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Old 06-30-2008, 02:35 PM   #15
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hi coopandmar...

welcome to the forums.

it's a challenge to sort out smells via lcd...

are u posting from INSIDE the trailer?

chlorine is used to sanitize water (reduce bacteria count) that has 'organic matter' in it, most of which doesn't smell.

chlorine isn't an odor treatment, and doesn't 'remove' chemical smells....

in fact adding chlorine will make MOST chemical smells worse and can combine with SOME compounds to make really nasty nasties...

dumping baking soda in the tank is a REALLY bad idea too.

the amount needed to be 'effective' in most rv tanks is 3-5 pounds++, and it takes LOTS of rinsing to remove.

a white or blue 'drinking water hose' is used to limit lead and other nasties in rubber...

and some hoses do leave a faint vinyl or rubber smell in the standing hose water.

you are new to trailering, right?

chasing odors...

-how long have u had this unit?
-how tightly closed has it been?
-is there any moisture INSIDE the unit, under mattresses, in dark corners and so on?
-old food?
-clean fridge?
-dead critters anywhere?
-dirty socks?
-ARE ANY OF THE VENT TUBES BLOCKED?
-is there STUFF (critters, mold, water) in the belly pan insulation?
-and so on, there are lots of potential nasties making fumes inside a trailer....

-tanks,

ALL three tanks may have issues (but your trailer doesn't have a wash water tank right?)

the most common 'chemical smell' inside closed rvs comes from the products used in the black tank...

or the black tank contents.

has clorox, or cleaners or soap or other common household stuff been poured INTO the black tank?

same issues on the gray(wash water) side for folks with gray tanks, and the sink/shower TRAPS too...

water heater....

over time minerals will collect IN the water heater.

it needs to be drained and flushed periodically

some water sources have trace amounts of sulfur, that the user may be 'used to' in running water...

however this sulfur rich water when placed in the water heater tank,

WILL produce VERY NASTY odors after heating/mixing with the mineral excess and tank wall metals...

FLUSH, FLUSH, FLUSH...

assuming there are NO dead things, moldy things, plugged vents or open containers of 'chemical' in the trailer....

don't PUT ANYTHING IN THE LINES OR TANKS but water...

LOTS of WATER.

fill/flush all the tanks several times, it may take 10 fills to really rinse them well...

especially IF there is a pound of soda settled on the bottom, or mineral scale and crud and old algae mounds...

pull the water heater plug and drain/rinse out the crud...

potty...

is the head fastened tightly? does the bowl gasket seal?

again, has all the tank contents been flushed OUT, including 'chemicals' used black tank treatment?

well water...

using well water in an rv can be a problem, because of sulfur or mineral contents...

so most of the above is best done with typical city treated water,

but nitrates (from fertilizer run off) sometimes taint even municipal water and nitrates cause odors too...

ok, all this water talk, i need to take a wee....

cheers
2air'
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Old 06-30-2008, 03:44 PM   #16
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You haven't clarified whether you have tried to connect directly to city water vs. you are pumping water from the fresh water holding tank.

If you added a half cup of bleach, then you had enough bleach to sanitize a 30 gallon water tank, assuming you let it sit 4 hours. Any more water or shorter sitting time means you aren't sanitized yet. Be sure you find out the capacity of your fresh water tank. Use plain bleach. Don't use the newer scented versions.

If you are using city water and an old garden hose, then as others told you, replace it. Old hoses, garden or RV can taint the taste and smell of the water.

Also remember if you do sanitize the tank, allow the pump to pump some water through each water outlet. That allows the super chlorinated water to enter the water line and do its job there also.
Sorry, had to get the information from the "ONE WHO KNOWS". It is a 50 gallon tank and we are pumping water from the fresh water tank. We tend to stay at places that do not offer a water hook up, so getting water from a city supply is difficult. I had someone purchase the Tank Saver today, so we will try that out this evening. Next item on the list will be the white hose. Thank goodness for you all!
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Old 06-30-2008, 03:56 PM   #17
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Refrigerator and ammonia...

Quote:
Originally Posted by richinny View Post
could this be coming from an ammonia leak in the refrigerator?
Just learned today while talking with a electrician/plumber that is upgrading some items in our home... he said older refrigeration systems with ammonia are very unhealthy if leaking. Put a pan of white vinegar near the leak and it will absorb the ammonia and you can work on things (like remove it...) and not have to worry about frying brain cells or something! We haven't tried this, or researched this... so check it out before you take this advice! Anyone out there been here, done this?

Rinse your water system really well ~ especially the hot water tank. We always drain our water out after each trip, then hubby blows out the lines with air pressure...then when filling the system back up we fill it and let it run on the lawn or garden for awhile just to be sure everything is as fresh as we can make it. If you are using well water, you might want to go to the hardware store and invest in a in-line water filter (not too spendy...) and install it in your white hose... it will help your water. We used the sweet water product that was mentioned above. Great product. We used to use it in our sailboat... fresh water was hard to come by at sea and it made water taste great! (actually no taste...)

Hope all goes well. Good post ~ likely to help other folks in the same boat! (er... A/S)

Mrs. NorCal Bambi traveling in S Tardis ~ from the Great State of Jefferson
My new blog: Yreka History
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Old 06-30-2008, 04:12 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coopandmar View Post
Sorry, had to get the information from the "ONE WHO KNOWS". It is a 50 gallon tank and we are pumping water from the fresh water tank. We tend to stay at places that do not offer a water hook up, so getting water from a city supply is difficult. I had someone purchase the Tank Saver today, so we will try that out this evening. Next item on the list will be the white hose. Thank goodness for you all!
Assuming you fill the tank with 50 gallons, the proper amount of bleach to add is around 6.7 ounces. That would need to sit 4 hours to sanitize the tank. Half a cup will only take care of about 30 gallons..

