I Should Have Opted For More Horsepower

By Rick Ropelewski

I’m not referring to a new automobile but rather leaf blowers.  When we moved to our current house we had to upgrade our lawn equipment and buy a leaf blower.  A bigger yard and some huge trees dictated the change.  Never having used a leaf blower before I opted for an electronic model; trying to be more environmentally friendly and figuring there would be less maintenance as well.  When I asked the clerk at the hardware store about the hassle of dragging around the extension cord he asked how big our yard was and immediately dismissed the extension cord as an issue.

I either severely misstated the size of our yard or that clerk loved to schlep extension cords around in his free time.  Also, I did not realize the volume of leaves we had until I was trying to move the mountain of leaves to one corner of our yard, not taking into account some sort of wind tunnel or vortex that blew all the leaves on the street to our yard.  More than once I contemplated apologizing to my rake and going back to the ‘old school’ method as I regretted purchasing the blower model that felt like an oversized hair dryer.

I’m not sure which was worse: dragging around the extension cord with the inevitable snags / stopping to untangle the cord, or moving the leaves at such a painfully slow rate that I thought I’d never finish the task.  The equipment was not that expensive but I could not justify purchasing a new piece of equipment when the current blower was only a few years old.

Last year during a particularly wet Fall I was trying to move a much heavier, soggy pile of leaves and I was thinking that I needed to cancel all weekend plans as the task at hand was even worse than usual.  Then inexplicably, miraculously, the blower stopped working.  Thinking that I had once again tangled the cord on some bush I traced all the way back to the outlet to discover that the cord was still plugged in.  I checked the circuit breaker and the fuse had not blown.  I plugged in another device in the same outlet and it worked.  Ecstatic, I thought about trying to repair the item for about two seconds, and immediately rationalized purchasing a new leaf blower.

I actually went to the hardware store looking forward to the errand.  One gas-powered leaf blower later – a model with just about the maximum horsepower rating – and I look forward to clearing out the lawn every year.  An electronic model may be right for you depending on the size of your yard, but I strongly encourage anyone purchasing the equipment to buy a model toward the higher end of the horsepower spectrum.

The author of this article is Rick Ropelewski, Wealth Manager at US Wealth Management