Author Topic: Suburban Noise Pollution  (Read 5604 times)

Kott308

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Suburban Noise Pollution
« on: May 05, 2018, 12:14:44 PM »
I recently moved from a huge metropolitan spot in the US to the suburbs of New Jersey, and I'm very happy with this decision except for one major dilemma: My days are constantly disrupted by some dullard in my neighborhood that is running a leaf blower, piloting a zero turn mower, or finding some other way to care for their lawn in the loudest possible way.

Whether I'm trying to read, watch 'The Crown', or take a nap, I'm constantly disrupted by the 'REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE' of some god-awful small engine. This goes on for all daylight hours now that spring has sprung. Besides their reliance on this awful machines (or their contracting of lawn care companies who use them), my neighbors all seem swell. I'm the new guy in the neighborhood and I'm worried about starting some unnecessary trouble by trying to tell my neighbors to ditch all these machines.

Do I:

Approach them and and try to bring up the fact that I own an electric lawn mower and trimmer and am completely satisfied with both the job they do and the fact that I can have a conversation with my wife while mowing the lawn?

Try and push for a local ordinance to curb the use of gas-powered lawn equipment and/or encourage the use of battery powered alternatives?

Put in my earplugs and push on?

My entire neighborhood is small, 1/4 acre lots that were divided up and built in the 1950's. I don't understand how someone could spend an hour running a leaf blower to get the grass clippings off of their driveway. It takes me 5 minutes with a push broom.

BlueMR2

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2018, 02:02:31 PM »
Feel free to try, but I doubt you'll make much headway convincing them to do otherwise.

I have a neighbor with a riding mower and a lawn just slightly larger than mine.  Somehow I can do my whole lawn faster with my reel mower than they can do theirs with the rider.  Can't figure that one out.  I think they must just like the sound of those small engine.  I guess I understand.  I hate small engines like the type used for lawncare, but love the sound of 4 cylinder inline motorcycle engines...

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2018, 02:35:36 PM »
You might persuade a few homeowners that do their own lawn care.  The professionals depend on being able to run an engine all day and won't likely even hear you out.  Most of my neighbors use a service.  I honestly don't much notice.  The guy with the race-Mustang with glass packs that rumbles everyone's windows while driving around the neighborhood at 10mph for hours on end is another story.  The constables have made it clear there really isn't anything that can be done.
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BudgetSlasher

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2018, 07:49:14 PM »
You can try, but you'll likely end up being known as "that neighbor" who is preachy/new guy who wants to change things.

Depending on where you live, it might be less frequent in a little bit. Here there is a flurry of activity when spring first sets in as a result of dealing with the branches and dead fall from winter.

Also, you'll probably adapt. It's just a different kind of noise pollution than what is common in the city.

Poundwise

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2018, 08:44:50 PM »
The solution to leaf blowers and snow blowers is Mustachian teens with rakes and shovels! 

My son has been getting some traction with his little lawn care business but his range is limited to how far he can walk with his tools because I don't want to drive him around... do enough of that for his sports, etc.

Maybe if you post a job listing at the local high school, you might help some young entrepreneurs get started. And the more successful they are, the more other teens will imitate them.  And once rake/shovel services are available, some of your neighbors may hire them.

Sibley

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2018, 09:45:50 PM »
If I had a neighbor move in and then started harassing me about my lawn equipment, I've have one of 2 responses: shut the hell up and get off my property, or if you don't like it then you can buy all brand new stuff, followed by shut the hell up and get off my property. Don't say anything, because you will be out of line.

My neighborhood has a big mix of stuff. A lot of my stuff I got used, and beggars can't be choosers - my lawn mower is gas, and I picked up a big fancy gas edger for $15. I don't have a leaf blower and generally rake, but I will need to borrow one to blow leaves out of some areas that I can't rake.

Just choose quieter options for yourself, and if the topic comes up in conversation you can casually share your experiences. My neighbors with electric mowers are pretty open about some of the downsides - they aren't perfect.

FINate

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2018, 11:22:39 PM »
Could be worse. Houses are packed close together in my neighborhood and almost every morning, early like 5am, the neighbors closest to us have super loud sexy time. I mean they really go for it. During the warm months they do it with the windows open. We've learned to keep our windows closed at night along that wall because we don't want to be woken up early. Sometimes they also manage to squeeze in an afternoon delight. I seriously don't understand how anyone can go after it so often. DW and I just laugh about it and have taken to reviewing them: "Oh, that was a good one" or "that sounded painful" or whatever.

You live in the suburbs, there's going to be... you know... suburb sounds. Be thankful that your neighbors give a damn and take care of their property, and don't expect everyone to change around you.

