Personal Safety Masks

GET A FREE MERV-13 FILTER INSERT TO MAKE YOUR CLOTH FACE MASK(S) SAFER

Fill out the form below.

The Center for Disease Control CDC now urges us to wear cloth face masks when out in public. While better than not having a mask in those situations where ‘social distancing’ is impossible – like at the grocery store – cloth face masks do not offer much protection.

However, by adding a full-size pocket or ‘kangaroo pouch’ to a cloth face mask, MERV 13 filter material can be inserted into the pouch to provide greater protection.

This is because MERV-13 filter material is rated to capture anything in the air down to 0.3 – 1.0 micron in size.

As our way of helping our community during this Coronavirus emergency, Atlas Electrical, Air Conditioning, Refrigeration & Plumbing Services is providing this resource page to help you better protect your family with:

• A signup form (below) to receive FREE MERV-13 face mask inserts by U.S. Mail
– Limit 4 inserts per family
– While supplies last
– We’re limiting our mailings of inserts to families in our community

• Use the buttons at the top of the page to learn:
– How to make a face mask with a ‘kangaroo pouch’
– FAQ’s on mask care and MERV-13 filter material

Be safe! May God bless and protect you and your family!

Sarah Sagredo-Hammond
Co-Owner, Atlas RGV

*Warning: Unlike the filters we are providing, not all furnace filters can be used in this capacity safely. Some filters may contain fiberglass as part of the material which would be harmful to breathe through.

Get My Free Mask Insert Now!

Only Available for Starr, Hidalgo & Cameron County Texas Residents

Mask FAQ’s

Using an HVAC filter in a pocket mask FAQ’s

Note: These answers to the following questions are not meant to be the final authority on the subject. Obviously, professional grade medical masks would be the best defense today but, unfortunately, they are not available to many people. If you can obtain a professional grade mask once the supply for first responders and medical professionals is no longer an issue, we suggest you do it. However, until they become readily available, the use of a MERV 13 filter is better than other makeshift masks or simple dust masks with less of a filtering ability. To that end, the following answers are given to the best of our knowledge in hopes of helping our community better protect itself.

Q: Do these filter inserts contain fiberglass?

A: No – the filter material that we are using does not contain fiberglass. This was verified by a representative of the manufacturer.

Q: How can I get a mask made if I do not sew?

A: Below are contacts for local seamstresses who you can call to make arrangements to have masks made. If you know of any seamstresses who would like to be included on our list, have them fill out the form and check the box that says they want to be included and we will happily include them.

    Primary Contact Secondary Contact
Florea Flores Edinburg (Central) floreaflores@gmail.com 956-648-4833
Lydia Pena San Manuel/Lee 956-369-4431  
Lucy Hernandez Edinburg (North) 956-212-4629  
Adriana Cantu Pharr 956-451-3324 adrianacreations08@yahoo.com
Elda Cano Pharr 956-570-0195  
Mary Moreno Weslaco 956-463-2198  

Q: On the filter material I received there is a small, hard spot that looks like dried glue…?

A: It is glue. We are dismantling high-efficiency filters from our stock to obtain the filtering material for the community. To do this, we have to remove the glued ribbons and metal screening that keep the filter’s shape when used in a home’s air stream. We have tried to remove all these small drops of glue, however a piece may have been missed. You can carefully remove the piece or just cut the mask so that the glue spot will not be directly in front of your mouth.

Q: Should you clean and sterilize the mask after each use?

A: Yes. After using the mask in public, the mask should be cleaned or sterilized. Caution should be taken in handling the mask after use, and you should avoid touching the front of it which may be contaminated.

Since there is no plastic used in the mask, heat can be used as a sterilization method. To sterilize the mask between each use, preheat an oven to 170°F. Place the mask with the filter material still inside it on a baking sheet within the hot oven for 30 minutes or more. Viruses and germs will typically not survive temperatures on surfaces at about 150°F. Setting your oven to 170°F ensures the mask gets hot enough in the event of oven variability. Source

If you need to wash the mask, remove the filter material and hand wash. Machine washing tends to crumple the nose wire which will cause it to eventually break. The mask can be air dried or dried in a clothes dryer if there are no other clothes in the dryer that would damage the wire.

Do not use a microwave since this will not kill viruses and the mask has metal in it.

Do not use a dryer to sterilize since dryers typically only heat up to 135°F.

Q: Is there a potential that the filter material will break down and I could potentially inhale the fibers?

A: Since the material we are supplying is being taken from a high-efficiency filter media designed for furnaces and air conditioners, they are typically installed in air streams where the air has a velocity of at least 1,000 feet per minute (fpm). The velocity of most people’s breathing is only about 200-400 fpm, so the filter breaking down should not be an issue. The fact that the cotton cloth is between you and the filter should also protect you should any pieces come loose from when the material was cut or placed into the mask.

