I think I'd rather play with a ball of string, to be honest.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2004 at 3:24PM
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"Don't delude yourself--these machines cause more complaints than anything else in suburban areas. "

Ohh I don't know .. crime .. terrorist .. pollution ... speeding ... drunk drivers are pretty bad too ... Don't you think ?? ... If your a researcher ... Why don't you spend your energy on something more useful .. like growing hair ???

And by the way ... lets outlaw silly phone surveys from university researchers. After blowing all day I'm to tired to answer the phone.


Good Day ...

    Bookmark   August 10, 2004 at 9:48PM
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"Pathetic whiners are kinda funny actually, and they really get snitty when ya laugh in their face. Which is even funnier, of course! Florida is filled with anal-retentive people who whine and make ya laugh."

Nevertheless blowers are being made illegal in some areas ... although I've been working in the indutry for over 20 years and understand where your coming from I think your attitude is a bit off ?? ... why would you laugh in anyones face ?? Not very diplomatic.

Good Day ...

    Bookmark   August 10, 2004 at 11:13PM
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Diplomacy is overrated. Diplomacy is best reserved for folks who are diplomatic. People sanctimoniously implying that one isn't a "real gardener" if they use a leaf blower,and going off subject to ridicule ones composition skills are not strong candidates for diplomatic resolve.

Now on the other hand, if I'm blowing my driveway at 10:30 a.m. on a Saturday and my neighbor 'diplomaticly' informs me he works until 4:00 a.m. on friday nights, that could warrant my diplomaticly holding off on gas-powered yard duties until later in the afternoon.

But some twit whining because they can hear my blower half a mile away if they cup their hand to their ear and the wind is right, warrant a good laugh in the face. If they don't like it, they realy wouldn't like "plan B". I have no objection to giving an adult a good wedgie. Childish? Yes. Effective? Yes also. Most adults find receiving a wedgie kinda humiliating, eh? And of course, I find it funny.

Simple cure: don't be anal retentive, and Ron won't give ya a wedgie. Well . . . probably not, anyway.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2004 at 1:42AM
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Good Grief!
I was on my way to the Car Forum and this thread caught my eye.
I hope you folks don't mind----I'm a Yankee in the mtns. of Va. and I'm used to people popping in on conversations, so I couldn't pass this up. You folks are really enjoying yourselves and I hope you don't mind my two bits..?....??

I'm a gardener and I use a big Husquevarna (SP?)backpack to blow the danged leaves and debris off my tin roof every few weeks. It blows tons of leaves down the walkways, where I can then tote them off or shred them in the mower if I haven't broken the belt again----sometimes the piles are left long enough so there's a wonderful composted mixture at the bottom of the pile!
I dare a neighbour to cause me pain and suffering while WORKING! I don't complain to them when they're using their little pea-shooter blowers!
I RESPECT WORK. I don't tread on other's work and they'd best not tread on mine!

Boy, that felt good.
You folks are feisty. I like that.

Have a nice afternoon! KJ

    Bookmark   August 18, 2004 at 1:38PM
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