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Old 11-01-2013, 09:08 PM   #1
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Fresh Water Smells Bad

Hi,

We are out in our new '92 Excella. It's only our second outing since purchasing her about two months ago. We got all set up and noticed a rather bad odor . At first I thought it was the black tank so I added another packet of deodorant, but it still smelled.. Then we noticed that the odor seems to be coming from the fresh water! It seems to be getting better as we run water.

Also, we are hooked up to campground water and we didn't keep any water in our tank.. Have I done something wrong?

We aren't drinking the water...

Hope you understand this.. I'm typing from my phone, which I don't usually do..

Thank you!
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Old 11-01-2013, 09:13 PM   #2
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Flush the water system, including the hot water tank. Replace the anode in the heater and the water should loose the sulfur/like odor.
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Old 11-01-2013, 09:21 PM   #3
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Fresh Water Smells Bad

Greetings Dickandvicki!

Another possibility is that the campground where you are parked has well water with a high sulfur content. Wells with high sulfur content are fairly common where I live, and the water will have a distinctive "rotten egg" smell that is made stronger when it is heated. Should this be the case, the problem will disappear when you travel to a park that doesn't have a high sulfur well.

My experience has been that the sulfur smell can be tenacious, and if it persists more than 48 hours after relocating to a park without high-sulfur water, I follow the sanitizing process for the fresh water system. I have utilized either vinegar or baking soda dissolved in hot water to flush the sanitizing bleach solution as added strength to kill the sulfur odor.

Good luck in resolving your fresh water odor issue!

Kevin
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Old 11-01-2013, 09:26 PM   #4
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Does it smell like hydrogen sulfide? Rotten eggs?
Have you determined that it's coming from hot or cold faucets or both?
You are possibly smelling the waste by products of anaerobic bacteria. They flourish in the hot water heaters of RVs equipped with magnesium sacrificial anodes. They also like freshwater holding tanks on 92 Excellas that have not been cleaned with sodium hypochlorite.
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Old 11-02-2013, 08:29 AM   #5
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Even though my trailer was new I still cleaned the fresh water tank. Easy to do. I just put 1 cup of Clorox into the water tank and let it stand for about 1 hour. Make sure that you use all of your water fixtures including the exterior shower. You want to get the Clorox into every inch of your water system. After about 1 hour flush the tank twice. Clorox can corrode your fixtures so you do not want to leave it in the tank too long. Also be sure an flush. Good idea to do this annually.
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Old 11-02-2013, 08:59 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by graysailor View Post
Even though my trailer was new I still cleaned the fresh water tank. Easy to do. I just put 1 cup of Clorox into the water tank and let it stand for about 1 hour. Make sure that you use all of your water fixtures including the exterior shower. You want to get the Clorox into every inch of your water system. After about 1 hour flush the tank twice. Clorox can corrode your fixtures so you do not want to leave it in the tank too long. Also be sure an flush. Good idea to do this annually.
Just an FYI if you have your owners manual it has instructions on sanitizing the tank. In my case to sanitize the tank it requires 1 cup of bleach which takes care of my tank content (60 gallons). It notes to retain that mixture in the tank for 4 hours. Then flush. Increased amounts of bleach can reduced the amount of time the water remains in the tank. Obviously if your tank is smaller than 60 gallons and you use one cup, the time in the tank is also reduced.

Here is the exact procedure as prescribed by Airstream.

1. Use one of the following methods to determine the amount of common household bleach needed to sanitize the tank.
A) Multiply "gallons of tank capacity" by 0.13; the result is the ounces of bleach needed to sanitize the tank.
B) Multiply "Liters of tank capacity" by 1.0; the result is the milliliters of bleach needed to sanitize the tank.
2. Mix into solution the proper amount of bleach within a container of water.
3. Pour the solution (water/bleach) into the tank and fill the tank with potable water.
4. Open all faucets (Hot & Cold) allowing the water to run until the distinct odor of chlorine is detected.
5. The standard solution must have four (4) hours of contact time to disinfect completely. If you double the solution, this concentration allows for contact time of one (1) hour.
6. When the contact time is completed, drain the tank. Refill with potable water and purge the plumbing of all sanitizing solution.
NOTE: The sanitizing procedure outlined above is in conformance with the approved procedures of RVIA ANSI Al19.2 and the U.S. Public Health Service.