I understand that you can't get city water everywhere, but I do assume you can connect into an outlet from your home water supply and pressurize your system rather than turn on the water pump. Do this with a new hose and run the cold water side of your trailer outlets. See if the smell tends to lessen. If so then you know you are dealing with an onboard water supply problem, either fresh water or water heater.

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Old 06-30-2008, 06:46 PM   #19
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Water Source?

After reading these posts, something occurs to me. You mentioned your water supply as the source for your tank.

Does your water supply have a sulfur like smell? Probably more noticeable on the hot water side.

You may have sulfur bacteria in your well. These are not pathogens but are an ancient bacteria that reduces sulphur to get energy. ( There are iron bacteria as well!)

You may have infected your AS tank with some sulfur bacteria. If there was a food source for them or if your well has other material such as high nitrates, you could get some growth.

The Chlorine treatment should be addequate. If you pull your tank and observe any dark areas that could be the remnants of a colony. Very hot water will often get most of it out, though it doesn't seem to matter if you do nothing but keep up the regular system disinfections.

It is possible that you may have to disinfect your water supply sytem a bit more than in the past. If you have taken the advice to flush, disinfect then flush some more that system should be reasonably clean. If you added disinfection to your current supply and smell sulfur it may just be from the source tank. Normal disinfection will take care of these minor pests.
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Old 06-30-2008, 07:32 PM   #20
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I hope your problem isn't similar to this...

This problem reminds me of something that happened to a friend of mine near Sacramento. His domestic water supply comes from an open air aqueduct. I guess that's a fancy word for a ditch.
There was a period of time when the family started to notice a decrease in the quality of water taste. After comparing notes with a neighbor they went for a hike up to the ditch which ran on the hillside above the houses.
Long story short - after removing a dead and decomposing cow from the ditch the problem cleared up.
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Old 06-30-2008, 09:17 PM   #21
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I had a very similar problem when I first got my AS , had not been used for a while . Did the sanitizing and several full flushes and it was still there , mostly in the hot water . I think there is probably a reaction between the old alum water heater and old copper lines and the clorox . After using it for a season it was mostly gone . Then I read about using white vinegar . After cleaning and flushing put in a gallon of white vinegar ,fill the tank , run some through the pipes and water heater , let sit for a few hours or overnight . Empty , fill with fresh water , and the odor was gone . Hope this works for you.
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Old 07-01-2008, 08:16 AM   #22
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Quote:
Does your water supply have a sulfur like smell? Probably more noticeable on the hot water side.

You may have sulfur bacteria in your well. These are not pathogens but are an ancient bacteria that reduces sulphur to get energy. ( There are iron bacteria as well!)

You may have infected your AS tank with some sulfur bacteria. If there was a food source for them or if your well has other material such as high nitrates, you could get some growth.

The Chlorine treatment should be addequate. If you pull your tank and observe any dark areas that could be the remnants of a colony. Very hot water will often get most of it out, though it doesn't seem to matter if you do nothing but keep up the regular system disinfections.

It is possible that you may have to disinfect your water supply sytem a bit more than in the past. If you have taken the advice to flush, disinfect then flush some more that system should be reasonably clean. If you added disinfection to your current supply and smell sulfur it may just be from the source tank. Normal disinfection will take care of these minor pests.
Yes, we most definitely have a sulfur smell in our water at home. Last night we added baking soda to the tank and the chemical smell was still very present. We plan to drain the tanks tonight, add the bleach, flush it, and see what we get. We'll be heading south on Thursday and will hook up to a city water supply so that will be a good test to see if the smell goes away. As for pulling the tank, can you do that? Is that something that can be replaced? I suppose anything can be replaced on these, but I wouldn't have a clue as to how to pull it out.
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Old 07-01-2008, 09:45 AM   #23
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Part of my day job is running a municipal water system (city administrator). The chlorine content of municpal water is meant to provide a reasonable level of disinfection at the treatment plant(s). As water remains in storage or in the water mains, the chlorine breaks down. When new water mains are built, higher concentrations of chlorine are used for disinfection (think of a homeowner "shocking" a pool with heavy dosing of chlorine at the start of the summer). Simply flushing an RV system with public (chlorinated) water will not have the same effect as adding higher levels of chlorine to disinfect the RV water system.

Chemical contamination is different than organic contamination. Disinfecting your system won't help the smell or taste if the problem is not organic in nature. Water testing by a reputable lab can tell you if the water meets the MCL requirements for safe drinking water. In some cases, a bad smell is unpleasant but not harmful. Of course, who really wants to drink water that smells bad? If you have water tested, I suggest testing the source water along with the post-storage RV water.

On this note, activated carbon filtration is not terribly expensive and I consider it necessary "on the road." There are many places where you can fill with "raw" (untreated) water. AC filtration is not perfect, but it does provide some benefits.

Back to your issue, if the water going into the RV is high quality and the chemical smell is occuring... you have a great advantage. There are a limited number of places the smell/taste problem can occur. The key to troubleshooting is to systematically eliminate possibilities. Good luck.
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Old 07-02-2008, 11:48 AM   #24
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Well, we used our tank saver wand and cleaned out the water heater, then ran baking soda through the tank and lines and the smell actually was a lot better. Amazing! The water heater hadn't been cleaned in at least 20 years and I seriously doubt the person who owned it before that did it either. We shocked the system yesterday and the smell is all but gone. Thanks to everyone for your advice! Now we move on to polishing...replacing a broken jack...curtains...fixing the shower...
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