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Old 02-26-2019, 09:33 PM   #1
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SMELL from Suburban hot water heater.

Columbus 340RK: I am having a challenge with solving this problem....I've searched though the FR forum sites but came up short.
According to both the FR & Suburban manuals the “rotten egg smell” solution is adding bleach to the hot water tank and the entire water system using a 1/4 cup of beach for each 15 gal of fresh water in tank, let it set for a few days (we let it set for 2 days) and than flushing it out with fresh water BUT the smell seams worst now. I would like to try a vinegar mix but these no way of putting it directly into the hot water heater unless through the fresh water tank. ANY thoughts from you who have concord this issue?
TIA
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Old 02-26-2019, 09:51 PM   #2
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Columbus 340RK: I am having a challenge with solving this problem....I've searched though the FR forum sites but came up short.
According to both the FR & Suburban manuals the “rotten egg smell” solution is adding bleach to the hot water tank and the entire water system using a 1/4 cup of beach for each 15 gal of fresh water in tank, let it set for a few days (we let it set for 2 days) and than flushing it out with fresh water BUT the smell seams worst now. I would like to try a vinegar mix but these no way of putting it directly into the hot water heater unless through the fresh water tank. ANY thoughts from you who have concord this issue?
TIA
Guess I only have questions...
Did you completely fill the fresh water tank?
Did you run the sanitizing solution through all lines and taps before letting it sit?
Was this at least an annual maintenance thing?
If the answer to these is yes, repeat the process several times until the odor is gone. The only way a bleach and water solution could increase the odor is if it didn't completely kill the bacteria.
Note: my experience may differ from others but this works for me.
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Old 02-26-2019, 10:20 PM   #3
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Typically a rotten egg smell comes from sulfur in the hot water heater. Are you certain that the hot water heater was not bypassed when you tried to sanitize the system with the bleach chlorine solution?
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Old 02-26-2019, 10:31 PM   #4
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Actually your problem is the sacrificial anode needs to be replaced! It is attached to the big bolt at the bottom of the water heater as you look at it. The replacement cost about $12.00 or so dollars.
I change mine every spring! And if you don't replace it, your water heater will eventually eat itself!
Now before you think I am being funny, without the sacrificial anode in there to slowly be eaten away, the tank itself starts being eaten away!
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Old 02-26-2019, 10:55 PM   #5
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Hello,

Do you have a Washer hookup? Have you flushed the antifreeze from this? I had cotton egg smell created from antifreeze and chlorinated water. It just percolated and caused issues.
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Old 02-27-2019, 12:02 AM   #6
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Rotten Egg Smell

Flush it, flush it, then flush it some more. Ours took about two-three days of putting bleached water into the fresh water tank, running the hot water faucets to assure a thorough flushing. Let the hot water heater cool off overnights, then repeat the process.

Eventually, it will clean up.

Our 2016 3010DS doesn't have an anode in the water heater, at least I couldn't locate one, and the manufacturer, who I contacted, confirmed it doesn't.

"This too shall pass"

Good Luck.
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Old 02-27-2019, 01:53 PM   #7
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Flush it, flush it, then flush it some more.

^ This
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Old 02-27-2019, 03:00 PM   #8
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What is your water source and how long have you been hooked up to it.

Sulfur can come from well water and it's smell becomes more noticeable when heated.

If you are at a new location and the smell just showed up recently test your source by putting a pan direct from the hydrant/faucet on the stove and heat it. If you smell sulfur then it's from the well.

I grew up on a farm that had this problem from a deep drilled well.

Yes, hydrogen sulfide can be produced by bacteria but it can also be carried in from the source.

As for sanitizing the hot water tank, pull anode and drain, Replace plug Use old anode while sanitizing) then use your winterizing port to suck in about 3 pints of Hydrogen Peroxide. Do not bypass the hot water heater and just open a hot water valve. Once Peroxide bottles are empty then use city water to fill tank the rest of the way (open faucet until air stops and water starts.

Peroxide is safer than Bleach too. When it's sat for 6 hours or more then just flush well.

Replace anode and bleed air from tank again.

If problem persists again, could be from water source.
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Old 02-27-2019, 03:42 PM   #9
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If your water consistently has an odor out of the hot water tank, another thing you can do is change the anode rod from magnesium to Zinc-Aluminum. Aluminum doesn't react with the sulfur compounds like the magnesium does, and the Zinc actually counteracts it.

