In a previous blog I wrote about selecting a leaf blower. In this blog I will explain that the leaf blower may be one of the most versatile tools you have in your garage. It can be used to do a lot more than just blow some leaves around.
Let’s Be Careful Out There
Safety should be your number one priority when using a leaf blower. The power of the swirling air it can generate can cause little pieces of debris to get stuck in an eye. So before starting work with a leaf blower, protect your eyes and wear safety goggles or glasses.
In addition, leaf blowers, especially gas-powered blowers, can be very loud while being used. Make certain that the blower you are using satisfies the requirements of any noise ordinances that are in effect in your area. It is also suggested that you wear some kind of ear protection when operating the machine.
Also take into account what you wear when you used a blower. As mentioned, the machine can generate a powerful swirl of air that can move debris that could cut you. In addition, the blower can get hot during use. So you want to take precautions to prevent being burned. Experts suggest you wear long pants and a long-sleeve shirt as well as a pair of work gloves.
Discourage people and pets from entering the area when you operate the blower.
Using the Leaf Blower
Consider the elements before taking on the task of leaf blowing. For example, wet leaves are practically impossible to blow. So select a dry, calm day to perform the task. The leaves should be dry so they will move when blown. Another thing to consider are the laws pertaining to use of leaf blowers. Some areas actually ban the use of some kinds of blowers. As mentioned, noise laws will also influence your actions as will laws that limit the operation of power tools to certain times of the day. It is suggested that you check into the laws of your area to see if there are any limitations to using your blower. Even if the laws don’t limit when you use the blower, consider courtesy toward your neighbors and self-regulate use to periods of time that would not annoy a neighbor.
As noted, a leaf blower can be used for many tasks including blowing leaves, grass clippings, twigs and raked thatch off your lawn. However, it can also be used for other tasks that may not quickly come to mind including blowing light snow off walkways and cars, destroying spider webs, removing lint buildup in a dryer vent exhaust, and scattering puddles of water that linger on a driveway or lawn.
You might be hesitant to blow leaves around during a breeze. Actually, it can be done, but the trick is to work in the direction of the breeze, not against it.
It is suggested that you start the blowing at the edges of your yard including beneath shrubs and trees. Blow the debris toward the middle of the lawn. Divide your yard into workable sections and direct the debris into a number of piles instead of moving it all from one end of the lawn to the other.
One trick to save clean up time is to direct the debris onto an old sheet or tarp so once you complete the chore you just wrap up everything and carry it to the curb for disposal. If the neighborhood rules require you to bag the debris, then once you have gathered the leaves and such in the center of the lawn, put the stuff into bags by hand. The bagging process can be sped up if you use a leaf blower that has a vacuum feature.
Keep in mind as you work that debris moves easier along hard surfaces like a driveway or walkway and is tougher to move through the lawn. So adjust air power settings accordingly. In other words, dial down the power when you’re blowing debris off the driveway and dial it up when attacking debris on and in the lawn.
Clearing Snow With A Blower
Before starting the task of blowing away snow, check the white stuff to determine if it is not wet or icy. Wet and icy snow is nearly impossible to
blow away. It is also suggested that you do the work during calm conditions. Here are a few tips to follow when clearing up snow.
· Set the blower for maximum air concentration to move heavier bits of snow and ice.
· If you are using an electric blower, plug it in with a GFCI-protected outdoor electrical cord or plug a standard outdoor extension cord into a GFCI-protected outlet. Using GFCI protection is crucial for safety reasons and protects against shorts due to dampness or other wet conditions.
· If you are using a walk-behind blower, start your work in the middle and clear the snow in overlapping strips.
· If you have a backpack or handheld blower, work away from your start point and blow the snow away from you as you would when blowing leaves. Try not to walk on the snow to prevent compaction.
· After finishing, dry the leaf blower thoroughly before putting it away. Blowers are not designed for wet conditions and could be damaged if not dried off sufficiently.