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Old 05-19-2018, 10:04 AM   #1
Shelley
 
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Fresh Water Tank Rotten Egg Odor

Owners of Forester 2401W MBS. On our last outing in April, I noticed a really bad rotten egg smell when I would turn on the water. This was about our 5th trip with the new RV.

My husband said it must be our gray tank. I disagreed and said it was our water. When we returned home and thoroughly cleaned our black/gray tanks, (and emptied our water tanks), we figured we were good to go. All tanks drained.

Then, we went to the mountains this weekend and as soon as I turned on the water, it was back. We filled our fresh water tank with our well water just hours before leaving for our trip. But, when we turned on the faucet, the rotten egg smell was back. This time my hubby realized it was our fresh water tank and it was our water that had the horrible rotten egg smell.

We are newbies and thought we had figured out most of our initial challenges, but having water during our trips has not been an option. We are on a well and do use well water for filling up our fresh water tank. However, I don't have a bad smell in my home from our water (and our well was cleaned 2 years ago).

Has anyone ever heard of this before? We were thinking about placing a few tablets of bleach into the tank, but we are not sure if this is a sound decision. If it is, then how many tablets do we use? How long do we leave them in the tank? How much water will we have to run through our system to rid the smell of bleach?

Thank you.
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Old 05-19-2018, 10:07 AM   #2
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You sure it's not your water heater? That's a common thing with it.

See Video #5 here, as it will explain how to remove "rotten egg" odor from the fresh water tank, and/or water heater.

http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...es-135977.html
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Old 05-19-2018, 10:10 AM   #3
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I don’t know? Is there a way to tell? And is there an easy fix?
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Old 05-19-2018, 10:12 AM   #4
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Is not uncommon. Draining your tank is only half the solution. You must then sanitize it with bleach.

YouTube has many videos on the process. Very easy.
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Old 05-19-2018, 10:18 AM   #5
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Is not uncommon. Draining your tank is only half the solution. You must then sanitize it with bleach.

YouTube has many videos on the process. Very easy.
X2, but also sanitize all of your water lines at the same time by running all of your faucets until you smell the chlorinated water coming out. Then let it rest for several hours.

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Old 05-19-2018, 10:18 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SBurson View Post
I donít know? Is there a way to tell? And is there an easy fix?
Mark Polk explains it all here, and how to fix for both the fresh water tank and/or water heater:


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Old 05-19-2018, 10:24 AM   #7
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Do the sanitizing procedure now to clear it up.

In the future, get in the habit of doing the sanitizing procedure every spring when you de-winterize ur camper. Be sure to fill the water heater with water that has the chlorine it it and run it through EVERY line in the camper including the outside shower if you have one.

When you fill yoru fresh water tank, insure you run it through a filter.

This one is good and will last 1 season. It filters out more thanmost of the larger much more expensive filters:

https://www.campingworld.com/tastepu...gaAiIZEALw_wcB

The link is for Camping World but Wal Mart has them also. Hook it onto the hose connection at yoru faucet and let it filter the water before it goes into yoru fill hose.
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Old 05-19-2018, 10:25 AM   #8
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First, disconnect from city water if you have it hooked up...

Then drain your fresh water tank and all of the plumbing, then bypass your water heater (don't want bleach in there so I've been told) and fill your fresh water tank about 1/3, then pour 3/4 cup of bleach in the fresh water tank, then fill another 1/3 with water, then pour another 3/4 cup of bleach, then fill the tank until you see it start to come out of the overflows under the trailer.

You should be able to smell the bleach a little from the overflow under the trailer...

Now, using the water pump, run water out of the hot and cold of each and every faucet, including the inside and outside shower and also the toilet!

Make sure you have good flow from all of them...

And now...just leave it sit for 24 hours like that!

Now, drain the fresh water tank, but not the plumbing using the low point drains.

Once the fresh tank is completely empty, fill the fresh tank with water all the way, then run all of the faucets with the water pump until you can smell that the bleach smell is not as strong, then empty the fresh water tank and fill again and repeat this process.

Might have to do it a third time, but this should sanitize the fresh water tank and all of the plumbing.

