September 22nd, 2020


The Monster Mask

Lisa has been doing painting and also working under the house, where there is plenty of dust and potentially mold and other nasty things you don't want to inhale. In the past she has used disposable paper/cloth masks. (This is one reason we had quite a few in stock when COVID-19 hit.) However, as she's become more concerned about what she might be inhaling, we stepped it up a notch when shopping at Ace Hardware in Fallon a few months ago.

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The mask does make you look like a kind of bug-eyed monster when wearing it, but Lisa says it works really well. While spray-painting the swamp cooler, she said she couldn't smell anything, whereas I could smell it many meters away. And breathing in it, she says, is much easier than normal simple masks. OTOH, I think that's because of one-way filters in the mask, meaning that you wouldn't want to wear it for the blocking purposes of "normal" face coverings.

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While working under the house on the phone/cable wiring project a few days ago, Lisa accidentally knocked one retainer off and the particulate filter went with it. She didn't immediately find it, which set of a series of events and longish drives to try and get replacement parts.

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It's probably no surprise that there's been a run on these masks and their parts. On Saturday, misled by an inaccurate inventory system, we drove all the way to Truckee where Ace Hardware's system (and the store's own inventory) claimed that there was one of the respirators for sale. They didn't have it. They did have one pair of respirator cartridges, but none of the outer pre-filters. We also checked with Sherwin-Williams in South Reno, where we were also able to get some more cartridges, but no pre-filters.

Yesterday, we went back into Reno to a different Sherwin-Williams store, the Commercial Paint outlet. They were also out of pre-filters and cartridges, but they did have two new respirators and a sign limiting purchases to 1 per person. We only bought one. When we got home, I was able to find boxes of pre-filters available online and bought a couple of boxes of them, along with a spare pair of retainers.

Lisa also discovered that she'd accidentally installed two pre-filters initially (the respirator comes with two sets of two pre-filters), so until the replacements arrive in a few days, she can use the extra one stuffed under the bracket that didn't pop off to get her working again using the replacement cartridges.

Lisa is much happier doing this work in areas with noxious air wearing this respirator (and goggles), and I am, too.