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Foul Smell in RV


I have a foul smell in my RV. I went camping this weekend in a travel trailer and there was an awful, foul smell whenever the water turned on. My camper is brand new. Do you know what could cause the terrible smell or what I can do to get rid of it?

Coleen, the RVing editor, replies:

Check your RV P-traps

It could be there is no water in one of the P-traps.

The way drains work, the P-traps are configured so that they hold water. That water acts as a barrier so gasses from the holding tanks don?t come back into the trailer. With the water gone, the barrier is gone.

When you turn on the water and some goes down the drain, it displaces gasses in the holding tank. Normally, they should go out the vents. However, if you have a dry P-trap, the gasses could be coming up the drain and into the rig.

As to how or why the P-traps would dry out, if you haven't used them for a couple of weeks or so, it could have evaporated. Or, it could have sloshed out when going around turns or driving up and down hills.

Your shower drain could be the culprit.

Running some water down all the drains may help.

Go to the RV Life and Travel blog.

Comments for Foul Smell in RV

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Foul Smell
by: Anonymous

If the smell is noticed when the water is turned on, I would suspect something growing in the fresh water tank. Suggest you drain it, sanitize it. and refill it.

Foul Smell
by: Anonymous

Did you hook up to well water? If you did it may have sulfur in the water and it will smell like rotten eggs. The water won't hurt you, but some people hold their noses when drinking water from the tap.

Foul Smell
by: tom jones

Most likely it's that foul-smelling "RV anti-freeze." I never use it; it stinks! Flush your system several times, and learn how to winterize without using that awful stuff.

My Two Bits Worth
by: Rayce

Hi everyone. I just wanted to put in my two bits worth here, this weekend I had an awful rotten egg smell only when I turned on my HOT water taps, my water heater is brand new in Aug 2013 and only used twice, I accidentaly got some RV anti freeze in when I winterized it last year. I have read a couple of forums on the causes of the smell, mine does not have an anode rod in it causing it, and it has never seen well or untreated water, so I have to positively say it caused by the anti freeze sitting in there. I checked the label on the jug and it says in small print "SALT BRINE IS CORROSIVE TO ALL METALS," so I would imagine it reacted with the aluminum tank to cause the smell. IMHO

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