Plumbing is an essential home system. When your plumbing gives you problems, you don’t just have the inconvenience of being without water until repairs are made. You also have the potential for serious damage to your home, especially if the leak goes undetected for a long period of time. Leaks can happen for many reasons, but these five are probably the most common.

Frozen Lines

When winter arrives, your plumbing can be at risk. That includes not just the pipes with outdoor exposure, such as your garden hose spigot, but also the main plumbing under the house. Homes with a crawlspace can easily fall victim to frozen pipes if steps haven’t been taken to keep the space a little warmer. If you have a leak during the coldest times of winter, a frozen pipe is probably responsible.

Poor Installation

It’s possible that before you bought your home, a problem started that was never fixed. When you locate the leak in your home, see if it involves any areas that have had previous repairs or if there are joints nearby. If so, it could have been substandard construction work that caused your problem. Find a reputable plumber to make repairs and prevent future problems.

Damage from Rough Handling

Some people misuse pipes. They hang clothing on them, store heavy objects near them, and otherwise treat them as if they’re just empty iron pipes. Over time, this rough handling can cause damage to pipes and joints, leading to leaks. If your leak appears in an area where you know you haven’t been cautious with the pipes, make plans for a different storage system after repairs. Some rearrangement of the plumbing can help prevent future troubles and even make your plumbing more efficient.

Structural Issues

Buildings settle and shift over time, sometimes leading to problems with the plumbing. Pipes that pass through the foundation can actually move slightly each time the water is turned on or off in the house. Over time, that can wear a hole in the pipe and cause a leak. Trace the water back to its source and see what structural components might be responsible for the problem. This might require some professional help, as much of this infrastructure will be underground.

High Pressure

Municipal lines should never exceed certain levels, but things happen. If your home’s plumbing becomes over-pressurized, seals and connections may fail. A sure way to diagnose this problem is if you have neighbors who experienced leaks at the same time you did. After making repairs, tell your water provider to check relief valves in your area for proper function. Especially as problems like this can be a sign of wider problems.

The only thing worse than having one water leak is having another one later on. Properly identifying the cause of your problem will help you avoid additional leaks in the future. Additionally, you can check for these problems ahead of time and take preventative measures against any future leaks. If you keep an eye out for these problems, you’ll be sure to prevent them or at least catch them early.