10 Surprising Uses for a Leaf Blower

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Smiling senior man cleaning the yard with a leaf blower in autumn outdoors
Vadim Ratnikov / Shutterstock.com

Leaf blowers are the bad boys of the landscape trade. They’re loud (as much as 90 decibels), and the gas-powered ones pollute the air.

ABC News reports that leaf blowers are blamed for displacing, injuring or killing birds and other pollinators, and that their powerful (up to 200 mph) blasts of air blow away mulch, cause erosion and disrupt ecosystems.

But, boy, are leaf blowers handy. Their usefulness goes far beyond merely gathering leaves into piles. Besides, it’s possible to get quieter, non-gas-powered models.

Once you’ve read some of these life hacks, you might want to buy a leaf blower, too.

1. Blasting powdery snow

Schoolboy with backpack in snow.
Romrodphoto / Shutterstock.com

A leaf blower can’t take care of a foot of heavy, wet snow. But it should be enough to vanquish the powdery stuff, especially if it’s just a light dusting on the driveway, entry stairs or deck, Consumer Reports says.

2. Clearing out rain gutters

Clogged gutters
Trong Nguyen / Shutterstock.com

Drainage problems caused by clogged rain gutters can cause serious structural damage to your home. Blocked gutters filled with water can also weaken and collapse.

This Old House reports that replacement runs anywhere from $625 to $1,700 on average, so a smart homeowner will keep the system clean.

You can hire someone to do it. Or you can buy an extension or do it yourself with a cleaning kit that snaps onto your leaf blower.

Oh, and if you’re obsessed with appearances, you can buff the outside of the gutters with a paste made of water and cream of tartar.

3. Cleaning shop-vac filters

Shop vac
Benedek Alpar / Shutterstock.com

A wet/dry vacuum, aka a shop vac, is a wonderfully versatile piece of equipment. Every now and then you need either to clean or replace the vac’s filters — which can be a dusty job, according to Travis Larson of The Family Handyman.

Then he said he found an easier way: “I just hold the filter down with my foot and blow it out with the leaf blower. I stay a lot cleaner with this method.”

Since replacement filters cost $15 or more, cleaning and re-using them can be a real boost to your budget.

4. Drying patio furniture

Ekaterina Lin / Shutterstock.com

A brief summer squall hits 45 minutes before your backyard barbecue. Don’t make your guests sit on damp deck chairs!

Instead, Landscaping Planet suggests blasting away the dampness with a leaf blower, the way you’d use a hairdryer after taking a shower.

5. Getting rid of puddles

Wet puddle or pooled water on a patio wooden deck outside
RestonImages / Shutterstock.com

Are those summer rains leaving puddles on your wood deck? Clear them off pronto, advises Consumer Reports. Even treated lumber can absorb standing moisture, which affects both the wood and deck’s finish.

It shouldn’t take long to blow accumulated water off the deck. But don’t stop there. Run the blower on both the horizontal and vertical areas of the stairs, railings and deck skirt, since these areas are prone to mildew.

6. Clearing eave vents

Eaves and gutter awning of the roof of a house with soffits
tokar / Shutterstock.com

Eave vents (aka soffit vents) let air flow into your home’s attic space. That flow mixes with attic air and moves out through roof or ridge vents, keeping the attic cooler in the summer and pushing out moisture during the winter.

Cobwebs and dust can build up in the eave vents, restricting airflow. The Family Handyman recommends cleaning eave vents at least every two years, if not annually. Here’s why it’s a vital home maintenance chore:

  • Reduced moisture helps prevent mildew and rot.
  • A cooler roof in the summer extends shingle life.
  • Steady airflow in winter helps prevent ice dams in winter and reduces home cooling costs in the summer.

7. Drying off your car

Man detailing yellow car
SofikoS / Shutterstock.com

The car wash has giant blowers that dry off your car to prevent water spots. A leaf blower is just a smaller (and unheated) version of a car-wash blower, right?

According to DriveDetailed.com, it’s possible to dry your car off safely with a leaf blower — as long as you observe these precautions:

  • The leaf blower must have an air filter.
  • Choose a model with adjustable speed settings. Start at the low end, especially around delicate spots such as emblems or mirrors.
  • Direct the air up and away from the vehicle’s surface.
  • Don’t try this unless you’re comfortable controlling the unit; otherwise, you might kick up ground debris toward the car.

8. Cleaning the mower deck

A man the cuts grass with a lawnmower
Dmitry Kalinovsky / Shutterstock.com

The top of your mower’s cutting deck collects a lot of grass clippings. The Family Handyman warns that this shredded vegetation will get under the pulleys and wrap itself around the drive shafts. Be proactive and blow the deck clear each time you use the mower.

According to Homeward How, this also works for grass-choked string trimmers.

9. Finding leaks

Inflating an air mattress
Margo K / Shutterstock.com

Does your kid’s wading pool deflate? How about the raft in the grownup pool? Or maybe overnight guests complain about the slowly sinking air mattress.

According to Homeward How, you can find and patch the leaks with help from a leaf blower. First, coat the deflated item with soapy water. Next, blow air into it. The pressure will cause air to move through any holes, producing small bubbles.

10. ‘Vacuuming’ your car

man in a mask cleaning coronavirus germs in his car
zoff / Shutterstock.com

Dirt, leaves, old french fries (thanks, kids!) in the car. Mud and grass in the trunk from the mower and trimmer used in your landscaping side hustle. Dog hair — so much dog hair.

You could head for the car wash and spend up to $8 using the self-service vacuum. (Or more, depending on how many kids and dogs you have.) Or you could do what Larson of The Family Handyman does: Fire up the leaf blower.

“I blow out the back, the floors, the dash — everything. I even take out the rugs and blow them off,” he says.

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