How to Use a Leaf Blower

Blowing Techniques for Leaf Removal

Use this dialed in process to blow properly.

Where to Begin

Move leaves away from trees and shrubs first. Then, work from the outside of the yard towards the center. Make multiple piles vs. a larger one. If there is a breeze, work with the breeze, if possible. Work with dry leaves, rather than wet. Point the blower at a shallow angle vs. a steep angle. If not, a lot of dust and debris will tend to blow upwards and you’ll have less control. Walk slowly using a sweeping motion.

Getting Behind a Leaf Pileup

When beginning, remove leaves away from surfaces like garage doors or home exteriors. Get behind the leaves that may be piled up against a wall or garage. To do this, blow against the garage door or home exterior. The air will create a backdraft. The air will hit the door and go down and back out, moving the leaves away so you can get behind the leaves. You can do this in corners as well with a circular motion.

Moving Leaves in the Lawn

Decide where to create a pile of leaves closest to the removal site.

In a lawn, where you want to push the leaves, use a swath, side to side motion. When leaves start getting thicker, you’ll have to hit the top layer to move them. Then push the bottom layer. By hitting the top layer, you’re pushing it out, then the pile is lesser to maneuver the bottom layer. Then you can move the pile easier. Along the way, remember to blow out windows sills.

When you move the leaves to a pile, work your way all the way and move it into a concentrated area. Move your tarp beside the pile (while still remaining as close to the truck or compost area as possible). The more you move around the pile, reduce the throttle less and less and point at a steeper angle until the leaves are where you want them. Rake the leaves on to the tarp, tie the tarp up and place securely on the truck to haul away. Make sure that there are not too many leaves on the tarp to lift it easily into the truck. If using a leaf vacuum, keep rakes to help guide the leaves into the vacuum tube.

Work sideways blowing the leaves in a horizontal line back and forth towards the end goal. Reduce the throttle less and less as you get closer to the final pile to not disturb them.

Blowing Over Loose Surfaces

When blowing over small rocks, lava rocks or mulch, aim higher so you don’t move the actual material but just the leaves on the surface.

Removing Leaves in Hedges and Shrubs

Clear around hedges and buildings first. Blow at the foundation of the plant. Remove leaves caught in between the branches and bottom limbs at the base.

Narrow Spaces

In narrow spaces, move the tube in a u-pattern shape to move the leaves.

Removing Wet Leaves

It’s better not to remove very wet leaves using a blower. A strong airstream will be required to lift the damp or wet leaves and move them.

Using a Leaf Blower Safely

Leaf Vac blowers are the fastest way and most efficient in removing leaves and grass clippings off a client’s property.

Caution should be used when using the blower. Read the instructions before using the blower or get instructions from your supervisor. Ensure you have the correct PPE when using this machine. (i.e., eye, hearing and breathing protection)

Fueling the Blower

  1. Loosen the fuel cap slowly to relieve pressure in the fuel tank.
  2. Use the proper fuel for your blower. It may be gasoline, oil or straight gas. Double check the color of the fuel and the gas can label before pouring into the blower. Secure fuel cap. If there is spillage, clean it up and dispose of waste properly. Start the blower up at least 6 ft. away from the spilled fuel spot.

Starting the Blower

  1. Determine whether the blower is cool, warm or hot. This will affect the choking mechanism for starting the blower.
  2. Place the blower on solid, flat level ground, waste level or below.
  3. Adjust the throttle interlock and choke according to the engine temperature.
  4. Make sure bystanders are clear of the general area.
  5. Hold the blower with one hand on the main housing, making sure you have a firm footing. Put your foot against the base of the blower to prevent it from slipping.
  6. Pull the starter cord firmly with your other hand and guide it back into place. Do not let it snap back once it is started.
  7. Proceed to place the blower on your back. Do not rush. Adjust the shoulder straps as needed for coverage and mobility.

