Hot Water Sulfur Odor

RV Clinic

December 17, 2012
Filed under Trailer Q&A

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Q: When we first turn on the hot water at our bathroom sink in our Paradise Point fifth-wheel, we experience a very strong sulfur odor coming from the sink. There is no problem with the kitchen sink or shower when we use the hot water. We used a vinegar and water mixture, as recommended in the water heater manual, and this helped for a few days, but the odor returned. It was recommended that we change the anode in the water heater, but our RV does not have one. Do you have any recommendations for a permanent solution to this smelly problem? 
Joann Fisher, via email

A: You’re on the right track with the vinegar treatment, Joann, but also try using 1/2 cup of bleach per 15 gallons of freshwater capacity in your trailer as a treatment. Detailed instructions are readily available via a short Internet search. The bleach kills the harmless bacteria that enjoy living in the water heater and produce the odor from sulfur in the water. It’s a mystery why the odor appears in the bathroom sink and not the others, but the bleach treatment should eliminate your problem. You should do the bleaching job annually as a regular maintenance procedure. 
– Jeff Johnston


To send your questions to RV Clinic, write to 2575 Vista Del Mar, Ventura, Calif., 93001; or email Tech@trailerlife.com. Also, check out TrailerLife.TV for our expert RV how-to videos.

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