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Old 07-27-2015, 02:19 PM   #1
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Fresh water tank has sewer odor

We just returned from a 30 day trip in the Windjammer and when we went up to check it in storage last night found the fresh water has a definite sewer odor and taste. Currently the fresh water tank is about 2/3 full and we are going to drain and sanitize the system per the owner's manual in the next day or two to clear it out.

My question is: has anyone had this happen before? Perhaps we filled the tank with some less-than-perfect potable water while out on the road and two weeks of sitting in the Texas heat has helped it "bloom" into something special? Is there a way that the gray/black water tanks could cross-contaminate the fresh water holding tank?
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Old 07-27-2015, 02:23 PM   #2
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Could the smell be more of a sulfur smell? Bacteria in the water heater can cause a rotten egg smell.
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Old 07-28-2015, 11:36 AM   #3
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Odor in fresh water tank

We drained the fresh water tank last night at the storage lot. I used the water pump to pump out the lines as best we could. As we are at home base now we are filling up the tank again on Friday and adding 3 each 1/4 cups of bleach to the tank per FR owner's manual; then we are heading to a camp ground for the weekend and will dump the tank that afternoon and refill with fresh water again to see what happens. I pulled the drain on the hot water heater so dump that water also, thanks for the idea karrun.
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Old 07-28-2015, 12:47 PM   #4
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Good luck. I've never heard of the black water backing up into the potable water,so hourly you are good.
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Old 07-28-2015, 12:57 PM   #5
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It is very possible that somewhere the water you used to fill the water tank had some sulfur or nitrates ( not unusual especially if well water). The bacteria and heat can convert nitrates into SO2 . Tank sterilization should fix it .
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Old 07-28-2015, 01:30 PM   #6
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We had been camping using city water connections and not using the fresh storage tank, until we pulled into a KOA in Wa Keeney, KS. We decided to fill the tank for the next leg of the trip and then didn't use any of it. I also think the water perhaps wasn't as chlorinated, or did have some sulfur as suggested, and now that it has sat in the tank for 3 weeks in 100 degree Texas weather, it has created some issues. I think we will make it a habit to drain and flush the tanks of "foreign" water after each trip. We had not had a problem using local water in the tanks in the past.
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Old 07-28-2015, 01:54 PM   #7
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I have a standard culligan whole house filter set up with GHT threads on each end and loaded with a taste odor sediment filter. Any water going into the TT whether in the potable tank or city water connection goes through it. I use it even when I have to refill my "jerry" cans for the inevitable extra water needed on a long weekend
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Old 07-28-2015, 02:01 PM   #8
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Pre-filter

Jeff64, that sounds like a good idea. I have an in-line filter in the trailer but not one to use when I fill the fresh water tanks. The trailer filter is pretty much just for the chunky stuff and doesn't seem to help with taste. Thanks for the idea.
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Old 07-28-2015, 02:08 PM   #9
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We had this happen once in our Windjammer as well. I had left some fresh water in the tank and it sat between trips in extreme heat. I don't remember the product but when we realized our issue on our next camping trip we ran to a local trailer dealer. He sold us some additive that cleared it right up. I now drain all fresh water at the end of each trip and pull the drain on the hot water tank once home after each trip.

Having a lot of relatives in the Hays to Wakeeney Kansas area--not the best water sources out there with all the limestone and minerals in the ground. Probably didn't help your cause any.
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Old 07-28-2015, 02:23 PM   #10
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The key is to drain after every trip. leaving water in Hot Texas climate will do the water in a heart beat. Same goes for the hot water heater drain them or you are just asking for more Oder issues. I have never had an issue by following these rules. Later RJD
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Old 07-28-2015, 02:24 PM   #11
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I drain FW tank, lines and WH after every trip. Very simple and prevents lots of issues down the road.
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Old 07-29-2015, 08:19 AM   #12
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Related to draining the WH, I did that last night since we won't be camping for about a month by pulling the anode. Surprised at the amount of water that came out. After only having the camper two months, I was also surprised by the amount of hard water deposits on the anode. Is there some way to clean this to prolong the life, or should I just leave it be? Are they expensive to replace?
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Old 07-29-2015, 08:26 AM   #13
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Sacrificial Anodes

Quote:
Originally Posted by karrun View Post
Related to draining the WH, I did that last night since we won't be camping for about a month by pulling the anode. Surprised at the amount of water that came out. After only having the camper two months, I was also surprised by the amount of hard water deposits on the anode. Is there some way to clean this to prolong the life, or should I just leave it be? Are they expensive to replace?
Karrun, they do what they do to protect the rest of the system. They are actually called "sacrificial anodes", and yes mine was really pitiful looking also after camping one year. Depending on the model of WH, they list at Camping World between $13 and $20 each. I will be checking mine again when I drain this time and may need to replace it if all of the anode material is gone.
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Old 07-29-2015, 08:40 AM   #14
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I've also found that I needed to drain my HW tank or it will go south with smell in the heat. I drain our HW tank if we aren't going to use it for a few weeks and I also open the low point drains and let all the water lines drain down.
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Old 07-29-2015, 02:28 PM   #15
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We never drink the water from the taps.. I was at a trailer park and the camp host told me to fill my filter housing with bleach , about a cup to sterilize the city water pipes .. Works really quickly..


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Old 07-29-2015, 08:11 PM   #16
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Check your anode in your HWH. I had filled the fresh water system with well water from our home. The water we used to clean the unit stunk. I tried bleach without any results. So I checked the HWH. When I pulled the anode out, I flushed the system without results, but I really noticed the anode stunk. I sterilized the HWH and replaced the anode and Voila! No more smell. I believe the key is the minerals in our well water caused this issue.
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Old 07-29-2015, 09:28 PM   #17
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I was going to pull it tonight when we were at the storage but couldn't find my 1 1/16" socket. It was in my home shop in the socket drawer...what a stupid place to keep it. I will pull the anode as it was pretty shot when I de-winterized the trailer. The DW and I had already discussed just changing it out anyway, not related to the odor.
Thanks for the tip!
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Old 07-29-2015, 09:53 PM   #18
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I use'aqua pure' from walmart and other places , it is drinkable and has worked to keep out the sulfer smell from the water heater ; we have used water from all sorses w/o problems and not draining the system , we are almost full time, check it out .
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Old 07-30-2015, 08:38 AM   #19
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We use Taste PURE drinking water freshener,,,
but have never left water in the tank for more than about 10 days !!!
Not sure it would work in that heat,,, or for a longer time ???
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Old 07-30-2015, 09:01 AM   #20
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An anode rod that is pitted and eaten up is doing it's job. They are inexpensive to replace. The amount of corrosion on the rod will vary greatly based on the purity of the water you are using. My recommendation is to order two when you are ordering. That way when you pull the rod and realize it needs to be replaced, you can do it in one step .
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