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Pro-Users & Operators

Does Your Leaf Blower Pass the Noise Pollution Test?

With growing concerns about leaf blower noise and their not being used properly, many city councils around the country are taking steps to control the use of gasoline-powered leaf blowers. To date, over 170 cities have already adopted some kind of regulation to control leaf blowers.

Part of my job is to provide lawmakers with facts about blowers that help them to make an informed decision when developing an ordinance to control their use. For example, if they are considering a blower ban, I show them how quiet blowers solve the noise problem, while allowing landscape and lawn care providers to continue using this invaluable power tool.

However, because I don’t live or work in the city where the issue exists, I can only do so much. This is where you can have a positive impact. If you are faced with a blower ban, know that your labor cost for doing cleanup work can increase by a factor of eight. That’s because a broom is eight times slower than a leaf blower.

Making the Case for Quiet Blowers

Twenty years ago, ECHO’s engineering department developed the first “quiet” commercial quality leaf blower. (You can easily determine which blowers are quiet by looking for the sound label on the unit - the quiet ones will show 65 dB(A))

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Today, most major manufacturers have joined ECHO in spending millions of dollars to improve noise output. Even though the industry has created quiet leaf blowers in many different sizes and configurations, most contractors do not use them.

Another reason behind this call for a ban is that blowers are often misused:

  • Blowing dirt into the street or on neighboring properties;

  • Blowing sand and debris on to automobiles;

  • Using a blower before 8:00 AM and/or running it past 5:00 PM;

  • Using blowers on Sundays or holidays;

  • Running more than one blower at a time in a residential area.

Perhaps you don’t do any of these things, but if you have only one noisy leaf blower on the job, all leaf blowers are reviled and therein lies the main reason for people wanting to ban them. Clearly, it is in your best interest to take this noise problem seriously.

The way you can preemptively impact the leaf blower issue is to use quiet leaf blowers exclusively.

Don’t forget to use them responsibly and most importantly, don’t wait until there is talk of legislation in your community before acting. By then it will be too late.

The leaf blower controversy is very complex. Many things are wrongly cited as reasons for them to be banned, which you can read about in detail at my website.

Larry Will
Leaf Blower Information Specialist
 

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