Reminds me of growing up in the sticks when city folks would move in and get upset that people run chainsaws, ride motorcycles, and shoot guns. What did they expect, a national park? People actual live and play (and love) in real life.

« Last Edit: May 05, 2018, 11:27:13 PM by FINate »

Freedomin5

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2018, 12:59:34 AM »
#3. Put on earplugs/headphones and move on.

#1 is snarky. If someone said that to me, I would say, "That's great. Then you go ahead and use your electric mower and trimmer. If you want, feel free to cut my grass for me as well if you don't like the equipment I use."

#2 -- You can try, but if it was bothering all the other neighbors that much, don't you think they would have already tried to curb it?


And yes, it could be worse. You could live in a place with absolutely no insulation. I'm currently listening to the upstairs neighbor flush their toilet, the neighbors to our right sizzling something on the stove, and the ones on the left have visitors and are having a good conversation in Shanghainese.



bluebelle

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2018, 11:03:29 AM »
I really want to believe that you're posting "tongue in cheek" and you don't seriously think you have the right to dictate how others live their life....but I fear you're serious......If you didn't sit and listen to the neighborhood before you moved in, it's entirely your problem, not your neighbors.  It's like buying a house beside an airport or busy street and complaining about the noise.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2018, 11:11:02 AM »
Nothing you can do really, without seeming like a jerk. I relate, I do. It sucks. But that's just part of the suburban reality. Fewer rattling shopping carts and nighttime screaming matches outside my window, far more leaf blowers.

The one thing that *has* seemed rather successful is our buying an electric mower. I happily mow the lawn, in spite of being the only woman in the neighborhood I've ever seen doing so. We've had several neighbors approach my husband and ask how he "gets me" to mow. He always just credits the ease of the electric lawnmower (true: I hate gas mowers and would likely take this chore less if we had one), and so far TWO neighbors on our street have made the switch within the last year. They are way, way quieter. And don't smell.

Welcome to the suburbs ;)
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madgeylou

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2018, 11:26:10 AM »
I donít think thereís much you can do about it, but you have my sympathy. I vastly prefer the sounds of the city to the bullshit non-stop home improvement sounds of the suburbs.

TheWifeHalf

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2018, 01:13:20 PM »
I really want to believe that you're posting "tongue in cheek" and you don't seriously think you have the right to dictate how others live their life....but I fear you're serious......If you didn't sit and listen to the neighborhood before you moved in, it's entirely your problem, not your neighbors.  It's like buying a house beside an airport or busy street and complaining about the noise.

+1

I live in the country, but in a small town. The lots are an acre or above. IMO, If you chose to live there, you should try to fit in.  Or move to a place where the houses are not so close together.  Just as living in the country means we have to deal with a few things.

Out here, we get, what I call 'city people' that think the country has no dog laws. If I see their dog not in their yard, and worse, in mine,  and it's a common occurrence, I call the dog warden. They just get a warning the first time, so are told there are laws. (the first couple of times, I have a leash, and take the dog home.)

patchyfacialhair

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2018, 12:35:46 PM »
This reads like a troll post. But I'll respond:

If my neighbor asked me to not use my hand-me-down gas mower or my electric edger or electric hedge trimmer (all are loud), because they make too much noise, I'd probably ask them to repeat themselves a few times.

You know, why don't you do that. Read your own post out loud, OP, and see if it still seems reasonable.

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Sibley

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2018, 01:03:08 PM »
This reads like a troll post. But I'll respond:

If my neighbor asked me to not use my hand-me-down gas mower or my electric edger or electric hedge trimmer (all are loud), because they make too much noise, I'd probably ask them to repeat themselves a few times.

You know, why don't you do that. Read your own post out loud, OP, and see if it still seems reasonable.

I leave my neighbors alone, and they leave me alone. It's the American dream!

I've got a great idea. I really want OP to move to my block. Then he/she can say such thing to my next door neighbor, who really loves to do gardening first thing in the morning. As in, 5am sometimes. Though she does wait until 7am to turn on the noisy tools.

It would be amusing to have her target someone else with her crazy!

ketchup

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2018, 01:17:03 PM »
Yeah, I don't think you can really do anything about this.  I'm in the suburbs too.  Loud-ass lawnmowers all weekend are somehow acceptable, but our next door neighbor will call Animal Control on us if one of our dogs barks outside for more than 10 seconds.

