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Old 07-09-2010, 06:55 PM
 
Location: Where there is too much snow!
6,076 posts, read 11,011,756 times
Reputation: 2924

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OK,

So here's the problem and what I did to talk care of it and I'd like to know what you think.

We tried to use our hot water heater in our camper and it smelled like rotten eggs to say the least. We held off of using it while out camping this time. Before we left the camp grounds and after I drained the black and grey water holding tanks I drain the water reserves.
When I got home I drained the hot water tank completely and placed 1 cup of bleach in the fresh water holding tank and filled it with fresh water circulating it through out the inter
system. Now the water in both the cold and hot sides smell much better. Should I drain the inter system now and leave it empty until out next trip and leave the drain plug out of the hot water tank so it may breath? Or, leave the water and bleach in until our trip next month then flush it out just before we leave for camping and fill it again with fresh water when we arrive at the camp ground?
My best halves biggest fear is that the bleach may do some harm to clothes, hair and skin if I leave it in until the next camping trip. Or, will the bleach damage the fresh water reservoir, lines, and hot water heater if I leave it in to long?

Note, that we never travel with a reservoir of water on board due to extra wait in the camper and fuel mileage.
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Old 07-09-2010, 09:06 PM
 
4,285 posts, read 14,421,440 times
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That rotten egg smell is caused by hydrogen sulfide in your water.

It's caused by certain bacteria which "eat" naturally occurring sulphur in the water.

If your tank has an aluminum anode rod, this can exacerbate the problem.

You've started the process of clearing up the smell by draining the system and circulating some chlorine-laced water, but bleach is not the best stuff to use for this particular problem. Bleach has a nasty habit of reacting with aluminum and may corrode any aluminum components in your water system. Next time, use a quart of hydrogen peroxide instead.

Now that you have bleach in your system, all those nasty bacteria should be dead, so drain your hot water tank and flush your system with fresh water.

If the problem persists, try changing the anode on your hot water to tank from aluminum to magnesium.
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Old 07-10-2010, 05:54 AM
 
Location: Where there is too much snow!
6,076 posts, read 11,011,756 times
Reputation: 2924
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cornerguy1 View Post
That rotten egg smell is caused by hydrogen sulfide in your water.

It's caused by certain bacteria which "eat" naturally occurring sulphur in the water.

If your tank has an aluminum anode rod, this can exacerbate the problem.

You've started the process of clearing up the smell by draining the system and circulating some chlorine-laced water, but bleach is not the best stuff to use for this particular problem. Bleach has a nasty habit of reacting with aluminum and may corrode any aluminum components in your water system. Next time, use a quart of hydrogen peroxide instead.

Now that you have bleach in your system, all those nasty bacteria should be dead, so drain your hot water tank and flush your system with fresh water.

If the problem persists, try changing the anode on your hot water to tank from aluminum to magnesium.
Thanks Cornerguy1,

Do we mix the Hydrogen peroxide with a full reservoir tank of water and how long do we keep it in the system? And is it a smart idea to drain it between trips and leave the drain plug out of the hot water heater so air can get to it?
And most of all, "What is a Anode"?
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Old 07-10-2010, 10:36 AM
 
Location: On the brink of WWIII
21,093 posts, read 23,895,889 times
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We had a similiar problem. We pulled that rod (anode) that runs in the center of the tank and replaced it.

YUCK!!

The smell was no more for us...
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Old 07-10-2010, 11:44 AM
 
4,285 posts, read 14,421,440 times
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The anode is the rod that is screwed into the tank to prevent electrolysis from eating your tank.

Add the peroxide the same way you did the bleach (but make sure you flush all the bleach first). Leave it place for 30 minutes and then flush the system with fresh water.

There shouldn't be any need to leave a disinfectant in your system on a permanent basis --- if your odour problem re-occurs, then change out that anode rod.
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Old 07-10-2010, 04:06 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
9,416 posts, read 17,382,101 times
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It sounds like these guys know a lot more about it than I do, but one thing you might consider is filling your water tank before going camping rather than filling it at the campground.

I don't have a sense of smell at all, but back when I did I seem to recall that the rotten egg smell was due to a high sulfur content in the water. Good city water will often have most of this removed, or if you have a water softener in your home it will likely be mostly removed along with the other minerals. Unsoftened spring water, particularly in the west, will often have the mineral present. It's sometimes not too bad until you heat it, which releases the smell.

Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think it's dangerous to consume. When I first moved to the town I live in (40 years ago), the water was absolutely horrible. Your coffee had an oil slick on the top of it, and if you tried to mix cream with it, it would curdle. Tee shirts quickly turned orange from washing them, and you could spot an old timer who had lived here for decades from his orange teeth. The water tasted terrible. Softening it helped, as did refrigerating it. The worst thing for releasing the sulfur smell was to heat it. Yeck! Thankfully the water now comes from better wells, is treated a little more, and doesn't taste too bad.

I always fill my water tank before leaving town, and I fill it with water that's run through our in-home softener. Not only do I know it'll taste and smell okay, it's good for shaving, bathing, washing dishes, and it doesn't leave lime deposits on sinks, tub, toilet, glasses, silverware, etc. The only exception to this is if I know where we're headed and know the water there is as good or better than that from our home spigot.
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