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Old 06-25-2009, 10:25 AM   #1
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PHEWEEEEEEEEEE!!! It stank!

Yikes!! We were gone from the 5th wheel all day. Temps got up into the upper 90's. Afternoon sun shines right on the front.

When we returned....PHEWEE! The heat must "heat up" our gray and black tanks.

So that leads me to ask: how often do you empty your tanks if you are living in it full time like we are for many months? We can go almost a week before it needs to be emptied, but this tells me perhaps we should empty it twice a week in the hot summer?

P.S. We don't have skirting around it yet, but hope to SOON.
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Old 06-25-2009, 11:11 AM   #2
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We dump the grey tanks 2-3 times per weeks, if possible and the black tank 1-2 times. If at a full hookup, use plenty of water into both tanks as it dilutes the potentially smelly waste.

If not at a full hook up, then you just need to find a place to dump regularly & maybe purchase one of those blue waste tanks on wheels so you don't have to hook up and pull away to a sewer dump.

Yup, summer waste tanks can be very fragrant at times
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Old 06-25-2009, 11:25 AM   #3
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Did you have your exhaust fan on while you were gone? That is the only cicrumstance where we've experienced that odor problem. Otherwise, even in Florida's intense heat, there has never been a problem.

Other causes I can think of would be if the toilet isn't sealing well or if there is an sufficient layer of water over the seal. I'm not sure that what you experienced is normal behavior for a well-functioning setup.
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Old 06-25-2009, 06:36 PM   #4
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HOw often do I empty them

1: When they are full (or nearly so)
2: When preparing to unhook from sewer at a campground
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Old 06-25-2009, 06:48 PM   #5
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Check under you bathroom sink and look for a short black 2" pipe going up and having a cap looking thing on the end. See if it is loose, if so tighten it. There should be the same setup under your kitchen sink. These are some sort of vent caps.
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Old 06-25-2009, 06:57 PM   #6
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We are fulltimers. Our black tank is 50 gallon and gray is 54. We dump black about every 5 days normally, and gray as needed (or often leave the dump valve open with a small "water trap" created in the sewer hose. We never have a sewer smell without fixable reason, ie spill, open sewer, roof vent sucking fumes in from the roof tank vent (normally only when driving with the rear-most roof vent open), etc.

Smelling a sewer odor is not normal, and normally means something is amiss. Some possible causes have already been mentioned. Is your connection to the park sewer airtight (screwed in or using a rubber donut)? It also is possible to have a loose tank vent tube (loose at the tank, or somewhere between the tank & the roof).
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Old 06-25-2009, 08:13 PM   #7
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Are you using a tank chemical? For hot weather we found the best results from Odorless. Not available from all sources, but it works.

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Old 06-25-2009, 09:16 PM   #8
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We had a similar problem. It only happened a few times but the last time was the worst. I think it was hot that time. I took the black tank vent cap off and the mud dobbers had filled the pipe. In the process of trying to get it out, I managed to push it down. It hit what I had hoped was in the tank and I guess it was. It has been better than it was for a long time. I hope it desolved in the water and drained out.
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Old 06-26-2009, 03:09 PM   #9
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Last but not least.... its summer time... check your roof vent for nest building creatures...
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Old 06-26-2009, 11:53 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the great replies concerning the bad urine/sewer odor we find in our 5th wheel after being gone for hours and in hot weather. It makes me ponder.

Turning on the exhaust fan:
No, we don't turn on the exhaust fan when we're gone because of having to pay electricity on top of the rent, and right now, electricity costs with the heat are HIGH.

The black tank vent cap: I didn't even know one existed. Now I wonder where it is.....

Tank chemical: Yes, we use that. Both a large soft tablet and liquid enzymes. Never heard of Odorless but if you think it works great, we clearly need to find it.

A loose tank vent tube: Like the above Black tank vent cap, will have to check on that. Wow.

Short black 2" pipe under sink and the cap: will check that.

Emptying them: that is definitely something you all have taught me--that we need to empty them more often in the hot weather. Thank you. We're on a full hookup and permanent for the time being.

Sufficient layer of water in toilet: that is definitely something we have to improve on!

I do want to mention that the odor was the most strong coming out of the vent under our refrigerator. And it was definitely sewer/waste related. Ugh Ugh.

Janie
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Old 06-27-2009, 09:21 AM   #11
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The vent cap is on the roof above the tank. Look under the trailer for the tank and then on the roof above it.
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Old 06-27-2009, 10:19 AM   #12
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There should be two vent caps on your roof, one for the black tank and one for the gray tank. We use to get a foul smelling order driving and occassionly at a standstill, it was the gray water tank. I installed one of those vent caps that turn in the wind on the roof and that has taken care of it. I also found that the vent cap under the bathroom sink was loose. (Wish I could rember what these are called)
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Old 06-27-2009, 11:05 AM   #13
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I think this is called a siphon break valve. It allows water to remain in the "P" traps when dumping holding tanks. It should have a noise when shaken. It has a weak spring under a solid cap to maintain a seal, but also allow the valve to open when low pressure is detected in the plumbing line.
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Old 06-27-2009, 02:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
siphon break valve. It allows water to remain in the "P" traps when dumping holding tanks. It should have a noise when shaken. It has a weak spring under a solid cap
Mine have no spring in them, nor would they make noise if shaken. They have a simple rubber flap creading a one-way valve that seals to prevent odors from getting out of the tank, but opens to allow air in thus preventing a vacuum effect when the tanks are dumped.
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Tank chemical: Yes, we use that...
We are fulltimers and never use any chemical in our tanks other than an occasional one (maybe 3 times a year) that contains a dump valve lubricant. I would say that most fulltimers do not use chemicals, just plenty of water with each flush. Many have found they have worse ordors with chemicals than without, as some chemicals stop the natural breakdown process rather than helping it.
Quote:
the odor was the most strong coming out of the vent under our refrigerator
This sounds like the ordor may be coming from under the floor area, with loose vent joints on top of either tank a strong possibility. Remember that gray tank odor can be as bad or worse than black, so don't rule it out. A loose joint in a tank vent under the floor or inside a wall could do that. Where are your waste tanks from that vent?

Another thought ... have you every totally filled/overfilled either the black or gray tank? Not something to try necessarily, but something you may have observed... If the gray overfills, it would normally back up in the shower. The black should back up the commode outlet tube if the commode is open, or perhaps up the vacuum breaker tube under the lavatory sink. If in either case you have a leak under your rig when a tank is overfilled, you would likely have a loose connection on top of the tank -- inlet, vent, etc. I have known of several RVs with that problem. The challenge is getting to the top of the tank to physically find the leak and to repair it. How hard that is will vary depending on how your particular rig is built.
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