It’s not necessary for the average person to know everything about home plumbing, but it’s good to know the basics. Here are 5 things you must know about plumbing leaks.

Wrap your pipes in heat. The most important feature is the exterior piping. If any cold-water pipes touch the outer portion of the building, when the water isn’t being used and the temperature is very cold, most likely the pipes will completely freeze. A warm pipe is a happy pipe.

You may not know what’s right, but you can usually spot what’s wrong. Take a quick look at any visible pipes in your house. Most people don’t routinely check their home plumbing, and when a puddle of water appears in their basement they have no idea what happened.

A stuffed sink can easily spring a leak. Under your kitchen sink, take a peek every once in a while and see if there are any drips. It’s always a good idea to take a look for pipe leaks.

Mechanical faucets never last forever. A faucet is mechanical so eventually it’s going to leak. Some people prefer the old faucet; others would rather buy a new one. There’s a point at which the leaky faucet is so old and corroded that it will be difficult to repair. Most of the time it’s cheaper to install a new one.

A leaky water heater is a dead water heater. The biggest problem is that when the lining wears away, you get water dripping from the base, which can lead to water damage. If a lot of water is dripping, first call an emergency plumber, and then contact the manufacturer and provide the model number. You may get lucky and find that the product is still under warranty.