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Why Is My Water Heater Leaking?

No matter the season, your home relies on hot water for daily activities and your comfort! While warm baths and dishwashers are luxuries, both still contribute to the comforting and easy lifestyle homeowners desire. Water heaters are the appliance that supply our homes with hot water, and unfortunately can malfunction from time to time. A common water heater problem in Mount Vernon, WA and surrounding areas is the unit leaking. This can create a stressful situation for you and your home, because of the damage and discomfort it can cause. In this blog, we discuss reasons your tank and tankless water heater in Skagit County, WA may be leaking and how to avoid the situation altogether.

How Do Water Heaters Work?

To understand why water heaters leak, it is important to know how the system operates. Two common types of water heaters in Mount Vernon, WA are tank and tankless. The system is similar in ways such as operating via thermostat, but different in heating processes. Below are simple descriptions of how each system works.

Tank Water Heater: A tank water heater, also known as storage tanks, are the most common type of water heater used by homeowners. Water is stored in a cylinder storage tank and typically tucked inside a utility closet, garage, or basement. Tank water heaters can have multiple sources of energy, but the most common are natural gas and electricity. To begin the process, water is transferred into the bottom of the tank. The burner or heating element is located at the bottom of the tank and heats up the cold water. As the water reaches the correct temperature, it rises to the top of the tank. When prompted, hot water exits the top of the tank and is distributed throughout your home. Tank water heaters have hot water ready to go when you need it, but can run out of hot water if the demand is too high at once!

Tankless Water Heater: While tank water heaters are the most common, tankless water heaters offer just as many benefits! As the name suggests, tankless water heaters do not require a storage tank. All of the components, such as the heat exchanger, are packaged inside a small unit placed where a typical water heater tank would be located. The system produces hot water on demand rather than having it ready in a tank. Tankless water heaters commonly use electricity, natural gas, and propane as a fuel source to heat up the water. When prompted, water begins to travel through your home and heats up using the energy source simultaneously. One of the biggest advantages of a tankless water heater in Mount Vernon is having an endless supply of hot water!

At Full Speed Plumbing, our technicians are well prepared to install both tank and tankless water heaters for your home in Skagit, Snohomish, Pierce, and other surrounding counties!

Causes Of A Tank Water Heater Leak

Unfortunately, appliances dealing with water can have the risk of leaks and home damage. Dishwashers, washing machines, and water heaters can all malfunction and result in water seeping into your home. However with proper maintenance and care, you will experience little to no malfunctions and stressful situations! If you are dealing with a leaking water heater in Oak Harbor, WA and surrounding areas, we can help identify the cause and quickly provide a solution. Below are four reasons your tank water heater may be leaking.

  • Cracked Tank
  • High Pressure
  • Faulty Drain Valve
  • Corroded/Old Tank

Cracked Tank

Overtime, sediment can build up on the bottom of your storage tank. This is caused by natural minerals in the water. If your water heater is not cleaned regularly, the sediment build up can lead to a crack and water leak.

High Pressure

Due to dealing with hot water, water heater tanks can build up pressure inside. Water heaters have a temperature and pressure valve, also known as the T&P valve, which works to relieve built up pressure inside the tank. The valve can malfunction and allow pressure to build up. Hot water can create steam and fill up the empty space inside the tank. When the steam becomes too much, it has nowhere to go and creates cracks in your water heater to relieve pressure.

Faulty Drain Valve

Tank water heaters have a drain valve for homeowners to utilize and Full Speed technicians to access for maintenance and repairs. Drain valves can loosen over time and create a slow water leak. However, if water is leaking from the base of the valve your water heater may require a new drain valve. A Full Speed Plumbing technician can help identify the problem and direct you towards the best solution.

Corroded/Old Tank

Like many home appliances, water heaters do not last forever! A typical water heater lifespan is around 20 years if well maintained. Components wear out as the water heater ages, which leads to leaks occurring more frequently. Water heaters can also corrode over time, especially the anode rod. When this happens, water leaks through the corroding rod and causes damage to your home.

Causes Of A Tankless Water Heater Leak

Believe it or not, tankless water heaters can leak too! Below are three reasons your tankless water heater may be leaking.

  • Hard Water
  • High Pressure
  • Improper Venting

Hard Water

Hard water is water that has high mineral content. If hard water is present in your water heater, the minerals can build up over time and affect the heat exchanger or other components of the system, which leads to a water leak. It is important to be aware of hard water in your home for many reasons, but especially to avoid tankless water heater leaks!

High Pressure

Tankless water heaters require low flow rates for efficient performance. If the pressure exceeds the water heater’s low flow rate, it may cause water leaks and other problems within the system.