GuitarStv

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2018, 01:46:25 PM »
People are often dicks about things because they're not really thinking of others.  If what they're doing is unusual, I've found that simply walking up to the person who is doing the offending thing in a reasonable and friendly manner and politely asking them to stop usually works.  If what they're doing is pretty normal, then grit your teeth and bear it.  Just because car alarms and leaf blowers should be illegal doesn't mean that they are.
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Poundwise

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2018, 04:01:52 PM »
Leafblowers are banned in my metro community, though many break the law.  I hate the noise, but understand that landscapers do business this way these days.

Maybe you could join some town committee and persuade people to limit gas leafblower/lawnmower use to only a few days a week. Quieter options like electric machines or hand tools would be allowed every day.

KTG

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2018, 06:54:18 AM »
I recently moved from a huge metropolitan spot in the US to the suburbs of New Jersey, and I'm very happy with this decision except for one major dilemma: My days are constantly disrupted by some dullard in my neighborhood that is running a leaf blower, piloting a zero turn mower, or finding some other way to care for their lawn in the loudest possible way.

I think you are screwed. In my neighborhood, there kind of is this unspoken rule not to cut the grass on the weekends before 9am or later. I typically do not start till 10am. The early mornings should be quiet. There have been a few instances when I had to leave the house early and passed a lawn crew working on someone's yard at 7am(!) and I was surprised. They are a ways down the street and I have never heard them, but if that was happening next to my house, I would probably strangle them with their trimmer. Everyone should be able to sleep in on the weekends.

But after 10ish, peeps should be able to do what they need to do. You'll get use to the noise. Besides, I would take the noise from cutting the lawns over city noise like sirens, helicopters, loud music, and all that other crap.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2018, 07:04:10 AM »
Leafblowers are banned in my metro community, though many break the law.  I hate the noise, but understand that landscapers do business this way these days.

Maybe you could join some town committee and persuade people to limit gas leafblower/lawnmower use to only a few days a week. Quieter options like electric machines or hand tools would be allowed every day.

...where is this? 99% sure if I tell my husband somewhere banned leaf blowers, he'll want to move there.
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oldmannickels

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2018, 07:11:53 AM »

Whether I'm trying to read, watch 'The Crown', or take a nap, I'm constantly disrupted by the 'REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE' of some god-awful small engine. This goes on for all daylight hours now that spring has sprung. Besides their reliance on this awful machines (or their contracting of lawn care companies who use them), my neighbors all seem swell. I'm the new guy in the neighborhood and I'm worried about starting some unnecessary trouble by trying to tell my neighbors to ditch all these machines.


Wow, I mean they are definitely trying to piss you off. Start leaving passive aggressive notes on their cars with vague details of consequences.

Vegasgirl

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #20 on: May 08, 2018, 08:01:10 AM »
I have the same problem as OP.  My 70+ year old neighbor uses the blower every day rain or shine !! He's out there blowing leaves, grass, whatever.  He actually blows the sidewalk cracks out and blows his deck dry after it rains !! It is so freaking annoying but he's doing this during daylight hours so there's no law against that.   A couple years ago DH and I were visiting friends in Germany and they told us that it is the law there - no power tools on Sundays so there is at least one quiet day per week.

GuitarStv

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #21 on: May 08, 2018, 08:04:58 AM »
I recently moved from a huge metropolitan spot in the US to the suburbs of New Jersey, and I'm very happy with this decision except for one major dilemma: My days are constantly disrupted by some dullard in my neighborhood that is running a leaf blower, piloting a zero turn mower, or finding some other way to care for their lawn in the loudest possible way.

I think you are screwed. In my neighborhood, there kind of is this unspoken rule not to cut the grass on the weekends before 9am or later. I typically do not start till 10am. The early mornings should be quiet. There have been a few instances when I had to leave the house early and passed a lawn crew working on someone's yard at 7am(!) and I was surprised. They are a ways down the street and I have never heard them, but if that was happening next to my house, I would probably strangle them with their trimmer. Everyone should be able to sleep in on the weekends.

But after 10ish, peeps should be able to do what they need to do. You'll get use to the noise. Besides, I would take the noise from cutting the lawns over city noise like sirens, helicopters, loud music, and all that other crap.

I suspect that a large part of the problem just comes down to people not sleeping at the same times.

I usually have to get up at 6 am . . . which means that I'm in bed by 10 most nights.  Many people don't get up until 9 or 10, which means that they're up until midnight or 1.  I don't like it when they're making loud noise after I've gone to bed, and they don't like it when I'm making loud noise first thing in the morning.

It all works out when everyone remembers that other people have different sleeping schedules and acts accordingly.
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Poundwise

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #22 on: May 08, 2018, 08:10:27 AM »
Leafblowers are banned in my metro community, though many break the law.  I hate the noise, but understand that landscapers do business this way these days.

