Leaky toilets: At least once a year, check your toilet for leaks by adding a small amount of red food coloring to the tank, and then check the toilet bowl later. If the toilet bowl water is pink, water is seeping through from the tank, and you should replace the tank ball and its connectors.

Malfunctioning water heaters: Before doing any maintenance on your water heater, first shut off the power and read your owner’s manual. At least once every three months, drain water from the tank to rid the tank of built-up sediment. Periodically, you’ll need to check the water heater burner. It should appear blue with yellow tips. If it’s mostly yellow, or if it’s sooty under there, your flue may be clogged. This is a dangerous situation, and you should call a technician to inspect the appliance. Have your water heater serviced by a professional technician at least once every two years.

Clogged sink or shower pipes: To help prevent clogs, avoid rinsing fats and cooking oils down the kitchen sink, and fit all your tub and shower drains with a strainer that will catch hair and soap chips. If left to go through the pipes, these items solidify and cause clogs.

Garbage disposal problems: Extend the life of your garbage disposal by using cold water when running it, avoid overloading it and avoid disposing hard items like bones or corn husks in it. You should also never use a caustic drain opener (like Liquid-Plumr). If the disposal stops working, try the reset button located on the bottom of most disposals before calling a technician.