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Old 06-30-2008, 09:06 AM   #1
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Chemical smell in the water

We are experiencing an extremely strong chemical smell when we run water through our system. It literally takes your breath away. We thought maybe it was because we left water sitting in the tank between camping trips, so we've tried running bleach through and that has not helped. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what we can do? Any products out there that would help?
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Old 06-30-2008, 09:29 AM   #2
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Could it be from antifreeze put in the system for winterizing?. I found that odor lasted a long time, even after flushing everything well.
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Old 06-30-2008, 09:34 AM   #3
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With the bleach solution - did you let it sit in the lines for an hour or so or did you just run it through? I'd let it sit for a while to work on the odor.
I've also heard of people using a baking soda solution the same way.
Could it be the water itself? Did you fill from a well with that sulfur smell?
Your water isn't BLUE, is it?
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Old 06-30-2008, 10:08 AM   #4
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Quote:
With the bleach solution - did you let it sit in the lines for an hour or so or did you just run it through? I'd let it sit for a while to work on the odor.
I've also heard of people using a baking soda solution the same way.
Could it be the water itself? Did you fill from a well with that sulfur smell?
Your water isn't BLUE, is it?
We did let the bleach sit in the lines for a few hours and then also ran some baking soda through. It could be the water as it come from our well and that water doesn't smell the greatest either. The well water smell is far different though from what we are smelling in the camper. This is almost like an ammonia-like smell where it burns your eyes and lungs when you're in the camper.
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Old 06-30-2008, 10:47 AM   #5
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Just curious, have you tried a city water hookup vs. a holding tank supply? That would help somewhat in the source. Secondly did you flush the hot water tank? Do you have any water filtering unit in the trailer? Does the smell come from all water outlets? Finally going back to the fresh water tank, how much does it hold, how much bleach did you add and how long did you leave it sit?

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Old 06-30-2008, 10:54 AM   #6
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White Hose?

Are you using a white hose, or have you made the mistake of using a garden hose to supply water to the trailer. You wouldn't believe how bad water can taste and smell after it's baked in a hot garden hose for a day.... though as a kid, we'd drink out of them all day long without dying.

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Old 06-30-2008, 11:07 AM   #7
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Yikes!
I was backpacking once in New Mexico and the one water source had methane gas in it.
We'd fill our Nalgene bottles, cover them and shake them up and we could light the vapors that escaped on fire!
If your well has anything similar, the water tank could be concentrating the gases and producing the noxiuos smell.
Is it possible that something other than water got into your fresh water tank?
Could you have been the victim of vandalism?
The only suggestion I can make is to fill that fresh water tank to the top and drain it (either with the low point drain valve or bu pumping it through the plumbing several times). And use city water if at all possible.

Keep us posted and we'll keep thinking of ideas for you.
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Old 06-30-2008, 12:10 PM   #8
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"Sweet Water"

I used to buy a produce called "Sweet Water" at Marine supply stores. I used it on occasion in the 120 gal fresh water tank on the houseboat we had for 27 years. The water at the dock was very good, but over time, the water in the tank would not taste quite so good.

If you are sure that you are using the proper hose etc., and that your water supply is good, you might want to flush your system out and try some. Can't hurt.
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Old 06-30-2008, 12:16 PM   #9
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Can you get the people that you use to test your well to take a look at the water after the AS has stored it?
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Old 06-30-2008, 12:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Just curious, have you tried a city water hookup vs. a holding tank supply? That would help somewhat in the source. Secondly did you flush the hot water tank? Do you have any water filtering unit in the trailer? Does the smell come from all water outlets? Finally going back to the fresh water tank, how much does it hold, how much bleach did you add and how long did you leave it sit?
jcanavera,
We have not flushed the hot water tank. And I'm sorry to say that I don't know how... We don't have any water filtration system, this is a definite fixer-uper and we haven't been able to get that far yet. The water does come from all of the water outlets, though the shower is the worst. We added 1/2 cup bleach to our water tank and let it sit for a few hours.

Quote:
I was backpacking once in New Mexico and the one water source had methane gas in it.
We'd fill our Nalgene bottles, cover them and shake them up and we could light the vapors that escaped on fire!
If your well has anything similar, the water tank could be concentrating the gases and producing the noxiuos smell.
Is it possible that something other than water got into your fresh water tank?
Could you have been the victim of vandalism?
The only suggestion I can make is to fill that fresh water tank to the top and drain it (either with the low point drain valve or bu pumping it through the plumbing several times). And use city water if at all possible.
Steve and Susan,
My husband was wondering the same thing about the methane...scary! I don't think anything got into the system and there wouldn't be a very high possibilty that someone did something to the camper. Keep us in mind with any suggestions - especially ways to combat methane gas!

Foiled Again,
We have been using a garden hose, so I guess we'll get a white hose and try it with that.

We are absolute newbies when it comes to our Airstream. It wasn't well treated in the past and it needs A LOT of work so every time we turn around, it's something else that's broken/leaking/just plain doesn't work. We do appreciate the help!
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Old 06-30-2008, 01:34 PM   #11
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Before you get crazy with other stuff.

Get yourself a good white RV water supply hose. Drain you water heater. Most have a drain on them. Drain the rest of the system as you would for winter. Hook up and run your cold water and hot water hot water (don't bother to light your water heater) to completely flush the system.

Your problem may be solved. If not, search elsewhere.
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Old 06-30-2008, 01:52 PM   #12
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ps: to add to Jim's comment: don't use the new white hose for any part of the draining of old water, only to add new...
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Old 06-30-2008, 02:32 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coopandmar View Post
jcanavera,
We have not flushed the hot water tank. And I'm sorry to say that I don't know how... We don't have any water filtration system, this is a definite fixer-uper and we haven't been able to get that far yet. The water does come from all of the water outlets, though the shower is the worst. We added 1/2 cup bleach to our water tank and let it sit for a few hours.

There should be a drain plug on the hot water tank that you can unscrew. Since you haven't done that at all, you need to probably do this regardless of the other issues. Buy yourself a "Tank Saver" wand at Camping World. This will allow you to flush out all the crud in the tank.

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.

Jack
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Old 06-30-2008, 02:34 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coopandmar View Post
This is almost like an ammonia-like smell where it burns your eyes and lungs when you're in the camper.
could this be coming from an ammonia leak in the refrigerator?
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