April 23, 2017

"When it comes to really bad ideas, the leafblower ranks right up there with adding lead to gasoline and using CFCs in aerosols."

"Leafblowers are diabolical machines. Even if the claims their promoters make for them were true, the damage leafblowers do outweighs such meager benefits by many, many orders of magnitude."

ADDED: Here's an article written in a more sober style, "On Banning Leaf Blowers" (in the NYT):
Most landscapers use leaf blowers with two-stroke engines, which are light enough to carry but produce significant exhaust and noise. The gas and oil mix together, and about a third of it does not combust. As a result, pollutants that have been linked to cancers, heart disease, asthma and other serious ailments escape into the air....

Two seemingly unrelated trends may also be contributing to the problem. The number of people working from home is growing and so too is the lawn care industry. Between 2002 and 2016, the number of professional ground maintenance workers, including supervisors, grew by 85 percent to 1.6 million, according to Quiet Communities.

What does it look like when those two forces collide? For that, I spoke with Susan Greeley, 48, a film programmer who works out of her three-bedroom house in Maplewood. She moved from Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, three years ago in search of quiet but has instead found this: Every Tuesday, the landscapers arrive at 8 a.m. For the next seven hours, they move from one house to the next, filling her home with cacophony.

At times, the noise is so loud she has to retreat to the basement to take work calls, and she is unable to watch the films she needs to review. “We were basically trapped in our home with this deafening noise and this disgusting smell,” she said. “It’s far beyond an annoyance.”

107 comments:

Rusty said...

Fuck off.

rhhardin said...

Even of you blow the leaves yourself you're emitting deadly CO2.

Paco Wové said...

Amazing how worked up people get about lawn care.

rhhardin said...

I had an airplane in my garage once and cleared the lawn of leaves very quickly.

None of that annoying small engine whine that nobody likes.

exhelodrvr1 said...

"Many, many orders of magnitude"? Does he realize how much that is? Probably not, and I'm guessing he also believes humans are the cause of global warming.

madAsHell said...

A lot of assertions, but short on facts. Women, and children effected most.

Oso Negro said...

I miss the good old days when people raked leaves into the gutter and burned them. The smell of burning leaves! That takes me right back to my boyhood. So how about it? Let's swap leaf blowers for the renewed right to burn leaves.

Chuck said...

I'm not going down the "climate change" path in the leaf-blower argument.

But I do agree with Althouse. Leaf blowers are so obnoxious in so many cases where people use them. I have never understood using a leaf blower where a broom could be used. I can understand a leaf blower used as a vacuum/mulcher on leaves in the fall, but most of the other time I don't get how rakes aren't much better for the job.

tds said...

mandating electric leaf-blowers would have 10x bigger positive impact on quality of life, than mandating electric cars

JAORE said...

" Because they are designed to be air-cooled, the engines release 100% of their tailgate emissions directly into the environment..."

So much dumb packed into so few words.

Fernandinande said...

Article: "Thanks to decades of relentless lobbying by their manufacturers, the two-cylinder engines that drive leafblowers have never been regulated by any Federal or State agency."

There's a big difference between "two cylinder" and "two cycle". The author doesn't know the fundamentals of the subject he's writing about.

As most of you know, Andrew Weil is a big cheese in the world of “integrating” alternative medicine quackery with real medicine.

Quacks react to Andrew Weil’s proposed board certification in woo

I Callahan said...

When proven wrong on logic, double down on stupidity.

That'll work every time!!

james conrad said...

LOL, the 2nd post by AA on her leaf blower fetish, I'd say Ann is getting a bit defensive about the elitist implications of a ban. What about weed wackers, ban them too?

Fernandinande said...

JAORE said...
So much dumb packed into so few words.


Yeah - I missed that part because I stopped reading when it was evident he didn't know the difference between "cylinders" and "cycles".

Maybe I'll write an article about medicine and tell people how many syringes they should eat every day.

David Hampton said...

What about the 40V lithium battery leaf blower? Star Trek promoted it decades ago: "Captain, the lithium diodes are on overload, She won't take any more! Captain Kirk to Scotty; "give me 110 percent! "

bagoh20 said...

