Leaf Blowers: How to Use Safely
Summer may be in full swing, but fall will be upon us before we know it. With every fall comes autumn leaves and hours upon hours raking them up. A leaf blower is an excellent way to quickly remove leaves from your lawn. However, there are few precautions one should take before using a leaf blower. Here are some of the essential tips one will need before beginning:
#1: How to Use Gas Carefully
Leaf blowers are powered by gasoline, but it's not a one size fits all deal. Each leaf blower requires a certain blend of gasoline and STIHL oil. Consult the manufacturer or the owner's manual to find the proper proportions for the mixture.
Once the mixture is prepared, be sure your leaf blower is properly cleaned and the engine is off before you begin adding it in. When you're done adding the fuel, make sure to store it in a proper container in a well-ventilated and secure storage area.
Gasoline and oil are highly flammable, so keeping them away from things like matches, blowtorches, or anything that sparks is a necessity. The fumes for both are also toxic, so keeping them in a well-ventilated area is important for proper breathing.
#2: How to Use the Leaf Blower Properly
If the name isn't obvious enough, leaf blowers are designed to remove leaves and nothing else. Do not attempt to use them to remove gravel, plaster or concrete dust, or topsoil. Blowing plaster or concrete dust can leave fine particles in the air that can cause breathing problems when inhaled.
Before operating your leaf blower, do a quick walkthrough of the work area. Try to find any rocks or other objects that could become dangerous projectiles. Leaf blowers can have a lot of strength, and you want to avoid any hazards that may occur.
You will also want to avoid using your leaf blower from any elevated positions, such as on a ladder. Leaf blowers are more powerful than many people anticipate, and the power of the engine can knock you back and cause serious injury.
If you have to use a leaf blower on a ladder, such as to get leaves out of your gutter, make sure you are safely positioned on the ladder and not leaning out. It is also recommended to secure yourself with some sort of harness to avoid serious injury from falling.
#3: How to Protect Your Eyes, Ears, and Everything Else
Leaf blowers can be very loud, so it's important to take steps to protect your ears. Leaf blowers can get as loud as 75dB, which is considered an unsafe hearing range. You'll want to get some ear muffs with a quality noise reduction rating to help protect your eardrum from the loud noise. This is especially important if you are going to be using the leaf blower for long stretches of time.
Wearing safety goggles is also very important. With so much potential debris in the air, you'll want to wear goggles to stop sharp projectiles and particles from getting into your eye. These can cause major irritation or even blindness in some cases.
Its also recommended to wear a dust mask or some kind of protective layer over your mouth and nose. That protective layers will help prevent debris and particles from getting into your lungs, which as stated before can cause major breathing problems.
Long hair should be pulled back in a bun or under a hat.
#4: How to Properly Clean and Maintain Your Leaf Blower
To get the most out of your new leaf blower, you will want to clean it and apply proper maintenance regularly. You should consult your owner's manual for exact requirements, but some good general practice includes:
- Power down your leaf blower and unplug it before any cleaning or maintenance.
- Check the fans and filter after each use to ensure they are clear of any debris.
- Replace the air filter regularly to improve the life span of the leaf blower.
- Replace the spark plug annually or as needed.
- Wipe down the engine after letting it cool each time.
These few moments will further improve the lifespan of your leaf blower as well as protect you from any unforeseen incidents. It only takes a few minutes each time and saves you more time in the long run.