Using the Blower

  1. Always be considerate of bystanders an adjoining property owners. Never blow in the direction of people, pets, roads, vehicles, and buildings and never open doors or windows and people approached. Stop working until the people pass by. Always be aware of who and what is around you. You may not hear or see an approaching car so always be aware because it is easy to trip, bump, or walk into something including traffic.
  2. Make sure you know and observe your local laws and regulations regarding power equipment. Your supervisor will explain the guidelines you have to follow.
  3. Use only as much throttle power as is necessary to do the job. Blowers rarely need to be used at full throttle in residential areas except when moving large volumes of leaves. If dust is created, it should not be allowed to settle upon any nearby person or property.
  4. Pay close attention to cars. Blow dust off when done. Be sure to blow lightly as it does not take much power to blow the dust off of objects if you apply too much throttle power. You risk knocking things over when you do this.
  5. Blow with the prevailing wind if possible and if you have no choice but to blow into the wind do so consciously keeping in mind that you might be making a mess.
  6. A blower is not a very good substitute for a shovel rake or broom when conditions are heavy with gravel, construction debris, plaster, cement, dust, dry garden soil or excessive fertilizer. A blower can become an unacceptable nuisance and simply send the mess and dust to somewhere else in the customers or a neighboring property. Use water from a hose or pressure washer for dusty conditions or a broom.
  7. Do not use a blower to perform a task better suited to a tool like a shovel, rake, or broom for example. Do not move large piles of leaves with the blower when a rake would be faster.

Blower Operating Techniques

  1. Blow debris away from people, buildings, ehicles, etc. Blowing clippings and dirt into the lawn will remove it off walkways. The clippings and debris is harmlessly hidden in the lawn.
  2. Blow off higher taller items. For instance, like cars, furniture, and doors, followed by walks, patios, and driveways.

Personal Hazards

There are personal hazards to consider when operating a leaf blower.

Suction

Personal hazards or harm which we can cause to ourselves including loose hair or clothing that can be sucked into a blower fan.

Noise

Blowers are very noisy. Hearing loss can occur without proper ear protection.

Dust

Grit, organic matter or fertilizer can become airborne and get into your eyes or lungs.

Tripping hazards

Tripping and collisions can occur if your head is down and you are concentrating on the blower work. Be aware of people, objects and traffic around you.

Fuel hazards

When carrying the blower on your back, ensure the cap is on properly. A serious accident is very unlikely but if the cap comes off you might spill fuel on yourself or on the property.

Bystander hazards

  1. Be cautious when people or cars are passing near you. Blowers are powerful and can blow dust and debris 20 feet or more. Release the throttle on the blower and point the blower nozzle away from people when people are near. After they are safely away, you can resume blowing in tight areas like alleys, rock way corridors,
    and on porch’s.
  2. Keep the throttle down to a minimum, otherwise a dusty mess is likely. Keep dust down off doors, cars ,windows, porch’s an outdoor furniture. Also, be mindful of open doors and windows and the time of day (i.e., early mornings when people may be still sleeping).
  3. Running blowers near people without ear protection can be very bothersome and will certainly frightened children. Many communities have targeted backpack blowers as a public nuisance and have regulated or tried to ban their use. Therefore, be responsible and never generate noise or dust which might be deemed a nuisance. Use good judgment and be courteous. Use the lowest throttle and never operate when the muffler is not functioning correctly.

Property hazards

Property hazard damages are what might be done to property in the course of using a blower. Watch out for bumping into things. The blower is bulky and you can bump into things especially cars. If dust and debris are accidentally blown onto cars , people assume it will scratch their car and are often bothered by this. The blower must be used to clear this debris off without creating more mess.

Transportation hazard

Blowers can be damaged during transport. Secure equipment before the truck leaves the job site.

Theft

To prevent jobsite theft, keep the blower inside or locked out of sight of others when not in use.

Maintenance

Clear the blockage in intake. Leaves or other debris can possibly get jammed in the fan housing. Never let the equipment run unattended. Always check fuel type before fueling. The wrong fuel can wreck an engine.