Nobody likes having to deal with a plumbing emergency at home. Thankfully, there are some relatively easy steps you can take to help prevent plumbing problems in the first place. They include practicing clog prevention, regularly flushing your drains, watching out for leaks (and fixing them immediately), finding and using your main water valve, and working with trusted plumbing professionals.

Our experts at DM Select Services, providers of plumbing services in Alexandria, VA, and the surrounding areas, break down everything you need to know about how to avoid plumbing issues at home.


1. Practice Simple Clog Prevention

Practicing clog prevention will save you from more significant plumbing problems in the future. There are some simple ways you can do this:


Be mindful of what you put down your drains.

In the kitchen, you should avoid pouring oil, butter, or any other type of grease into your sink. These materials will eventually cool and harden, forming a thick build-up that will cause clogs. 

Instead, keep a grease jar under your sink (old sauce jars work well for this). You can pour grease into these containers and throw them in the trash once they’re full.

In the bathroom, you should use bath and shower products and other personal toiletries that are drain friendly. Avoid using products containing oils, clay, or bits of debris, such as scrubbing beads or flower petals.


Use drain catchers.

Another easy way to help prevent clogs from forming is to ensure that every one of your drains has a drain catcher or drain screen over it. The ones that come with sinks and tubs aren’t always sufficient. For a reasonable price, you can usually find better ones with smaller holes online or at any hardware store.


2. Regularly Flush Your Drains

Blockage on the toilet with dirty water

Your drains can begin to form clogs even if you are using drain catchers and are careful about what you put down them. Flushing them about once a month can help clear away hair and any other debris before severe blockages develop. If you do this, you’re less likely to find yourself Googling “plumbing services in Alexandria” in the future.

There’s no need to buy special drain cleaning products or use harsh chemicals to flush your drains. You can easily do it using baking soda, water, and white distilled vinegar. Mix up equal parts of each ingredient, and pour it down each drain. Let the mixture sit for a couple of hours or as long as possible before flushing it with very hot water.


3. Look Out for Leaks

Plumber replaces valve on the water tap

Small leaks are usually easy to fix, but if you let them go for too long, they can become much bigger plumbing problems. They can also cause damage to your home. That’s why you must stay on the lookout for leaks and address them right away.

There are a few places you should regularly check for leaks:



It’s usually easy to spot leaks in your kitchen or bathroom sinks by looking underneath them. Check all pipes and make sure the areas under your sinks are dry. Also, check any hose attachments since they tend to leak easily.



Leaky toilets can not only damage your plumbing, but they can waste thousands of gallons of water a year. One way to confirm your toilet is leaking is to put a few drops of food coloring into the tank before you go to bed. If you wake up to find that color in the bowl of the toilet, then you know you have a leak.


Washing Machines

The connection hoses are the most important places to check for leaks in your washing machine. Leaks in hoses can lead to bursting, which will cause a lot of water damage.


Water Heaters

If your water heater breaks down, it can affect your home significantly. Watch out for rust, damage, or any other sign of leakage. You should be particularly cautious if yours is an older model.

If you find leaks in any of these places, you should schedule service with a plumber if necessary. If the leak is significant, you should shut off your main water valve (more on that below).


4. Find and Use Your Main Water Valve

Your main water valve controls the flow of all water into your home. Shutting off your main water valve can help prevent plumbing problems from becoming disasters. Because a leaky pipe can flood your home if you don’t do it in time, it’s imperative to know where your main water shutoff valve is and how to use it.

You can usually find the main water valve inside on the lowest level of your home. Once you find it, you should try turning it off and then on again, and you should mark it for easy identification. Ideally, everyone in your household should know where it is and how to use it in the event of a major leak.


5. Hire Plumbing Professionals

Reliable and Excellent Plumber

If you encounter any issues, such as leaks or major clogs, contacting a plumbing professional instead of trying to fix them yourself is usually the best course of action. Doing this will help prevent more extensive problems down the line.

Plumbing professionals can also conduct regular inspections and maintenance and even help you find your main water valve if you can’t find it yourself. Just be sure to go with a company with excellent customer service ratings.

If you’re looking for plumbing services in Alexandria, VA, or the surrounding areas, consider working with our team at DM Select Services. We provide a range of commercial and residential plumbing services, including drain cleaning and pipe, toilet, and water heater repair. We also offer around-the-clock emergency plumbing services.Our family-owned business is known for fast, reliable, and excellent service. Beyond plumbing, we also provide ventilation, cooling, and heating services in northern Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. To receive a quote or learn more, contact our team at DM Select Services today at 703-721-4844.