The bad news is that there is little you can do to protect against any leaks forming at all. Most leaks are caused by corrosion or oxidization, which are chemical reactions due to the interaction with your pipes and elements in the surrounding area. There’s not much you can do about that, but what you can do is detect leaks as early as possible so you can limit the damage. The best way to do this is to call for plumbing maintenance at least once every year or two. In between those appointments, you should keep an eye out for some specific signs that your system is leaking.
Dropping Water Pressure
If your water pressure is noticeably falling over time, you might have a leak or blockage forming in your plumbing system somewhere. If it starts to drop suddenly, then you might have a more serious plumbing emergency that should be dealt with as quickly as possible. Regardless, this is not a good sign. It could mean that you have a leak in the pipes somewhere that is gradually getting worse. All that water that isn’t getting to your faucet has to go somewhere, which means that if you don’t hurry up and get it looked at you might have to deal with some advanced water damage somewhere else in the home. Call a plumber if you notice this sign.
Check Your Water Meter
This is a pretty simple trick, but it’s a good way to quickly determine if you have a leak in your plumbing system. Turn off all the water systems in your home, and then have a look at your water meter. If the meter isn’t running, then you either don’t have a leak or its too small to even register (i.e. not necessarily a problem yet). If the water meter is still running, though, then that means that there is still water leaving the system somewhere. You might have a leak in that case. You’ll have to have a plumber check out your system to be able to tell for certain.
Rising Water Bills
Regardless of whether or not water gets to your faucet, if it’s leaving your plumbing system then you have to pay for it. Larger leaks can waste enough water that it actually starts to be reflected in your monthly water bills. If your bills start to go up, but you don’t think you’re using enough water to justify the higher cost, you should talk to a professional about examining your plumbing system for you.