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View Full Version : Silly question -- do I want a leaf blower or what?



JoZ
Jul. 29, 2012, 01:22 AM
Tired of fighting cobwebs by hand and broom. My first BO was obsessive about cleanliness and would use a "blower" a few times a week. Not fun to be around what with the noise and flying debris, but the effect was great.

So would that have been a leaf blower? That's what I see on Craigslist. I know technology has advanced since I was at my first barn but these things look wimpy. I want to put on my mask and goggles and do something spectacular. :cool::D I feel like Tim the Tool Man. So what do I get? Gas or electric (hate gas as a rule for weight and stench but still would like to hear pros and cons)? Thx.

BasqueMom
Jul. 29, 2012, 02:16 AM
What about a shop vac with a long hose, extra hard pieces to reach up and suck it all up rather than blow it all around?

ReSomething
Jul. 29, 2012, 07:13 AM
We have an air compressor for all sorts of uses like blowing up your tires. You can also buy a nozzle attachment for the end and blow out your machines, the floor, cobwebs, your own sawdust covered clothes, etc. the mess is almost as disgusting when you are done, you've just put it up in the air, but if you do it daily the area stays pretty nice.

That being said, before 9/11 and the anthrax scare, the mechanics at my work used to blow out all the machines on the day shift, often over the strenous objections of the people working nearby. Once people died from anthrax exposure management opted to be safe rather than sorry and invested in a bunch of fancy HEPA shop vacs.

buck22
Jul. 29, 2012, 07:27 AM
I have no electricity where I rough board, and I don't like the idea of storing gas/oil products (only have choice of two barns, the one the horses are in or the one the hay is in). Propane is about as risky as I'll go and I really don't even like that very much.

I ended up investing in Ryobi's new lithium battery line of home tools. Though I've always been a Dewalt and Milwaukee girl, Ryobi's new lith battery kicks butt and I wouldn't hesitate to buy anything in their lineup.

My primary interest was a weed whacker for use around the barn. The leaf blower was on special and an afterthought, but now you would have to pry that thing from my cold dead hands, I love it and use it every day.

A full charge battery only lasts 20-25 minutes but thats enough for 3 days use for me, blowing out the matted bedded run-in, blowing off the mats in the wash area and mats in the high traffic areas, blowing out the hay barn, blowing out the tack/feed aisle, blowing out my truck.

In the winter time, I blow the dirt off my horses after currying them, kinda like vacuuming but in reverse :lol: Gets them clean down to the skin in that winter wool.

Is it as powerful as gas or electric? no, but its also light, quiet, no smell and no cord to trip over.

Having said all this, it does not work on cobwebs, at least not mine. Cobwebs seem to be wind resistant, they don't blow away easily, their anchors have to be broken somehow for them to tear away. I use a broom and then use the leaf blower to blow the broom clean :D

Bluey
Jul. 29, 2012, 07:41 AM
While blowers used indoors may move the dirt around to where you want most of it, they also move the dirt around where you don't want it, in the air and that is not healthy for any lungs, human or horse.

Blowers are fine outside, I am not sure I would use them inside regularly.

hundredacres
Jul. 29, 2012, 08:00 AM
I use a shop vac regularly but I do have a blower and use it on occasion, mostly in the fall to take care of the outside of the barn - I can't live without it for that! The shop vac for cleaning inside though. I vacuum the cobwebs rather than blow them all over...love it.

horsepoor
Jul. 29, 2012, 12:52 PM
I also find a shop vac to be more effective than blowing. Our shop vac can be used to blow as well, but that just isn't as effective on the cobwebs. I also have allergies, so prefer to suck up the dust into te vac canister rather than blow it around. I do wear a mask when doing a big clean as I really hate feeling like crap for hours afterward because the dust gets to me so much. Or the better plan is to have SO do it!

wcporter
Jul. 29, 2012, 01:08 PM
We used on to blow the aisles clean every night at the upscale H/J barn I worked at in the Hamptons (BO was a CLEAN FREAK) about 10 years ago. It did a great job but I hated it. The noise and dust, to me, wasn't worth it. :no:

tallyho392
Jul. 29, 2012, 05:57 PM
i found the best thing to use is a leaf shredder/vac thing........mine is a black and decker, and i cant for the life of me recall the model name, but it is built like a leaf blower..has the motor housed in a case with a big broas shoulder strap, and a loooooooooooong rigid "snout", about 4 inches wide. maybe 3 ft long.........................but the best thing is, that while it comes with a large-ish canvas bag that attaches t the back of the motor unit, it ALSO has the option of dumping everything into a trash can, via a long corregated tube (like a dryer hose)that fits into an opening of the fabric that covers the trash can opening..........
sooooooooo, it not only sucks stuff up, it also shredds whatever it collects, so the larger stalky pieces of hay , or small sticks ,big leaves, or paper won't clog the intake hose, as frequently happens with vacuums..

buck22
Jul. 29, 2012, 06:53 PM
Yes it definitely kicks up a lot of dust, that is true.

I don't blow out the shed with the horses around, I wait until they're out eating hay and if the wind is blowing in the direction of the water trough (which is in proximity to the shed) I change water after blowing the barn out so I don't have a dust film on fresh water. Both buildings I blow out are also small and open on each end so the dust cloud just goes out the other end and doesn't tend to settle or linger. If the wind is blowing in the direction I park my truck I make sure my windows are up first.

When I leaf blow my horses' coats, I position them so the dust goes down wind.

I like how the blower gets the nooks and crannies perfectly clean, no buildup of shavings/dust/hay/etc in corners, etc.

