Air conditioners are a major investment for homeowners. If you have an efficient model that was properly installed, and keep up with maintaining your unit, your HVAC system should last well over 15 years. It's rare that we come across too many cases of ants in people's AC units, but these tiny insects can cause some big problems.
When ants choose to set up residence in your HVAC unit they often form a contact bridge between two electrical points. (the contactors pictured below)
This results in their electrocution and the subsequent release of distress pheromones. What does this mean?
When an ant is in trouble it will send off "alarm pheromones" that tell any ant in the vicinity, "Danger! Prepare for an attack!" A fried ant will burst their scent glands, so they are sending all their signals at once, including the alarm scents. This tells the other ants to "attack" and so they swarm and all die as well, creating a huge backup of ant bodies in the contactors, or inside the unit.
They also have been known to create issues with the unit's wires, like this:
Though this is rare, what is important to keep in mind, is to perform regular maintenance on your system to prevent an infestation like this one. Another great way to help, besides maintenance and keeping your unit clean, is to spray bug repellent or sprinkle poison around the house and outdoor unit. Never spray directly into your AC unit, unless the poison is specifically designed for the inside of a system.
These little critters rarely cause a need for concern (unless you haven't looked at your outdoor unit or touched it in quite some time). But our next pest? Cuter than you think and creates way more damage than these little guys.
Who do we mean? We'll give you a hint.
They're cute, they're fluffy, they're in a lot of people's homes, they're─
Pets are some of the costliest creatures that a homeowner can have. More often than not, we see the most damage created by dogs. Though chewing through wires can be something you might need to worry about, the biggest thing─ is urine. Dogs especially like to mark ac units, but cats can add a bit of their own scent.
Can be an extreme case, this can happen over time if you leave your outdoor unit open to your pet. We suggest building a small fence around the unit like this, however: