How To Use A Leaf Blower
A leaf blower is a great help when maintaining your yard, garden, or lawn. Rather than scraping an ineffective rake along the ground, a leaf blower quickly and efficiently moves leaves and small debris with little effort. Read on and find out how to use a leaf blower.
Keep Safety In Mind
First things first, it's important to consider both your safety, and the safety of others in the vicinity.
Leaf Blowers, in and of themselves, are not dangerous, but it is still necessary to exercise caution when using outdoor power tools.
If you use a corded electric blower, rather than a gas- or battery-powered leaf blower, you should make sure that your electric cord is securely plugged in. Always use either a GFCI outlet, or a separate GFCI, to make sure there’s no risk of electric shock. Check the cord for any kinks or breaks that could possibly expose any wires.
Gas leaf blowers have their own, extra safety issues. The exhaust of a gas engine is very hot, so you need to protect yourself against burns, and also be aware of where you set the machine down (it is possible to start a fire in hot & dry conditions by carelessly placing hot equipment near flammable materials such as dry grass or wood etc). Gasoline is also flammable & you need to take care when refuelling your blower, to make sure there are no ignition sources nearby.
When using a leaf blower, there will be minuscule particles flying around you. Protect your eyes with goggles or glasses. It is recommended that you use a curved lens that stops particles form coming under or from the side of your goggles.
You should also put on some headphones or other ear protection, to cut down on the noise.
After the leaves are done being blown you'll need to load them into the trash. Put on some gloves or use a method that prevents your hands from getting cuts or coming into contact with thorns.
Never let young children use a leaf blower, and make sure you don't blow any leaves or debris towards any people or pets in the area.
What Is The Best Leaf Blowing Technique?
As ridiculous as it may sound, there is a method to effectively operating a leaf blower. If you just haphazardly wave the leaf blower around, you will likely just to be scattering the leaves everywhere, possibly into areas you were trying to avoid. Nothing is worse than having to bend over and scrape leaves out of a hard-to-reach crevice.
First, analyze the area you are trying to clear of leaves. Then, determine a central area that you could easily collect your leaves after they have been blown into a single pile.
By working from one end of your yard to another, you minimize the amount of crossing back and forth. There's no point blowing the same leaves multiple times!
Try not to blow many leaves into a tough area, such as corners, drains, gutters, or under patio furniture. I typically prefer starting on the outer edges of my yard and slowly spiraling inward. That way the leaves only blow towards the center of my lawn.
Once most of your leaves have been accumulated where you’re trying to get them, you can use a flexible rake to create a tight pile. This will make it easier to load into a trash bag or garbage can.
If you still have stray leaves, just fire up your leaf blower one more time and push together the remaining debris.
How Do We Deal With The Elements?
The weather is not always optimal for leaf blowing, which is why you have to work with it. Rain or wet weather can make blowing leaves much harder, and you may be better off using a rake or waiting until the conditions are dry.
A windy day, or even a light breeze, can make leaf blowing a frustrating chore. If the wind keeps disrupting your leaf blowing, and the pile keeps blowing off into one direction, you might want to blow your leaves in the same direction as the wind.
You should have total control when using a leaf blower. If you stand too close to your leaves or use your blower on too high a setting for the particles you are blowing, it will only harm your efforts. By blowing the leaves from a distance, it may seem like it's less effective, but once you try it, you'll realize that it gives you greater control over the direction of the leaves.
This video from Husqvarna demonstrates how to use a leaf blower:
Hopefully this article has given you some useful tips. Remember, a leaf blower is a helpful tool which will make cleaning your yard easier, but only if you use it correctly.
If you would like more information, Stihl USA has a downloadable guide here (pdf).