Monday, April 30, 2012

Cleared for takeoff on Cooper's Pond Drive...

...a leaf blower.

A couple of things caught my ear this week.

One was a random post on a forum where the poster stated he preferred to be awakened by birds chirping rather than delivery trucks, and that's why he chose to live in the suburbs.

Hard to argue that one.

The other was the recent fuss about commercial jet operation out of Briscoe Field.  People would prefer not to have jet planes fly overhead, if they can avoid it.

Hard to argue that one, too.

Then, I spent some time on my back porch this weekend.  For a good bit of the time, I would have been hard pressed to hear an airplane approaching Lawrenceville or a bird chirping on a tree in my yard!

Nearly 100% of the time, a gas powered lawn mower or leaf blower was buzzing away within easy earshot!

So, I wondered, which is worse, leaf blowers or jet planes.  Here's what I found.

Nearly all leaf blowers, electric and gas make more than 85 dB of noise at the operator's ears.  (You really need hearing protection when you are using them.  Lawn care company employees almost always have hearing protection)  Any prolonged exposure over 85 dB can damage your hearing.

At 50 feet from the blower, some gas powered blowers are still over 85 dB.  You might need use hearing protection when your neighbor uses his blower!  Electric ones are much quieter.  None were greater than 65 dB at 50 feet.  That's not silent - it's about the same as your home vacuum cleaner at three feet - it's just not dangerous.

Lawnmowers aren't much quieter than leaf blowers.

Jet airplanes taking off 8 miles from the airport, which is how far Cooper's Pond is, rarely top 80 dB on the ground and landing aircraft rarely to 60 dB.  The exposure only lasts a couple of minutes.  Not the hour it takes the multiple tool equipped lawn care company to do your neighbor's lawn on a Sunday afternoon.

So, if it's the peace and quiet of suburban living you want, don't sweat the airport, just trade in your gas lawn tools for electric and a good 100 ft extension cord.

Or, perhaps, a sheep!

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