I do this at the beginning and the end of each camping season.

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Old 05-19-2018, 10:26 AM   #9
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You are exacerbating the problem by using well water in your fresh water tanks as it has no chlorine in it. Not that it is bad, but when it sits, generally in the HWH, it will develop a hydrogen sulfide (H2S) smell, especially if your well water has sulfur in it. Usually running a full tank of hot water out of your HWH will take care of it. We don't drink the water from the tanks so all I do if it gets really bad (never does) is to put a couple of pounds of baking soda mixed with water in the water system, let it set for an hour and then flush with clean water.

The H2S that you smell is not going to hurt you but you might flush with chlorine (or vodka!!!) let it set and then flush it out. You can minimize or totally eliminate the problem in the future in your case if you drain the HWH and FW tank when you get home from a trip and don't let the water sit in the tanks between trips.
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Old 05-19-2018, 10:27 AM   #10
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Thank you!
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Old 05-19-2018, 10:28 AM   #11
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bypass your water heater (don't want bleach in there so I've been told)
If the Water Heater is the source of the odor not putting the chlorine in it will not solve the problem.

There is chlorine in all public water systems. How is an RV water heater different? Answer, it isn't.

The smell is Sulfur Dioxide, the by product of some bacteria that naturally occur and multiply, particularly in a Water Heater. If you don't kill them you have done Nothing to help solve your problem.

The filter I mentioned in a previous post will help keep them out once you sanitize the entire system, but it is still the Best Practice to sanitize annually.
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Old 05-19-2018, 10:51 AM   #12
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The bacteria that cause the rotten egg smell live and multiply best at a temperature range of 68F to 115F, mostly when the water remains static for as little as a day, but in most cases, it takes several days. I have found it occurs more often in PEX water supply systems than any of the other plastic and metal water supply systems. Once there are enough bacteria that you can smell it, it will remain there until you kill it with water at or above 138F or by using chlorine. Obviously, the easiest way to take care of it in an RV is with chlorine. I have used both methods of killing the bacteria in houses, with most customers opting for me to do it with hot water because they are worried (I don’t really know why) about chlorine being introduced into their potable water system. It is also an easier and quicker job for me to use the hot water method, so it costs my customers less. I run into this situation more often in houses on well than with municipal water. I also find this more on the hot side (with all types of pipe materials) than I do the cold side — no matter which type of anode is in the water heater. Usually the customer has lowered the temperature on their water heater to below 115F thinking they will save money, but they are creating the perfect environment for the bacteria to grow.

If both your hot and cold water smell like sulphur, I would bet that your bacteria problem is in your pipes more than in the tank, but, by sanitizing with chlorine bleach by filling your tank with heavily-chlorinated water, you will take care of the problem wherever it is.

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Old 05-19-2018, 11:06 AM   #13
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Does your house have a water treatment system on it? (aireator) If so fill your trailer with water from a faucet AFTER the system. Not before. You may have picked up the sulfur water from a previous campsite of fill station. Dump your trailer water and sanitize as mention above and be mindful of where you get your water.
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Old 05-19-2018, 11:16 AM   #14
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If the Water Heater is the source of the odor not putting the chlorine in it will not solve the problem.

There is chlorine in all public water systems. How is an RV water heater different? Answer, it isn't.
One thing that is different. Municipal water systems don't use chlorine bleach as a disinfectant, they use chloramine. Chlorine bleach, especially in higher concentrations will attack and degrade metals. Chloramine is less aggressive and is used in relatively low concentrations.

With that said, putting chlorine bleach at a reasonable concentration for a relatively short period of time will have little effect on the water heater life.

US federal regulations state that the amount of commonly available liquid chlorine bleach to use (make sure it does not have perfumes, dyes, or other additives) must not exceed 200 PPM. 200 PPM is reached at 1 tablespoon per gallon. This is equal to 5 ounces of bleach per 10 gallons of water. It is highly recommended that you thoroughly rinse anything that had this level of chlorine applied to it with clean water.

Another good thing to do every couple of years. Fill the water heater with a 50/50 mix of water and common white vinegar. Turn the water heater on to get it up to temperature. Let sit for about an hour. If you have the time, instead of heating the solution, just let it sit in the heater over night.