Hey, I don't like leafblowers either, but somebody's evil meter is out of calibration by many many orders of magnitude.

And is "tailgate emissions" really the right term here. Even cars don't have tailgates, and tailgates have no emissions anyway.

I detect an overall sloppiness more appropriate to us unpaid writers and thinkers. I mean it's what you do for a living, dude. You're like the leafblower of writers.

MayBee said...

Here's a great idea:

Start informing homeowners of the environmental and noise pollution effects of leaf blowers.

Allow homeowners who receive this information to tell their lawn people they want them to sweep or rake.
Let the lawn people negotiate a new price for the more labor-intensive service.

Isn't that how adults work things out?

Meade said...

Who was it that cleaned "like a white tornado?" Was that Mr. Clean? I blame him.

bagoh20 said...

I would certainly prefer a team of scantily clad female gardeners raking them up and shoveling them in to small low lying boxes. I love a cup of coffee on the porch in the morning, and I would pay more for that service. Any ambitious entrepreneurs out there?

Gahrie said...

He left out "Hey you kids...get off of my lawn!!"

Chuck said...

JAORE said...
" Because they are designed to be air-cooled, the engines release 100% of their tailgate emissions directly into the environment..."
So much dumb packed into so few words.
4/23/17, 9:18 AM

So much wisdom packed into one comment. +1. Well done.

Fernandinande said...
Article: "Thanks to decades of relentless lobbying by their manufacturers, the two-cylinder engines that drive leafblowers have never been regulated by any Federal or State agency."
There's a big difference between "two cylinder" and "two cycle". The author doesn't know the fundamentals of the subject he's writing about.
...
...
4/23/17, 9:19 AM


And another simple, brilliant correction of a writer (and editors!) making fundamental errors about the subject matter of their writing. (Much like liberal journalists who have never fired a gun writing about gun laws and messing up the details.) More kudos.



chickelit said...

Leafblowing man wearing shorts says "I need just a few more defining characteristics and you'll be able to sketch me for your readers."

chickelit said...

Meade said...Who was it that cleaned "like a white tornado?" Was that Mr. Clean? I blame him.

I have just one word for you Meade. Just one word.

Are you listening, Meade?

Ajax

Gahrie said...

I say we ban cars.....they're large, noisy, dangerous, inefficient, and environmentally unsound. Everyone should be forced to travel by bike or use electric transportation.

exhelodrvr1 said...

"but most of the other time I don't get how rakes aren't much better for the job."

Really? Using a leaf blower is probably an order of magnitude (a real order of magnitude, not the ones this writer references) faster than raking, and much less tiring.

Jack Wayne said...

I remember a time when the watermelons wanted to ban BBQ grills. Didn't work. Cold dead hands and etc.

bagoh20 said...

He is distressed of the fact that "...the engines release 100% of their tailgate emissions directly into the environment..."

Another man promoting the dutch oven.

dreams said...

I love my "110 mph 530 CFM Variable-Speed Turbo 56-Volt Lithium-ion Cordless Electric Blower"
and my ego trimmer too.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/EGO-110-mph-530-CFM-Variable-Speed-Turbo-56-Volt-Lithium-ion-Cordless-Electric-Blower-LB5302/206584690

exhelodrvr1 said...

"There's a big difference between "two cylinder" and "two cycle"."

Maybe he is writing about the two-cylinder leaf blowers used in third-world countries.

Ann Althouse said...

I love the way that old Ajax commercial emphasizes how much fumes the product is putting out. It actually provides an animated cloud of stink pouring up out of the bucket.

Meade said...

"Ajax"

Shame on me for falsely maligning Mr. Clean.

Anyway, why did people think tornadic ammonia fumes in there homes was a good idea?

chickelit said...

"Tailgate emissions" belies a Depp technical savvy.

Savvy?

Ann Althouse said...

And why was that lady taking cleaning advice from a guy who let the floor in his commercial establishment get absolutely filthy before he took the trouble to smear it with a sponge mop?

chickelit said...

Althouse noted: It actually provides an animated cloud of stink pouring up out of the bucket.

