Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Loud Leaf Blowers

Posted November 18, 2010

What is your opinion of gas-powered leaf blowers and mulching machines? Does noise from these machines adversely affect the quality of your life especially in autumn when leaves are falling and people are clearing their yards?

I was home for three hours yesterday afternoon and a neighbor's leaf blower blared the whole time non-stop. It was more than a loud buzzing sound. It was a strange whining, screeching and piercing sound. Inside my house I used earplugs but that didn't do any good. I put on music inside the house. No effect. I even put on noise reduction earphones with music and that didn't do any good. My only solution was to go outside and mow the lawn.

There are very few local ordinances dealing with loud machinery noise during daylight hours. Should there be? What about the rights of people who spend time at home during these hours? Should there be time limits on how long these blowers can be used? I would appreciate your feedback.


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  • yourwish Nov 22, 2010

    The lawn services that start blowing at 7 am...the towns noise ordinance says it is ok, but on weekends and Veteran's Day I think it is inconsiderate. Saturday and Sunday are the only days most people have off, it would be nice if we could actually enjoy them. And it seems the louder these power tools are, the longer these guys like to play with them, lol.

  • rewster911 Nov 22, 2010 are a whiner....arent you need a real job,some of us even work around sound like a spoiled lil brat.

  • DaddyDave Nov 22, 2010

    The best thing I've found, was a bagging mulching push mower from Sears. I empty the leaves into a natural area, then when finished collecting all the leaves from the lawn, I take off the bag and run the mulching mower over the piled up leaves in the natural area. Cut down a 4 hour job with blower and rake and bags into 1.5 hour job, with no bags to dispose of. But it does create a plume of dust if not done a day after the rain, or leaves aren't lightly misted from a water hose. (Too much water will bog down the mulcher)

  • xxxxxxxxxxxxx Nov 22, 2010

    I have a neighbor who seems to have invested in every loud, annoying, gas powered yard tool he can get his hands on and I especially hate the gas powered leaf blower. (this is the same guy who spends hours every week washing his car with the stereo blasting).

    I know we all have to make some noise with our lawn mowers, etc. but to operate one of those things for hours on end, especially on a Sunday is inconsiderate.

  • bleslie Nov 22, 2010

    This has been a healthy debate. I appreciate all of the comments. I don't have a problem with most leaf blowers. But when the sound is outrageously loud, grating and penetrating I do have a concern. That's all I'm saying. Rufus, by the way, appreciates the mention. He's not much of a barker though. He's more of a lover. which reminds me of a great bumper sticker: Wag More. Bark Less.

  • treeofliphe Nov 22, 2010

    I dont get it, you have issues with sound pollution from gas powered yard instruments yet you go mow your lawn. If my assumption is correct, it was probably a gas powered lawnmower. Thus further adding to the noise pollution.

    If you can beat'em join'em

  • kevboom Nov 22, 2010

    The alternative to leaf blowers is my neighbors who just let the leaves sit in their yards for months until they all blow down hill into my yard. I should be so lucky to have neighbors who clean up their own leaves! Consider moving to a new development in Cary or Morrisville where they chop down all the trees and put 4 houses on every treeless acre. That might solve the problem, except then you could hear your neighbors playing music or surround-sound through your shoddily-constructed spec house. Woe is the Triangle with our white collar problems. ;-)

  • hdman501 Nov 22, 2010

    simple solution - Move - out where you don't bother your neighbors - and they don't bother you. When you are all packed in like sardines - there will always be issues.

  • wrennbird Nov 22, 2010

    Bill...Bill....Bill...I love reading your blogs! I share your passion for the mountains. I remember back several years ago you complained about the lawnmower race in Sparta being to loud, because of so many complaints they now have it at the fairgrounds. People in Chapel Hill complained about the noise and safety of the Horace Williams Airport in Chapel Hill, so they will have to move the airport. Keep in mind the airport has been there since 1933....Most people moved their knowing they were moving near this airport!!! So...Maybe you should buy ten acres and put your house in the center. You would have lots of peace and quite. Do you think age has something to do with it? I still love you..Bill!

  • gastonboater Nov 22, 2010

    I agree that they can be very annoying much the same as people who turm their car radios us so loud that your car vibrates when they are near.




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Bill Leslie