HPFarmette
Jul. 30, 2012, 01:03 PM
Yes it definitely kicks up a lot of dust, that is true.

I don't blow out the shed with the horses around, I wait until they're out eating hay and if the wind is blowing in the direction of the water trough (which is in proximity to the shed) I change water after blowing the barn out so I don't have a dust film on fresh water. Both buildings I blow out are also small and open on each end so the dust cloud just goes out the other end and doesn't tend to settle or linger. If the wind is blowing in the direction I park my truck I make sure my windows are up first.

When I leaf blow my horses' coats, I position them so the dust goes down wind.

I like how the blower gets the nooks and crannies perfectly clean, no buildup of shavings/dust/hay/etc in corners, etc.

I am impressed.....

RackOn
Jul. 30, 2012, 01:42 PM
My leaf blower is electric and plenty powerful to blow the dust and blast the cobwebs. But I bought a good one, not top of the line but not the cheapest either.

I blow out the aisle almost every morning after the stalls are cleaned and the horses are out.

Every 3-4 months I put a bandana over my mouth and nose, climb into the loft or prop up a ladder and blow out the rafters, loft, everywhere. I can stand on a stool and reach the top of the stalls. The entire barn is cleared out!

Yes it is dirty but when finished I take off my clothes outside and go straight to the shower.

My barn is CLEAN with hardly a fly. I get so many compliments on how nice my barn looks. It works well because my barn is small, 36' by 36', 4 stalls. Might be difficult in a larger barn.

The leaf blower generates too much dust for the tack room so I have a small shop vac that works great.

JoZ
Jul. 30, 2012, 02:19 PM
Thanks everyone. I'll consider a shop vac but really prefer the blower idea. And I would not be doing it while the horses are inside. It is damp enough here (especially in the winter) that I think the dust would settle -- hopefully OUTSIDE -- pretty quickly.

Maybe I'll go back to my original plan of renting one first. In case my vision is at odds with reality LOL... :uhoh:

ReSomething
Jul. 30, 2012, 06:02 PM
Thanks everyone. I'll consider a shop vac but really prefer the blower idea. And I would not be doing it while the horses are inside. It is damp enough here (especially in the winter) that I think the dust would settle -- hopefully OUTSIDE -- pretty quickly.

Maybe I'll go back to my original plan of renting one first. In case my vision is at odds with reality LOL... :uhoh:

Well it is true that at one barn I was at the barn worker used to sprinkle down the aisle before he blew it out. He'd worked at a very nice TB farm and brought the habits with him.

If you can rent the model you might buy that's a great plan.

WNT
Jul. 30, 2012, 06:04 PM
I love having a blower for cleaning up. However, I only run it before dumping water buckets and with no horses in. Even though it's an open courtyard barn, a lot of dust gets blown into the stalls.

I will ask about commandeering a shop vac though. Our spiders are doing a good job of fly-catching but they can always rebuild new webs since they've abandoned enough of the old ones.

goodhors
Jul. 30, 2012, 06:14 PM
I like my electric blower, light, easy to use, very powerful. Always check to see how much power you have, before purchase. Mine is older, but blew 125mph when I got it. does a nice job.

I got it for dust and small things, sawdust, wood chips, that seem to accumulate where the broom won't touch them. Works very well for that.

I have center aisle, doors open at both ends, prevailing wind from the south west 98% of the time. So it works well to start at the west end, blow everything on out the east doors. I NEVER have any animals inside when blowing.

I ALWAYS wear a handkerchief scarf or paper mask over mouth and nose, goggles over my eyes and high decibel ear plugs when using the blower or shop vac in the barn. Enclosed area throws the noise back at you, making it LOTS worse for ear damage. I get the ear plugs at a local Industrial Supply by the carton, 100 pairs inside. They have a higher protection rating than the earmuff protection devices, which just KILL my jawbone no matter how I put them on. Ear plugs are easier to use, cheaper, better protection.

I only use the shop vac for cobwebs. For some reason, they have to be swept or wiped off the walls, to get them down.

Blower is good for accumulated dust, not cobwebs. We got a blower at work warehouse, so I learned a lot about how useful they were, limitations on cobwebs. We had a CLEAN, nice looking warehouse because the blower did a super job on the racking's dust. Like a barn, the warehouse was open for driving in and out with forktrucks, so dust blew in to create dirt. Stock was all outside equipment, so dust didn't bother it, just looked bad to visiting officials. I wouldn't want to be hauling a gas powered machine around for cleaning. The long cord for mine is pretty easy to manage. It also blows out the horse trailer very well after cleaning those stalls, gets the last dusty bits out before putting trailer back away.

buck22
Jul. 31, 2012, 05:29 PM
I am impressed.....
not as impressive as it might sound :lol: and its not even originally my idea.

Years ago I boarded with a BO that used an over the shoulder horse vacuum. My horse got used to being vacuumed there, and its been easy to teach to others since.

One day she put the stretchy hose on the wrong end of the vacuum and it blew instead of sucked. She had a lightbulb moment realizing she'd never have to clean a vacuum again if she just blew the dust off. :lol: Because she grooms and tacks up outside, not indoors, it works out (as long as her laundry isn't hanging to dry nearby :lol:). I learned the trick from her.

When I got my leaf blower I had a lightbulb moment. :lol:

I videoed this today, its my 32yr old, though summer coats aren't nearly as gratifying as seeing the huge clouds of dust fly out of the thick coat in winter. :D (http://s25.photobucket.com/albums/c54/buck1173/?action=view&current=79d36ae2.mp4)