With spring in full swing and summer not too far off, many homeowners are starting to have issues with ants around the home. Despite the fact that most homeowners strive to keep their home pest free, ants usually find a way in. In some cases, ants may use the outdoor components of an HVAC system as a way to invade a home, as they’re often attracted to electrical currents. This sort of invasion is more than a simple nuisance—it can cause the entire HVAC system to stop working if too many dead ants accumulate in the outdoor components. If you notice any ant mounds near your air conditioner, try out some of these tactics to keep the ants away.
Boric acid is one of the most effective chemical solutions that are available when it comes to getting rid of ants. Boric acid is extremely effective because its granules have the ability to stick to insects such as ants, who carry the poison back to the nest. This means that sprinkling boric acid around your air conditioner can actually help to kill an entire colony. However, health experts suggest that you shouldn’t try this method if pets or animals have access to the area around your unit. Even though boric acid is safer than various commercially available chemicals, it cannot be ingested or inhaled. In the interest of safety, make sure to wear eye protection and wash your hands thoroughly after applying boric acid.
When it comes to using a 100% non-toxic solution, chalk is surprisingly effective. Applying chalk can prove to be ideal if other methods prove to be too dangerous or harmful for children or pets. Ants rely on scent trails in order for them to move from point A to point B. This means that anything that disrupts the scent trial, such as chalk, will cause them to stop temporarily. However, it’s worth noting that the ants may create a new scent trail over the chalk line eventually. Therefore, you will have to create new chalk lines from time to time.
Most bugs hate the smell of spearmint and peppermint. In fact, gardeners typically grow peppermint and spearmint in their gardens to keep insects away from their plants. One of the ways you can keep ants away from the HVAC unit is to sprinkle dried peppermint flakes around your unit. If the weather permits it, an even more effective solution would be to plant peppermint or spearmint plants around your unit. Just make sure to not plant them too close to the unit, as that can disrupt its ventilation.
In some cases, a food or water source within close proximity of your unit may be attracting the ants in the first place. To combat this, make sure to remove any food and water sources if they are close to your unit. In addition, remove any traces of food and ant scent by wiping the surrounding area with water and soap. Just be sure to avoid pouring soapy water into the unit, and use a spray bottle to disperse the solution so that it covers all scent traces.
Pesticides are very effective at killing and deterring insects. In today’s market, a consumer can get an ant pesticide which doubles up as an ant repellent that can keep them at bay for weeks at a time. The Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology proclaims that today’s ant pesticides are much safer than they used to be, but they still need to be handled carefully. Therefore, make sure that you avoid using pesticides on clothing, upholstery and other sensitive items.
While there are lots of options when it comes to deterring ants from invading your HVAC system, not all of them are safe for children or pets. Boric acid and pesticides in particular are toxic to ingest and can irritate the eyes, nose and skin. If this is a concern for your home, then peppermint and chalk are your best bets for non-toxic solutions. No matter which ant repellant you go with, you’ll be preventing potentially serious HVAC problems while keeping pests out of your home at the same time.
If you’re experiencing any issues with your air conditioner because of ants (or any other reason!), we’re here for you. Contact the experts at AirOne Heating and Air Conditioning and we’ll have a technician help you out.