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  • Last modified 1218 days ago (July 16, 2015)

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Battling nature once again

This past weekend I was reminded of something I bet not many of you have ever considered. I learned about ants and their activities. In addition to crawling around in kitchen cupboards and areas of food concentration, ants also can make a mess of various household utility systems. It is true.

I actually ran across this issue the first time several years ago when suddenly one day in early fall, the house seemed a bit chilly. Adjusting the furnace thermostat brought no results. About the same time, I noticed there was no hot water for washing dishes.

Goodness, did I forget to pay the gas bill? A call to our local natural gas guy brought him to the gas meter in the backyard, where he discovered the meter was clogged by ants — hundreds of them. He said it was not an unusual phenomenon. A couple of hundred ants scuttling around in a gas meter were capable of gumming up the works.

He installed a new unit, and I have had no trouble since.

On Sunday, the hottest day so far in 2015, I could hear the central air conditioning unit running, but it certainly did not feel cool in my house. The fan on the unit was running, but it was not cooling. I turned on a couple of fans, jiggled the thermostat, and called someone I thought might know what kind of a problem I had. His advice was to find a person with more knowledge than he had.

Good advice — I called someone late in the day, hoping to make an appointment for Monday, but he responded in short order. He had me manipulate the thermostat while he looked at all the innards of the central air unit.

Soon he appeared at the door with a small plug-in type apparatus. He said the item in his hand had been covered with dead ants. When the air conditioner was running, they would stay away from the plug-in thing, but when it cycled off, they would start crawling over it again. When it clicked on again it fried all the ants that were on it. Eventually the ant bodies piled up and the message to “cool the house” could not get from the thermostat to the air conditioner.

That is probably an over-simplified explanation, but the message is to watch for those simple little insects. Who would think they would even want to be in a gas meter or a roaring air conditioning unit? It seems they would be better served marching to a picnic somewhere.

However, then I wouldn’t have had anything to write about this week, would I?

— SUSAN MARSHALL

Last modified July 16, 2015

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