Q: I’ve read that MERV-13 filter material can trap molecules between 0.3 – 1.0 microns, however, some article state that the virus can be smaller than that?

A: Although the virus itself is said to be about 1.25 microns, so far, its verified means of travel is as a droplet nuclei. A viral nuclei is composed of the virus which is surrounded by fatty proteins and mucus. This covering is what protects it outside of a host—sort like a space suit it needs to survive once it leaves a body. This is also why heat and UV affect it, because heat dries up the mucus and fatty proteins around it causing the virus to expire. Further increasing the size of this particle, is that when expelled from the body, the viral nuclei is contained within the vapor droplets from a sneeze or cough. The viral nuclei contained within the water vapor is what the MERV 13 filter material is rated as being able to filter. You can use a higher rated MERV filter in a pocket mask if you can obtain it, however it will be harder to breathe through.

Click to View Questions

Q: Do these filter inserts contain fiberglass?

A: No – the filter material that we are using does not contain fiberglass. This was verified by a representative of the manufacturer.

Q: How can I get a mask made if I do not sew?

A: Below are contacts for local seamstresses who you can call to make arrangements to have masks made. If you know of any seamstresses who would like to be included on our list, have them fill out the form and check the box that says they want to be included and we will happily include them.

Florea Flores
Edinburg (Central)
(Primary) floreaflores@gmail.com
(Secondary) 956-648-4833

Lydia Pena
San Manuel/Lee
956-369-4431

Lucy Hernandez
Edinburg (North
956-212-4629

Adriana Cantu
Pharr
(Primary) 956-451-3324
(Secondary) adrianacreations08@yahoo.com

Elda Cano
Pharr
956-570-0195

Mary Moreno
Weslaco
956-463-2198

Q: On the filter material I received there is a small, hard spot that looks like dried glue…?

A: It is glue. We are dismantling high-efficiency filters from our stock to obtain the filtering material for the community. To do this, we have to remove the glued ribbons and metal screening that keep the filter’s shape when used in a home’s air stream. We have tried to remove all these small drops of glue, however a piece may have been missed. You can carefully remove the piece or just cut the mask so that the glue spot will not be directly in front of your mouth.

Q: Should you clean and sterilize the mask after each use?

A: Yes. After using the mask in public, the mask should be cleaned or sterilized. Caution should be taken in handling the mask after use, and you should avoid touching the front of it which may be contaminated.

Since there is no plastic used in the mask, heat can be used as a sterilization method. To sterilize the mask between each use, preheat an oven to 170°F. Place the mask with the filter material still inside it on a baking sheet within the hot oven for 30 minutes or more. Viruses and germs will typically not survive temperatures on surfaces at about 150°F. Setting your oven to 170°F ensures the mask gets hot enough in the event of oven variability. Source

If you need to wash the mask, remove the filter material and hand wash. Machine washing tends to crumple the nose wire which will cause it to eventually break. The mask can be air dried or dried in a clothes dryer if there are no other clothes in the dryer that would damage the wire.

Do not use a microwave since this will not kill viruses and the mask has metal in it.

Do not use a dryer to sterilize since dryers typically only heat up to 135°F.

Q: Is there a potential that the filter material will break down and I could potentially inhale the fibers?

A: Since the material we are supplying is being taken from a high-efficiency filter media designed for furnaces and air conditioners, they are typically installed in air streams where the air has a velocity of at least 1,000 feet per minute (fpm). The velocity of most people’s breathing is only about 200-400 fpm, so the filter breaking down should not be an issue. The fact that the cotton cloth is between you and the filter should also protect you should any pieces come loose from when the material was cut or placed into the mask.

Q: I’ve read that MERV-13 filter material can trap molecules between 0.3 – 1.0 microns, however, some article state that the virus can be smaller than that?

A: Although the virus itself is said to be about 1.25 microns, so far, its verified means of travel is as a droplet nuclei. A viral nuclei is composed of the virus which is surrounded by fatty proteins and mucus. This covering is what protects it outside of a host—sort like a space suit it needs to survive once it leaves a body. This is also why heat and UV affect it, because heat dries up the mucus and fatty proteins around it causing the virus to expire. Further increasing the size of this particle, is that when expelled from the body, the viral nuclei is contained within the vapor droplets from a sneeze or cough. The viral nuclei contained within the water vapor is what the MERV 13 filter material is rated as being able to filter. You can use a higher rated MERV filter in a pocket mask if you can obtain it, however it will be harder to breathe through.

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Atlas Electrical, Air Conditioning, Refrigeration & Plumbing Services, Inc. provides the McAllen, TX area with 24/7 electrical, HVAC, refrigeration maintenance, plumbing repair and emergency repair services. Call us today to schedule your appointment!