Ajax claims it's high in ammonia. I sense a Venusian waft of greenhouse gas -- something not in the public eye back in 1970.

Roger Sweeny said...

Meade, Indeed it was Mr. Clean. And this 1968 Mr. Clean commercial shows that dumb males in commercials is not a new thing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0nc1P5n81w

Roger Sweeny said...

Oops, why did I write that? It is Ajax.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Leaf blowers and noise.....lol.....city problems. I have no sympathy.

a team of scantily clad female gardeners raking them up and shoveling them in to small low lying boxes.

Bagoh20 has hit on an absolute winner of a business plan. I suggest that he move on that (so to speak)

Ann Althouse said...

Mr. Clean did not need a tornado. He represented power by way of an extremely muscular male body. Many people at the time commented on the sexual implications of that man showing up in the woman's home during the day. I remember reading that his bald head was a phallic symbol. There was much more talk of phallic symbols in the 60s. Obviously, the white tornado was a phallic symbol.

buwaya said...

The absurdity (ok, the big one) is in missing the trivial amount of fuel used by leaf blowers.

The proper Democratic party policy in this case, of course, would be to give Elon Musk a great deal of money, or a licence to take money from leaf-blower makers, in order to invent an emissionless battery-operated leaf blower.

Ann Althouse said...

The leaf-blower is a phallic symbol.

Expat(ish) said...

My old house had 42 mature oak trees on <1 acre.

It was 40+ hours of leaf blowing every fall. I reckon it would have been 200+ hours of backbreaking raking. If I could have gotten to it when dry.

Plus I had 600ft of driveway. Twenty minutes to blow the acorns. I swept it once - 2 hours. I hate acorns.

I'm sorry if my desire for relief from repetitive motion disorder bothers other people.

-XC

Tank said...

Chuck said...

I'm not going down the "climate change" path in the leaf-blower argument.

But I do agree with Althouse. Leaf blowers are so obnoxious in so many cases where people use them. I have never understood using a leaf blower where a broom could be used.


After I mow my lawn with my 40V electric mower, there is a residue of grass, chopped up leaves and dust on my driveway. I can, and do, blow that off with my 40V electric blower in about 15-20 seconds. I could use a broom (or rake) for an hour and the job would not be done as well.

Tank hates the sound of mowers and blowers (especially); one reason I went for the way quieter electic. My neighbors are all intrigued by my mower.

exhelodrvr1 said...

There's a marketing opportunity for someone to design a vaginally-shaped leaf blower. Complete with pussy-hat. It could also be an accessory for Barbie.

Ann Althouse said...

If you are inclined to scoff at my statement "The leaf-blower is a phallic symbol," do a Google image search on man with a leaf-blower.

Almost every image — like this — proves my point.

Tank said...

Sometimes a blower is just a blower.

dreams said...

"The leaf-blower is a phallic symbol."

I don't care and check out the picture of mine.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/EGO-110-mph-530-CFM-Variable-Speed-Turbo-56-Volt-Lithium-ion-Cordless-Electric-Blower-LB5302/206584690

dreams said...

"Mr. Clean did not need a tornado. He represented power by way of an extremely muscular male body. Many people at the time commented on the sexual implications of that man showing up in the woman's home during the day. I remember reading that his bald head was a phallic symbol. There was much more talk of phallic symbols in the 60s. Obviously, the white tornado was a phallic symbol."

And how about all those times when husbands came home from work and caught their wives in the bathroom with Mr Clean.

Ambrose said...

No reason our illegal alien lawn care workers can't rake up the leaves.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

There was much more talk of phallic symbols in the 60s. Obviously, the white tornado was a phallic symbol.

In college, during that era, I took a class that focused on symbolic symbolism. It was an Anthropology course, which sounded interesting and relevant, since that was my major. However, for some reason the professor decided we would look at "subliminal sexual symbolism in advertising". Mmmm. Ok. I need the credits so whatever.

