Stinky gas water heater

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Bristoldog1

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We are full time RVers since Aug 2020. We have a gas water heater. Since it’s not electric it does not use Anoid rods. I’ve flushed it a few times and even went as far as to put an Anoid rod into it. From time to time depending on the campground city water supply used… our Hot water STINKS! And tips, hacks, suggestions?
 

DutchmenSport

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First, check the water at the shore water spigot. See if it smells. If it does, the only solution is a good RV water filter.

Meanwhile, sanatizing your water system may be in order.

Do you pump your water from your fresh water tank, or do you run off city water? Either way, it sounds like your water heater needs a good sanitization work over.
 

Bristoldog1

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I use three water filters all the time and change them every couple of months. Always use city water supply. Some are really stinky, others not at all. I vinegar flushed in, damn it’s been about a year. Guess I’ll be vinegar flushing again, or is there something better I should be using?
 

Mark_K5LXP

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Chlorine bleach is tried and true, 1/4 cup per 15 gallons. Let sit in system 4 hours, overnight is better. Dump, run fresh through the lines and that's it.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
 

Rene T

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1st the anode has nothing to do with electricity. It is used on a Suburban water heater. Minerals in the water attack the anode instead of the tank wall. The Atwood/Dometic do not use a anode. Their tanks are different. I’ve heard that Atwood will not warrantee their tanks if you use a anode. So you need to find out who made your heater.

I agree that you need to sanitize you entire system which includes the fresh water tank and the water heater. Drain as much water as you can by opening the low point drains and drain the water heater. Put in your fresh water tank 1/4 cup of bleach for every 15 gallons of water. Then using your onboard pump, pump water from the tank throughout the entire system. Run each faucet until you smell the bleach. Do not use the scented bleach. Once you are done that, I usually add another 1/4 cup of bleach to the tank and top it if with fresh water. Let this set for 2 or 3 hours then drain everything. Fill the tank and run fresh water throughout. You can drain it again if the smell bleach is still noticeable or you can leave it and it will disappear in a couple of days. But that is your problem.
 
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Kirk

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Since it’s not electric it does not use Anoid rods.
If you have an Atwood water heater it has an aluminum tank and for that reason does not need or use an anode. If you have a Suburgan water heater you should be using an anode. The choice of gas or electric has nohting to do with the need or lack of need for an anode.
Some are really stinky, others not at all.
The thing that makes for the rotten egg odor from the hot water is that you probably have bacteria growing in the water heater. If you sanitize it but do not do the entire fresh water system, you will have a supply of spores to get the algae started in the tank of the water heater again very quickly.

EDIT It looks like Rene was posting just ahead of me with similar information.
 
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Babe2201 is right; if the water source is sulfurous you have to filter the sulfur out to eliminate the smell at the taps. The more common problem, though, is the bacteria that thrive in a heater tank and release a "rotten egg" smell into the water. The bacteria are harmless but annoying. They can be eliminated by sanitizing the RV water system.
 

Babe2201

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Babe2201 is right; if the water source is sulfurous you have to filter the sulfur out to eliminate the smell at the taps. The more common problem, though, is the bacteria that thrive in a heater tank and release a "rotten egg" smell into the water. The bacteria are harmless but annoying. They can be eliminated by sanitizing the RV water system.
The more I think about it if the water source was sulphureous, they would notice it with the cold water as well or at least I have in houses that had that issue and used a charcoal filter. I did not know that smell could be bacteria as well.
 
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Kirk

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I did not that smell could be bacteria as well.
From the TX healt department:
Although there are several reasons why you have rotten egg smell in your hot water, the most common cause is the sulfur bacteria (SRB) in the hot water tank. They feed on sulfur and produce hydrogen sulfide gas as waste. When the gas dissolves in the water, it gives it that characteristic odor of spoiled eggs. Even if the smell is horrible, those bacteria are not dangerous for your health.
 

Bristoldog1

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Thank you all. We have been in about 47 different campground/RV parks since August of 2020. We stay anywhere from 5 day to 30 days at each stop. We have hit about 23 states in the same time period. Always us the locations city water hookup. And still use three different types of water filters. Beech Lane External RV Dual Water system and a Camco TastePURE RV Inline Water Filter.

I’ll do a bleach clean on my hot water tank and fresh water tank and hope that helps.
 

Rene T

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Thank you all. We have been in about 47 different campground/RV parks since August of 2020. We stay anywhere from 5 day to 30 days at each stop. We have hit about 23 states in the same time period. Always us the locations city water hookup. And still use three different types of water filters. Beech Lane External RV Dual Water system and a Camco TastePURE RV Inline Water Filter.

I’ll do a bleach clean on my hot water tank and fresh water tank and hope that helps.
Do your entire water system
 

Lou Schneider

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...

Put in your fresh water tank 1/4 cup of bleach for every 15 gallons of water. Then using your onboard pump, pump water from the tank throughout the entire system. Run each faucet until you smell the bleach. Do not use the scented bleach.
I agree but don't use scented bleach. Use unscented chlorine bleach. You don't want the scent chemicals introduced into your water supply. Unscented bleach will have that classic chlorine smell.
 
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Rene T

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I agree but don't use scented bleach. Use unscented chlorine bleach. You don't want the scent chemicals introduced into your water supply. Unscented bleach will have that classic chlorine smell.
Lou I need to be recalibrated. I know they have scented and UNscented bleach. I assume that means that with the scented, you can smell the bleach. And I thought the UNscented you would not smell it.
I would want to use the scented one so when I run my faucets when sanitizing I run the water till I smell the bleach.
Am I thinking this wrong?

Update: I was thinking this wrong. Google is my friend.
Scented bleach can be the smell of citrus or a fresh meadow and mountain fresh.
So now I guess UNscented you would smell the bleach.
I learn something every day. Thanks Lou. I fixed my mistake.
 
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phil-t

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I believe - and we have some - scented bleach has a "perfumey" smell. Unscented smells like chlorine.
 

Lou Schneider

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Propane is what normally has no scent and they add an odorant that smells like sulfur to it so you can detect a leak. Unscented bleach naturally smells like chlorine.
 
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