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Old 11-17-2019, 11:39 PM   #1
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Black tank odor from under bed on 2017 21

Hello,

I have just purchased a 2017 21 used and am in the process of living one of my dreams, that is getting an Escape trailer

However an odor which matches that of the open toilet pervades the trailer with the source coming from the storage area under the bed. When I open the cabinet door to the storage area the smell is much stronger. I've flushed both tanks until the water runs clear and left the fans on overnight pulling from the rear windows. I've also thoroughly cleaned the entire bath/toilet (it's something I enjoy doing, it's therapeutic).

The next day I closed the vents, let it sit for a few hours and the smell returned, then when checking the storage area under the bed the odor was again strongest there. When in the bathroom itself it doesn't smell (it actually smells clean), it just seems to come from under the bed.

The night before I took the mattress out and part of the plywood off, filled both tanks to the point of filling the toilet and the shower pan and looked for leaks, there were none. In tracking the scent it seems to come from the corner where the vent pipe goes into the wall, I can't trace it specifically but it's from under/behind the bathroom. I checked the portion of the vent pipe with soapy water and looked for bubbles when over filling the tank but found nothing, I wrapped it in silcone tape anyway. There is no indication of water leaks as far as I can see, just dry saw dust.

The previous owner posted on these forums that the odor began a year into ownership, there as no resolution or followup that I saw.

I've seen many different posts on the subject, some have issues and others don't (for the 2017 21 specifically) but I haven't found a concrete source of the issue. I know toilets smell but the bathroom smells clean yet there is something that is producing a black tank odor under the bed.... I'm at a loss and this is my first travel trailer so I'm looking for guidance.

Thank you!

Jacob
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Old 11-18-2019, 06:57 AM   #2
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Check the outer vent cover on the roof to see if blocked.....some had the caulking around the vent fail or fall inside and needed replacing.
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Old 11-18-2019, 08:00 AM   #3
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I'd have to start from scratch. You already flushed the tanks so I'd add some bleach to them, let it sit a bit, flush that out, and add some good deodorizer to the tanks with a little water. Sanitize the fresh tank and all the lines. Don't know how one checks the vents.

On mine, I've had sewer gas come in thru the bathroom vent. Out the black tank vent and in thru the open bathroom vent.
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Old 11-18-2019, 09:02 AM   #4
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I canít really help but maybe this thread will give you some insight...
Black or Gray tank Smell in 2017 21; how to prevent?

Also there was a suggested repair to some 21 black tank drains that had a minor leak but that doesnít sound like your problem
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Old 11-18-2019, 09:27 AM   #5
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I'd have to start from scratch. You already flushed the tanks so I'd add some bleach to them, let it sit a bit, flush that out, and add some good deodorizer to the tanks with a little water. Sanitize the fresh tank and all the lines. Don't know how one checks the vents.

On mine, I've had sewer gas come in thru the bathroom vent. Out the black tank vent and in thru the open bathroom vent.
I second this. Donít forget to not only do this procedure with the black tank but the grey tank as well. Many of these type of odors are coming from the grey tank because they are never treated. We had a similar smell that started in our 19 and it turned out to be the grey tank that was causing it.
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Old 11-18-2019, 10:08 AM   #6
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I canít really help but maybe this thread will give you some insight...
Black or Gray tank Smell in 2017 21; how to prevent?

Also there was a suggested repair to some 21 black tank drains that had a minor leak but that doesnít sound like your problem
We had a sewer smell coming from under the bed in our 21 . The cause was ó1) The piping connection to the black tank was improperly sealed and leaking ó 2) The black tank vent connection was faulty .
#2) was an easy fix ó-# 1 was not
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Old 11-18-2019, 11:03 AM   #7
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I second this. Donít forget to not only do this procedure with the black tank but the grey tank as well. Many of these type of odors are coming from the grey tank because they are never treated. We had a similar smell that started in our 19 and it turned out to be the grey tank that was causing it.
Thank you for all the quick replies! This is a great community

Yes, when I flushed the grey tank the water was almost a brown as the black and took a few flushes to clear.

Does anyone know if the grey tank is vented into the cabin? Since it's not coming from the drain openings there must be a way it's venting elsewhere. The bathroom doesn't smell so it doesn't seem to be from it being pulled back in via the bathroom exhaust fan.

And can a grey tank smell the same as a blank tank? It's not like an open sewer smell, but more like a dirty water in a cavern smell but when I open the toilet it matches that (however the blank tank has been flushed until the water is clear so it's relatively "clean").

Thank you,

Jacob
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Old 11-18-2019, 11:14 AM   #8
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The gray tank can get really funky. Cooking grease and tiny bits of food from the dishwater... well you get the idea.

I used liquid chemicals in the black water tank. I rinse the container in the kitchen sink. The little bit of chemicals really helps with gray water odor. Although if the P tracks have water in them, those odors shouldn't back up into the cabin.
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Old 11-18-2019, 11:23 AM   #9
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Thank you for all the quick replies! This is a great community

Yes, when I flushed the grey tank the water was almost a brown as the black and took a few flushes to clear.

Does anyone know if the grey tank is vented into the cabin? Since it's not coming from the drain openings there must be a way it's venting elsewhere. The bathroom doesn't smell so it doesn't seem to be from it being pulled back in via the bathroom exhaust fan.

And can a grey tank smell the same as a blank tank? It's not like an open sewer smell, but more like a dirty water in a cavern smell but when I open the toilet it matches that (however the blank tank has been flushed until the water is clear so it's relatively "clean").

Thank you,

Jacob
The vent pipe for the grey tank starts in the bottom cabinet under the furnace, makes a left turn to go up through the back of the wardrobe cabinet, and exits above the microwave cabinet through the roof.

If you smell the odor stronger when you open any of these cabinets, that might be a good place to start looking for a leak.