We had to look at pictures of ads in magazines and discern the sexual imagery in the ice cubes or in the liquid splashing into the glass. "See, see see!!!!...the liquid is the sperm, pouring into the female, vessel (aka the cut crystal glass) and that is how they get you to buy their product by subliminally inserting these ideas into your head" >:-O

I'm like....Geez....it is just ice cubes and a glass of liquor. Anything can be phallic or sexual if you are bent that way. I decided the professor was a sexual deviant wacko who found sexual stimulation in anything and everything. Someone to avoid outside of the classroom for sure.

Probably one of the dumbest classes ever and the largest waste of time I have ever experienced.

Michael K said...

"I miss the good old days when people raked leaves into the gutter and burned them"

It was the smell of fall.

MaxedOutMama said...

For lighter suburban use, the 40 volt lithium-ion mowers and blowers are now very functional. I shifted to an electric mower a few years ago, after good experience with a 40 volt chainsaw, and I have never looked back. I still don't use a leaf blower at all - I do it the hard, hands-calloused way with rakes. When I get older maybe I'll try an electric blower.

Such tools are not an option for those who are doing these jobs all day!

To describe leaf-blowers as phallic symbols is absolutely ridiculous. They are portrayed in advertising at that position because that is how they are used. It has to be angled toward the ground to work, and you are certainly not going to lift the arms up in an unnatural position to maneuver it around.

Sometimes a banana is just a banana.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

D'oh!

Symbolic Symbolism is redundant. Sorry.

Fernandinande said...

Ann Althouse said...
Almost every image — like this — proves my point.


No it doesn't. Well, maybe this one.

Andrew Koenig said...

I have encountered generators powered by gasoline engines that are so quiet that you can't hear them from more than a few feet away on a city street. I can't imagine that similarly quiet engines cannot be built in leaf-blower size.

Municipalities that care about such things can pass noise ordinances and let the market take care of solving the technical problems.

Fritz said...

Michael K said...
"I miss the good old days when people raked leaves into the gutter and burned them"

It was the smell of fall.


A few years in Corvallis, Oregon will cure any nostalgia for burning leaves.

MaxedOutMama said...

Michael K - but now that solution has been banned in the same places that don't allow blower use. WTF. I do remember the clouds of smoke back when everyone did that.

This is all BS written by those who have never actually dealt with the problem.

Ann Althouse said...

"We had to look at pictures of ads in magazines and discern the sexual imagery in the ice cubes or in the liquid splashing into the glass. "See, see see!!!!...the liquid is the sperm, pouring into the female, vessel (aka the cut crystal glass) and that is how they get you to buy their product by subliminally inserting these ideas into your head" >:-O "

Yeah, there was that crazy book "Subliminal Seduction." Huge emphasis on ice cubes. Claimed the word "sex" was actually written on the ice cubes in a way where you wouldn't really see it unless you stared long enough hoping to see it. Oh, lord the time we wasted looking at ice cubes.

Chuck said...

Tank said...
Chuck said...
"I'm not going down the "climate change" path in the leaf-blower argument.
But I do agree with Althouse. Leaf blowers are so obnoxious in so many cases where people use them. I have never understood using a leaf blower where a broom could be used."

After I mow my lawn with my 40V electric mower, there is a residue of grass, chopped up leaves and dust on my driveway. I can, and do, blow that off with my 40V electric blower in about 15-20 seconds. I could use a broom (or rake) for an hour and the job would not be done as well.

Tank hates the sound of mowers and blowers (especially); one reason I went for the way quieter electic. My neighbors are all intrigued by my mower.

How big is your yard? What kind of mower is it? (Walk-behind?) Where does your blown stuff (grass cuttings, leaves, dirt) get blown to?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Yeah, there was that crazy book "Subliminal Seduction."

YES!!! That is the book. I'd forgotten the title. Why it was in my anthro class I never could figure out.

Oh, lord the time we wasted looking at ice cubes.

Heh! :-)

Curious George said...

"Ann Althouse said...
If you are inclined to scoff at my statement "The leaf-blower is a phallic symbol," do a Google image search on man with a leaf-blower."

What's the saying? "if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail"

FullMoon said...