Improper Venting

Due to water heaters operating with heat and water, the system requires proper ventilation to avoid condensation. If not properly vented, condensation can form on or inside your water heater and result in water leaking.

Your comfort is our top priority, and the Full Speed Plumbing technicians are here to ensure you never experience a stressful or uncomfortable situation. If your water heater is leaking in Mount Vernon or surrounding areas, give us a call for a speedy solution!

Tips To Thaw Frozen Pipes

With spring weather on the horizon, it is important to continue properly caring for your home in the freezing temperatures. Pipes in Skagit County can freeze when outdoor temperatures drop below 32 degrees, but have a higher chance of freezing at temperatures below 20 degrees. Frozen and burst pipes are a homeowner’s worst nightmare, because of the stressful and uncomfortable situation the dilemma can cause. We are here to keep you and your home cozy and comfortable, which is why we help homeowners remain knowledgeable on frozen pipes and other home maintenance. In this blog, we detail safe ways to thaw frozen pipes to avoid pipes from bursting.

How To Find A Frozen Pipe

Finding a frozen pipe before it bursts is crucial to protecting your home from water damage. If you turn on a faucet after temperatures have been low and it only drips, it is likely you have a frozen pipe somewhere in your home. While any pipe can freeze, below are the most common situations:

  • Outdoor Pipes
  • Basements
  • Crawlspaces
  • Unheated Spaces
  • Little/No Insulation Around The Pipe

Water expands as it freezes, which often results in bulging pipes. Additionally, frozen pipes may have a layer of condensation or small cracks on the pipe. Be aware of these appearances when looking for frozen pipes in Snohomish County and surrounding areas. If there are no visual indicators, simply feel the pipe for colder areas or compare temperatures to a properly functioning pipe.

How To Thaw A Frozen Pipe

Pipes are more likely to burst when exposed to freezing weather conditions for more than 6 hours. While this can seem like a long time, temperatures are typically below freezing when you go to bed and begin to warm up when the sun rises. This is typically an 8 hour window, which is plenty of time for pipes to freeze and burst. It is crucial to pay close attention to your pipes when temperatures are predicted to drop below 20 degrees to avoid pipes from bursting and creating a stressful situation. The moment you identify a frozen pipe, the goal is to add warmth and thaw the pipe.

The first two steps to thawing pipes is turning off the main water supply and opening the faucet closest to the pipe that has frozen. This allows an outlet for the water as it melts. If there are noticeable cracks, we recommend assessing the situation and preparing with a bucket or towels to prevent water spillage. Next, begin the thawing process. Below five are ways to safely thaw a frozen pipe in Pierce County, WA and surrounding areas.

  • Warm Towels
  • Hair Dryer
  • Space Heater
  • Heat Lamp
  • Heat Tape

Warm Towels

Warm towels are a simple and cost effective way to thaw frozen pipes. Soak towels in hot water and wrap them around the frozen areas. To speed up the process, use a bucket and pour warm water over the towels.

Hair Dryer

Hair dryers can be a quick way to thaw pipes if aimed directly at the frozen area. Utilizing hair dryers should always be monitored and used on a low heat setting. Consistently move the hair dryer back and forth on the frozen areas to avoid overheated areas. Be sure to remember hair dryers can be a hazard if wet.

Space Heater

Space heaters are a beneficial way to thaw frozen pipes in small areas, such as underneath cabinets. Space heaters can stand alone and require minimal effort, but should be monitored during the process.

Heat Lamp

Heat produced from heat lamps can safely thaw a small section of frozen pipes as well. Similar to using a hair dryer, be cautious not to get heat lamps wet due to potential hazards.

Heat Tape

Electrical heating tape can be a cost effective and easily accessible way to thaw pipes. Most home improvement or hardware stores carry heat tape for a low cost. Simply wrap the frozen area in tape and wait as it thaws.

Water will begin running out of the faucets when pipes begin to thaw. Once your pipes have completely thawed, inspect each one for damage before turning your water supply back on. If your pipes are hard to reach, underground, or hidden inside your walls, give us a call! We can help professionally thaw pipes to minimize damage and prevent your home from a stressful situation. Our expert technicians can easily identify each frozen pipe, if multiple, and perform preventative tasks to protect your home and pipes.

Give Full Speed Plumbing A Call For Frozen Pipes!

If your pipes burst in Skagit County, it is best to leave it to the Full Speed Plumbing professionals. If burst pipes are not cared for properly, the situation can damage your home’s structure, walls, floors, and other areas as well as cause mold growth. We can quickly arrive at your home and begin the process to prevent further water damage and restore your home comfort. Let us help professionally repair your pipes in Mount Vernon and surrounding areas!