On another note, I found the trap for the shower drain lost its seal on a regular basis letting grey tank odors into the shower area. After getting rid of the trap with a Hepvo, that source of odor went away.
Hepvo valve install for 21'

The kitchen sink was the other source.
Kitchen Sink Hepvo Install
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Old 11-18-2019, 12:47 PM   #10
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Yes, the grey tank can really get to stinkin. I put about a half cup of bleach in both black n grey tanks that are filled with water 3/4 full. Then I hitch n drive around for about 20 minutes, leave it sit for a day or two and rinse the tanks. If there is still odors after that then I would suspect leaked black tank accumulated somewhere.
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Old 11-18-2019, 01:02 PM   #11
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Yes, the grey tank can really get to stinkin. I put about a half cup of bleach in both black n grey tanks that are filled with water 3/4 full. Then I hitch n drive around for about 20 minutes, leave it sit for a day or two and rinse the tanks. If there is still odors after that then I would suspect leaked black tank accumulated somewhere.
Hi Greg yup learned years ago how much that grey tank can stink . Find even if we had a little bleach or chemical in the pipes , after a drive they are gone so need to reapply to keep things smelling fresh . Pat
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Old 11-20-2019, 10:25 PM   #12
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The previous owner mentioned that they had spilled a small amount of tank treatment in the storage area under the bed (I think Thetford Aqua Kem which contains formaldehyde and methly alcohol). How small I don't know, there is a narrow line which shows liquid running all the way back under the black tank.

If the smell I'm sensing is the residual of that product then it might make sense as to why that same odor comes from the open toilet. However to verify this I want to make the black and grey tanks smell strongly of something else and see if the odor makes its way to the storage area under the bed. If it does then there is a leak or vent issue I have to find. If it doesn't then it's likely a spill that I'll have to clean up.

Any ideas on a safe but strong smelling chemical that I can add to the tanks to give them a distinct odor that wont dissipate quickly? I've thought of bath salts with lavender but chemistry isn't my thing so I'm looking for suggestions.

Thank you!

Jacob
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Old 11-20-2019, 10:31 PM   #13
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Natures miracle pet accident liquid. It will knock odors down pretty thoroughly. Buy it in pet stores or big box stores with pet departments. Not very expensive
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Old 11-20-2019, 10:43 PM   #14
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There was a Calgon bubble bath product that was the rage years ago to treat the black tank with, but I don't remember the specific product maybe someone here does. We used it on one trailer and smelled great and kept the monitor sensors in the tank from fouling.
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Old 11-20-2019, 10:58 PM   #15
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Any ideas on a safe but strong smelling chemical that I can add to the tanks to give them a distinct odor that wont dissipate quickly? I've thought of bath salts with lavender but chemistry isn't my thing so I'm looking for suggestions.

Thank you!

Jacob
10% ammonia is safe in a polyethylene plastic tank. Ammonia odor is definitely distinctive.
https://www.truevalue.com/ammonia-10-1-gal
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Old 11-21-2019, 12:03 AM   #16
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10% ammonia is safe in a polyethylene plastic tank. Ammonia odor is definitely distinctive.
https://www.truevalue.com/ammonia-10-1-gal

Just don't add bleach or anything containing bleach to ammonia or you create a deadly gas.
From Google:
It is also a reminder that the mixing of bleach with some household cleansers (e.g. toilet bowl cleansers that contain acid) can generate chlorine gas, and mixing bleach with ammonia generates toxic chloramine vapor. Mixing bleach and ammonia is extremely dangerous, since toxic vapors will be produced.
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Old 11-21-2019, 08:49 AM   #17
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Just don't add bleach or anything containing bleach to ammonia or you create a deadly gas.
From Google:
It is also a reminder that the mixing of bleach with some household cleansers (e.g. toilet bowl cleansers that contain acid) can generate chlorine gas, and mixing bleach with ammonia generates toxic chloramine vapor. Mixing bleach and ammonia is extremely dangerous, since toxic vapors will be produced.
Good point Glenn especially considering that some users routinely use some bleach into the black and gray tanks to knock down any smells.
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Old 11-21-2019, 09:16 AM   #18
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There was a Calgon bubble bath product that was the rage years ago to treat the black tank with, but I don't remember the specific product maybe someone here does. We used it on one trailer and smelled great and kept the monitor sensors in the tank from fouling.
This is what I have seen being used. Might help with keeping odor in the black tank down during normal use, but apparently doesn't have a strong scent so probably won't help HereAndThere troubleshoot where the smell is entering the cabin.

https://www.amazon.com/Calgon-Liquid.../dp/B00CNJREKK
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Old 11-21-2019, 09:50 AM   #19
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Just don't add bleach or anything containing bleach to ammonia or you create a deadly gas.
From Google:
It is also a reminder that the mixing of bleach with some household cleansers (e.g. toilet bowl cleansers that contain acid) can generate chlorine gas, and mixing bleach with ammonia generates toxic chloramine vapor. Mixing bleach and ammonia is extremely dangerous, since toxic vapors will be produced.
If you have flushed the black tank with water, any chlorine will have been flushed as well. Adding ammonia to a flushed tank should not be a concern.

Adding chlorine and ammonia at the same time would definitely be a bad idea.

Putting chlorine in either the black or grey tanks is a bad idea anyway. Chlorine is corrosive to metal - if you think the tank level probes don't work well - just corrode them with chlorine and see how bad they get.
https://answersdrive.com/can-chlorin...-steel-4078877

It is also bad for the tanks and piping as well as it causes polymer degradation.
http://www.hdpeoxidation.com/
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Old 11-21-2019, 10:58 AM   #20
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Rather than try to add odour to the black tank and track that for leaks, I'd add a dye of some kind.
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