Then drain and rinse by removing the anode or plug. This will dissolve the lime deposits that will build up in your heater.
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Old 05-19-2018, 12:02 PM   #15
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We filled our fresh water tank with our well water just hours before leaving for our trip.
Sounds to me like you are filling your tank with an outside spigot that is not run through your house filter/softner system. It is quite common to have a strong sulfur smell on unfiltered spigots. If this is the case you need to fill AFTER the house filter just as Cavie said. If not....disregard.
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Old 05-19-2018, 12:04 PM   #16
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What brand of water heater?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DouglasReid View Post
If the Water Heater is the source of the odor not putting the chlorine in it will not solve the problem.

There is chlorine in all public water systems. How is an RV water heater different? Answer, it isn't.

The smell is Sulfur Dioxide, the by product of some bacteria that naturally occur and multiply, particularly in a Water Heater. If you don't kill them you have done Nothing to help solve your problem.
Suburban and American-Standard (an oldie) RV water heaters are lined iron. Atwood water heaters are aluminum. Aluminum and Chlorine don't mix well. I ruined a couple of aluminum coffee Thermos bottles before I figured that out. I've never had an Atwood, but if I did, I would be careful.

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Old 05-19-2018, 12:15 PM   #17
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Chloramine

Quote:
Originally Posted by SailorSam20500 View Post
One thing that is different. Municipal water systems don't use chlorine bleach as a disinfectant, they use chloramine. Chlorine bleach, especially in higher concentrations will attack and degrade metals. Chloramine is less aggressive and is used in relatively low concentrations.
Chloramine is a mixture of Chlorine and ammonia. Chlorine in water forms hypochlorous acid, a weak acid that does attack metals, especially aluminum. Ammonia is basic (alkali, opposite of an acid). Delivering the two together provides a more benign mix by neutralizing the acid. The chlorine ions are still available to combat bacteria.

Our municipality adds chloramine to the water supply eleven months out of the year. In accordance with federal regulations, just Chlorine is added for one month. (I can always tell that they've done it each March. By the end of the month, any faucet washer that was close to failing has failed.)

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Old 05-19-2018, 01:10 PM   #18
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Good answers but

To me they said the problem in the first few lines. You are on a well. Most not all have that rotten egg smell. Usually taken care of before it enters the house by a filter of some type so it can be used for drinking, cooking, cleaning etc. most homes do not filter the outside water sources. Are filling with a hose from the outside source? Check if it is before or after the filter. Putting a correct filter onto you fill source may fix the problem.
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Old 05-19-2018, 01:32 PM   #19
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Put bleach in the tank with every fill

Filling the fresh water tank on the road, you often won't know if the water supply is chlorinated. If you're filling the tank with a hose, always pour one teaspoon of (non-scented) household bleach per 10 gallons of water into the fresh water filler before putting in the water.

I'm a full-time boondocker, and I generally refill my tank from my four 7-gallon Aquatainers. I add one teaspoon of bleach to each Acquatainer before pumping the water into the tank.

For the first few months on the road, I didn't drink the water from my tank. Eventually I got tired of using jugs of drinking water and started using the chlorinated tank water with a Brita filter jug. It hasn't done me any harm yet.

Incidentally, to pump water from the Aquatainers (you don't want to be holding a 60 lb container for the time it would take to pour into the tank through a funnel), I use a pump with a short length cut from one of my white drinking water hoses and a Camco filler.
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Old 05-19-2018, 01:52 PM   #20
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I agree with Taylor. I have a 60Gal Fresh water tank and I always put one half cup of bleach into the hose then proceed to fill the tank. I just want enough to remove the odor. My home is supplied by a deep water well that has the sulphur smell. I use a chlorine injection pump set at 4 gallons a day for my home simply to remove the odor and it's very successful. Just be sure not to use a bleach that has any additives. IE splashless or scented. Chloramine is an ammonia derivative. I would not use any type of ammonia in my fresh water tank. But that's just me because I almost gas poisoned myself mixing bleach with ammonia trying to clean a toilet when I completely forgot my chemistry.
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