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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    1,091

    Don't use Bleach

    Home owners, don't use bleach to keep your condensate drain clear, and techs, stop recommending it.

    Here's a quote from the Rheem/Ruud _HSL air handler installation instructions

    "12.2 INDOOR COIL - DRAIN PAN - DRAIN LINE
    Inspect the indoor coil once each year for cleanliness and clean as necessary. In some cases, it may be necessary to remove the filter and check the return side of the coil with a mirror and flashlight.
    IMPORTANT: Do not use caustic household drain cleaners, such as bleach, in the condensate pan or near the indoor coil. Drain cleaners will quickly damage the indoor coil."

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    N.E. Iowa
    Posts
    314
    That's a good point Rick and that's also why it isn't wise to install a furnace or air handler in a laundry area where there will be a lot of chlorine being used. The same applies for a swimming pool pump/filter room where chlorine might be stored.

    Not only is chlorine highly corrosive to evaporator coils, but it will also destroy a heat exchanger in short order because the high heat accelerates the process.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Frederick, MD
    Posts
    879

    We use

    bleach all the time, but only in the trap and condensate drain itself. never directly in the pan.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Northern VA 38 degrees N by 76 degrees W
    Posts
    5,046
    directly in trap or condensate pump will not cause any problems, it should not be sprayed on coil it will etch the aluminum

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Hammond,La.
    Posts
    1,176
    Quote Originally Posted by second opinion View Post
    directly in trap or condensate pump will not cause any problems, it should not be sprayed on coil it will etch the aluminum
    Assuming the condensate drain is constructed correctly with no traps in the line and there is a P trap installed then bleach could be used following a good dose of water to rinse. If the line is not removed an the bleach is simply poured in a clean out that is close to the AH then overflow will backwash into the pan and will sit in the P trap.

    Chlorine vapors can cause the same corrosive effects as the liquid on these coils just to a lesser extent over time rather than an almost instant oxidation from the liquid. Poorly drained condensate lines without P traps will hold the chlorine and allow the vapors to return to the coil.

    Really boils down to end user competence.
    "I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it."
    Benjamin Franklin, 1766

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    VIRGINIA
    Posts
    37
    You can use it in your condensate pump and/or EZ trap or the other trap, never inside of coil box.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Cincinnati, Oh
    Posts
    4,653
    Quote Originally Posted by Rcb2875 View Post
    Assuming the condensate drain is constructed correctly with no traps in the line and there is a P trap installed then bleach could be used following a good dose of water to rinse. If the line is not removed an the bleach is simply poured in a clean out that is close to the AH then overflow will backwash into the pan and will sit in the P trap.

    Chlorine vapors can cause the same corrosive effects as the liquid on these coils just to a lesser extent over time rather than an almost instant oxidation from the liquid. Poorly drained condensate lines without P traps will hold the chlorine and allow the vapors to return to the coil.

    Really boils down to end user competence.

    Which is why I tell customers to never use bleach. Hit it with an easy trap brush (comes with the easy trap) when you change the filters. We'll take care of the rest.
    "Better tell the sandman to stay away, because we're gonna be workin on this one all night."

    "Dude, you need more than 2 wires to a condenser to run a 2 stage heatpump."

    "Just get it done son."

    Dad adjusted

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    71
    My installer told me to use white vinegar, not bleach.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Cincinnati, Oh
    Posts
    4,653
    Quote Originally Posted by Clocker View Post
    My installer told me to use white vinegar, not bleach.
    I wouldn't use any substance.

    There's plenty of "natural" chemicals that eat copper.

    There was a post in the wall of shame awhile back, where a cook was keeping a 5 gallon bucket of tomato paste open. The return sucking in the tomato paste was killing evap coils.
    "Better tell the sandman to stay away, because we're gonna be workin on this one all night."

    "Dude, you need more than 2 wires to a condenser to run a 2 stage heatpump."

    "Just get it done son."

    Dad adjusted

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    1,091
    I'll stick with the manufacturer's recommendations....
    "Do not use caustic household drain cleaners, such as bleach, in the condensate pan or near the indoor coil. Drain cleaners will quickly damage the indoor coil."
    I think the manufacturers know. I have lots of stories about bleach. My customers know bleach will void manufacturers and labor warranties.

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