You may not be able to prevent a pipe from breaking, causing damage that could lead to thousands of dollars in cleanup and repairs, but it pays to be aware of and learn more about the following signs and symptoms that could lead to future plumbing problems:
Age and maintenance of pipes and tubing Depending on when your home was built, water lines may be copper or plastic. Water pipes may be cast iron, galvanized steel or PVC. While these materials are built to last, fittings can become defective, pipes can deteriorate, and various outside influences can cause problems. Minor nicks caused by a nail or something as simple as crimping an icemaker line accidentally can lead to major leaks when you least expect it, cause a pipe to burst months or years later or lead to a slow leak with just as much potential for damage over time.
Deposit build-up and staining Types of water and water quality are different depending on the trace minerals and additives in the area where you live. These factors can lead to staining or a white, green or brown powder or crusty build-up on fixtures and faucets which can be a sign that similar build-up is affecting water flow in the pipes of your home. If you see any indication of this, or if metal faucets become pitted, it's time to have a plumbing professional check the plumbing systems in your home that you cannot see. You can help prevent this issue by installing either a whole-house purification system, or some "point of use" filters.
Learning more about these signs and symptoms may help you prevent a plumbing emergency but most important of all is to find a reliable local plumber before you need one and always have their number somewhere that you can reach it fast.