It should be pointed out that there really is no reason to create an ordinance to control blowers since by attrition; excessively noisy blowers will eventually disappear. New designs are inherently quieter. However, since this argument is often not accepted, one should consider the ramifications of introducing a leaf blower noise ordinance.
To begin with, the police will be expected to enforce this unenforceable law. The truth is, landscapers do not want to give up their leaf blower. In fact, where there is a ban such as in Los Angeles, many would rather risk paying the fine than have to use a time consuming and labor intensive broom or rake. The reason is obvious. It just takes too long. In most cities, an ordinance banning blowers has changed law-abiding citizens into clever violators. Most important, banning is not the answer!
If the ordinance is volume or sound magnitude limiting, sound meter readings turn out to be unreliable when taken by an untrained individual, which leads to disputes. Catching violators usually depends on receiving complaints and by the time the police arrive, the violator is nowhere to be found. And then there is priority. Should the police respond to a noise complaint or a domestic disturbance? What if there is a traffic accident, one with injury? And what about the cost of enforcement?
If there must be an ordinance, here’s one that works. Require landscapers and homeowners to use only “Quiet” leaf blowers. What is a “Quiet” blower? It’s one that is at least 70 dB(A) or less according to the ANSI Standard, B-175.2. Sixty-five is better, but really not necessary in most cases since the whine generated by the fan is no longer an issue. This type of ordinance is easy to enforce and therefore complied with voluntarily by landscapers. Why? Because the manufacturer marks “Quiet” leaf blowers with its sound level per the industry Standard. This allows the police to simply stop and look at the product at any time convenient to them, in order to catch violators. No need to wait for a complaint. No need to rush across town to catch a violator in the act.
Leaf Blower Improvements
Echo Incorporated has taken the lead in the industry and has not been sitting by idly while anti-blower advocates complain about blower “noise”. Engineers met with these activists to understand the problems created by leaf blowers and have been working to improve sound levels and sound quality to a point that is no longer perceived as an irritation. An innovative approach to leaf blower noise has resulted in the quietest leaf blower products in the industry. Sound levels have been systematically lowered from 77 dB(A) per the ANSI B175.2 Standard, to 65 dB(A) for a 75% reduction in sound intensity.
Typical changes include adding silencers to the air intake, modifying mufflers, incorporating special vibration resistant materials, changing the shape of the fan and fan housing, adding sound barriers and absorbing foams and improving vibration isolation.
Note: For every 6 dB(A) reduction in sound, the sound intensity is reduced by 50 % or half.
Echo is the leader in the production of quiet blowers. Even their largest blower, the PB751 is three dB(A) quieter than older designs.
Note: Not only has the sound level been reduced by more than half, but also the sound quality of ECHO leaf blowers has been improved. On many new designs, the high-pitched whine or siren effect has been virtually eliminated. It’s all in the design of the fan and fan housing.
Also read: How to Use a Leaf Blower
Also read: How to Clean Dryer Vent with a Leaf Blower