How often do you need to run a bleach and water solution through the condensate drain lines (of a heat pump) to keep the bacteria away?
What are the recommended parts (e.g. 1 part bleach, 10 part water)?
I tend to pour a cup of bleach down the line once a month. Without that at least in Florida you WILL get an algae backup in the line, which if you have bad overflow sensor can cause all kinds of fun water problems.
If it is already blocked, just pour the bleach and let it sit. Eventually enough algae will die and the block will clear itself out.
Based on the comments, I think you are talking about the condensation line from the air handler.
For the condensate, you shouldn't need to worry about bacteria. It's not like you are drinking from it, and it doesn't form a pool of stagnant water in your system (unless it is plugged).
You do need to worry if the condensation line gets plugged up, however. If so, it will back up and flood your basement/attic (wherever the air handler is installed). On a humid day, the system can extract quite a bit of water from the air. You don't want that on your basement floor.
The water that drips through the lines is condensation, and therefore very clean. The water won't have any crud in it to deposit in the line. (Unless your air handler is filled with dirty air, then you have bigger problems.)
Depending on where the other end of the condensation line leads, this might be a more likely entry point for dirt/scum. If it is outside near the ground, mud could splash into it, bugs could crawl into it, etc.
Probably the easiest thing to do would be to attach a Shop Vac to the far end of the line and let it suck. You could also use an air compressor to blow out the line from the inside.
Another option would be to pour some diluted drain cleaner (Draino) into the line, and then flush it out with the hose. Make sure you flush it throughly. You don't want the cleaner to sit in there and eat the pipe.
Cleaning the condensate line shouldn't need to be done often. Once a year at most. Most people probably never clean theirs.
It only really needs to be cleaned if it becomes blocked or restricted, if you notice a build up of algae or other such grossness you can flush the line with a 16/1 water bleach mix (making sure you clear the blockage first). After the water bleach mix I would flush the line again with straight water a day or two later, just to make sure the bleach and whatever it cleans is cleared out.
As for how often. It really depends on your situation, keep an eye on it and if it starts to build up flush it again before it becomes blocked. If you find yourself cleaning it often (more than once a year), you may want to do some investigation to find the underlying cause.
I moved into a new house in upper Florida, almost to the Alabama border and when I had problems with my air conditioner I called someone to come out to fix it. The maintenance guy told me I should be running 1 cup of straight bleach through my PVC pipe that goes to the air conditioner monthly.
From an A/C engineer....
Personally I would never pour bleach into any part of an a/c system. You can purchase antibacterial coil cleaning solutions specifically designed to do the job. The heat exchanger is formed from copper and coated with aluminium fins, these can be corroded in harsh environments like near the sea side, even environments where vinegar is present. I dread to think what damage bleach will cause..
Pay the experts to do what they do best.
From experience in dealing with customers who try and save a few pennys by doing everything on the cheap, it always ends up costing alot more in the long run.
Don't be so mean...................................