Fresh Water Tank

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IowaCamper

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I let the ole Motor Home sit for two weeks then we took her out last weekend and as soon as we set up camp and used the water we noticed it smelled really weird.  We went and bought bottled water and used that for the rest of our weekend getaway.  We came home and I've drained the tank and refilled to about 1/2 a tank and added about 1 cup of bleach then filled her the rest of the way up.  Let her set for a day and drained it out (including the water heater) then put a cup of baking soda in the tank filled her back up and let it set for another day.  I'm drained it again (including water heater) and filled her back up with water.  Is there anything else anybody knows of to keep this from happening again?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Oh yeah I let some of the bleach water solution sit in both the gray and black water tanks for a couple of days.  Will that hurt anything?

Thanks again.

John & Judy
 

Tom

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John and Judy

Is that smell coming from the hot water faucet, and does it maybe smell like rotten eggs? If so, read this.
 

IowaCamper

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Thanks for the quick reply and advice Tom. But you'll have to forgive me for being dumb.  How does one super-chlorinate the system?

Thanks,

John & Judy
 

Tom

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The reference to super-chlorination in the article is merely saying to do the same as you do to sanitize a water tank, or maybe add more chlorine/bleach.

FWIW when we've had this problem, I've found that merely flushing the hot water tank and system once or twice was enough. Since we don't drink from the hot water faucet, I didn't bother to chlorinate.

BTW here's the recomended procedure for sanitizng the water system.
 

IowaCamper

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Well thanks again, I may have used a little too much bleach. but the baking soda took care of the smell.  We don't usually use the water to drink but forget to buy the bottled water last time and wound up having to run into town to buy it after all.  Anyway I'll try using the fresh water tank a little more often instead of the city water hookup.  One thing I should mention is when I fill it the water comes from a well from our farm. it's not city water.  Would that make it start to smell weird quicker than if I used city water? 

Thanks,
John 
 

Tom

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John

I wouldn't worry about too much bleach if you flushed it out afterwards.

Not sure about the well water. We're on a community well-based water system and I used to have lots of problems with that smell, even in the house. When they switched to a new water treatment plant, the bad smells disappeared.

BTW I've always added a little cleach with every fill of the fresh water system on our boat. Don't ask why, but I haven't done that with the coach.
 

Karl

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John,

Many farm wells (and home wells for that matter) can become contaminated with runoff and bacteria. It's not usually a problem with deep wells, but just to be safe, send a sample to your local or state agriculture department to have it tested. Sulfur smells are common and not usually harmful, and a charcoal filter will take care of the smell. Most RV'rs use at least one filter and possibly two - one for sediment and another for odor, regardless of where they fill up. As Tom mentioned, a little bleach will go a long way, especially if you have bacteria. Montezuma's Revenge is to be avoided whenever possible ;D 
 

IowaCamper

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Thanks for the response Karl. I've used the well water in the Motor Home for the last three years and never had a problem.  and the water in our house doesn't have that smell.  I did have one thought after I posted this.  I never by pass the water heater when I winterize the ole girl, I wonder if I might not have gotten all the antifreeze out at the beginning of the season.  Any ideals on this.  but I could smell it from the cold water tap also.  Well I know it's flushed out good now and we are going on a week long getaway this coming Monday I'll see if the smell comes back then.

John
 

Carl L

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IowaCamper said:
One thing I should mention is when I fill it the water comes from a well from our farm. it's not city water.? Would that make it start to smell weird quicker than if I used city water??


AHA!  And your well water is not chlorinated, right?  Most, if not all, municipal water is chlorinated.  That chlorine will persist in the water for several days and will tend to sanitize the tank -- at least to stablize the water.

You need to drain the tank if the RV is being stored.  If you live in earthquake country, like I do, and want to utilize the tank as an emergency  water supply, you should stabilize the water with a chlorine level about 1/3 the sanitizing level.  In my 40 gallon tank that would be  1/4 cup of Chlorox* to 40 gallons of water.  Mix it in a gallon of water and add it to the tank then fill the tank.

(* 5-6% sodium hypochloride)
 

John From Detroit

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IowaCamper said:
Well thanks again, I may have used a little too much bleach.

Rule on too much bleach... And yes, it's possible

There is a minimum concentration of bleach to water you should use to sanatize the system.  I think clorox puts that info on it's label, Off hand i do not know it (Will tonight though... training day)

Using more than that is indicated where there are "problems" (up to about 2x recommended strength)

Using more than that won't likely help

Rinse the system twice after bleaching (Note, a baking soda rinse IS a rinse)

Fill system and sample.... (Very tiny sip) if you taste the clorine.. Rinse again and again till the water tastes good.

If you use way too much (IE: Straight 100percent bleach and no water, and the "Concentrated" or "Ultra" bleaches at that (Smaller bottles) there is a chance of damage to some of the softer rubber parts such as a diapraham pump.

However... I'd say the odds of that happening are slight

BTW... I have not choice but to park my trailer under some trees (Ok, my ex-trailer as of today)

It got rater nasty looking due to tree sap, bird droppings and the like (Supposed to be white, not black)

2 bottles of ultra bleach (Store brand) and it's white again (With some water added) So is my shirt,, which is SUPPOSED to be black

(I got throw away pants for the job)
 

John From Detroit

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I should add I don't recommend using concentrated bleach at the concentration levels I used, it can damage the finish, but in this case... I don't much care, it's 196x mini-trailer and the finish is not that great due to age
 

Tom

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John In Detroit said:
Fill system and sample.... (Very tiny sip) if you taste the clorine.. Rinse again and again till the water tastes good.

John, the recommended way to remove the chlorine taste is to add a small amount of vinegar. No need for the repeated rinses.
 

Karl

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A word of caution Tom:

Bleach, when mixed with acid, any acid, produces deadly and corrosive chlorine gas. As a final rinse where the bleach is at a minimum it would be o.k., but not as the initial rinse after using a high concentration of bleach. Adequate ventilation is a must and make sure all lines are purged of air/chlorine before shutting the windows.
 

Tom

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Understood Karl. I wasn't suggesting it be added prior to flushing; I was merely suggesting that there was an accepted alternative to perpetual flushing.
 

Tom

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A word of caution Tom:

Karl said:
Tom, My reply wasn't aimed at you specifically,

OK Karl, is this some kind of double-speak?  ;D  But, as I often say to my other half, "I knew what you meant rather than what you said"  :)
 

Carl L

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John In Detroit said:
Rule on too much bleach... And yes, it's possible

There is a minimum concentration of bleach to water you should use to sanatize the system.? I think clorox puts that info on it's label, Off hand i do not know it (Will tonight though... training day)

Chlorox does not have that on the label.  The recommend doseage that Fleetwood works out to 3/4 cup to 40 gallons of tank.  Dilute with a gallon of water before introducing it to the tank.  A direct inquiry with Chlorox verified that concentration.  BTW the normal sodium hypocholide concentration in household bleach is 5%.  The concentrated stuff is 6%.  Given the general accuracy of tank volumes and measuring cup volumetrics, they are six of one half dozen of the other.
 

John From Detroit

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To bring this back on topic,,, I'm busy this week reading and reading and reading manuals.... The manual for the hot water heater says that there is a special lining on the inside of the hot water tank intended to cut down on corrosion...  This lining material will react with the water (Albet slowly) and cause hydrogen gas to be released.... Normally you don't notice this unless something is seriously wrong.

However if there is even the smallest amount of sulfer in the tank.... Given enough time the hydrogen combines and you get "essence of rotten egg" (which by the way is the same gas)  Flushing is what they recommend, just flush it out and let it fill with fresh.
 

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