Homeowners can usually avoid clogs by never pouring grease or harsh chemicals down the drains and keeping them clear of hair and food scraps. Also, nothing should be flushed down the toilet but toilet paper and sewage. Screens should be installed over the drains, and debris should be regularly removed.
The homeowner should also find out where the main cut-off valve is in case of a leak. She should make sure that the pressure in the plumbing pipes isn't too high. Ideally, it should be between 40 and 85 pounds per square inch. If it's more than 85 psi, the homeowner should hire a plumber to reduce it. Though it can be expensive to lower the water pressure, it lengthens the life of the pipes.
Hard water also shortens the life of plumbing pipes by laying down limescale. Soft water filters remove the minerals from the water and replace them with sodium. If sodium is a problem for the household, newer filters use electromagnetism to remove the minerals. Ideally, a plumber should install the filter.
The main sewage drain needs to be cleaned out every few years or so. The same is true of a home with a septic tank. Accumulations of tree roots cause back-ups.