Maybe you could join some town committee and persuade people to limit gas leafblower/lawnmower use to only a few days a week. Quieter options like electric machines or hand tools would be allowed every day.

...where is this? 99% sure if I tell my husband somewhere banned leaf blowers, he'll want to move there.

Heh heh!  We are in NY state within 90 minutes of NYC. You would be a wonderful addition to our community, but too crowded and expensive here as it is.  It's silly to run a leafblower or snowblower on quarter acre lots, but there are a lot of scofflaws.  Hence I think it would be more effective to simply designate Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays as power tool days, rather than an outright ban.  If there were a way to encourage people to go electric or simply start raking or shoveling again, that would be great too.

LaineyAZ

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #23 on: May 08, 2018, 08:25:18 AM »
Have to add that as much as people rant against HOAs, they can be useful in circumstances like this.  Our HOA has a time restriction on noise (think noisy parties, outdoor construction, loud landscaper tools, etc.) which people generally follow.  Makes our little close-in suburb fairly quiet.

On the other hand, having lived in a major city and visiting/vacationing in major cities, I could never understand how people could stand the constant high noise level.  NYC, The City That Never Sleeps, is a prime example.  I wake up groggy from lack of deep sleep, and my hosts who live there can't understand why I kept waking up - they'd ask me, what noise?  Seems like if you live someplace long enough you don't even hear it anymore, literally. 

Syonyk

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #24 on: May 08, 2018, 07:00:31 PM »
I recently moved from a huge metropolitan spot in the US to the suburbs of New Jersey, and I'm very happy with this decision except for...

...

I'm the new guy in the neighborhood and I'm worried about starting some unnecessary trouble by trying to tell my neighbors to ditch all these machines.

Yeah.  You'd be that guy if you tried to get everyone else to quiet down their lawn equipment to please the new guy who just moved in.

In general, if you move to a new area, it's good to try and accept that the area is what it is, and you're unlikely to make major changes.  If you try, people get quite upset with you.  Witness basically the entire rest of the country dealing with Californians who leave California because they can't afford it, and then immediately try to turn their new area into California.  The people in said "new area" tend to be quite happy with their lower cost of living and generally higher, by their standards, quality of life, and aren't a fan of the intruders who then try to make it exactly what they left.  If you left it, perhaps consider trying something different?

Put ear plugs in.  At best, use electric stuff on your lawn and answer questions if people ask.  Trying to get other people to spend a lot of money to buy an inferior product to keep you happy isn't going to go over well.  Electrics do some things well, but the ongoing battery cost (or extension cord cost as you run over them) isn't ideal for a lot of people.  Though, to be fair, I'm more used to working a few acres, and electrics don't do it for me.  Even though I rebuild battery packs for a living.
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Just Joe

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #25 on: May 11, 2018, 02:07:51 PM »
Have to add that as much as people rant against HOAs, they can be useful in circumstances like this.  Our HOA has a time restriction on noise (think noisy parties, outdoor construction, loud landscaper tools, etc.) which people generally follow.  Makes our little close-in suburb fairly quiet.

On the other hand, having lived in a major city and visiting/vacationing in major cities, I could never understand how people could stand the constant high noise level.  NYC, The City That Never Sleeps, is a prime example.  I wake up groggy from lack of deep sleep, and my hosts who live there can't understand why I kept waking up - they'd ask me, what noise?  Seems like if you live someplace long enough you don't even hear it anymore, literally.

So how would a person replace their roof or siding in this HOA paradise? ;)

Richie Poor

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #26 on: May 11, 2018, 03:01:57 PM »
It may not be applicable to your house but if you have old windows maybe replacing them would help. I replaced the original windows on my 1950's house for energy savings but the sound dampening has been an unexpected benefit. My neighbor's driveway isn't far from my living room and I used to hear the car door shut every evening very vividly. Now it's either too quiet to hear it or at least quiet enough to get my attention. I'm not sure if it is because I bought really nice windows or because my old windows were so bad.

LaineyAZ

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #27 on: May 11, 2018, 06:15:51 PM »
Have to add that as much as people rant against HOAs, they can be useful in circumstances like this.  Our HOA has a time restriction on noise (think noisy parties, outdoor construction, loud landscaper tools, etc.) which people generally follow.  Makes our little close-in suburb fairly quiet.

On the other hand, having lived in a major city and visiting/vacationing in major cities, I could never understand how people could stand the constant high noise level.  NYC, The City That Never Sleeps, is a prime example.  I wake up groggy from lack of deep sleep, and my hosts who live there can't understand why I kept waking up - they'd ask me, what noise?  Seems like if you live someplace long enough you don't even hear it anymore, literally.

