Ants in outside GFCI box....plese don't hurt yourslf laughing....

I have a 12 ga, grounded line (black, white and green conductors) in 3/4 inch metal conduit buried about 3 feet deep that goes out of the garage to a point in the back yard about 40 feet from the house, where it comes up, again in conduit, and goes into a metal all weather box with hinged, gasketed cover. GFCI outlet in box. Has worked fine for 30 years, since I moved in here in 1977.
Line originates at a 20 amp dedicated breaker at the main panel in the garage, runs as 12 ga romex to a point in the garage wall where it exits into a box and then goes down through conduit into the ground, out to the GFCI box.
Plug in the leaf blower yesterday and no juice. Figure I need to test and reset the GFCI. Buttons on the GFCI won't move. Neither the red "test" nor black "reset" button can be pressed in. Tiny tiny ants all around the GFCI and the box. I think the box has become an nest/ colony.
The breaker at the main panel has not repeat not tripped.
Anybody ever run into this sort of thing?
I can spray the ants, kill the breaker and pull the GFCI and really clean the box and spray it and the top 8 - 10 inches of the conduit with Raid or some such.
But, Raid and insulation on the wire in the conduit? Any known effect? (I really do not want to do the old stand by of pouring boiling water on the ants around a 20 amp circuit thank you, even one on which I've killed the breaker.)
Also, being cheap, I'd rather not have to replace the GFCI device, and would like to remove it and blow it clean with high pressure air. Any thoughts on other methods to clean the interior of the GFCI device?
Ain't home ownership fun? The work never ceases.
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I run into this constantly. I've never tried to salvage the receptacle though. From my experience, the ants come in from an open pipe . Minimum two conduits are required for an outlet stubbed up out of the ground, one has the wiring in it, which is sometimes just a short sleeve, and the other just a support stub. The ants find the open pipe and walk right in. Generally I shoot silicone into the pipes from the inside of the box to keep future ants out

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RBM wrote:

The box that the GFCI is in is attached to a 4"'x4" post. No second conduit. Des[pite my inherent cheapness, I'm thinking junk the GFCI device. GFCIs are in out side outlets for a *reason* and its just slightly important that they actually function when needed. I mean, after all its *just* an electrocution hazard, potentially my life, etc. <G>
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important
Get serious.
A LOT of other things have to "go wrong" before the GFCI is in place to "save" your life.
If you really depend upon a GFCI to "save your life" then you should be testing it monthly (including an occasional test with an external "fault simulator.")
All that said, they don't last forever. For my money the "expected lifetime" is about 10 years. That means that in a typical home, you will be replacing one or two of them each year.
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John Gilmer wrote:

Are you just vision impaired and didn't see the fraggin' <G> in the post? Or are you humor impaired so that you saw the fraggin' <G> in the post, you were incapable of understanding it?

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replying to jJim McLaughlin, Sean Parker wrote: Dude - chill out - never seen <G> before - means nothing.
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contact cleaner. It has no risidual effect but is effective.

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On Sun, 20 May 2007 12:44:38 -0700, jJim McLaughlin

Heavy rain recently? They seek shelter - high and dry..
Consider also sealing the face plate on the edges of the GFCI.
You are not serious this is the same GFCI device for thirty years?
-- Oren
"I don't have anything against work. I just figure, why deprive somebody who really loves it."
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Oren wrote:
MUCH SNIPPED

Actually we've had a relativey dry spring for Willamette Valley / western Oregon.

Yeah, some good clear silicon may be a very good idea.

Actually, its only 27 years. Since 1980. Seriously.

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Replace it. Seriously.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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On Sun, 20 May 2007 15:29:26 -0700, jJim McLaughlin
Would a lawyer call this an "attractive nuisance", seriously!
Test your out-door GFCI - frequently.. -- Oren
"I don't have anything against work. I just figure, why deprive somebody who really loves it."
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Oren wrote:

It gets tested, but not as rigorously as the ones in the kitche, the workshop or the three bathrooms.
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jJim McLaughlin wrote:

Place either a gel bait around or a dust(non conductive) in the electrical box to get rid of the ants...very common to find them there.
Lar
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I'm suprized that a GFI would last that long outside.
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Autopsy on the GFCI and the ants......
I did the RAID spray Monday, 21 May.
Replaced the GFCI todya with a visually similar Leviton unit, 20 amp.
New unit has those fraggin' back clamp, not back stab connectors as well as the screw terminals. Used the screw terminals of course.
New unit has cutesy green pilot light. New unit made in China.
Old Leviton unit had only screw terminals. So old it was Made in USA. Old unit had no pilot light.
Used high pressure air to blow old unit clean of surface piles of very dead ants. Lots of dead ant. Had to clean out the exterior box the same way.
Put old unit ina vise, opened the four tiny Phillips screws in the back, popped off the two plactic "clamshell" type covers. Lots, lots more dead ants inside clamshell, under PC board and generally every where. cleaned it all, reassembled, the "Test" and "Reset" buttons push in fine now, and pop back out as they should.
Thought about mounting in in a box and using and old three wire to check to see if it sill functions. Thought better odf that and just tossed the old unit.
Interesting experience with the ants.
jJim McLaughlin wrote:

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That post was 9 years ago!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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On 07/09/2016 09:21 PM, snipped-for-privacy@att.net wrote:

Since 7 years ago, all ant species have become extinct, so they are of no interest to most people.
--
Despite what the majority seem to think, death is not a reset button.

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