Here's a link to one. 9" Zinc Aluminum Anode Rod
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Old 02-27-2019, 09:57 PM   #10
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According to what I've read, the Suburban rv water heater does have an anode rod.
I'd bet money that's the problem here!
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Old 02-27-2019, 10:16 PM   #11
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I would put my money on Bama Rambler's answer.
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Old 02-28-2019, 07:39 AM   #12
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If your water consistently has an odor out of the hot water tank, another thing you can do is change the anode rod from magnesium to Zinc-Aluminum. Aluminum doesn't react with the sulfur compounds like the magnesium does, and the Zinc actually counteracts it.

Here's a link to one. 9" Zinc Aluminum Anode Rod
This is probably the solution. You will probably need to sanitize again after replacing the rod to get rid of any residual odor.

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Old 02-28-2019, 07:54 AM   #13
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And once solved my solution is I always drain Hot water tank after every use if not going out for a while. Also I change my anode rod at the beginning of each new camping season. In 30 years of camping never had an issue with rotton egg smell. Later RJD
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Old 02-28-2019, 07:55 AM   #14
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Another thing to consider is the temperature of your hot water. If something is causing the heater to not heat above 115 degrees, bacteria that smells like sulphur can grow very quickly. Get your meat thermometer out and check your hot water temperature just for fun.

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Old 02-28-2019, 08:27 AM   #15
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Actually your problem is the sacrificial anode needs to be replaced! It is attached to the big bolt at the bottom of the water heater as you look at it. The replacement cost about $12.00 or so dollars.
I change mine every spring! And if you don't replace it, your water heater will eventually eat itself!
Now before you think I am being funny, without the sacrificial anode in there to slowly be eaten away, the tank itself starts being eaten away!
I'll 2nd this. Flush, a couple times with the bleach, then change the anode rod and flush a couple more times.

That should do it.
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Old 02-28-2019, 09:07 AM   #16
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Drain and flush your Suburban HWH and replace Anode Rod if necessary, also drain the tank when you return from an outing. the smell is normal for some high mineral content water that is left in the tank. I learned this the hard way, I had to drain and flush at a camp site.
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Old 02-28-2019, 12:21 PM   #17
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Columbus 340RK: I am having a challenge with solving this problem....I've searched though the FR forum sites but came up short.
According to both the FR & Suburban manuals the “rotten egg smell” solution is adding bleach to the hot water tank and the entire water system using a 1/4 cup of beach for each 15 gal of fresh water in tank, let it set for a few days (we let it set for 2 days) and than flushing it out with fresh water BUT the smell seams worst now. I would like to try a vinegar mix but these no way of putting it directly into the hot water heater unless through the fresh water tank. ANY thoughts from you who have concord this issue?
TIA
A Suburban has a sacrificial anode rod. When you pull the old one out be sure to follow some good instructions from YouTube or from the owners manual show you don't scold yourself for even get a blast of cold pressurized water.

When you pull the old anode rod you'll probably find that it's mostly or completely dissolved away. When you open that hole at the bottom of the tank and release the pressure relief valve above all the Water Shield rain out in a lot of garbage will come out with it. I have a I'm a little plastic nozzle that I put inside that flushes and sprays the tank and washes out most of that broken up calcification.

Be very careful that you drain the water heater before you drain your water tank. You want to try not to flush garbage into the freshwater holding tank because that can become a problem on the fresh water system. I suspect that after you have gotten all the junk out of the tank and put a new anode rod in you may have to flush it with bleach again. A good thorough flush of the hot water tank and then the freshwater system should eliminate the odor for you.
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Old 02-28-2019, 12:33 PM   #18
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This is what I do to remove the bleach smell after bleaching. Not sure about rotten egg smell.

Mix a ˝ cup of baking soda with a gallon of water, pour into tank and refill tank. Open all faucets to allow the fresh water to pump throughout the system – this step removes the bleach odor. Drain tank once again and refill – ready to use. Even sanitized, it is a good idea to use bottled water for drinking and cooking.
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Old 02-28-2019, 01:03 PM   #19
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My brother in-law and I have the same year camper both bought new in 2014. I always drain my water heater after each camping trip, he does not.

His smells like rotten eggs, mine dont. I have not change my rod yet cause there is still plenty there.

I fill mine with city water at home, he fills his with well water from home. I wonder if that makes a difference too besides not draining it every time?
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Old 02-28-2019, 02:06 PM   #20
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My brother in-law and I have the same year camper both bought new in 2014. I always drain my water heater after each camping trip, he does not.

His smells like rotten eggs, mine dont. I have not change my rod yet cause there is still plenty there.

I fill mine with city water at home, he fills his with well water from home. I wonder if that makes a difference too besides not draining it every time?
It's more than likely the sulfur from the well water. We were seasonal in a couple of different CGs that had the same problem and they both had well water. Even the water in the bath houses had the smell.

We were constantly fighting that battle.
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