It seems like Leaf blowers are a constant cause of contention among neighbors. If you are thinking of getting a leaf blower, you are asking for drama. That’s the long and short of it.
Your neighbors might seem very supportive right now, but don’t let surface appearances fool you. You have to understand that a leaf blower is very loud. Regardless of where you live and irrespective of when your neighbors work, it can and will be an issue. It’s only a matter of time.
The problem with leaf blowers is that they are straightforward to dismiss unless you live right next to where the action is. It’s one of those things that you can safely dismiss when it’s happening to somebody else.
So, the cycle of neighborhood drama never ends. How do you deal with all of this? How do you make sense of any potential conflicts with your neighbors?
Here are some tips on how to minimize neighborhood leaf blower drama. Now, I’m not pretending that these tips will make the drama go away completely. It will always remain a possibility. But here are some tips that will go a long way in minimizing potential conflict with your neighbors.
Stick with Electric Blowers
Don’t get me wrong, electric leaf blowers are still loud but they’re nowhere near the same level of noise that a gas-engine blower can make. If you live in a small suburban neighborhood you can be sure that even this level of volume reduction can make a whole world of difference.
Electric blowers can be just as powerful as most gas engine blowers too unless we’re talking about some serious pro-level gas-engine blower like the models in our best backpack blower reviews.
If you’re determined that you need to choose a gas-engine blower though then look for one with a 4-stroke engine. While not as quiet as an electric blower these more developed engines don’t have the high-pitched whine of a 2-stroke engine. Thanks to their deeper tone the sound might still carry, but it isn’t as irritating.
Be Mindful of the Time of Day
The quickest way to kickstart some neighborhood drama is to start leaf blowing in the early morning. Doing that is just begging for someone to lodge a noise complaint against you. But while waking people up in the morning might be a bit obvious, there are some other times you should probably avoid using your new tool as well.
In the evening when your neighbors are getting home from a long day at work, or sitting down to eat dinner with their family the last thing they want to hear is the deafening sound of a leafblower. Now if you’re at work all day too then that might limit the time of day you can use your leafblower to that small slice of the day before sundown.
If that is the case then consider waiting for the weekend when you can get out late in the morning or the early afternoon. These midday hours are the time that people are likely to be the most forgiving of having loud interruptions of their day.
Of course, you should also be respectful if any of your neighbors are having a social gathering as well. You don’t want to be responsible for ruining a birthday party or family barbecue!
Do an Advanced Neighborhood Survey
Before you buy a leaf blower or even think of picking one up online, express your respect for your neighbors by doing a little neighborhood survey. Maybe you can call people or perhaps you can walk door to door or leave a little leaflet or flyer.
Include an email address or some web address on your survey so people can get back to you quickly. Does this help? You bet it does. Why?
It lets your neighbors know, in no uncertain terms, that you respect them. Their opinion matters so much to you that you go through the time and hassle of distributing a survey.
Of course, the survey isn’t just going to ask them what they think. You’re not making things easier for yourself when you do that. Because when you ask an open-ended question like that, be prepared for a resounding no. I’m not just talking about them disapproving of you using a leaf blower now and then. I’m talking about you getting one at all.
So, you have to control your survey with your choice of questions. You have to frame the answer in terms of time, manner, and place restrictions. The assumption is you’re going to be still using a leaf blower, but you want to make it as easy on anybody else as possible, so you’re going to ask them for restrictions.
When you do this, people feel that they matter. When you go through this effort, they think that you respect them enough to go the extra mile. And guess what? This can lead to more productive results.
Compare this with somebody who’s just getting a leaf blower and waking people up and causing a commotion because they can’t be bothered to ask their neighbors. You become the jerk of the year rather quickly when you do that.
Know Your Neighbors
When you’re using a leaf blower, take the time to talk to your neighbors. It’s tough to hate on you if you take the time to talk to people on a face to face basis.
Now, they can see a face with the leaf blower noise. Guess what? When people feel some social connection to you or a personal tie, they’re less likely to mind. It can still irritate them deep down inside, but it’s more manageable. It doesn’t rise to the level of a personal insult.
Why? Because there’s a face attached to that sound. When they look at you in personal terms, they are more likely to give you a pass because they know that you need to clean up.
Compare this with somebody who is just wholly faceless and nameless but creating all this obnoxious sound. At that point, it’s effortless for them to demonize you. It’s very easy for them to think that your needs are just so utterly different from theirs that they’re not even worth thinking about.
Don’t Make Any Promises You Cannot Keep
When you talk to people, and you try to get them to work with you regarding the scheduling of your leaf blower operations, don’t get ahead of yourself. Don’t make any promises based on rosy predictions that you know you can’t keep.
Now, this is not as black and white as you think. There are obvious lies that you should avoid. I think most people would agree on that. But there are also overly optimistic projections that you should equally avoid.
The key here is to keep it real. How long would you need to use a leaf blower? How often? Now, reduce those times by at least half. This way, you can get as narrow of a window as possible, and you better commit to sticking to those operational windows.
Stick to Your Word
Whenever you make a promise regarding leaf blower schedules, stick to it. Because the moment you start to break them, that’s the moment your neighbors will lose respect for you.
Guess what happens next? Well, people are less reluctant to stir up all sorts of drama with people they do not respect.
Maintain their respect, and you will be fine. You will be able to work things out. But the key is to maintain that sense of mutual respect.