Chuck said...
How big is your yard? What kind of mower is it? (Walk-behind?) Where does your blown stuff (grass cuttings, leaves, dirt) get blown to?
4/23/17, 10:24 AM


Yeah, and,where do all the blown leaves go? Down the street to the neighbors, or are they picked up and carted away?

Paul said...

"The leaf-blower is a phallic symbol."

To a hammer everything is a nail.

To a cock obsessed woman everything is a phallic symbol.

Bob Boyd said...

I like to wear shorts when I'm blowing.

Jack Wayne said...

If a leaf blower is a phallic object, then is a leaf mulcher a vaginic object? Maybe we need Lazlo to riff on the inconsistency of calling a phallic object a blower? Or do we completely mess things up by calling a mulcher a muncher? Althouse trolling her readers again.

Lost My Cookies said...

A third of the gas/oil mixture doesn't combust?

Bullshit. Learn how to fix your stuff.

Inga said...

Make the peons earn their pay, rakes and brooms for every worker. No mechanical lawn tools allowed, the sweat of the brow is cleansing, especially when it's not your own sweat.

Tank said...

Chuck said...
Tank said...
Chuck said...
"I'm not going down the "climate change" path in the leaf-blower argument.
But I do agree with Althouse. Leaf blowers are so obnoxious in so many cases where people use them. I have never understood using a leaf blower where a broom could be used."

After I mow my lawn with my 40V electric mower, there is a residue of grass, chopped up leaves and dust on my driveway. I can, and do, blow that off with my 40V electric blower in about 15-20 seconds. I could use a broom (or rake) for an hour and the job would not be done as well.

Tank hates the sound of mowers and blowers (especially); one reason I went for the way quieter electic. My neighbors are all intrigued by my mower.

How big is your yard? What kind of mower is it? (Walk-behind?) Where does your blown stuff (grass cuttings, leaves, dirt) get blown to?


A quiz LOL? The grass is about one sixth or fifth of a 15,000 sq ft lot. A walk behind Kobalt 20" 40V. I just blow it onto the grass, off the driveway, it's not that much, but impossible to sweep or rake (and looks like crap on my white driveway). I don't blow leaves. My property in NC (by the beach) has very few leaves and I just rake em or mulch em.

Jay Elink said...

"but most of the other time I don't get how rakes aren't much better for the job."

****************

As Sideshow Bob would warn, "From bitter experience, I've learned that rakes are extremely hazardous implements."

Tank said...

My Kobalt has two batteries. It uses one, then rolls over to the other. I rarely get the roll over; one is usually plenty.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

It's important to hate the environment and public health.

mockturtle said...

I don't like wind chimes, either.

Bob Boyd said...

Marine LePen has a leaf blower...a big one...with fender skirts.

Howard said...

Of course the leaf blower is phallic.... every tool is phallic and every tool was invented by a guy. Women weren't born with a man's tool, so all they know how to make are purses.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

We rake some of the fall leaves that are near our house and two small lawn areas, over onto the base of the roses, flower beds and other shrubs surrounding that area for mulch. (About the size of the photos of the yard that Meade and Althouse have). We have a lot of trees. The rest we load up into the garden dump cart that we tow behind the riding mower....haul them off to a composting area at the edge of the orchard and let them mulch over the winter. We used to burn the leaves but it is just as easy to compost.

Leaves and grass in the orchard area, we just do a final mowing before winter sets in to more or less scatter the leaves everywhere and put mulch and straw on the vegetable garden raised beds and around the bases of the fruit trees for freeze protection.

We only have to mow the orchard area a few times a year beginning right about now. This keeps the grass and weeds from getting out of hand. That all dies down in the summer and we don't need to mow very often.

We use a leaf blower on the driveway to blow the leaves over to the side and back under the trees. Our driveway is gravel and about 200 ft or more long (never measured it because no one cares) No way am I raking that up by hand.

The sounds of spring in my "neighborhood" consist of sounds off in the distance, tractors, riding mowers, chain saws, wood chippers, blowers, string trimmers and other equipment. And in the fields down below us, the crop duster planes planting seed in the wild rice field, spraying fertilizer on the alfalfa, hay and other crops. Those guys are fun to watch making their loop-de-loop runs.

