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I am thinking about wearing a respirator in crawlspaces, but never have. It sounds like most of you are wearing respirators in crawlspaces from posts I have read. I am pretty thick headed- can anyone give me a good reason, or better yet horror stories from not wearing a respirator.

Maybe we could start a poll on how many inspectors go with/ without a respirator.

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Jeezow, get one right now. A good one. At minimum, a half face job, or better yet, a full face model.

Fit is critical. There's different sizes; you have to try them to see which size you need. If you've got a beard, cut it off. (Sorry, but they don't work w/beards.)

Get a bunch of G101 filters; they're asbestos/radon daughter grade.

Don't wiener out w/one of those cheesey white 3M disposables; I have some research that shows those things aren't as good as a large wet handkerchief wrapped around your face.

Horror stories? How about breathing rat excrement dust for a half hour? Or, coming out of the hole and blowing brown snot out your nose for several hours?

I do some stupid stuff, but there's no way in blue blazes I'm going in a hole w/out my respirator. (and head sock, coveralls, gloves, shoe booties, etc...)

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Bill's post was a wake-up for me, as well. I now own two of the respirators he recommended. A caution to new users: It doesn't take long, but you have to get used to the slight resistance of the diaphrams as air is drawn and pushed through them. The first time I wore a respirator in an attic, I was certain I was hyperventilating and feared I'd pass out and fall through the ceiling.

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I use a full face, I think the brand is 3-M. It has the two "Pancake" filters on each side. I think the mask cost around $100 or so several years back and the filters go for about $6-$8 for a pair. Full face is warm in the summer but it keeps all of the crud out of your eyes. If you get a good one, they will not fog.

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Jeez, Brandon,

You'd better thank someone for the fact you haven't gotten sick. About a year ago, I talked to a lady at the Washington State Dept. of Agriculture after some folks not far from here caught hantavirus. She told me that roughly 10% of the "rats" in this area are actually deer mice and that roughly 10% of the deer mice that they've tested carry hantavirus. You're not too far down the road. If it's here, it's probably there too. Get a mask NOW!

OT - OF!!!

M.

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I was thinking about ducking when I sent out the post.....

I have resisted buying one because I am concerned with the mask getting in my way. I am sure you all have to jam your faces in the dirt-- any problems with the mask popping off ? Any other problems with them?

I will say that since I have been inspecting homes, I have gone home after an inspection and felt terrible several times and wondered what I was exposed to.

Regarding the full face ones. I have not looked, but any mask I have ever worn has fogged up on me. These would be benificial to me on those nasty crawlspaces with insulation hanging all over--the crap hurts me eyes. -- Jim K-- any problems with your full face one to this point?

A caution to new users: It doesn't take long, but you have to get used to the slight resistance of the diaphrams as air is drawn and pushed through them. The first time I wore a respirator in an attic, I was certain I was hyperventilating and feared I'd pass out and fall through the ceiling.

Any different than SCUBA/SCBA equipment?

Thanks guys.

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Very similar to scuba, Brandon, but with less effort. The first time I strapped on an air tank and slipped into the ocean, breathing was all I could think about because it had suddenly become something that required effort. I'm sure there's some sort of evolutionary advantage to freaking out a little when breathing patterns are altered. But you soon become accustomed to it and don't even think about it. The same is true of the respirator. It's different, so it feels a little weird at first, but your mind and lungs adapt pretty quickly.

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Originally posted by Bain

I'm sure there's some sort of evolutionary advantage to freaking out a little when breathing patterns are altered. But you soon become accustomed to it and don't even think about it. The same is true of the respirator. It's different, so it feels a little weird at first, but your mind and lungs adapt pretty quickly.

I can vouch for that. I have sleep apnea. An overnight sleep study showed that I stopped breathing over 450 times. On a second night, they fitted me with a mask and CPAP machine, which is a blower that forces a continuous positive air pressure into the mask. That first time they waited until I was asleep to turn it on, and then slowly increased the pressure. When I woke up that morning, I instantly went into panic mode. I can't breath! Something's wrong with this thing! I ripped the mask off my face and breathed in some air. Just then the tech asked through the intercom "do you want to end the study now?" It turned out that nothing had gone wrong at all.

I got used to breathing through that thing in no time. It has several "ramp up" modes, where is slowly increases pressure over time, but I stopped using it after a week and just turned it on full at the start. What's really strange, is if the power goes out during the night, it wakes me up because not having the pressure seems abnormal.

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Hi Joe,

I have sleep apnea too and I wear one of those things. When they tested me they had me wakig up an average of 59 times an hour. I still only sleep 4 hours a night but now I'm really sleeping.

Anyway, back to Brandon's question. I wear a simple $45 respirator with P100 filters. I'd love to purchase a full face mask with a blower though. Every time they have a mask test in one of my woodworking magazines, the testing guys seem to love those the most. They completely cover your face and chin and have an integral helmet and they've got a little blower that pulls fresh air in through a filter and blows it into the mask, keeping it crystal clear and cool.

Kind of steep though, I think the last time I looked they were in the $350 to $400 range.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Originally posted by Brandon Whitmore

I was thinking about ducking when I sent out the post.....

I have resisted buying one because I am concerned with the mask getting in my way. I am sure you all have to jam your faces in the dirt-- any problems with the mask popping off ? Any other problems with them?

Nope. The full face version I use has a strap around the back of my head with 5 attachment points. Doesn't come off unless I take it off. I never feel like the mask is in the way.

I will say that since I have been inspecting homes, I have gone home after an inspection and felt terrible several times and wondered what I was exposed to.

Regarding the full face ones. I have not looked, but any mask I have ever worn has fogged up on me. These would be benificial to me on those nasty crawlspaces with insulation hanging all over--the crap hurts me eyes. -- Jim K-- any problems with your full face one to this point?

I've been using mine for 6 years now. The visor is getting quite scratched up. I got some plastic polish at Tap but I haven't tried to polish it up yet. If that doesn't work, I'll just buy another mask. The visors are nearly as expensive as the mask. Other than that, no, I've had no problems. The full-face mask is a critical part of my crawlspace attire.

A caution to new users: It doesn't take long, but you have to get used to the slight resistance of the diaphrams as air is drawn and pushed through them. The first time I wore a respirator in an attic, I was certain I was hyperventilating and feared I'd pass out and fall through the ceiling.

Any different than SCUBA/SCBA equipment?

Thanks guys.

I've never worn SCUBA equipment, but the full-face mask never gave me a moment's pause.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by Scottpat

Another benifit is that they also filter the stench that we come across from time to time in or under a home.

They sure do!

Last week I did a crawl that was so rank with rats that my mask picked up the odor of rat urine. I made the mistake of leaving the mask in the car overnight and the next day the whole car reeked of rat urine. I hung the mask out on the knob on my ladder in the bed of the truck on the way to the job and then wiped it down with baby wipes when I got there. From now on, it's staying out there hanging in the breeze on that ladder.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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