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RVer Complains of “Sewer smell in RV except in Bathroom”

If you’re an RV owner, one of the things you might have experienced is the unpleasant smell of sewage. This can be a common issue in recreational vehicles, and addressing it as soon as possible is important.

On April 15th, one Reddit user, who goes by the username u/sergeiglimis, shared their experience in a post titled “Sewer Smell in RV Except in Bathroom.”

Here’s the scoop:

In the post, u/sergeiglimis explains that they have noticed a foul odor in their RV, but only in certain areas of the vehicle. They state that the smell is not present in the bathroom, which has left them puzzled as to the cause of the issue. 

The post received several responses from other RV owners who shared their own experiences and offered suggestions on how to solve the problem.

KEEP IN MIND: An RV Mechanic Let Us Know What Breaks First in an RV.

Pretty Good Advice from Fellow RVers

One user, u/GamerByt3r, suggested a faulty or clogged vent pipe might cause the issue. They explained, “Good chance it’s your Grey tank not the black tank, You may be getting smell coming from the drain in your sink.

If you have any under storage compartments, open them up and see if the smell is in there coming through your floorboards.

Dump your tanks and put in RV tank treatment in both your grey and black tanks with a few gallons of water to make sure that you have the good bacteria in there that will take care of smells like that.”

To address the issue, u/zeepbar adds, “I have seen roof vents not sealed completely where they go through the roof. I would remove the caps and see if you need additional caulking. Have also seen the roofing not cut completely where the vent is.”

Need to know: Does Your RV Need Holding Tank Treatment?

Toilet filled up to the rim with brown water, stuck debris in a home toilet. Help, plumber wanted! Please unclog my toilet bowl!
Toilet filled up to the rim with brown water, stuck debris in a home toilet. Help, plumber wanted! Please unclog my toilet bowl!

7 Places in Your RV that Might Be Smelly

  1. Holding tanks: The holding tanks in an RV are responsible for storing waste water and sewage. If these tanks are not emptied regularly, they can start to emit unpleasant odors.
  2. Gray water tanks: The gray water tanks in an RV hold water from sinks, showers, and washing machines. If these tanks are not emptied regularly, they can also start to emit unpleasant odors.
  3. Plumbing fixtures: Plumbing fixtures such as sinks, showers, and toilets can develop clogs or leaks, leading to bad odors.
  4. Vents: Vents are an important part of the RV’s plumbing system, as they help regulate air pressure and prevent sewer gases from entering the living space. If the vents become clogged or damaged, unpleasant smells can start to seep into the RV.
  5. Water heater: If the water heater in an RV is not properly maintained, it can start to emit unpleasant odors.
  6. Refrigerator: The refrigerator in an RV can also develop bad odors if it is not properly cleaned and maintained.
  7. Air conditioning system: The air conditioning system in an RV can circulate unpleasant smells if the air filters are dirty or if the system is not properly maintained.

In conclusion, if you’re an RV owner experiencing a sewer smell in your vehicle, there are several potential causes to consider. 

Checking the vent pipe and P-trap are good starting points. As u/RVLiving teaches, seeking advice from other RV owners on forums like Reddit can also be incredibly helpful in finding a solution.

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