When you clean your gutters, you are going to be exposed to possible mold and bacteria sources because the wet and warm environment of your clogged gutters in the warm spring or fall air is the perfect place for them to grow. Even if you clean you clean your gutters regularly, you are going to encounter some of these nasty materials sooner or later. Some people are more allergic to molds than others, but to be safe, everyone should wear some kind of mask while gutter cleaning to avoid inhaling mold spores. The affects of mold exposure could range from mild cold symptoms to having trouble breathing and death.
But what kind of mask is the right kind? If you have ever tried to look for face masks online then you are familiar with the fact that there are many different types designed for many different purposes. The general school of thought is that N95 respirators are the appropriate type of mask to wear when there is a possibility of exposure to mold spores. N95 masks are sometimes called particulate respirators. The N stands for “not resistant to oil” and the 95 stands for the fact that they have a ninety five percent filter efficiency. More specifically, they will filter out ninety five percent of the particles in the air that are 0.3 microns or larger. Mold spores can be anywhere from one to one hundred microns in size so this mask should be plenty of protection.
When you wear your mask it should cover your mouth, nose, and chin completely. There are usually two elastic straps or tie straps. The lower strap should be secured at the top of your neck and the upper strap should run above your ears and then to the top of the back of your head. Once the straps are in place, there should be a good seal around the mask so that there are not any spaces where particulates can get in. Some masks will have a flexible piece of metal in the nose piece. This flexible metal should be pinched so that there is a good seal all the way down the bridge of your nose.