Chances are that if you’re calling a 24 hour plumber, something terrible just happened to your home’s plumbing system. The thing about it is that because your plumbing deals with water & waste materials, any issue can easily become a disaster that needs to be addressed ASAP.

Though plumbing companies will tout their ability to handle emergencies at any time of day (or night), many of them are quick to point out that there are ways for a homeowner to avoid having to dial a round-the-clock plumber to come fix things. The key is that you have to be proactive in your approach to your home’s plumbing. The action you take prior to a problem can be a saving grace.

Here are five ways you can take action today to avoid having to call a 24 hour plumber:

1. Clogged Drains & Sewer Lines – Treat your sink drains with respect as they are the last defense against the junk you pour down your sink. Not only should you avoid pouring grease or cooking oil down the drain, you should also avoid using harsh, chemical-based drain cleaners. They can be bad news for the materials that make up your drain. Also, take a note from public restrooms, and only flush only toilet paper and your waste. Items such as wipes and feminine products will create a clog.

2. Check Hoses & Fixtures – Think in terms of the hoses to your washing machine or the connections of your sinks & toilets. If there is rubber present, see if there are any breaks or deterioration. Even if things looks good, keep in mind that rubber can degrade after only a few years. Home experts believe that metallic braid-type hoses and metal connections should be considered when replacing older items or even as a preventative step.

3. When DIY Projects Go Wrong – Being self-sufficient is always good, but at least plan your DIY projects a little more. Countless stories emerge from plumbers about how they were called in the middle of the night because someone decided to take on a project in the bathroom or kitchen that didn’t take into consideration a simple preventative task such as knowing how to shut off the water. This simple step can mean turn a disaster into a water-damaged disaster in no time at all.

4. Check On Your Water Heater – A residential water heater has a lifespan of about ten years if it’s properly taken care of and inspected for any possible problems. Check for any signs of leaks, rust accumulation, and pipe connections. You can also flush out the tank once a year to remove mineral deposits. Regarding the ten-year lifespan, be aware that water heaters can last longer, but the decade mark is a good rule of thumb for replacement.

5. Regular Inspections – It’s as simple as that. Once a year, hire a skilled master plumber to give your home a “once over” to see if things are in good shape.