12 Brilliant Uses for Your Leaf Blower
My wife and I live in the middle of a mature hardwood forest, which puts us knee deep in leaves much of the year. In October and April, I spend hours with a commercial-grade backpack blower strapped to my back. But the other 10 months, I depend on my battery-powered blowers—and I’m not kidding. Let me show you what I use them for.
Cleaning Shop Vacuum Filters
I used to hold shop vacuum filters at arm’s length and blow them out with my air hose nozzle—ideally when there was a breeze so the dust would blow downwind of me. But I still ended up covered in dust every time I did it. Now I just hold the filter down with my foot and blow it out with the leaf blower. I stay a lot cleaner with this method.
A few times a year, I give my dust-covered shop a blowing out. First I open the doors and put a couple of box fans in the doorways, blowing air outside. Then I open all the blast gates on the power tools and switch on the dust collector. I put on my dust mask, safety glasses and hearing protection, and then I go nuts with the leaf blower, starting at the back of the shop and working my way toward the doors. Under and over benches, shelving, air collection ducts and overhead lights—everything gets blasted. The dust that isn’t blown outside gets sucked into the dust collector, which I leave running for about 20 minutes after blowing. Plus: Check out these 14 tips for dealing with leaves like a pro.
Grass-Free Mower Decks
Grass that collects on top of the mower deck gets under the pulleys and wrapped around the drive shafts. Blow it off before it becomes a problem.
Spot-Free Car Washing
Whether you go to a self-service car wash or swab your car down at home, blow-dry it after rinsing and your car will be spot-free. Start at the roof and work your way down. By the way, if you use car-wash detergent from an auto parts store, you’ll get far better results than you would using dishwashing soap or other household cleaners.
When you’re blasting your soffits to get rid of all the cobwebs, do one more thing. Diligently blow out all the dust from the perforations in your aluminum soffits (or rectangular screens if you have plywood soffits). Dust can block some of the airflow into your attic, and that airflow is important for keeping the attic cooler in summer and for preventing ice dams in winter.
Light Snow and Leaves
If my car is covered with light snow or leaves, I just blow it off with the leaf blower. I do the same with my deck and when leaves get stuck on my shop’s entryway roof.
Blowing Out the Cars
I haul around a lot of construction tools—and therefore debris—in my cars (two long years now without a pickup). So I use my leaf blower to do a big overall cleaning. I blow out the back, the floors, the dash—everything. I even take out the rugs and blow them off. It isn’t exactly “detailing” a car, but if you’re like me and you’d rather be watching golf, you’ve got to get creative once in a while.
After the Rain…
Want to dine alfresco on the deck tonight? Blow the water off the chairs and table so you can enjoy the evening with friends and family without worrying about wet seats.
If the rain is causing a lot of issues for your home, check out these 25 hints for fixing roof and gutter issues.
Electric Fire Bellows
Need to get that fire started in a hurry? Give it a massive shot of oxygen. Just don’t get so close that you melt the plastic nozzle—and be sure to wear safety glasses.
You can easily blast your gutters clean with your blower and these handy extensions. The attachments are easy to put together and fit most major brands of gas and electric blowers. Plus, the whole tool is very lightweight.
Leaf Blower Safety Tips:
- Wear hearing protection. Newer leaf blowers are usually rated below 75 decibels, but that’s based on the noise level 50 ft. away from the machine. The noise level right at the machine can easily approach 100 decibels — high enough to cause permanent hearing loss.
- Wear eye protection. Leaf blowers kick up dust, dirt and rocks.
- Let the machine cool for 15 minutes before refueling. Heat from a hot engine can ignite gas vapors as you fill the tank.
Blower/Vacuum Operating Tips:
- Twigs, garden mulch and landscape rocks can damage the impeller, so scout your yard and remove those objects before using the vacuum feature.
- Wear a dust respirator when shredding dry leaves and emptying the shoulder bag? Shredding kicks up a lot of dust.
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