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Thread: Ants Shorting Out Breakers

  1. #11
    Registered User Airgasm's Avatar
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    Experienced five, (when ants attack) incidents in my Heat Pump outside unit since having it installed 1 1/2 years ago. The first couple of times the HVAC Co. fixed through replacing the compressor relay, the rest I've gone in and taken the contacts out of the relay, cleaned and re-installed.

    The little ####s, jump from vegetation around the power supply cable, march-up the cable and right into the relay (240Vac). They tend to congregate on the contacts and eventually provide enough ant guts to keep the contacts from engaging. Sealed as well as I can around the cable entrance with plumbers putty and spread granular ant bait around the area.

    I've done some searches on why the ants are attracted to the relay. Some suggest the EMF around the contacts to the high voltage and current? .

    In your case, sounds as if they are climbing via the power cables from ground level or down from the overhead? Try and determine which cable they are moving on and seal the box cable entrance. Do they attack a particular breaker?
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  2. #12
    I bowl overhand itsbob's Avatar
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    Set a dress code for your breaker box..



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  3. #13
    I bowl overhand itsbob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Airgasm View Post
    Experienced five, (when ants attack) incidents in my Heat Pump outside unit since having it installed 1 1/2 years ago. The first couple of times the HVAC Co. fixed through replacing the compressor relay, the rest I've gone in and taken the contacts out of the relay, cleaned and re-installed.

    The little ####s, jump from vegetation around the power supply cable, march-up the cable and right into the relay (240Vac). They tend to congregate on the contacts and eventually provide enough ant guts to keep the contacts from engaging. Sealed as well as I can around the cable entrance with plumbers putty and spread granular ant bait around the area.

    I've done some searches on why the ants are attracted to the relay. Some suggest the EMF around the contacts to the high voltage and current? .

    In your case, sounds as if they are climbing via the power cables from ground level or down from the overhead? Try and determine which cable they are moving on and seal the box cable entrance. Do they attack a particular breaker?
    Would Dielectric grease maintain the contacts and keep the ant guts out??
    Nero played the fiddle, Obama danced the Tango.

    Quote Originally Posted by BadGirl
    Bob is the bestest lookin and smartest man I've ever met.

  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by itsbob View Post
    Would Dielectric grease maintain the contacts and keep the ant guts out??
    No.. contacts are designed to be self cleaning, when they make contact they slide against each other. All lube of any kind will do is hold material on the contacts and cause even more issues.
    And the last thing you should ever use to clean contacts with is sandpaper or a file. You use polishing paper / cloth that's designed to clean and polish contacts.
    It's common place for people to do it, but all that's done is to cut grooves in the contact for more garbage to sit and shortly it will start the arcing problem again.
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  5. #15
    This will take care of your ants for a couple of decades.

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    Proud to be a cereal comma user.

  6. #16
    Registered User PeoplesElbow's Avatar
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    If the panel stays dry inside you could try diatomaceous earth inside, ants will not walk over it because it is like shards of glass to them and shreads their exoskeleton.

    First I would seal the panel with some silicone caulking though.
    If what I say offends you then you really don't want to hear what I keep to myself.

  7. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by black dog View Post
    No.. contacts are designed to be self cleaning, when they make contact they slide against each other. All lube of any kind will do is hold material on the contacts and cause even more issues.
    And the last thing you should ever use to clean contacts with is sandpaper or a file. You use polishing paper / cloth that's designed to clean and polish contacts.
    It's common place for people to do it, but all that's done is to cut grooves in the contact for more garbage to sit and shortly it will start the arcing problem again.
    That is true for contactors, not panelboard breakers. Siemens and Square D actually puts dielectric grease on some breakers from the factory. Prevents oxygen off the contact to bus bars, preventing corrosion.

    That being said, I would hesitate to add any insulating compound to an area you want good contact between two metals.
    Crybaby Cripplecrow Hanging on a Monkey's Toe Club

  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by black dog View Post
    This will take care of your ants for a couple of decades.

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    Has this been illegal since about 1975?

  9. 08-21-2017, 10:59 PM

  10. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by softtouch View Post
    Has this been illegal since about 1975?
    I know they banned it 1988 for sale in the US.
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