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Old 01-04-2016, 05:47 AM   #1
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Bad Smell

You have the most practical and understandable information for this newbie! I bought a 2016 Coachman 23' pull behind in August after studying the lifestyle of the full time RVer. For a couple of years, I read books and interviewed full timers, but nothing prepares a person for reality except reality. I joined this forum when someone here posted what became the best tip for clearing my black tank. I gave it an enema (Flush King) and a laxative (Calgon fabric softener and Dawn dish soap), and now it smells better and empties properly. There was still a bad smell in the camper!

My grey tank smells like the black tank did. The most recent veteran RVer I talked to in person says that he never heard of such a thing, but when I stoppered the sinks, the smell abated. What would cause the grey tank to smell? Did too much food get trapped in it after doing dishes? Did something back up into the grey tank when I used the Flush King? I started noticing the stink a month ago, then the smell became much worse when I had to leave it sit unoccupied for two weeks due to a family emergency.

I poured about a cup of Clorox down the grey tank yesterday, and filled it with clean water. Today, I'll drain it and see if that helps. Also, I might try using Calgon and Dawn on it, too. Any other suggestions are welcome. Thanks!
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Old 01-04-2016, 05:52 AM   #2
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Sounds like you are doing things properly. I would try filling the grey tanks to full and dumping a few times to see if the smell goes away. Doing this may free up anything lodged that may be causing the smell. I have 4 tanks on my trailer and I like to do this to all tanks a couple of times throughout the summer. Its easy for me as my trailer is stationary at a campground. Hopefully the smell goes away. Best of Luck..
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Old 01-04-2016, 10:59 AM   #3
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The grey tanks can smell as bad as the black tank.

If stoppering the sink caused the odor to abate then I'd guess that you've lost the trap water seal. I'd check the traps to make sure that the traps are plumbed correctly to hold enough water to seal the gasses from the tanks from coming back into the RV. You may also want to check the tank vents to make sure they're not blocked, as that could allow the tanks to build up a little pressure and force gasses past the water seals and the odors with it.
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Old 01-04-2016, 02:05 PM   #4
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You might have a bad waterless trap.
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Old 01-04-2016, 02:18 PM   #5
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Traps should keep Bad smell's out of you RV! In regards to Gray tank smell,they can be MUCH Worse than Black at times! Youroo!!
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Old 01-05-2016, 06:47 AM   #6
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agree with what is posted that gray tanks can smell as bad as blacks and if you can back flush the gray tank and get is cleaned as possible the problem should go away. What happens is food starts to decompose if any particles are stuck to the bottom and if your like me and keep gray tank open when hooked to FHU, I back flush mine a couple times a year and do not have any smell. Also check your traps under the sinks and ensure they hold water. If you keep the tank closed you can use an enzyme product to dissolve any food particles then rinse and flush, IMO they do work and let them sit a couple days if you can. Hope this helps and Happy Travels!!
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Old 01-05-2016, 07:53 AM   #7
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I use Calgon and Walrex Elemonate in my gray tank and not had an issue.

water, water and more water !
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Old 01-05-2016, 08:07 AM   #8
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Your signature does not list what type of trailer/RV you have... there is one other place that the odor you are describing can emanate from. If you have a rig with a outdoor kitchen, two baths or with a half bath that are on opposite ends of the coach, many times there is a air emitter installed in lieu of a vent to the roof (air emitter is a one way valve that allows air to enter the drain line- this is done to stop the traps from being siphoned dry) There is a very lightweight internal rubber flapper that allows air to enter when needed. These units tend to fail and allow tank odor to escape.

Take a look around for something that looks like this:


Sometimes behind a access panel, or in the back of a cabinet, or behind a set of drawers.

See if your odor is concentrated around it.

Easily replaced and available at most big box stores for about $10.
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Old 01-05-2016, 12:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dieselbobcat View Post
Your signature does not list what type of trailer/RV you have... there is one other place that the odor you are describing can emanate from. If you have a rig with a outdoor kitchen, two baths or with a half bath that are on opposite ends of the coach, many times there is a air emitter installed in lieu of a vent to the roof (air emitter is a one way valve that allows air to enter the drain line- this is done to stop the traps from being siphoned dry) There is a very lightweight internal rubber flapper that allows air to enter when needed. These units tend to fail and allow tank odor to escape.

Take a look around for something that looks like this:


Sometimes behind a access panel, or in the back of a cabinet, or behind a set of drawers.

See if your odor is concentrated around it.

Easily replaced and available at most big box stores for about $10.
----------------------------------------------------------------

Except he says the smell goes away when he plugs the drain.
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Old 01-05-2016, 12:49 PM   #10
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Try un-stoppering one drain a a time to see if you can isolate the one causing the problem. Then check that one. The trap water will evaporate if there is one you don't use often or when towing. You implied you were fulltiming, but didn't say of stationary.
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