Related Article: How To Prevent Frozen Pipes


How To Prevent Frozen Pipes

Winters in Washington can be cold and rainy, with temperatures typically below freezing at night. Low temperatures can lead to many home problems, including frozen pipes. Frozen pipes are a homeowner’s worst nightmare in the winter, because of the stress and damage it can cause. However, we are here to help ensure your pipes remain in working condition. In this blog, we discuss tips to prevent frozen pipes and what to do if your pipes freeze in Mount Vernon.

What Happens If Your Pipes Freeze?

Pipes have a chance of freezing when temperatures drop below 32 degrees, but are more common to freeze when the temperature falls below 20 degrees. When water freezes, it expands and creates pressure in the pipes. Frozen water inside pipes can cause the line to burst from pressure and create water damage. Not only will the area flood, but increase the chance of mold growth and high utility bills.

Pipes can freeze anywhere in or around your home depending on the temperature. However, pipes are most likely to burst in spaces such as:

  • Basements
  • Crawlspaces
  • Attics
  • Garages
  • Inside Cabinets
  • Pool Supply Lines
  • Watering Sources such as hoses or sprinklers
  • Exterior Wall Pipes

Tips To Avoid Frozen Pipes

If the weather forecast predicts temperatures below freezing, it is best to take precautions to avoid frozen pipes. As the old saying goes, it is better to be safe than sorry! Below we have listed 6 tips to prevent your pipes from freezing in Skagit County and surrounding areas.

  • Open Cabinet Doors
  • Drip Faucets
  • Disconnect Hoses
  • Insulate Pipes
  • Seal Air Leaks
  • Maintain A Consistent Temperature

Open Cabinet Doors

Cabinet doors block heat from entering and can cause your pipes to freeze. An easy way to avoid frozen pipes is to simply open up each cabinet with pipes underneath to allow heat to circulate. This can include kitchens and bathrooms.

Drip Faucets

When temperatures drop very low, we recommend allowing your faucets to drip at night. This process creates constant water flow and decreases the chances of freezing. Additionally, dripping faucets can relieve pressure build up between pipes and frozen water to further prevent your pipes from bursting.

Disconnect Hoses

Outside water sources have no heating access and can easily freeze, which damages hoses or sprinklers. To prevent pipes from freezing, we recommend disconnecting all hoses from each water source to prevent excess water inside from freezing and creating a mess. Additionally, consider adding a cap to outdoor water faucets to further protect your pipes.

Insulate Pipes

Insulation helps maintain higher temperatures and can be beneficial to avoiding frozen pipes. Insulating your pipes is a cost effective and easy way to prevent a stressful situation. Pipe insulation can be found at most home improvement stores.

Seal Air Leaks

While it may seem small, sealing air leaks can help prevent frozen pipes. Air leaks allow the freezing temperatures to enter your home and create a cooler environment for pipes to freeze. An easy way to seal air leaks is to caulk or weather strip cracks around your home.

Maintain A Consistent Temperature

While cold temperatures can create high heating costs, it is best to maintain a consistent temperature throughout your home. We recommend keeping the same thermostat setting both day and night during a cold front to protect your pipes rather than saving a small amount on heating costs.

How To Tell If You Have Frozen Pipes

Unless your pipes have burst, it can be hard to tell if your pipes are frozen. Being able to identify frozen pipes before they burst can save stress, time, damage, and money. Below are 5 ways to tell if you have frozen pipes in Snohomish County and surrounding areas.

  • Frost or condensation on the outside of pipes
  • Sewage smell
  • Unusual noises coming from the pipes
  • Bulgy pipes
  • Cracks with ice or water seeping through

What To Do If Your Pipes Freeze Or Burst

If you experience frozen pipes that have not yet burst, it is best to take precautions to thaw rather than waiting it out. The best way to thaw frozen pipes is to slowly add heat to them. Homeowners can use portable heaters, hairdryers, warm towels, or any other heating method to thaw pipes. However, we do not recommend using an open flame or leaving heating sources unattended.

If your pipes have burst, it is best to leave it to the professionals. A Full Speed Plumbing Technician can quickly arrive at your house and begin the process of repairing frozen pipes. We are here to take the stress off your shoulders and restore your home comfort.

Before the next cold front, consider these six tips to avoid frozen pipes. If you experience frozen or burst pipes in Pierce County or surrounding areas, give Full Speed Plumbing a call! Our expert technicians are trained to professionally and timely repair your plumbing issues.

Good Plumbers vs Bad Plumbers

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you’ve found the cheapest plumber on the market, especially if he’s not going to get the job done the right way. Although price should play a role in who you choose as your plumber, there are several other factors that should determine if you are working with a “good” or a “bad” plumber.