The only sounds that we do find objectionable are the Zon Guns. But...waddya gonna do...it is business and it only lasts for a short while.

paulmichiel said...

I use my ELECTRIC leaf blower mostly as a vacuum cleaner and find it useful for picking up leaves that accumulate in the narrow spaces where using a rake is awkward. Should that be banned? It's less noisy than a lawnmower, but I still feel the need to explain to what I'm doing to my neighbors, many of whom I know would disapprove.

It's the din of lawnmowers that wrecks weekend afternoons in my suburban neighborhood. Should the local government mandate that homeowners hire lawn services that come during the week or reduce the amount of lawn by planting more trees and shrubs (my preferred solution)?

Bob Boyd said...

Every tool is a phallic symbol if you hold it right.

The Cracker Emcee said...

What percentage of the Little Hitlers of Lawn Care live in apartments or have little brown men (or husbands, or little brown husbands) care for their yards? I'd bet it's in the high '90's.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

@ Mockturtle.

I don't like wind chimes either. That annoying high pitched tinkling sound.

However, we were given a gift of some bamboo wind chimes and really like sound of those in an area that gets "occasional" breeze...not consistently chiming.. Soft and relaxing.

The Cracker Emcee said...

DBQ,

Had to look up up Zon Gun. Goodness, my machinist cracker BIL would find a way to convert that into a flame-throwing mortar in about 15 minutes.

Charlie Currie said...

A push mower, edger, rake, broom and a hose for final wash down is all I got as a kid, along with all my neighbors. Relatively quiet in comparison to two cylinder engines with all their tailgate emissions. And, nobody mowed their lawn on Tuesday. Now my neighborhood sounds like I live next to a motocross or flat track which is open everyday...all day.

I still enjoy using a hose to wash down the paved surfaces...sorta therapeutic...and I love the looks I get from my progressive, chicken little neighbors here in the permanent drought state.

Rusty said...

Blogger Ann Althouse said...
"The leaf-blower is a phallic symbol."

Aw, jesus. No it's not. It's a leaf blower. How else are youj supposed to hold it?

Meade. take your wife dancing.
Or something.

Charlie Currie said...

Mr. Clean gets rid of dirt and grim and grease in just a minute. Mr. Clean will clean your whole house and everything that's in it. Mr. Clean. Mr. Clean.

John said...

Re two-stroke or two cycle engines:

Detroit Diesel (originally part of GM) engines have always been two-stroke and still are today. May be running the buses in Madison for all I know.

A lot of trucks and trains are powered by two cycle engines. They are not inherently dirty.

Not sure if car diesels are 2 or 4 stroke. Anyone know?

John Henry

ceowens said...

DBQ, did you ever see the naked lady in/on the camel on a pack of Camel cigarettes? (1964ish)

Larry J said...

"Blogger Andrew Koenig said...
I have encountered generators powered by gasoline engines that are so quiet that you can't hear them from more than a few feet away on a city street. I can't imagine that similarly quiet engines cannot be built in leaf-blower size.

Municipalities that care about such things can pass noise ordinances and let the market take care of solving the technical problems."

Generator designers don't have to worry very much about weight or size. Engineers who design human-carried machines like gas powered leaf blowers care very much about weight. Battery-powered leaf blowers are fine for a typical homeowner but inadequate for someone who is doing a larger job. Two-cycle engines usually have a better power to weight ratio than four cycle engines. There is little you can do about that. Making a four cycle engine that's quiet, has low emissions, is powerful enough, and is light enough for people to carry for hours is rather difficult. If it were easy, someone would have done that already.

John said...

Blogger Jack Wayne said...

If a leaf blower is a phallic object, then is a leaf mulcher a vaginic object?

Now there's something that I even want to think about. A vagina mulching my dick.

Vagina dentatus mulctus?

Thank's Jack. What's this, filling in for Lazlo?

John Henry

Tyrone Workman said...

There's nothing like liberals getting in touch with their inner Stalin for our own collective good.

jaydub said...

"Oh, lord the time we wasted looking at ice cubes."

It was nothing compared to the time wasted raking leaves instead of blowing them.