So how would a person replace their roof or siding in this HOA paradise? ;)

Beyond the HOA, I believe the City has noise ordinances as well.  My neighbor about 5 houses down the street just had his roof replaced.  No activity started until 7 am and like most construction they quit about mid-afternoon.  Since most people are leaving for work/working during those hours most neighbors weren't even around.  Whole thing only took a few days.  New roofs or new siding happen every 15-20 years - way different than an incessantly barking dog, or weekend loud drunk partiers. 


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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #28 on: May 13, 2018, 06:48:22 PM »
I suspect that a large part of the problem just comes down to people not sleeping at the same times.

I usually have to get up at 6 am . . . which means that I'm in bed by 10 most nights.  Many people don't get up until 9 or 10, which means that they're up until midnight or 1.  I don't like it when they're making loud noise after I've gone to bed, and they don't like it when I'm making loud noise first thing in the morning.

It all works out when everyone remembers that other people have different sleeping schedules and acts accordingly.

Except for those of us who work night shifts.

I never find myself very compassionate about people who complain about noise during the day, when they're awake. I'd love it to be quiet enough for me to sleep too, but ain't gonna happen.

It's worse when it's deliberate though, like the delivery guy who banged on my house, right beside the "night duty nurse sleeping, please do not disturb" sign. On my bedroom window. Yelling "I know you're there, I can hear the air conditioner running!".


BudgetSlasher

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #29 on: May 13, 2018, 07:04:19 PM »
It may not be applicable to your house but if you have old windows maybe replacing them would help. I replaced the original windows on my 1950's house for energy savings but the sound dampening has been an unexpected benefit. My neighbor's driveway isn't far from my living room and I used to hear the car door shut every evening very vividly. Now it's either too quiet to hear it or at least quiet enough to get my attention. I'm not sure if it is because I bought really nice windows or because my old windows were so bad.

Even without replacing the windows some of the thermal/blackout curtains also cut down on sound coming through the window. 

Sibley

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #30 on: May 15, 2018, 12:37:20 PM »
I suspect that a large part of the problem just comes down to people not sleeping at the same times.

I usually have to get up at 6 am . . . which means that I'm in bed by 10 most nights.  Many people don't get up until 9 or 10, which means that they're up until midnight or 1.  I don't like it when they're making loud noise after I've gone to bed, and they don't like it when I'm making loud noise first thing in the morning.

It all works out when everyone remembers that other people have different sleeping schedules and acts accordingly.

Except for those of us who work night shifts.

I never find myself very compassionate about people who complain about noise during the day, when they're awake. I'd love it to be quiet enough for me to sleep too, but ain't gonna happen.

It's worse when it's deliberate though, like the delivery guy who banged on my house, right beside the "night duty nurse sleeping, please do not disturb" sign. On my bedroom window. Yelling "I know you're there, I can hear the air conditioner running!".

Seriously? I'd be calling the company and complaining about that behavior. For that matter, if its hot enough for me to turn on the a/c, I'm leaving it on. Idiot.

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #31 on: May 15, 2018, 01:47:13 PM »
I have an electric leaf blower that runs off cordless drill batteries, and I have a big backpack leaf blower hand me down from a relative who no longer needed it.  The electric does okay for small jobs like blowing out the garage, but for bigger jobs like blowing clumps of just-mowed grass off the sidewalk back into the lawn, or blowing leaves out of landscaping it works like shit.  Yeah, I could use a broom or a rake, but why take a lot longer to do the job my leaf blower does in less than 5 minutes?  I manually rake my lawn, but I challenge anyone to get the ash leaves out of my landscaping beds where they are stuck in hydrangea and evergreen bushes without either A) a leaf blower or B) manually plucking each individual leaf from the bush.  No thanks.  And I never use the blower before 10AM on the weekend (pretty much never at all during the week). 

I will look into an electric mower (to match my battery-powered weed wacker) for my small lot when the time comes to replace mine, but my 10 year old Honda-engined mower shows no sign of dying any time soon.
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robartsd

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #32 on: May 15, 2018, 04:16:21 PM »
Leafblowers are banned in my metro community, though many break the law.  I hate the noise, but understand that landscapers do business this way these days.

Maybe you could join some town committee and persuade people to limit gas leafblower/lawnmower use to only a few days a week. Quieter options like electric machines or hand tools would be allowed every day.