Read on in today’s blog post, and we’ll go through the determining factors showing how good of a plumber you are working with. We are Full Speed Plumbing, one of the top plumbing companies in the Anacortes area! We also serve Skagit Island, Mount Vernon, and San Juan Counties. You can also rest assured that our team is full of “good” plumbers .


Good Plumber: 

A good plumber will show up to the job on time (or maybe even earlier ) and will get the job done in the most efficient way possible.

He will also do the job in a way that lasts – not just give a temporary solution.

Bad Plumber: 

In contrast, the bad plumber can be hit-or-miss. When you call him for his services, you’re never quite sure when he’ll actually show up.

He doesn’t pay proper attention to detail, and he also doesn’t get to the root of the problem. With the bad plumber, you usually get the feeling that he’s just fixing your issues on a surface level so he can keep getting your business…

Licenses and Certifications

Good Plumber: 

The good plumber is properly licensed and trained. You can rest assured that this guy knows exactly what he’s doing and is also properly insured in case anything he does happens to go wrong! 

Bad Plumber:

The bad plumber doesn’t worry about details like licensing and insurance. He doesn’t think it’s important, and sometimes he’ll even make his rates significantly cheaper to make up for this fact.

More often than not, if the bad plumber is “sneaky” in this area, he’ll most likely be a little rat in other areas of his work too . He’s the type of person that will cut any corner he can. Definitely not someone you want working on important parts of your home!


Good Plumber:

The good plumber is respectful of your home. He’s not going to make a big mess, and, if he does, he will clean it up! The homeowner should never have to worry about it.

Not only is he respectful of your property, but he also respects your time. As mentioned before, he’s going to show up on time and not keep you waiting!

Bad Plumber:

The bad plumber has little concern for the property that he is working on or the people he’s working. He’s mostly just concerned with showing up, getting the job done, and getting his paycheck ASAP. He doesn’t care what mess or destruction he has to make to do this. The end justifies the means for him.

Where Can I Find A GOOD Plumber?

Full Speed Plumbing is known for being a team of good, ethical professionals!

Our company values honesty and respectfulness with our customers, and we take the time to obtain the proper licensing for each of our workers.

Can You Flush Flushable Wipes?

You just got done wiping down your bathroom sink with a wet wipe. Your bathroom counter now looks pristine, and now you want to dispose of that nasty goop and gunk. While it feels refreshing to just flush the evidence right down your toilet, is that really the smartest move? Well, read on for our take on this.

We, Full Speed Plumbing, are one of the top plumbing companies in the Anacortes area, and we have definitely seen our fair share of clogged toilets and drains. We can definitely tell you if there is any cause for concern.

A Quick Analysis

To sum it all up, the short answer is no. Wet wipes are not good for your septic system, even if they are labeled as “flushable.” The reason that it is marked as flushable is because the wipe is able to break down. The problem is that a wipe like this would take much longer to fully break down than toilet paper would. If you flush multiple “flushable” wipes down the toilet, you risk clogging the pipe if the wipes don’t break down in enough time.

In an interview with TODAY, master plumber Rex Kinney says, “people flush them down the toilet, and they go down the drain no problem, but usually when they hit … a 45-degree elbow within the homeowner’s plumbing pipes going out to the street, that’s when they just start congregating. … Over months, over time, they’re not being drawn out into the street, and, eventually, boom, they shut the sewer. They completely block the sewer, and then people get a backup, and they call a plumber.”

What Are Some Other Things I Should Avoid Flushing?

The key to knowing if something is safe to flush is asking yourself the question, “Will this get caught up or tangled with other things in my drain?” Here is a quick list of some things that you should avoid flushing down the toilet, at all costs (a few may surprise you ):

  • Q-tips
  • Paper towels
  • Diapers
  • Dental floss
  • Paper towels
  • Food
  • Fish
  • Gum
  • Feminine products
  • COVID masks (can’t tell you how many we’ve had to pull out of people’s septic systems )

If you’re still having trouble knowing what to flush, here’s a quick guide for what to flush down your toilet, and it can be summed up in two different materials:

1) toilet paper
2) waste.

Can’t go wrong there. 

What If I’ve Got A Clog Already?

You’re talking to the right people! We’re one of the top plumbing businesses in the Anacortes area, and we help people unclog toilets every day.

Have a plumbing emergency?
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Local Office

17675 Washington 536
Mount Vernon, WA 98273
Full Speed Plumbing

Full Speed Plumbing's mission is to forge ahead full speed when answering the call of our customers. The service we offer is quick and empathetic as our team provides options and education.

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