Cleaning of the telephone lines

Poza publicata in [ Foul Language ]

The following is taken from a Telephone Subscriber News Release dated January 14, 2002. Unfortunately, it has been determined that many computer users have not received this notice; therefore, I am forwarding it to you as a public service.

As you may have heard, the telephone company has been experiencing problems lately with busy signals, noise on the line, etc. They have determined that only an emergency cleaning of the lines will resolve these problems.

This maintenance has been scheduled for next Sunday (January 24, 2002), beginning at 6:00 A.M., and lasting most of the morning hours. (Strange, they usually do this operation right at the beginning of April).


A lot of dust comes from the phones when the phone company cleans the lines. They usually send notices warning us to put plastic bags over the phones.

Telephone wires are like heater ducts, little empty tubes that carry your voices vibrations to the person youre calling. When the phone company cleans them, they send little cockroaches through them with feather dusters attached to their backs. The dust that is not picked up by the feather dusters is stirred up and comes out the little holes in the mouthpiece. Please dont take this issue lightly!

Before you allow the telephone company to clean out your phone lines, you should know that there is a serious side-effect to having the phone company blow or clean out your lines. If there is a weak spot in the insulation anywhere between the central office and your phone, it can cause an insulation break in your phone line. Through this break, solder ants can enter thus causing an infestation, especially when the insulation break is close to your house.

For the uninformed, solder ants, a close cousin to the leaf-cutter ant, crawl through the phone lines and attack the soldered connections in phone equipment, answering machines, telephones, modems, digital satellite receivers (plugged into a phone jack) and home computers, especially those using an internal modem. They eat the solder off of joints causing cold solder joints and opens. Symptoms of a solder ant infestation are the crackling and popping sounds heard on your phone, spurious reboots on your computer and wrong numbers/incomplete calls on your phone. (Remember the electrical outage that affected nearly the entire western United States several years ago? It was caused by solder ants).

Three known ways to combat this pest are as follows …

Cracks in your phone line insulation, the cause of solder ant infestations, are caused by excess slack in cables between the central office and your home. This slack causes excessive bending of the insulation on your phone lines thus causing cracks thus allowing solder ants to enter. In order to correct this, insist that the phone company pull all the slack out of your lines from the central office end. This is not widely known, but the telephone companies must do this at no charge to the subscriber requesting it. Lobbying by the companies prevented them from having to do this automatically.

Four to six inches from the device (phone, modem, etc.) tie a tight knot in the phone cord to prevent solder ants from exiting to your equipment (Make sure you loosen the knot when the lines are blown out!). This also has the added benefit of preventing lightning from destroying your equipment. It is a known fact that lightning must travel in a straight line and it cannot make it around the bends of a tight knot tied in your phone cord. This is a little known fact that companies such as APC, who make surge suppression equipment, do not want you to know.

Insist that the phone company flush your lines instead of blow them out. Chemicals contained in the flushing solution ward off solder ants and are just as effective in cleaning out your lines. The only problem is that once notified that your lines are to be flushed, you have the responsibility of unplugging all telecom devices and leaving the phone cord ends extended in to some type of bucket to capture the flushing solution. Otherwise the solution will drain all over your equipment and require professional cleaning. An environmental note: Smaller, less well-financed telcos use cheaper, older, more dangerous flushing solutions. The residue left from line flushing must be dealt with the same way you would deal with any petroleum based solvent. The easiest way to get around this is to insist that your telephone company use environmentally friendly subscriber line flushing solvents.

Warning: Do not attempt to blow out the lines yourself or try to look into a line that is being blown clean. You could destroy your phone equipment or injure yourself. It is best left to the experts. I have been in the telephone business for twenty-two years. I know what I am talking about!

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