Jack
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Old 11-02-2013, 09:45 AM   #7
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When You Do What Jack Says...

...be sure to use basic, unscented, unadulterated, household bleach. It doesn't have to be Chlorox brand. In fact it is more and more difficult to find Chlorox without fragrance added or anti-splash agents.
You may have to buy the store brand or go to Dollar Tree to find pure sodium hypochlorite (unscented household bleach without anti-splash compounds.)

When we travel and "hook up" to different water supplies, we may not introduce "beasties" into our fresh-water holding tank, but our hot water tank is always vulnerable. That sulfur smelling water that Kevin talks about cannot be allowed to sit in the hot-water tank when you return home. It probably contains anaerobic bacteria that will flourish in the water heater.

P.S. This is why I never, ever leave water in my fresh-water holding tank or hot water heater if I am not going to be using the Airstream.
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Old 11-02-2013, 10:01 AM   #8
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Another potential source of smell (and horrible taste) is the water hose you use.

We learned this here when one of our newly-arrived guests came up to complain about bad taste. I grabbed a glass, went down to their rig, disconnected the hose, filled the glass from the faucet, and handed it to him. He didn't notice any taste. After reconnecting the hose, we went inside and tried water from the sink faucet. Terrible.

The key was the hose. It was a green one, and not the newest one at that. It's for good reason that green garden hoses are not rated for potable water.


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Old 11-02-2013, 10:16 AM   #9
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DickandVick,

I agree with all the posters, they have given you great advice. If you are using some water that is high in sulfur, it isn't going to hurt you. It might smell bad enough to not want to use it but it is safe.

Alumaholic mentioned the HW tank and how those with the sacrificial rods can be a problem in situations like this. Years ago, I installed a HW tank in my PU and it was one with the rod. Not long after, we noticed a very strong rotten egg smell from the the HW faucet. I flushed out the tank and things were good. On the next trip, the same thing happened. I would, from there on out, flush the tank before each trip. I live in an area with a bit of sulfur in the water, but it isn't all that bad. Leaving it in the HW tank for a week or two between trips gave it ample opportunity to go "bad".

My next trailer did not have a rod in the HW tank and I never had any trouble. My Airstream doesn't have one either and everything is good. So, flush the HW tank, drain and sanitize the fresh water system and you should be good to go. It was probably just a local thing as mentioned above.
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Old 11-02-2013, 10:58 AM   #10
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I agree with all the posters, they have given you great advice. If you are using some water that is high in sulfur, it isn't going to hurt you. It might smell bad enough to not want to use it but it is safe.
Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) filters do a pretty good job of removing most odors from water. If the source is the water supply, put the filter between the spigot and the hose. If the source is the hose, put it between the hose and the trailer. If the filter removes some of the odor but not enough, there may not be enough "dwell time" that the water spends inside the filter. You can compensate for that by hooking two filters end-to-end so that the water is exposed to the carbon for a longer amount of time.

All drinking water sources in the US have to comply with the EPA Primary Drinking Water Standards, which ensure that the water is potable (safe to drink). However, odor and taste are covered under EPA Secondary Drinking Water Standards, which ensure that the water is palatable (pleasant to drink).

Compliance with secondary standards is entirely voluntary, and for so-called "transient" sources, where the people drinking the water will move on to another source in a few weeks, it's usually not worth the expense.
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Old 11-03-2013, 12:54 AM   #11
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In addition to the above I usually use a water filter system for campground use and of course to fill my fresh water tank. CampingWorld has several to choose from.
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Old 11-05-2013, 12:17 AM   #12
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I want to thank everyone for your help.. This group has been invaluable. The smell began to diminished after running the water, so I'm pretty sure that I need to clean and sanitize my tanks and lines. We plan on taking the AS out of storage either this weekend or the next. I'll put the bleach solution in before we leave and let it slosh around while we drive and soak for at least 4 hours before draining and a good fresh water flush! Once again thank you so very much!

Vickie
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Old 11-05-2013, 12:17 AM   #13
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Oh, and I'm start using an inline water filter..
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Old 11-05-2013, 06:54 AM   #14
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I notice mention of an anode rod in the hotwater tank.....If your hotwater tank is aluminum you don't need an anode rod.
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