How To Use A Leaf Blower Main Image

A leaf blower can be a fantastic and versatile tool in the yard, but proper leaf blower etiquette and safety should be followed. From cleaning the rain gutters to drying off the driveway, its important to be aware of the debris your blower will pick up and where it will be blowing it.

Read the manual!

Reading the operator's manual is the most important part of using any power equipment. If you don't have one, you can most likely find one on the manufacturer's website. It may only take all of ten minutes, and like this guide, you just might learn something!

Beyond the leaves

Your leaf blower can be used for more than just blowing leaves. Some other uses include:

  • Remove and gather leaves
  • Vacuum up leaves
  • Break up or dislodge matted grass
  • Clean parking lots
  • Clean farm and construction equipment
  • Clean arenas and amusement parks
  • Remove light or fluffy snow
  • Dry off pavement
  • Clean rain gutters

Some general guidelines

  • Leaf blower's shouldn't be operated by children
  • Watch what you're doing! Don't point the leaf blower at people or pets.
  • Don't operate unless bystanders are at least 50 feet away.
  • If you're sick or under the influence, then you should consider putting the leaf blower down.
  • Don't use a leaf blower indoors!
  • Inspect the leaf blower before and during use.
  • Don't modify the leaf blower!
  • Never use a leaf blower while in a tree or standing on a ladder, rooftop or any other unstable surface. Some backpack blowers may look like a jet pack, but if you fall -- we can guarantee that it wont work like one.
  • Use your head! Be careful!

Safety clothing

  • Hearing protection
  • Goggles
  • Heavy-duty non-slip work gloves
  • Sturdy and protective clothing
  • Tie back your hair if it's long!
  • Wear long pants and long sleeves
  • Sturdy non-slip shoes
  • Wear a respirator if it's really dusty!

Fuel safety

  • Don't spill! If you get gas on the leaf blower -- wipe it off.
  • Use the correct fuel/oil mix. You can find this in your operator's manual.
  • Refuel before starting the engine.
  • Don't smoke while handling fuel!
  • Start at least ten feet away from where you fueled it.
  • Store fuel in a well ventilated area
  • Make sure the spark plug boot is secure to avoid sparks igniting fuel vapor!

Be courteous

  • Follow the local rules and ordinances about when to use your leaf blower.
  • Again, don't point towards people!
  • Don't blow debris near open windows or doors.
  • Consider passersby.
  • Don't leave your blower running unattended.
  • Never use a leaf blower to spread fertilizers, chemicals or other toxic substances.

Too loud?

  • Use the lowest possible throttle speed that's necessary to do the job.
  • Use nozzle attachments that will reduce sound.
  • Try to avoid using multiple blowers in neighborhoods and around buildings because the sound can be intensified.
  • Check the muffler, air intakes and air filter to make sure they're in good condition.

Too dusty?

  • Start with the nozzle hose close to the ground at first and then raise up to the point that it doesn't generate dust.
  • Use the full lower nozzle extensions to minimize dust and control noise.
  • Pay attention to what you're blowing around!
  • Practice moving around grass clippings or a paper cup without moving dust.
  • Wet dusty areas before blowing.
  • Never use a leaf blower to move excessively dusty materials.
  • Leaf blowers should not be used to clean up: large amounts of gravel or gravel dust, cement or concrete dust, plaster dust, construction dirt or dry garden topsoil. You can use a vacuum or a power broom with water!

Being more efficient

  • Control air velocity at the nozzle end to lift leaves and not dust.
  • Practice different nozzle movement and throttle control combinations.
  • You can practice up, down, left and right motions while starting close to the ground and the debris.

Credits: Image courtesy of Memories Made to Order