Whether you’ve just moved into your dream house, or you’ve owned your home for quite a while, here are seven tips for keeping your home’s plumbing in top shape.

1. Plan before you drill into your home’s walls, floors and ceiling. 

If you’re remodeling or planning to pound nails into your home, be sure to check for supply or drainage pipes behind your work area. Puncturing a pipe can lead to water damage that could end up costing you. Use an endoscopic camera or an inexpensive stud finder to locate pipes and to determine where it’s safe to drill.

2. Don’t convert your toilet into a trash can.

The toilet is capable of flushing two things: waste and toilet paper. Throw anything else down the drain and you risk clogging the toilet. Keep a designated trash bin in each bathroom to discourage family members and guests from throwing trash into the toilet.

3. Buy a plunger.

A high-quality plunger can be used to clear clogs in toilets, sinks, and showers. Have one plunger for toilets, and one for sinks and showers. A plunger should be the first tool you reach for when dealing with a clog — leave the DIY drain cleaners for plan B.

4. Use a wet-dry vacuum to dislodge clogs.

A wet-dry vacuum is helpful for dislodging clogs caused by small, hard objects such as a toy, toothbrush, or comb. While a plunger will push the clog deeper into the drain, a wet-dry vacuum will suck out the object.

5. Don’t ignore leaks.

Would you ever consider flushing Benjamins down the toilet? No? Then don’t ignore dripping faucets. A dripping faucet can waste up to eight gallons of water a day, while a running toilet can waste up to 200 gallons per day. 

6. Never over-tighten fittings and connections.

You might think you’re being extra careful, but in fact, over-tightening plumbing fittings and connections can lead to broken bolts and stripped screws. As they say, “hand-tight is just right.”

7. Know how to use plumber’s tape.

Also called Teflon tape, plumber’s tape is useful when you need to seal pipe threads and prevent leaks around joints and fittings. Wrap plumber’s tape three times around pipe threads before sealing.