0_0 said...

John Henry- yes, 2 stroke engines are inherently dirty. Especially ones with the intake in the cylinder wall. Burning lube oil in your combustion chamber will do that.
No, Detroit Diesel doesn't make 2 strokes since 1995. Now it's 4 stroke.

Automotive diesels are all 4 stroke; it might not be visible, but a 2 stroke will never pass today's emission controls.

Inherently dirty 2 stroke outboards are banned on Lake Tahoe because the famously clear water was being occluded. Now we have heavier, more costly, but less dirty 4 stroke outboards.

Seriously, everyone, the point of the article is leaf blowers add a LOT of pollution to our air. Carping about sloppy word choice doesn't fix that.

Etienne said...

This is how bad laws get written.

The target is the noise and pollution, not the leaf blower.

Freeman Hunt said...

Do these houses need insulation?

Lewis Wetzel said...

The issue of leaf blower noise and air pollution must be considered in the light of what we have learned about the far reaching effects of colonialism, neoliberalism, structural racism, and white privilege.
Nothing else is as important as colonialism, neoliberalism, structural racism and white privilege.
Nothing.
If you examine the problem correctly, you will discover that the problem is not leaf blower noise and air pollution, it is colonialism, neoliberalism, structural racism and white privilege.
Solve those problems first, and then we can talk about leaf blower noise and air pollution.

Chuck said...

So Tank answered my questions in an admirably straight way. Really, the main point was not to put him on the spot personally, but rather to try to draw up a picture of when and how leaf blowers might get logically used. Tank writes:

A quiz LOL? The grass is about one sixth or fifth of a 15,000 sq ft lot. A walk behind Kobalt 20" 40V. I just blow it onto the grass, off the driveway, it's not that much, but impossible to sweep or rake (and looks like crap on my white driveway). I don't blow leaves. My property in NC (by the beach) has very few leaves and I just rake em or mulch em.

It sounds a little like the Althouse lot. And I love the fact that for that particular lot, Meade cuts it with a beautifully crafted reel-blade push mower. (An old-fashioned version of what would get used today, to cut greens on a golf course.)

And your use of a blower is to blow your rotary-cut grass clippings off your driveway and any walkways, or the street, etc., back onto your own lawn. There is utility in that, and even something of a social conscience, not leaving your clippings in a street, etc. And what you described, is fully 50% or more of how suburban lawn services use their leaf blowers. Through most of the summer, they are just blowing clippings off driveways, sidewalks and streets. It's marginally faster to do that, than to broom them off. But a broom would in fact work.

I have a larger yard; almost a half an acre. I have a riding mower (4-stroke 16.5 hp engine) and a walk-behind trim mower (also 4-stroke). I have a 2-stroke snowblower. (Funny how snowblowers haven't gotten into this discussion.) Almost all of my neighbors have gas leaf blowers, and I find them mildy annoying. I don't have one. Haven't felt the need. And, I have always been suspicious of finicky little 2-stroke engines. Although my snowblower is a workhorse. For instance, my chain saw is electric (AC corded). My hedge trimmer, string trimmer and chain saw are all electric.


Chuck said...

0_0 said...
John Henry- yes, 2 stroke engines are inherently dirty. Especially ones with the intake in the cylinder wall. Burning lube oil in your combustion chamber will do that.
No, Detroit Diesel doesn't make 2 strokes since 1995. Now it's 4 stroke.

Automotive diesels are all 4 stroke; it might not be visible, but a 2 stroke will never pass today's emission controls.

Inherently dirty 2 stroke outboards are banned on Lake Tahoe because the famously clear water was being occluded. Now we have heavier, more costly, but less dirty 4 stroke outboards.

Seriously, everyone, the point of the article is leaf blowers add a LOT of pollution to our air. Carping about sloppy word choice doesn't fix that.

You clearly know what you are talking about, and I think you're mostly right. And yeah, if Dr. Andrew Weil had been as knowledgeable as you, and more careful in his writing, he might have been able to make a case, for what it may be worth, that consumer tools with 2-stroke engines are dirty little things.

