Earlier this week I was minding my own business working in my new raised vegetable bed. It sits behind the garage and faces the alley. Normally it’s a peaceful area with an occasional car or dog walker passing by. But once a week when my back neighbor’s yard crew comes the alley becomes a war zone, a whirling tornado of twigs and leaves loud enough to make you think a freight train were coming down the alley.
Three guys on the crew use leaf blowers to scatter leaves out of my neighbors yard and into the alley. Had I not been out there I am sure I would have some leaves in my driveway. I grabbed my earplugs from inside and continued with my planting bed.
I looked for some data about blowers, and as it turns out, they are indeed exceedingly loud and I am not alone in hating them.
At fifty feet away the decibel level of the average blower is 10 times higher than what’s suggested for safe outside listening, according to nonoise.org.
Local governments and municipalities, especially in places like California, are looking to control aspects of the blowers, such as the times they are allowed to be used (please not 7:00 a.m.)! Here’s one recent story about a Boston neighborhood trying to restrict usage of blowers.
I think it would also be useful to figure a way to mandate or encourage the use of lower decibel blowers. This piece in Wired suggests that quieter blowers exist, they are just more expensive. Citizens are not allowed to drive around with extremely loud mufflers, why not apply the same sort of thinking to blowers?
What do you think? Are you a blower? Do you hire a crew and not worry about it? Does anyone rake anymore?