...where is this? 99% sure if I tell my husband somewhere banned leaf blowers, he'll want to move there.
Several Aspen, CO and several cities in Southern California and the San Francisco Bay area have some bans on gas leaf blowers. https://batchgeo.com/map/7bccdf24a445eb7ad578e47bb180ea2f

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #33 on: May 15, 2018, 04:29:33 PM »
Leafblowers are banned in my metro community, though many break the law.  I hate the noise, but understand that landscapers do business this way these days.

Maybe you could join some town committee and persuade people to limit gas leafblower/lawnmower use to only a few days a week. Quieter options like electric machines or hand tools would be allowed every day.

...where is this? 99% sure if I tell my husband somewhere banned leaf blowers, he'll want to move there.
Several Aspen, CO and several cities in Southern California and the San Francisco Bay area have some bans on gas leaf blowers. https://batchgeo.com/map/7bccdf24a445eb7ad578e47bb180ea2f

Oh dear god. It's like the map SUMMONED him. I had it open and he walked in and asked about it, haha. If he ever decides to move to a high earning area, 99% odds leaf blowers weigh in the decision now. Thank you... I think. =P
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DreamFIRE

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #34 on: May 16, 2018, 03:42:26 PM »
I read this thread from work earlier and was surprised to see the comments about leaf blowers.  I couldn't remember seeing anyone around my neighborhood using one in recent years.   I came home for lunch today, which I rarely do, but after eating lunch, I walked out the front door, and there was a woman with a gas engine leaf blower!  Figure the odds.  I hadn't heard it in my house, despite the fact that it was quiet in here.   The only time there is a rider mower near-by is when someone has hired out some lawn work, so that's usually not a big deal.

My most significant noise complaints in my neighborhood include the low frequency rumble of passing freight trains (about a 1/2 mile away), neighbor's dog barking, neighbor's push mower (particularly the neighbors on both sides of my house,) and the car with the thumping subwoofer which can be a block or more away, and occasionally a basketball bouncing in the neighbor's driveway or less often used power equipment like a weed wacker or chainsaw.  I've never once noticed a snowblower running while home (except mine).

Ear plugs are pretty much useless against the train rumble and subwoofer sounds because they don't help much with those very low frequency sounds, and can actually make them even more annoying since the natural environmental sounds are the ones that get masked out most leaving only the low rumble and some "ringing in the ears" behind.  In fact, I've found the opposite to be more effective, actually adding additional sounds to mask those low frequency sounds, or a combination of both blocking and masking (IEM's with music, closed cans with music.)  Fortunately, some light music or TV sound is enough to mask most things while in the house.  Only when the neighbors' lawnmower is mowing near my side of their houses does that get to a level that I can still hear it easily over the TV or music.

As others have mentioned, this still beats the excessive noise of the more urban areas, with more cars, loud exhausts, more subwoofers thumping, music playing, horns blowing, screeching tires, sirens, people yelling, people yapping on cell phones.  My suburban living seems pretty quiet by comparison - and very peaceful the majority of the time.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2018, 06:43:58 PM by DreamFIRE »

robartsd

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #35 on: May 17, 2018, 08:34:51 AM »
neighbor's push mower
I'm assuming that you mean a walk behind gas mower, not a human powered push reel mower.

DreamFIRE

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #36 on: May 17, 2018, 06:42:58 PM »
neighbor's push mower
I'm assuming that you mean a walk behind gas mower, not a human powered push reel mower.

Yeah, the neighbors on both sides of me have gasoline engine push mowers.  Most of the others near-by probably are also, but they aren't close enough that I notice when I'm in the house.

One of my neighbors hires out his mowing when he's gone half the summer, but the guy who mows it has a big rider and really flies back and forth taking large swaths, so he gets it done pretty quickly.  I think it's louder, but it doesn't last as long.

GuitarStv

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #37 on: May 18, 2018, 10:05:20 AM »
One of the nicest things about electric mowers is that you don't need to wear ear protection when using them.  You can use them earlier in the morning without bothering anyone, there's just the whir of the blades, no roar of an engine.
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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #38 on: May 18, 2018, 10:43:06 AM »
Suburbia comes with it's own set of idiotic rules. Spending a lot of time/money maintaining grass is one of them, and you're not going to accomplish anything by complaining. Best you can do is set a good example - either xeriscape the place, or use nice quiet/efficient tools.

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #39 on: May 22, 2018, 08:30:27 PM »
Tell me about it, I live in Montclair and the leaf blowers drive me crazy. Literally. Iíve been wasting money in therapy to deal with it and have been attending the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction classes at Ramapo College in hopes of finding a way to cope. Itís maddening. I used to live in the country where nobody would ever even think of doing anything with the leaves, then moved to LA where leaf blowers are banned and then wham... this crap. To top it off, pool season is starting up so my neighbors have been using pressure washers (much louder than mine, which shuts off the engine when there is no demand). One neighbor started multiple pressure washers before 8am this weekend. Arrghhh!!!!!! If it wasnít for my kids in school, Iíd move back to the country and buy 10 acres to have peace and quiet.

