Question on what to put in A/C condenser unit to clean out drip line...

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We have some kind of clearish, gel-like stuff growing in our drip line, and I really don't think bleach is the best thing to be dumping in my yard. Thinking if I just change the Ph a little for a while, like with vinegar or maybe even a couple pots of (cooled) tea, it might eliminate the problem. What do others use?
To be fair, the guy who works on our unit says he uses bleach every couple months, but his drip line goes to the sewer and mine doesn't. My wife mentioned the bleach idea to a building engineer where she works (40 story block-wide building in downtown Houston) and he got really serious, saying don't ever put chlorine bleacn in anything like a drip line. It will eat up anything it comes in contact with. Now, I know that chlorine is highly reactive, but is schedule 40 PVC really that fragile? If I had to I could catch the drip for a couple days...
Dave (who is uncertain at this point.)
Thanks
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Dave wrote:

Yes, use *properly diluted* bleach to sanitize the condensate line from your A/C evaporator / air handler unit. Use a pipe snake to clean the built up gunk out of the line first. If your condensate line runs outside and you are concerned about killing the grass, put a bucket under the line when you do the sanitizer flush. Properly diluted bleach sanitizer will definitely not harm PVC pipes.
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Aah. Diluted bleach solution. That sounds more plausible. The A/C guy we have been using just said to pour some bleach into where the line joins with the condensor unit. Sooo... At what ratio should I dilute standard Clorox bleach to get properly diluted bleach solution? Should I look for a particular Ph?
Many, many thanks.
Dave
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I just poor a small amount of bleach in mine and then flush it with a water hose. Not really rocket science.
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Dave wrote:

The dilution details are printed on the label of the bleach bottle. 3/4 cup bleach to 1 gal water is the strongest solution listed and is certainly diluted enough not to harm PVC pipe or even a galvanized condensate drip pan.
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Well I will be damned. The lable does indeed have such instructions. Thank you Pete. I do appreciate your patience and persistance. Now I just have to install the fitting that will let me introduce the bleach solution. But you have helped dispell some myths and misgivings which were based on unsound reasoning.
Take it easy...
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SNIP>>>>

condensate drip pan via what was previously the location of a humidifier. At the beginning of every summer season I remove the cover plate and pour a mixture of bleach and water in the pan ....don't ask since I never measure it........well, maybe it's approx a 3 parts water/1 part bleach....... I use at least 3-4 qts and/or keep pouring until I see a steady, fast drip out the (outdoor) drain line. Based on the "never had a problem" results, it does the job. MLD
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picket fence, the part that gets little sunlight (and some of the pickets were 25 years old)**. It didnt' seem to be working so I tried again with either 1:1 mixtuer or maybe plain bleach. Of course I was aiming at the pickets, but it didn't seem to do any harm to the grass it dripped on.
**But it worked. The pickets are good now, have another 10 years in them or more.
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Why not just flush it with a water hose instead of using a snake that most people don't even own? Works for me, and that is the way it is done when I have my AC serviced.
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On Tue, 29 Jun 2010 14:04:14 -0500, Dave wrote:

Vinegar will kill grass. The tea might be a good idea. Buy some PH test strips and find out the PH of the gel-like stuff then decide what to use.
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Just for fun, pour 1/2 cup bleach on some grass where it won't bother you. Pour 1/2 cup vinegar on a nearby spot. I don't *know* what will happen, but my money is on neither will kill the grass-- but I think it is more likely that the vinegar will.
Chlorine kills real simple organisms like algae-- it isn't so bad for more complex things like grass.

If what you have is PVC, the 'building engineer' is nuts. [or every bottle of bleach would say 'don't use if your drain is PVC] If there is rubber somewhere he *might* have a point, but I doubt it.
Jim
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wrote:

My lawn irrigation is 3/4 PVC. Municipal water has Chlorine. Same with pool plumbing. They ain't dead yet :-/
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Oren wrote:

chloramine is usually used instead of chlorine now.
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Jim Elbrecht wrote:

Agree. The real problem is if someone pours undiluted bleach into a galvanized steel condensate pan, it will corrode and eat the galvanizing (zinc) and start the pan rusting badly.
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Dave wrote:

Are you sure?
Many times there are TWO drip lines: The regular one goes to the sainitary stack so the condensate ends up in the sewer. Then there's a second line from the pan under the evaporator unit that fills when the first line becomes clogged.
You should clean both.
There are also biocide tablets you can drop in the evaporator to kill algae for an extend period.
Me? I just dump a cup of bleach right out of the bottle into the evaporator unit tray. I don't care if it kills the grass - any grass worth a hoot will grow back.
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Or, the weeds will take over the dead grass zone. No problem.
I've never had a problem with bleach.
--
Christopher A. Young
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Dave wrote:

I've poured straight bleach in the plastic pan to get rid of an odor it had. No problem, just rinse it good with lot's of water after first letting it sit for 5 or 10 minutes. (the evaporator was lifted 1/2" sitting on a couple plastic bottle caps, because bleach is really tough on aluminum) The spot in the yard where it comes out will die so if you like, catch the bleach in something. Once it's dilluted with water from rinsing, it won't hurt anything. I have since found a nozzle with a valve for the garden hose that fits into the drain hole. Now and then it gets a good flush using the garden hose at full force.
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Yea right never use bleach the "building engineer" moron says, Tell that to everyone that uses bleach in drains and never have and never will have an issue, and kill the grass, so you think vinegar is better, just use the bleach it kills what living in there.
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ransley wrote:

You don't NEED much. Isn't the formula for purifying water with bleach something like 8 drops per gallon? ("A pint per drop and you're ready to hop")
I just slather a cup or so and call it good. (The outside cats who drink from the overflow pipe go "Yuk!")
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On 6/29/2010 2:04 PM, Dave wrote:

The gel is probably yeast. I see it in restaurant ice machines when I clean them, if you bake your own bread on occasion that may be the source. Ask your HVAC repairman if he could install a time release detergent/biocide pad/strip in the evaporator drain pan. It will release the chemicals slowly over a long period of time keeping the drain clear and any odor down. Here's an example:
http://www.appliancepartscompany.com/xcart/product.php?productid55990
TDD
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