But I don't know how much "pollution" is created by 2-strokes. You say "a LOT." I don't know. I do think that Althouse's initial objection to wide-scale use of gas blowers was societal and aesthetic. As is mine. She's probably having brunch right now at Bluephies with Meade and he is gently explaining to her how 2-stroke and 4-stroke engines work. And laughing at Dr. Andrew Weil.

Mike said...

The people who want to ban leaf blowers do not do their own yard maintenance.

Chuck said...

Mike said...
The people who want to ban leaf blowers do not do their own yard maintenance.

How odd, that you wrote that after I posted on the size of the yard that I maintain. Admittedly, I think I'd be very cautious as a city councilman, on any leaf blower ordinance. Althouse might too, if she were in that position (I think she'd make a tremendous councilwoman.) I think her disapprobation of blowers is instinctual and aesthetic, as is mine. Yet we've already seen posts from people who use electric blowers as vacuum-mulchers. Who would want to ban that? Not me.

Michael McClain said...

Yet another First World problem.

Most folks in my neighborhood mow their own lawns. My next door neighbor has a lawn service, but the crew is fast and efficient. They come mid-day on Thursdays when most everyone is at work. I'm retired and our house's triple-pane windows dampen the majority of the short lived noise. No problem for me.

Sam's Hideout said...

I wonder how small Wankel (rotary) motors would match up to small 2 stroke cylinder motors. Automotive Wankels are almost good enough to meet current automotive pollution standards, yet have power to weight ratios comparable to two-stroke motors.

We have a battery powered blower, for the limited use we make of it, it usually has enough energy to finish a cleanup, but not always. It definitely is a lot quieter than gas powered blowers.

bagoh20 said...

No wonder Althouse married a gardner. She's got a fetish for yard tools. Imagine the role play going on around that house.

tcrosse said...

In the same family, one of the worst inventions ever is the electric hand dryer one finds in public restrooms.

exhelodrvr1 said...

"Imagine the role play"

You mean like the warden's wife and the escapee from the prison garden crew?

n.n said...

And vacuum cleaners. Get a broom!

Lewis Wetzel said...

I have a battery powered leaf blower. It makes noise, but not as much noise as the 2 stroke kine.
I also have a battery powered vacuum cleaner I bought from amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Hoover-BH50140-Cordless-Bagless-Upright/dp/B00IT5L49E). It still makes noise, but it's much quieter than the plug-in kine. We vacuum around the cat now. She wakes up, but she doesn't run outside like she did when we used the ol' plug-in vacuum.

CWJ said...

"Every Tuesday, the landscapers arrive at 8 a.m. For the next seven hours, they move from one house to the next, filling her home with cacophony.

At times, the noise is so loud she has to retreat to the basement to take work calls, and she is unable to watch the films she needs to review. “We were basically trapped in our home with this deafening noise and this disgusting smell,” she said. “It’s far beyond an annoyance.”

If someone had mentioned this earlier, I would never comment this late. This quote left me going WTF. First of all, one day a week? I'd say great! Second, house to house? Are they all equidistant from the lady's house that they all produce the same deafening noise and disgusting smell? Really? Finally, retreating to take work calls. Hey lady, is your home zoned commercial or residential? I'd like to think that this woman had been baited by the reporter to vent about her "problems" because I'd hate to think this was top of mind.

0_0 said...

Argh, I forgot who Dr. Weil was.

Debating him or his ideas is as useful as fighting the tar baby.

John said...

O_O,

I stand, partially, corrected on Detroit Diesel. They do make mostly 4 strokes after having historically made only 2 stroke diesels.

But, they still make new 2 strokes for the US government. Recently (in the past 5-10 years) built a whole new plant for 2 strokes.

It is not clear from their website if civilians can buy these or not.

They also still offer remanufactured 2 stroke engines to the civilian market.

So there still seems to be a demand for 2 strokes. They have some advantages that lead the US govt to insist on them.

But we mere mortals can't have them.

Another case of govt "Do as we say, not as we do"

John Henry

Rusty said...

John @ 6:14
easier to maintain and therefore cheaper to run.
Google "Jumo 202"