I gave in yesterday and bought a drone, I had one before and I know how loud they are, plus one if my leaf blowing and pressure washing neighbors doesnít like the sound. I can always sell in on eBay for a 15% loss if he offers me a deal to stop using it on Memorial Day weeekend.

BookLoverL

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #40 on: May 23, 2018, 10:28:01 AM »
I live in the countryside, so I rarely experience leaf blowers, but you can add me to the list of people who don't understand why they exist. Like, really, what is the problem with leaving your grass cuttings and leaves on the lawn/vegetable bed/flower bed to decompose and add nutrients to the soil? And even if they're on the pavement, I actually think autumn leaves on the pavement would be scenic (and also tempting to jump in if you are a small child or easily amused). Do leaves make people fall over or something? If that's the problem, then I despair for the general agility of humanity...
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Bracken_Joy

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #41 on: May 23, 2018, 10:38:54 AM »
I live in the countryside, so I rarely experience leaf blowers, but you can add me to the list of people who don't understand why they exist. Like, really, what is the problem with leaving your grass cuttings and leaves on the lawn/vegetable bed/flower bed to decompose and add nutrients to the soil? And even if they're on the pavement, I actually think autumn leaves on the pavement would be scenic (and also tempting to jump in if you are a small child or easily amused). Do leaves make people fall over or something? If that's the problem, then I despair for the general agility of humanity...

PNW leaves on concrete are a huge issue. With all the rain, they create a gooey slick that's really easy to fall on. And I'm a young, very athletic person.

Still, I wish people would just RAKE them instead. Or, just use the leaf blowers in the fall when a ton are on the ground, and not for the stupid "blow 3 piece of bark back into the planter" way they're used so often.
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Chris22

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #42 on: May 23, 2018, 10:59:39 AM »
I live in the countryside, so I rarely experience leaf blowers, but you can add me to the list of people who don't understand why they exist. Like, really, what is the problem with leaving your grass cuttings and leaves on the lawn/vegetable bed/flower bed to decompose and add nutrients to the soil? And even if they're on the pavement, I actually think autumn leaves on the pavement would be scenic (and also tempting to jump in if you are a small child or easily amused). Do leaves make people fall over or something? If that's the problem, then I despair for the general agility of humanity...

I have several large trees on my property and adjacent to it.  Left unraked, you'd have ankle or knee high leaves on the lawn.  That's not the kind of volume that will just decompose and go away. 
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dougules

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #43 on: May 23, 2018, 11:02:42 AM »
I think the noise of small engines is an inescapable part of suburbia.  You have to use motorized equipment to take care of all the extra area.  Electric equipment getting better may improve things, but it really doesn't change the fact that you have more space than you can take care of with human power. 

Poundwise

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #44 on: May 23, 2018, 08:14:47 PM »
I live in the countryside, so I rarely experience leaf blowers, but you can add me to the list of people who don't understand why they exist. Like, really, what is the problem with leaving your grass cuttings and leaves on the lawn/vegetable bed/flower bed to decompose and add nutrients to the soil? And even if they're on the pavement, I actually think autumn leaves on the pavement would be scenic (and also tempting to jump in if you are a small child or easily amused). Do leaves make people fall over or something? If that's the problem, then I despair for the general agility of humanity...

I have several large trees on my property and adjacent to it.  Left unraked, you'd have ankle or knee high leaves on the lawn.  That's not the kind of volume that will just decompose and go away.

We have close to a dozen mature oak trees on less than a quarter acre. It's crazy.  We rake most of the leaves into a long pile against a small cliff, where we wish the soil was deeper anyway.  The pile is edged with stones to look like a planting bed. I planted perennials in the leaves and it doesn't look too bad (to me). Extra leaves on the lawn get mulched in with our electric mower.  Not a perfect system, but I think our yard looks pretty good in a foresty, naturalized kind of way, especially in the spring when we have dozens of clumps of daffodils nodding among the leaves. We also planted ramps and they seem to be coming up weakly two years in a row, though I don't know if they are going to make it.

BudgetSlasher

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #45 on: May 23, 2018, 08:21:22 PM »

I have several large trees on my property and adjacent to it.  Left unraked, you'd have ankle or knee high leaves on the lawn.  That's not the kind of volume that will just decompose and go away.

Really? That must be why every forest has piles of leaves up to the tree tops, since year after year the leafs don't decompose.

I've had large trees and acres of trees, some of which would pile up shin deep. A little bit of snow will pack down foliage quickly and the forested acres have very rich soil. Never has it remained shin deep in the spring.

Of course, that scenario will result in a ground cover of duff and not the a manicured green lawn that seems to required in suburbia. Alternatively, mowing those leaves with the grass greatly reduces the volume, but can result in thatching at times.

Chris22

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #46 on: May 23, 2018, 08:28:20 PM »

I have several large trees on my property and adjacent to it.  Left unraked, you'd have ankle or knee high leaves on the lawn.  That's not the kind of volume that will just decompose and go away.

Quote
Really? That must be why every forest has piles of leaves up to the tree tops, since year after year the leafs don't decompose.

I've had large trees and acres of trees, some of which would pile up shin deep. A little bit of snow will pack down foliage quickly and the forested acres have very rich soil. Never has it remained shin deep in the spring.

Of course, that scenario will result in a ground cover of duff and not the a manicured green lawn that seems to required in suburbia. Alternatively, mowing those leaves with the grass greatly reduces the volume, but can result in thatching at times.

Oh come on. Yes, leaves decompose, but they donít decompose down to nothing, youíll have leaf coverage year round, just like in most forests.  Thatís unacceptable to most people, and municipalities.
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Poundwise

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #47 on: May 24, 2018, 02:02:40 PM »

I have several large trees on my property and adjacent to it.  Left unraked, you'd have ankle or knee high leaves on the lawn.  That's not the kind of volume that will just decompose and go away.

Quote
Really? That must be why every forest has piles of leaves up to the tree tops, since year after year the leafs don't decompose.

I've had large trees and acres of trees, some of which would pile up shin deep. A little bit of snow will pack down foliage quickly and the forested acres have very rich soil. Never has it remained shin deep in the spring.

Of course, that scenario will result in a ground cover of duff and not the a manicured green lawn that seems to required in suburbia. Alternatively, mowing those leaves with the grass greatly reduces the volume, but can result in thatching at times.

Oh come on. Yes, leaves decompose, but they don’t decompose down to nothing, you’ll have leaf coverage year round, just like in most forests.  That’s unacceptable to most people, and municipalities.

From my experience, you're both right.  The leaves do pack down and break down, and also I think the land sinks a bit. Could it be due to decades of tree roots sucking up material? The land under our trees is considerably sunken relative to the curb.  Also when I mulch the leaves, a pile the size of a lawn bag really shrinks down amazingly... barely visible. But even a 2 inch layer of mulched leaves is hard for the grass to push through. It's not a great look if you want a lawn.  That's why we rake most of the leaves to one side, and only mulch about the amount the grass can handle. I should post a photo.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2018, 06:57:18 PM by Poundwise »

sokoloff

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #48 on: May 24, 2018, 02:39:23 PM »
I read this thread from work earlier and was surprised to see the comments about leaf blowers.  I couldn't remember seeing anyone around my neighborhood using one in recent years.   I came home for lunch today, which I rarely do, but after eating lunch, I walked out the front door, and there was a woman with a gas engine leaf blower!  Figure the odds.  I hadn't heard it in my house, despite the fact that it was quiet in here.
Possibly just Baader-Meinhof phenomenon (where previously you might not have noticed it [since you couldn't hear from in the house], but now that it's been mentioned, you start noticing them more).

DreamFIRE

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Re: Suburban Noise Pollution
« Reply #49 on: May 24, 2018, 04:27:34 PM »
I read this thread from work earlier and was surprised to see the comments about leaf blowers.  I couldn't remember seeing anyone around my neighborhood using one in recent years.   I came home for lunch today, which I rarely do, but after eating lunch, I walked out the front door, and there was a woman with a gas engine leaf blower!  Figure the odds.  I hadn't heard it in my house, despite the fact that it was quiet in here.
Possibly just Baader-Meinhof phenomenon (where previously you might not have noticed it [since you couldn't hear from in the house], but now that it's been mentioned, you start noticing them more).

I usually don't come home for lunch.  It's been a full week now, no more leaf blowers, just a lawn mower here and there.  Neighbor must have used his weed wacker while I was at work, though.  He likes to kill the grass with it.  Most annoying sounds in my neighborhood continue to be the gas lawn mowers (particularly next door neighbors), the rumble from a passing train in the distance, the occasional car subwoofer thumping in the neighborhood, the neighbor's dog barking from time to time, and the kids a couple houses down playing basketball once in a while.  I don't always notice these, and some are blocked out and/or masked out when I'm inside.  For the most part, things are pretty quiet around here.